Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Silicon Valley's Indian-American Congressman Joins Pakistan Caucus, Rejects Hindutva

Democrat Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley has joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva. His actions have angered Hindu American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Cracks are beginning to appear in the Hindu American community. Democrats from the Progressive Wing of the Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda to target minorities. However, vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his extended lock-down and brutal actions in Kashmir.

Congressman Ro Khanna with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Capitol Hill

Khanna Rejects Hindutva:

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) tweeted the following on Aug. 29: “It’s 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 & Christians.”  On August 17, Khanna became the first Indian-American to join US Congress's Pakistan caucus headed by Democratic Congresswoman Shiela Jackson of Texas and Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana. Khanna's decision to join Pakistan caucus came after he met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during his July visit to Washington. After his July meeting with Khan Khanna tweeted: "Honored to meet PM Imran Khan. We spoke Hindustani, and I shared that my grandfather, an Indian freedom fighter with Gandhi, always had a hope for reconciliation. South Asian Americans of my generation hope for peace in the subcontinent in the 21st century."

Khanna Under Fire:

Khanna, a rising star in the progressive movement, who is vice-chair of the Progressive Caucus in the House, has come under fire by many right-wing Indian-American supporters of the RSS and BJP.
Majority of Hindu-Americans are ardent supporters of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Indian Ambassador Shringle (R) with White Nationalist Steve Bannon

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 and 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."

Hindu Nationalism in America:

India's top Hindu Nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has gone global with shakhas (branches) in 39 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and several Islamic middle eastern nations, according to Indian media reports.


In the United States alone, the RSS has 146 active chapters spread over all 50 states, according to Satish Modh who has been associated with RSS work abroad for over 25 years.

While shakhas in India take place in open public spaces, most shakhas meet on university campuses on hired parking lots in the US, says Modh.  Most overseas shakhas are held once a week. In London, they are held twice a week. The UK has 84 shakhas.


A US report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Groups" disclosed the following findings regarding the strength and nature of the Hindu nationalist movement in the United States:

 a. Over the last three decades, a movement toward Hinduizing India--advancing the status of Hindus toward political and social primacy in India-- has continued to gain ground in South Asia and diasporic communities. The Sangh Parivar (the Sangh "family"), the network of groups at the forefront of this Hindu nationalist movement, has an estimated membership numbering in the millions, making the Sangh one of the largest voluntary associations in India. The major organizations in the Sangh include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

b. Hindu nationalism has intensified and multiplied forms of discrimination, exclusion, and gendered and sexualized violence against Muslims, Christians, other minorities, and those who oppose Sangh violations, as documented by Indian citizens and international tribunals, fact-finding groups, international human rights organizations, and U.S. governmental bodies.

c. India-based Sangh affiliates receive social and financial support from its U.S.-based wings, the latter of which exist largely as tax-exempt non-profit organizations in the United States: Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sewa International USA, Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation-USA. The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party - USA (OFBJP) is active as well, though it is not a tax-exempt group.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard strongly supports Prime Minister Modi

American Presidential Politics:

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a strong supporter of Indian Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Modi.  Her bid for Democratic presidential nomination is being bankrolled by Hindu Nationalist donors. Amongst Gabbard’s many donors are members of the US chapters of groups such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, according to Pieter Friedrich. The Hindu Sangh Parivar in the United States has helped her come from nowhere to get elected to US Congress and set her sights on the White House.

US Presidential Candidate Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard's Hindutva Donors

Summary:

Cracks are beginning to appear in the Hindu American community. Democrats from the Progressive Wing of the Party are finding it increasingly difficult to support Prime Minister Modi as he ferociously pushes his hateful Hindutva agenda against minorities. Democrat Ro Khanna representing Silicon Valley has joined US Congress's Pakistan Caucus and rejected Hindutva. His actions have angered Hindu American supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  However, vast majority of Hindu Americans, including those in Silicon Valley tech community, are solidly supporting Mr. Modi in spite of his extended lock-down and brutal actions in Kashmir.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

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:

Javed E. said...

Thanks for the post.

Ro Khanna is moving in the right direction but he was heard criticizing Imran Khan for inciting war and probably agrees with the Indian takeover of Kashmir. Perhaps you can find out what his stand is on Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said...

