Thursday, September 26, 2019

"Howdy Modi" Rally Exposes Indian-Americans to Charge of Hypocrisy

Most Indian-Americans vote for the Democratic Party in American elections. Almost all Indian-Americans in elected offices are Democrats. Notable among them are Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Kamala Harris. Many Indian-Americans have been appointed to senior positions in executive and judiciary branches by Democratic administrations.  However, they instinctively agree with Republicans. They share Republicans' racism against African-Americans and Hispanics and support President Trump's religious bigotry against Muslims.

Most India-Americans ardently support Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose party is openly hostile to minorities, particularly Muslims, in India. And majority of Indian-Americans are totally unconcerned about the plight of minorities in India.  Modi's declaration “we’ve said goodbye to Article 370" in Indian Occupied Kashmir drew the loudest cheers at Howdy Modi rally which highlighted the hypocrisy of Indian-Americans. The attendees at the Houston rally gave President Donald Trump standing ovation when he said that the United States is "committed to protecting innocent Indian-Americans from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism". Modi effectively endorsed Trump for re-election in 2020 when he declared "Ap ki Bar Trump Sarkar". This essentially turned "Howdy Modi" event in Houston into a Trump election rally organized and paid for by Modi-loving Hindus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) with President Donald Trump in Houston, Texas

Most Hindu-Americans fail to see the irony that Srinivas Kuchibhotla who was killed by a white nationalist in Kansas in February 2017 was a victim of the same kind of hatred in America that Mr. Modi espouses against minorities in India. Kuchibotla himself was an ardent fan of Mr. Modi’s sweeping Hindutva politics as his wife related after this murder, according to an article published in the Hindu by Indian journalist and writer Varghese K. George.  Here is an excerpt of Mr. George's article:

"The dualism of Indian-American politics has now become unsustainable as Democratic leaders find it increasingly impossible to side with Mr. Modi as he advances the Hindutva agenda. Many of these friends of India were mislead, and had misread Mr. Modi’s politics and they interpreted his success in 2014 as a turn in Indian politics towards more neo-liberal reforms and globalism. Such an image of Mr. Modi was also projected by Indian diplomacy in America. But one American thinker, who interpreted Mr. Modi’s victory as a nativist revolt against a global elite, was none other than Stephen Bannon, the most authentic interpreter of Mr. Trump’s nationalist politics. Mr. Bannon has also been particularly a critic of the H-1B visa and Indian-American immigration. That the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. retweeted a tweet that denounced Mr. Sanders and tweeted about his meeting with Mr. Bannon in glowing terms (he deleted the tweet later) in quick succession bears out the official Indian position on the emerging fault-lines in American politics and the role of Indian Americans in it."


Indian Ambassador Shringle (R) with White Nationalist Steve Bannon

In an opinion piece titled  "“Howdy, Modi” And The Politics Of The Indian American Community" published by ABP LIVE, UCLA Professor Viany Lal captured this reality in the following words:

"..there is absolutely no contradiction between the fact that Indians largely vote Democrat and their instinctive tendency to gravitate towards Republicans. But there is another question that emerges from the comical “Howdy, Modi” show: is this a moment that signifies the “arrival” of the Indian Americans on the national stage and in American consciousness? Many commentators would like to think so: the journalist Sonia Paul, for instance, has characterized the event as a “display of Indian Americans’ Political Power.” It may be that, but such analysis is toothless and uninstructive. Every minority of the size of the Indian American counts, and there are many such communities; but, viewed in relation to Hispanics and African Americans, Indian Americans are still far from being a highly influential voting bloc. Hispanics and especially African Americans are embedded in the history of the nation in vastly different ways; many Indian Americans, even those who have put down roots in the US over two generations, still think of themselves as constituting the vanguard of India and would like to be important players in India itself."

Professor Lal continues his piece to describe the Indian-American hypocrisy as follows:

"...some people may be puzzled about why so many Indians were gathered to hear Modi and Trump when Indians, by a very large majority, are supporters of the Democratic party and certainly vote Democrat in a presidential election...........the majority of Indian Americans have remained wholly indifferent to the plight of minorities in India itself. Though two million Muslims in Assam now risk being rendered stateless, and “lynchings” of Muslims and Dalits over the last few years have unfortunately made India newsworthy, Indian Americans have generally shown themselves remarkably oblivious to the sufferings of minorities while they lose no opportunity to lay claim to rights as members of a minority in the US. They would much rather gravitate towards the Republican party, which is more hospitable to business interests and free enterprise; but the party is also less accommodating to minority interests."

