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