Javed: "he was heard criticizing Imran Khan for inciting war and probably agrees with the Indian takeover of Kashmir"

It's not unusual for politicians to talk out of both sides of their mouth.

But Indian-American Democrats in the Progressive Wing of the party can not justify their support for Modi and his actions motivated by his hateful Hindutva politics. It's especially true after Bernie Sanders has unequivocally condemned Modi.

Riaz Haq said...

#American Anti-Fascism Group Coalition Against #Fascism in #India (CAFI) Calls for Protest on Sept 28 during #Modi's US visit to attend #UNGA against #BJP's “anti-minority and anti-poor politics” #KashmirBleeds #Islamophobia #Hindutva https://caravandaily.com/us-based-anti-fascism-group-calls-for-protest-on-modis-un-visit/ via @caravandaily

“Modi’s government has been orchestrating a pogrom of hate and violence against Muslims and Dalits in India. His government has been cracking down on all forms of dissent and all those who question its politics of hate. Its economic policies have resulted in escalation of poverty and the highest unemployment rate in half a century.

“We call upon all anti-fascist, anti-racist,secular, and environmentalist groups in the United States to join us in protesting his visit and exposing the retrograde, near-fascist politics of Modi’s government,” reads the press statement issued by the CAFI.

The group cited many issues for the protest. These include his past role in 2002 Gujarat riots, the role of rightwing organisations, the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and others, in violence against minorities, lynching of Muslims, Adivasi (tribals) and Dalits, his action on Kashmir, his policy on the NRC in Assam, killing and witch-hunt of activists under his regime and many more.

Talking about his role in 2002 Gujarat riots and the involvement of the RSS and the VHP in the violence and hate against minorities, they said “Modi, his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), and their affiliates, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, have a long history of violence and hate. They openly extol Hitler and Aryan supremacist views. In 2002, as chief minister, Modi oversaw pogrom of Muslim minority in Gujarat in which over a thousand people were killed women raped and thousands more were forced to leave their homes and businesses.”

Referring to the National Register of Citizen (NRC) which rendered millions of people stateless, they said, “The result is a kind of ethnic cleansing that has targeted Muslims and tribal populations in particular. As of July 2019, there are over 100 foreigner tribunals (FTs) in Assam, and 200 more are planned in the first phase by September 2019. These FTs are working with the Assam border police to render millions stateless.”

Drawing attentions towards mob lynching and hate crimes against Muslims under his regime, they said, “Since May 2019 when Modi’s second term as Prime Minister started, the violence against minorities has escalated to new heights. Violent mobs, mostly inspired by the atmosphere of hate perpetrated by the BJP, now attack and lynch Muslims (and Christians) on a daily basis with complete impunity”.

The CAFI also denounced Modi government’s decision to unilaterally revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by resorting to “dictatorial means” like clampdown, communication blackout and putting their leaders under house arrest.

Riaz Haq said...

#US #lawmakers Pramila Jayapal, first and only #Indian-#American Congresswoman in the House of Representatives, and Rep James P McGovern want international media & independent #humanrights observers be allowed immediately to enter #Indian Occupied #Kashmir https://www.firstpost.com/india/us-lawmakers-write-to-mike-pompeo-on-kashmir-seek-immediate-end-of-communication-blackout-7326231.html

Two US lawmakers have expressed concerns over the human rights situation in Kashmir, and urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press India to immediately end the communication blockade
In a letter to Pompeo dated 11 September, Pramila Jayapal, the first and the only Indian-American Congresswoman in the House of Representatives, and Congressman James P McGovern said the international media and independent human rights observers must immediately be allowed into Jammu and Kashmir
The two lawmakers told Pompeo that they have significant concerns about the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Kashmir
Two US lawmakers have expressed concerns over the human rights situation in Kashmir, and urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press India to immediately end the communication blockade and release those who have been detained.

In a letter to Pompeo dated 11 September, Pramila Jayapal, the first and the only Indian-American Congresswoman in the House of Representatives, and Congressman James P McGovern said the international media and independent human rights observers must immediately be allowed into Jammu and Kashmir to investigate reports of abuse.