Not only do Indian-Americans strongly support Modi and his Hindutva policies, they demand that elected Indian-American Democrats do the same. This is best illustrated by their pressure on Silicon-Valley's Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna. Khanna joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva.  Khanna said in a tweet that "it is the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhist and Christians". A record 230 Hindu-American organizations wrote an angry letter to Khanna in response. They asked him to withdraw from Pakistan Caucus and to highlight "ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits".

Hindu organizations conveniently ignore the long history of atrocities committed by Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims. Nearly a million Indian troops are  currently keeping 8 million Kashmiris in a complete lockdown that is about to enter its 3rd month. They also make no mention of what happened to Muslims who constituted a majority in Jammu in 1947. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed or expelled from Jammu in 1947, according to Indian journalist Karan Thapar.  Here is an excerpt of Thapar's Hindustan Times column on this subject:

"Writing in The Spectator in January 1948, Horace Alexander says: “Hindus and Sikhs of the Jammu area … apparently with at least the tacit consent of state authorities, have driven many thousands of their Muslim neighbours from their homes”. Citing Mahatma Gandhi, he asserts “some two hundred thousand are … not accounted for”. Christopher Snedden, in Kashmir: The Unwritten History, estimates between 70,000 and 237,000 Muslims were killed. Arjun Appaduri and Arien Mack in India’s World believe 200,000 could have been killed and a further 500,000 displaced. Last year, the columnist Swaminathan Aiyar wrote: “In sheer scale this far exceeded the ethnic cleansing of Pandits five decades later”."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Congressman Rejects Hindutva

Sonal Shah to Help Divide the Obama Victory Spoils

Rape of 8-year-old Asifa Bano in Kashmir

Imran Khan in Washington

Modi's Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Hinduization of India

Brievik's Hindutva Rhetoric

Indian Textbooks

India's RAW's Successes in Pakistan

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

VPOS Youtube Channel

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir let me also inform you that there was an interview of Mr.Sajid Tarar who is a Pakistani professor,Political Scientist and an advisor to US president Trump.

He said that these Indian American businessmen have spent millions of US$ in the election campaign of President Trump. These Indian American want Trump to win next elections .

Riaz Haq said...

No #trade deal, no #Kashmir win, no #investment in #India but #BJP celebrating #Modi return from #UnitedStates https://theprint.in/opinion/no-trade-deal-no-kashmir-win-no-investment-but-bjp-celebrating-modi-return-from-us/298552/ via @ThePrintIndia

rime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday returned home to a rousing welcome from BJP party workers and supporters despite not having secured the much-touted trade deal with the US. Also, the issue of Kashmir became further complicated between him and US President Donald Trump despite a massive spectacle of bonhomie between the two leaders at ‘Howdy, Modi!’.

Prime Minister Modi scored clear nil in the most contentious issue of trade during his weeklong trip to America. Trade has undoubtedly become an unavoidable stumbling block in the relationship, even as both sides continue to fiercely fight out trade disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

While it is true that Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal continues to brainstorm along with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington DC, a so-called ‘limited’ trade deal remains as elusive as it was before Modi’s visit.


When the Modi government came back to power for the second time with a landslide victory earlier this year, the US was clearly not amused. Within days of the government settling into office, the Trump administration cracked the whip on India in May and revoked the trade benefits given under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme. The US was threatening to do so since before the elections. This was an unprecedented act on US’ part because ever since the GSP programme started in 1974, it was never taken away from India.

It is true that previous US administrations, particularly the Barack Obama administration, did threaten to revoke it, but in reality, it never walked the talk much to India’s relief.

India, on the other hand, whether it was under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or under Prime Minister Modi, has always claimed, rather arrogantly, that the withdrawal of GSP did not impact India’s foreign trade much. New Delhi’s public posturing has always been that the GSP, or tariff-free access to US markets for Indian goods, is not really needed as India is not an underdeveloped country anymore.

Indian shipments under GSP programme get a benefit of around $6.4 billion, which is now gone. It was widely expected that the GSP would be restored during Prime Minister Modi’s trip, and it seemed all the more plausible after ‘Howdy, Modi!’, but eventually it turned out to be a damp squib.

This despite Trump being a “true, warm, friendly and accessible” friend of Modi’s.

