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Indian Americans’ complex relationship with politics in Trump America

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Rep. Gabbard presents a copy of the Bhagvad Gita to Indian Prime Minister Modi (2014)

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — Indian Americans constitute a tiny 1.5 percent of the U.S. population. The presence of Donald Trump, over 60 prominent lawmakers, and leaders of the corporate world, at the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event speaks to the many economic successes of this community in addition to the trade ties between the two countries.

Indian Americans are not just a rapidly rising population in the U.S.—from close to 2 million in 2010, to about 4 million in 2015— but are also the highest earning ethnic group in the US. 

At a median age of 34 years, 70 percent Indian Americans are foreign born. For them, forming allegiances with a political party in Trump America, can be daunting.

Howdy, Democrats: Indian Americans need to know

Two Democratic leaders not attending the event have become symbolic of the way some Indian Americans are conflicted in forming a clear political identity: Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard.

Democratic Congressman from California, Ro Khanna, recently tweeted 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, Buddhist & Christians.” This was opposed immediately by those who thought that this was guilt shaming Hindu Americans.

While Hinduism is a religion based on myriad traditions and philosophies, Hindutva is a political ideology primarily based on a pluralistic Hindu identity. In an exclusive interview to Diya TV, he defended his stand saying, “We got a standing ovation when we said that in the district.”

He had previously joined the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and was urged by 230 Indian American organizations in the United States to withdraw from the caucus. Caucuses in the U.S. political system make decisions based on shared viewpoints to influence state legislatures.

Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, made history by becoming the first Hindu to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. An Army veteran she was deployed as a medical administrator in Iraq. She kept her childhood copy of Bhagwad Gita for comfort during those days and gifted that copy to PM Modi on her first visit to India in 2014. However, she would be unable to share stage with PM Modi due to “prior engagements.”  Or perhaps Trump’s presence had something to do with her absence? She sent in a video with greetings and apologies to PM Modi for not being able to make it.

There was another stage Gabbard missed addressing in Houston last week: the presidential primary debate. She is one of the lower-polling Democratic presidential contenders and was passed up by the Democratic National Committee. Their reason being that she could not make the 2 percent threshold in polls although she had enough donors—very akin to the Indian American diaspora.

Gabbard’s political rise is attributed to funding from many Hindu organizations.

Both, Khanna and Gabbard, are scathing critics of American foreign military adventurism—that’s a viewpoint all Indian Americans could get on board with.

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Sanders defends Gabbard over Clinton accusation

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Gabbard

NEW YORK (Diya TV)  — Sparks flew when Hillary Clinton implied Russians were ‘grooming’ Tulsi Gabbard for a third-party run. Gabbard blasted Clinton and got a fresh jolt of support for her campaign. Staunch supporters for Clinton like Neera Tanden continue to criticize Gabbard for her meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, among other reasons. Presidential candidates are also chiming in, with Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson and Bernie Sanders all standing up for Gabbard. Sanders, who Gabbard supported in 2016 over Clinton, said in a tweet “people can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset.

Indian American attorney Rik Mehta announced he intends to challenge Sen. Cory Booker in New Jersey’s Democratic primary, criticizing Booker for spending more time running for President than looking after New Jersey.

The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum held its annual meeting in New Delhi, featuring prominent business leaders, American ambassador to India Ken Juster and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke about India’s efforts to aid startups and bolster innovation.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Breaking: Clinton, Gabbard spar in 2016 rehash

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Breaking: Clinton, Gabbard spar in 2016 rehash | Diya TV News

NEW YORK (Diya TV)  — In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee, staving off a fierce challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard decided to resign from her post as Democratic National Committee Vice-Chair to support Sanders over Clinton. Now, both ladies have taken the gloves off, after Clinton on a podcast indirectly referenced Gabbard by saying the Russians were “grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” Gabbard responded on Twitter, calling Clinton the “queen of warmongers [and] embodiment of corruption.”

The granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Ela Gandhi, spoke at an event organized by Cal State Fresno about how her grandfather’s work, was not only was significant in its time, but how those principles still hold relevance in a new century.

The University of Houston announced an endowment to support the study of the Tamil language and culture. Non-profit Houston Tamil Studies Chair made a $2 million commitment to the university to kickstart the study of Tamil heritage. The Tamil language is considered the oldest in the world, spoken by more than 70 million people worldwide, with 250,000 Tamilians in the United States.

President Trump announced Energy Secretary Rick Perry is stepping down from his role to pursue other interests. His deputy Dan Brouillette was nominated as his replacement.

And for all of our incredible viewers in Chicagoland, rescan your TV sets this weekend to watching Diya TV and the rest of the channels in the market. We recommend a high quality VHF/UHF antenna so you can keep getting Diya TV on WRJK Channel 22.1 for free!

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

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AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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