US lawmakers write to Mike Pompeo on Kashmir, seek immediate end of communication blackout
Representational image. AP
"We urge you to work across the Administration to press the Indian Government to immediately end its communications blackout of Kashmir, expedite the process of reviewing and releasing individuals 'preventatively' detained, ensure hospitals have access to life-saving medicines and protect the rights of the Kashmiri people to freedom of assembly and worship," reads the letter.

The two lawmakers told Pompeo that they have significant concerns about the humanitarian and human rights "crisis" in Kashmir.

"In particular, we are concerned about credible reports from journalists and advocates on the ground that the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed defacto curfews and cut off internet and telephone access on the region," they said.

Restrictions were imposed when New Delhi had on 5 August crapped the state's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated in into Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

"We also urged the Indian Government at its highest levels to make it clear that religious tolerance long a principle of Indian history and democracy must be upheld," the two lawmakers wrote in the letter.

Tagging the letter in a tweet, Jayapal said: "I continue to be deeply concerned about credible reports of a humanitarian crisis in Jammu & Kashmir. Even in complex situations, we look to strong democratic allies like India to uphold basic human rights and due process."

Riaz Haq said...

Bipartisan group of 4 US Senators—Chris Van Hollen, Ben Cardin, Todd Young and Lindsey Graham—have urged President Trump to “act swiftly” to end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.

“With each passing day, the situation for the people of Kashmir becomes increasingly difficult. Therefore, we ask that you call upon Prime Minister Modi it to fully restore telecommunications and Internet services, lift lockdown and curfew, release Kashmiris detained pursuant to India’s revocation of Article 370”.

They also “hope the United States can play a constructive role in helping resolve the underlying disputes between the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan”.



https://st3.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3553256268?profile=original

https://st4.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/3553256942?profile=original

S Abbas said...

Riaz bhai, sooner or later you will get Indians attacking you for not saying much regarding Xinjiang. I have visited the region part of CPEC Chinese language mentorship program and I must say Western and India media have overblown things. There are no human rights or religious intolerance issues.
For those who do not have a chance to know what is happening in Xinjiang, they are welcome to visit Xinjiang and see the truth with their own eyes. Recently, representatives from international organizations including the UN, OIC, and government officials and media groups from Pakistan, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and some other countries visited Xinjiang and met the trainees face-to-face. They witnessed how local Muslims lived and worked in peace and fully enjoyed the freedom of religion. They highly appreciated the ethnic and religious policies of China.

Saqlain Abbas

Riaz Haq said...

SA: "sooner or later you will get Indians attacking you for not saying much regarding Xinjiang"


This is the kind of whataboutery that disgusts me. It's nothing more than an attempt to justify Modi's horrible Hindutva policies in a country that has long claimed to be a secular democracy. It's the worst kind of hypocrisy.

Riaz Haq said...

Valley of discontent: Contempt for #Indian and #Kashmiri politicians and media overrides ‘azadi’ in #India Occupied #Kashmir. “India is so down and out that it is robbing from the Reserve Bank. And you say you will develop Kashmir? Are you kidding?” https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/valley-of-discontent/article29410880.ece

""The overriding sentiment in Kashmir is not azadi but the deep repulsion and contempt towards the Indian media, particularly TV channels that blare vitriol and threats into their drawing rooms every evening. Soldiers are now intimate enemies of the Kashmiri people but TV anchors have become their constant tormentors. “Yes, soldiers enter our homes off and on, and can be nasty. We try to keep off them. But the Indian media’s falsehood about Kashmir and the situation here is nothing less than violence,” says Junaid. “We switch them off now.” Kashmiris get to make that choice, as of now.""

Riaz Haq said...

#Tulsi Gabbard Refuses Invitation to “Howdy #Modi” Event in Texas. #TulsiGabbard drops out after #Hindu-#American congressman’s call to “reject #Hindutva”. #KashmirStillUnderCurfew http://www.ofmi.org/tulsi-gabbard-refuses-invitation-to-howdy-modi-event-in-texas/

An anonymous source within Tulsi Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaign has confirmed to Organization for Minorities of India that the US congresswoman has refused an invitation to join Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s September 22 pep rally in Houston, Texas.