Prime Minister Modi was not even able to restore a waiver from US’ high duties on Indian shipments of steel and aluminium during his mega visit.

samir sardana said...

The India - Pakistan war starts from AT LEAST 2000 years ago

Sample what the Mahabharata says about the Pakistanis (id.est., the Country of the 5 rivers - as the phrase is used in the Mahabharata)

It captures the transcendent permanence of hate - evisceral hate ! There is no point in talking to the Hindoo !

https://dindooohindoo.page.tl/Mahabharata-on-Sikhs...

The Mahabharata, Book 8: Karna Parva: Section 45

Fie on the Arattas and the people of the "country of the five rivers".

The Mahabharata, Book 8: Karna Parva: Section 45

This cannot be said of the Madrakas and the "crooked-hearted race" that resides in the "country of the five rivers"

The Mahabharata, Book 8: Karna Parva: Section 45

In days of yore, when the eternal religion was reverenced in all countries,the Grandsire, observing the "practices of the country of the five rivers, cried fie on them"

The Mahabharata, Book 8: Karna Parva: Section 44

There where the five rivers flow just after issuing from the mountains, there among the Aratta-Vahikas, no respectable person should dwell even for two days. They are "not creatures created by the Creator"

The Mahabharata, Book 8: Karna Parva: Section 44

There where forests of Pilus stand,and those five rivers flow, viz., the Satadru, the Vipasa, the Iravati, the Candrabhaga, and the Vitasa and which have the Sindhu for their sixth, there in those regions removed from the Himavat, are the countries called by the name of the Arattas. Those regions are "without virtue and religion". No one should go thither.

The tragedy of Hindooosthan is that The DNA and History of the "so called Dindoo nation", lies in Pakistan ! !!

Sakastan, is in Pakistan
Saraswati, is in Pakistan
Porus, was a Pakistani
The land of the 7 rivers ,of the Mahabharata, is Pakistan
The People who stopped and killed Alexander, are in Pakistan
The IVC, is in Pakistan
Mohenjo, is in Pakistan
The key to the fraud of Dindoo History, is in Pakistan
The only nation in the world, formed only on the basis of religion, and not named in any Abrahamic faith = Pakistan (Israel is named)

Riaz Haq said...

India's Consul General in New York On "Israel Model" in Kashmir

https://youtu.be/XN2gOL7wp0c

In an hourlong video of an interaction with the “Kashmiri Hindu diaspora” in New York posted on Facebook, Sandeep Chakravorty, India's Consul General in New York, seems to be representing “Hindus” rather than “Indians” and appears to endorse Israel’s illegal policy.

Chakravorty said, “We have never used our strength as majority community…. we have never [made] use of our Hindu culture… ancient civilization in diplomacy. Now that we are using it, people are having problems”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump told #Bolton in August 201 he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to #Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into #Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript of #BoltonBook. #ImpeachmentTrial https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/26/us/politics/trump-bolton-book-ukraine.html

President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.

The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office.

Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's divisive #Hindutva politics infects #Hindu-#Americans in #America: #Indian-#Americans hold rallies in support of #CAA in US. https://www.deccanherald.com/international/world-news-politics/indian-americans-hold-rallies-in-support-of-caa-in-us-788539.html @deccanherald

Riaz Haq said...

For #Trump and #Modi, ethnic purity is the purpose of power. Both strongmen favor immigration & citizenship policies designed to demonize minority groups. Top #Hindu Nationalist leaders like Golwalkar were influenced by #Mussolini & #Hitler | Jason Stanley https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/24/trump-modi-citizenship-politics-fascism?CMP=share_btn_tw

The European-American concept of a national state had influence outside Europe. VD Savarkar, the Indian political theorist who ushered in Hindu nationalist ideology, was influenced by European ethno-nationalism. He took the Nazi treatment of German Jews to be a model for eventual Hindutva policy towards India’s Muslim residents. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is a Hindu nationalist movement dating back to the mid-1920s, many of whose members venerated Savarkar. Senior leaders, such as MS Golwalkar, were influenced by Mussolini and Hitler. The Bharatiya Janata party, the political wing of RSS and now India’s ruling party, has begun to implement changes in citizenship laws that echo the Nuremberg Laws.

