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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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Impeachment moves ahead despite limited GOP support

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Impeachment Moves Ahead Despite Limited Gop Support | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Democrats in the House are moving ahead with the second impeachment of President Trump over accusations Trump incited supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol. Despite tepid Republican support, the vote will be held Wednesday. Vice President Pence said he would not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump before his final day in office January 20th.

Indian Prime Minister Modi praised the Indian diaspora around the world for all their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Modi says Indians have gone above and beyond with their giving and generosity, especially medical workers on the front lines. He also thanked temples, gurdwaras and other social service agencies for being there for everyone without discrimination.

India authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for use, putting it’s massive manufacturing capacity in the spotlight.  The Serum Institute of India is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume. It will likely provide almost all the vaccines in India and ship to many other places around the world later this year.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Rioters face criminal charges, Capitol Police chief resigns

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Rioters Face Criminal Charges, Capitol Police Chief Resigns | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Federal investigators are looking to bring criminal charges on everyone involved in the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol and they are also looking at the role President Trump had in inviting his supporters to interrupt the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden’s win. 15 criminal cases have already been filed, including one against one man who brought a military semi-automatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails. Capitol Police are also under fire for how the building was breached in the first place, leading to the resignation of their police chief. The House & Senate Sergeant at Arms are also being replaced.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are leading the calls for the 25th Amendment to be invoked against President Trump. The 25th Amendment states in part the vice president and a majority of the cabinet can decide that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the office.

Several White House officials resigned in the aftermath of violence at the Capitol. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced their resignations, the first to leave President Trump’s Cabinet since the attack. Trump’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, top European and Russian official on the National Security Council Ryan Tully and First Lady Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham have also quit.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Democrats introduce an article of impeachment against Trump

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Democrats Introduce Article Of Impeachment Against Trump | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — As promised, House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump, accusing him of inciting insurrection at the Capitol building on January 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told GOP colleagues the earliest a Senate trial could likely be held would be on January 19, the day before President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

Indians around the world were surprised to see an Indian flag being waved on the Capitol grounds during the massive riot that left five people dead. Vincent Palanthigal brought the tricolor and was part of a group of Indian Americans on hand protesting President-Elect Joe Biden’s election win. Vincent is a Catholic and a Republican originally from India and says he brought the flag because of his patriotic fervor and love for India. But claims he did not participate in the destruction.

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris named Sabrina Singh as her Deputy Press Secretary. Singh was Harris’ press secretary on the Biden-Harris campaign and she also served previously for Mike Bloomberg and Cory Booker.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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