Gabbard’s decision to drop out of the event, dubbed “Howdy Modi,” follows on the heels of Congressman Ro Khanna’s statement, issued last month, that “it’s the duty of every American politician of Hindu faith to stand for pluralism, reject Hindutva, and speak for equal rights for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians.” Her action marks a significant change in engagement with India’s controversial premier considering she has previously met with him on four occasions.

“Khanna’s statement was immediately recognized by South Asian politicos as a seismic shift in Indo-centric politics,” wrote Amar Shergill on September 3. An attorney who serves as an executive board member of the California Democratic Party, Shergill continued, “He is the highest ranking American elected official of Indian origin, with a deep understanding of and connection to South Asian politics, and, yet, he stated in decisive moral terms that the dominant political ideology of India must be rejected as a matter of fundamental human rights.”

Hindutva, defined by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom as an ideology that treats non-Hindus as foreign to India, is the guiding philosophy of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP’s Modi, who campaigned as a Hindu nationalist, stated in 2013, “My identity is of a Hindutvawadi [follower of Hindutva].” VD Savarkar, who popularized Hindutva as a religious nationalist political ideology in his 1923 book of the same name, stated, “India must be a Hindu land, reserved for the Hindus.”

In 2014, Gabbard appeared at events celebrating Modi’s election, even wearing scarves bearing the BJP logo. Later, at their first meeting, Gabbard gifted Modi her childhood copy of the Bhagavad Gita on which she had taken the oath of office. In 2016, she called Modi “a leader whose example and dedication to the people he serves should be an inspiration to elected official everywhere.”

Since 2018, the Hawaiian congresswoman has faced repeated protest for her long-term association with American Hindutva groups, particularly the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.

HSS is the international wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a paramilitary founded on Savarkar’s Hindutva ideology and inspired by fascist movements in Europe. Gabbard’s oldest and most faithful donors include HSS Vice-President Ramesh Bhutada of Houston, who joined BJP (and former RSS) spokesperson Ram Madhav at her 2015 wedding in Hawaii. Bhutada, as reported by a recent profile of Gabbard, worked from Texas to help elect Modi in India. He reportedly organized a phone bank of 700 volunteers and described US-based preparations for supporting Modi’s campaign as “almost like that for an Indian wedding.” He later called Modi’s election “a second independence for India.”

Riaz Haq said...

230 #Hindu-#American Organizations Urge US Congressman Ro Khanna To Leave #Pakistan Caucus, saying it was contrary to both American principles and #India's geo-strategic interests. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/indian-americans-urge-us-congressman-ro-khanna-to-leave-pakistan-caucus-2102416 via @ndtv

Ro Khanna, 42, became the first Indian-American to have joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus last month. He is also the member Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, which is the largest country-specific caucus in the House of Representatives.

Mr Khanna, 42, became the first Indian-American to have joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus last month. He is also the member Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, which is the largest country-specific caucus in the House of Representatives.

In a letter submitted to the Indian-American lawmaker on Monday, Indian-American organisations, professional associations and community leaders urged Mr Khanna to withdraw from the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.

A copy of the letter was released by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF).

"As a leading member of the House India Caucus, Foreign Affairs Committee, and a champion of human rights, we are deeply troubled that you joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus," the letter stated.

The letter alleged that Pakistan continues to utilise terror to attack US interests in Afghanistan and wage a proxy war against India.

Pakistan has shown a complete and utter disregard for human rights and religious freedom and was recently labelled as a Country of Particular Concern by the US State Department for its "systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom" against Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Shia and Ahmadiyya Muslims, they said.

"We believe that your membership in this Caucus is contrary to both American principles and our geo-strategic interests in the Indian Subcontinent and the broader South Asian region," the letter said.

"Accordingly, we urge you to withdraw from the Congressional Pakistan Caucus. We further urge you to write directly to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and meet with (Pakistan) Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan to address Pakistan's ongoing use of terrorism to destabilise the region and its rampant and severe human rights violations," it said.

The community members also urged Mr Khanna to make a formal statement for the Congressional record, highlighting the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, who were driven out from their homes by Pakistan-sponsored terror campaign three decades ago.

The members said that they looked forward to Mr Khanna following through on the assurances he made on Sunday about working to address the suffering of both Indian and Pakistani religious minorities at the hands of the Pakistan government.