India’s new Citizenship Amendment Act allows for a fast-track to citizenship for non-Muslim migrants, thereby discriminating against Muslims. The proposed national register requires residents to prove their citizenship with documentation – which many in India lack. Together, these laws place Muslims without documentation in a quandary. Large detention centres are being built to house India’s Muslim residents who are declared ineligible for citizenship. Like the US immigration policy so admired by Hitler, these laws are a mask: they are designed to privilege Hindus in the citizenship laws of the world’s largest democracy.

Trump leads an administration that seeks to return the US to the national state of Hitler’s adulation. In many respects, Modi’s India is considerably further along this path. The student has become the teacher.

There is more to fascism than changing citizenship laws. Fascist movements seek one-party rule: over the courts, the police, the military and the press. They involve a cult of loyalty to a single leader and nostalgia for a mythic past when the nation was dominated by the privileged group. But the core of fascist ideology is realised in changing citizenship laws to privilege a single ethnic group. This is why we regard the Nuremberg Laws as a defining moment in German history, and the concentration camp as the defining Nazi institution.

History has been rightly horrified by the Nuremberg Laws and their consequences. Why, then, are so many countries going down this path?

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump is enabling #Modi’s #Islamophobia in #India . But so are many #Indian #Americans . It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity.

https://news.yahoo.com/trump-enabling-modis-islamophobia-india-191500320.html

The violence was spurred by different perspectives: nationalists supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and anti-CAA protesters. The CAA was passed in December, granting a track to Indian citizenship for undocumented immigrants from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi backgrounds. The stated goal was to protect refugees coming from neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That is, refugees who are not Muslim. Muslim identities were conveniently left out of the amendment, but these three countries are Muslim majority nations. These same Muslim identities are also some of the most persecuted in the world, notably the Rohingya, who are fleeing to Bangladesh following ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not helped matters very much, brashly throwing around anti-Muslim rhetoric. From potentially gaslighting millions of citizens, assuring them of no religious bias, to revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, another Muslim-majority state, Modi is clearly promoting a Hindu nationalist agenda. He, like Trump, is also the victor in an election campaign that has used fearmongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric to consolidate support.


Modi's and Trump’s kinship makes sense in this context. During a Houston rally in the fall, Modi said he supports Trump's efforts to "Make America Great Again." Trump and Modi pledged to support each other's efforts to “protect innocent civilians from radical Islamic terrorism.” From enacting a “Muslim ban” during his first days in office to speech that far too often denigrates minorities, Trump has encouraged the kind of anti-Muslim sentiment that dovetails with the Islamophobic atmosphere in India right now — and indeed is increasingly spreading around the world.

The consequences of this atmosphere can be seen in the language used by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which threatens to denaturalize Muslims across the country. As Ravi Kishan, a prominent member of Parliament and supporter of the CAA, said recently, “India has always been a Hindu nation.”

As a first-generation, Indian American immigrant myself, I watch what is happening both in my home and the homes of many of my family members with frustration — and yet the Indian diaspora remains largely silent. Where is the outrage? I recognize the struggle and the fear of appearing “too American” or “too Westernized.” And I recognize the desire to want to connect with our homeland and its heritage. We, as immigrants, hold a double identity that we constantly battle to balance.
------------------

It is not right to support Modi simply out of a sense of Indian solidarity. We need to stand in solidarity with those working for the betterment of India. We must call out those who don’t dare decry Modi’s actions, those who are so easily seduced by Trump’s saccharine tweets in Hindi; tweets which ignore the crippling afflictions in India. We cannot let Trump’s deceptive techniques fool us into believing he has our interests at heart, as he has apparently fooled both Indians and Indian American immigrants alike.

Indian American immigrants might rather avoid this messy topic. But we cannot settle for an authoritarian government — neither in America nor in India. We must confront the discomfort on social media and in WhatsApp chats. If we sit idly by, we are complicit.

The heart of India is burning. Pointing out the flaws is the only path toward a better India — an India we can all be proud of.

Riaz Haq said...

First #Arab world, now #Canada saying enough is enough to #Muslim-hating overseas #Indians. A firm in Canada ended ties with an Indian over his #Islamophobic tweet. But little has changed in #India. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #Modi #BJP https://theprint.in/opinion/pov/arab-world-canada-muslim-hating-overseas-indians-islamophobia/416758/ via @ThePrintIndia

For the past few years, Islamophobia and hate against Muslims have grown at an unprecedented rate in India without any consequences. And like most things Indian, this bigotry has also gone international. But while bigots in India have enjoyed a free run with direct and indirect support of members in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and even Narendra Modi government, the situation for bigoted Indians living abroad, such as in the Gulf and now Canada, has taken a different turn.

