Some people blame the Democratic-leaning city councils for anti-CAA Resolution and perhaps there is some truth
A tale of two Twin Cities since May has now grown to seven cities across America and counting. It is all about anti-India propaganda by Hindu-haters in the name of having the cities pass an anti-CAA resolution. These cities include Albany (NY), Cambridge (MA), Hamtramck (MI), Milwaukee (WI), San Francisco (CA), Seattle (WA), and Saint Paul (MN). Having been personally involved in Saint Paul, such city resolutions have no bearing on India’s standing in the global community but it can damage the local Indian community relations and begin to promote anti-India sentiments. I and many others question what these cities know about India and why do they care. The cities may not care on their own but the instigators behind such hateful propaganda matter because they constitute very highly organized Hindu-hating organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) working under the umbrella of the US Council of Muslim Organizations. These organizations have a very strong network around the country and infiltrated the local politics, unlike the divided Hindus. This article offers an analysis of the current situation, particularly, like the US is heading for Presidential elections.
One of the questions often asked is why anti-CAA sentiments and why the CAA bill does not explicitly explain that most Muslims living in India need not feel threatened. I must agree that the Government could do a much better public education about the need for and consequences of CAA. It would not have avoided all the riot-like activities across India because these were preplanned to disturb peace and harmony and simply oppose Modi policies. For the US audience, it is like the Lautenberg Amendment here.
Why and what did we do? Important to remember that Modi was once banned to travel to the US because of similar labeling of India by USCIRF.
I don’t know each city and the local politics (except I was told that most of them have Democratic-leaning city councils) nor I know the size or the character of the Indian American community in all those cities. However, I surmise that the following applies to most cities as our next steps:
- Most importantly, it is the lack of unity among Hindus in various cities. We divide ourselves based on political ideology, regionalism, casteism, and sometimes what Deity we worship and which temple, etc. Within reason, it is fine to have individual character but we often are too busy to think of the larger consequences. Our political engagement at the local level is very limited while the politics is all “Local” with national consequences.
- Using my Saint Paul experience, perhaps only a handful of people including the influential Indians at the local level were engaged in the advocacy campaign. What I know, most Hindus may have ignored it as a non-issue (I heard firsthand, how does it matter to me or us.) The Coronavirus and the resulting limits on gathering and social distancing may also have hurt the advocacy efforts. I am aware that in-person advocacy in the city hall of Seattle had a positive impact on changing many minds although not enough to turn the tide against the anti-CAA resolution. The Coronavirus disadvantaged us in Saint Paul.
- The Hindu communities across America must come to grips that Hindu-haters (who brand us as Kafirs) are united to the core to damage our religion, our country of birth, oppose Modi policies because they are feeling threatened, and they are working behind the scene to divide us. In the “Twin Cities,” they got away with Azan broadcasted on loudspeakers, wrote a persuasive letter to many big employers explaining their major festivals and seeking accommodation for Muslims during Ramadan. When the latter was brought to the attention of the powers to be, it went on deaf ears. Every little bit of organized effort by the “United Hindus” will make a difference.
- Politically speaking, some people blame the Democratic-leaning city councils for anti-CAA resolution and perhaps there is some truth. But, in the national context, under the nose of the Republican President, India was designated a Country of Concern citing anti-CAA sentiments and religious discrimination in India by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in Washington funded by the taxpayers. Why and what did we do? Important to remember that Modi was once banned to travel to the US because of similar labeling of India by USCIRF. Can it happen again; it can’t be ruled out because that is one of the recommendations.
What can we learn from the experiences and outcomes in the seven cities? My humble request to all Hindus (an encompassing term for those who believe in Sanatan Dharma), remember, “all politics is local.” Therefore, get united and organized at the local level first and continue practicing individual political ideologies at the state and national level with humility and respect for others. Recently, someone in our community suggested that if we don’t vote for Trump and don’t subscribe to Modi policies, we are lesser Hindus; someone called Kamala Harris a “traitor” because she associated herself with African Americans. My Hindu friends, please practice your own political ideology but don’t label others; get united for Hindu cause locally first and strengthen our local political engagement.
We need to stand united to counter Jihadism, Terrorism, Hinduphobia, and anti-Indianness and not just the anti-CAA resolutions in many cities and counting, There are several organizations and many individuals who pose a threat to us, our faith, and what we believe in. The political mudslinging between two teams in the wrestling match will go on and there is no reason not to hoot for the team you like but let us have a razor-thin focus on Hindu Unity and local political engagement. It is important for all of us not to lose our humility, mutual respect, and the bigger cause of protecting and preserving our Sanatan Dharma from the evil forces. Let us be clear that neither Trump nor Joe Biden will come to rescue us in our local issues such as anti-CAA resolutions, it is our own political strength locally that will matter. Trump’s victory is believed to be good for India but we don’t know at what cost and for how long. The past practices are no guarantee for the future in the fast-changing political climate globally. I suggest that let us dream big but the political wealth earned by each of us individually as one community will always be ours to use even to make those dreams come true.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.