After several incidents of Indian expatriates in the Gulf countries being called out for their Islamophobic tirade on social media and getting sacked by their employers, it was Canada’s turn to take down such hate.

Ravi Hooda, a real estate agent based in Ontario, was angered by Brampton mayor Patrick Brown’s tweet over exemptions given in the city’s noise bylaws to allow azaan (call to prayer).

Our noise by law originally passed in 1984 only included an exemption for Church bells. It will now include all faiths within the permitted hours & decibel levels. The Muslim community can proceed with the sunset azan because it’s 2020 & we treat all faiths equally. #Ramadan pic.twitter.com/WGPmf8fA5b

— Patrick Brown (@patrickbrownont) April 30, 2020

“What’s next? Separate lanes for camel & goat riders, allowing the slaughter of animals at home in the name of sacrifice, bylaw requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents to appease the piece fools for votes,” he tweeted in reply.

It was lost on the Islamophobe that the exemption was earlier limited to church bells and was now being extended to all faiths. Perhaps, he also forgot that he was in Canada, and not in India, where such remarks draw thousands of likes and retweets. But he soon learnt his lesson.

Hooda, who later deleted his tweet, was called out by several Twitter users, including Canada’s Anti-Hate Network, for his vile comments. The real estate company he was associated with terminated his services. He has also been removed as the School Council Chair by the Macville Public School.

This follows the recent trend seen in the Gulf countries where several Indian expatriates have been fired for their Islamophobic posts targeting Muslims for the spread of Covid-19.

While Canada has won praise for its swift action against Islamophobia, things back home are not that great with hate mongers having a field day — despite several Gulf nations being vocal about it and asking the Modi government to take action.

Over the past few years, hate and communal polarisation, specifically targeted at the Muslim community, has emerged as a low-cost election winning formula for India’s political class. With already existing deep chasms of insecurity and communal divide, it takes no more than a dog whistle to act as communal kindling.

Indian social media, especially since the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, has seen a steady rise in hate targeted at Muslims, blaming them for almost every evil besetting the country.

The factual accuracy, and history, of hate mongers may be as bad as their logic, but they all manage to achieve the intended result – violence against Muslims.

If it passes muster in the homeland, if there are no repercussions here, why not replicate it elsewhere — or so goes the belief. This bigotry is so normalised that many Indians working and living in the Gulf countries, a predominantly Muslim majority region, see no problem in spreading this vitriol.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians Pissed off With #Racism and Police Brutality in the #US Don’t Care About the Same Issues in Their Own Country. They are the same ones practicing blissful silence when similar shit happens in #India. #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Floyd - VICE https://www.vice.com/en_in/article/889g9k/why-indians-pissed-off-with-racism-and-police-brutality-in-the-us-dont-care-about-the-same-issues-in-their-own-country-muslim-casteism-violence-minority

By Shamani Joshi


“We have a deep-seated history of slavery, thousands of years of caste-based differentiation and several decades of violent Hindu-Muslim rivalry that aren’t easy to unlearn,” says Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist, social researcher and founder of Sangath, an organisation dedicated to child development and mental health in low-resource settings. “There’s still a lot of social engineering required to make our society more inclusive of its diversity. This has a direct impact on children’s views while growing up when their families, which might be biased (by historical context that is casteist or anti-Muslim), impose unacceptable and inhumane prejudice on impressionable minds.”

Over the weekend, I saw all my social media feeds flooded with illustrated quotes of Desmond Tutu that declared “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”, poignant protest signs that declared “I can’t breathe”, and the quintessential hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. These were all in solidarity against the incident that saw George Floyd, a black man, die after a police officer kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds—one which has sparked demonstrations against police brutality and racism around the world.

This outpouring of support resonating with a movement so geographically far away would have ordinarily been touching. Except, a lot of people are also kinda pissed off that some individuals who now claim to be infuriated by police brutality, systematic oppression and murder on the basis of arbitrary factors like skin colour, were the same ones practising blissful silence when similar shit went down in our own country. They’re the ones who feigned ignorance and apathy when critics pointed out that police forces in India target university students and Dalit rights activists. They stand in solidarity with an American-born movement against oppression while choosing to overlook the all too frequent religion-based violence and riots that have taken place in India.