Hateful Hindutva Ideology Infects Indian Diaspora

Hateful Hindutva ideology is spreading rapidly among the Indian diaspora. Individuals and organizations connected to the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) are actively working to promote India's divisive Islamophobic politics among the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and their children. Hundreds of the RSS shakhas (branches) are now found in at least 39 countries around the world. Hindutva is a Hindu supremacist ideology inspired by 20th century Fascism and Nazism in Europe; it is very different from the ancient Hindu faith, according to American history professor Audrey Truschke who teaches Indian history at Rutgers University in the US state of New Jersey. Top Indian economists have raised alarm about it. 

Global Hindutva Sangh Parivar. Source: Audrey Truschke

False narrative of victimhood underlies Hindutva ideology. Indian historian Aditya Mukherjee characterizes the Hindutva victimhood as follows: “The great achievements of the past are then contrasted with a false sense of victimhood, the concept of a great threat the majority is supposedly facing from the minority. This is how fascism works, globally".  "Hindutva was never meant to be understood as bounded by national borders; his (Savarkar's) ambition was always planetary", writes Vinayak Chaturvedi, author of "Hindutva and Violence". "He (Savarkar) gained notoriety for his programme to “Hinduise Politics and Militarise Hindudom” while also arguing for permanent war against Christians and Muslims", Chaturvedi adds. 

Recent hate incidents in Leicester (UK), Edison (NJ) and Silicon Valley (California) all have connections to the far right Hindu organizations in India.  Here's how a recent New York Times report "Tensions That Roiled English City Have Roots in India" explains what is going on with the Indian diaspora since Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose to power in India: 

"Across the Indian diaspora, ugly divisions are emerging. A bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression against India’s Muslim minority, was rolled down a street in a New Jersey town during a parade this summer, offending many people. Last year, attacks on Sikh men in Australia were linked to extremist nationalist ideology. In April, Canadian academics told CBC News that they faced death threats over their criticism of growing Hindu nationalism and violence against minorities in India. Since India’s independence struggle, Hindu nationalists have espoused a vision that places Hindu culture and religious worship at the center of Indian identity. That view, once fringe, was made mainstream when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party came to power".   

"We are all with you Modiji and Yogiji", said an Indian American man who tweeted a video clip of a recent car rally in Silicon Valley, California. Rally participants are shown carrying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Some also carried BJP's lotus flags. Hindu Americans enjoy the freedom to practice their faith and culture in the United States while at the same time they support Hindutva fascist rule in their country of origin. 

69% of Hindu Americans Support Modi. Source: Indian American Attitudes Survey 2020

The 2020 Indian American Attitudes Survey (IAAS) results confirm the anecdotal evidence of India's Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's massive popularity among Hindu Americans. The findings of a survey sponsored by Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment For International Peace reveal that 69% of Hindu Americans approve of Mr. Modi's performance. 70% of Hindu Americans agree or strongly agree that white supremacy is a threat to minorities in the United States, compared to 79% of non-Hindu Indian Americans. Regarding Hindu majoritarianism in India, however, the data point to a much sharper divide: only 40% of Hindus agree that Hindu majoritarianism is a threat to minorities, compared to 67% of non-Hindus, according to the 2020 IAAS Survey. 

The 7 in 10 approval rating of Mr. Modi by Hindu Indian Americans stands in sharp contrast to that of barely one in five Muslim Indian Americans. Indian American Christians are almost evenly divided: 35 percent disapprove, 34 percent approve, and 30 percent did not express an opinion. Twenty-three percent of respondents without a religious affiliation and 38 percent from other faiths approve of Modi’s performance, respectively. The share of “don’t knows” is the smallest for Hindus and Muslims compared to other religious categories, suggesting that views among respondents of these two faiths are the most consolidated.

The IASS survey sample includes 54 percent Hindus, 13 percent Muslims, 10 percent Christians, 8 percent belonging to other faiths, and 16 percent do not identify with any religion.

A US report entitled "Hindu Nationalism in the United States: A Report on Non-Profit Gro... 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.
Here is Professor Audrey Truschke on Nazi origin of Hindutva:
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Views: 1110

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 10, 2022 at 6:11pm

Crackdowns, lawsuits and intimidation: the threat to freedom of expression in India
A clamorous public square has long been a point of national pride. But the pressure on unfettered speech is palpable.


“Fewer and fewer people want to speak, and for good reason: there are consequences,” says Vrinda Grover, a human rights lawyer practising in India’s Supreme Court. Grover serves as defence counsel for the journalist Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the non-profit fact checking website Alt News. His arrest by police in June over a 2018 tweet “hurting religious beliefs” — and subsequent multiple charges including criminal conspiracy, destroying evidence and receiving foreign funds — made headlines around the world.


“We know this from history: that the people who led inventions and innovation were immigrants, minorities, kids with curiosity,” says Jose. “What we are now doing as a country to our own people is killing all the opportunities for people of very diverse backgrounds to emerge and excel.” 

Several of those ensnared in legal cases in recent years have been Muslims. In a country where the BJP’s majoritarian Hindu nationalism has widespread support, public anger whipped up by online commentators has played a role in punishing outspoken minority voices.

When Zubair was arrested in June, the journalist and fact checker was charged with “hurting religious sentiments and inciting riots”. The arrest, which followed a sustained online campaign, was made in connection with a 2018 tweet in which he had posted a still from a 1983 Bollywood film, which was interpreted by some as insulting to Hindus. A widely shared tweet offered cash rewards to anyone who could file police complaints against Zubair and Alt News, arrest him, or convict him to a jail sentence.

Police seized Zubair’s laptop, mobile phone, a hard drive and tax invoices during a search of his house, although his lawyers pointed out that the devices were not needed to investigate tweets. He was released on bail after several days in detention. He still faces multiple outstanding legal cases in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

But Zubair’s lawyers believe the real reason for his arrest was another tweet in May in which the journalist published offensive remarks about the Prophet Mohammed made by a then-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. The remarks created a furore in some Muslim-majority countries and Sharma was suspended from the ruling party, which denounced her comments.

Another Muslim journalist, Siddique Kappan, was arrested in 2020 while travelling in Uttar Pradesh to cover the rape and murder of a Dalit woman. India’s Enforcement Directorate, an agency under the purview of the ministry of finance that is responsible for investigating economic crimes, filed a case against him and four others last year; police accused him of seeking to incite religious hatred and of having links to the Popular Front of India, a Muslim group that India outlawed in September after accusing it of having links to terrorism. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court granted Kappan bail after almost two years’ of detention, but he remains in jail on a separate charge.


Jaswal says the legal threat is only one aspect of her ordeal. She adds that the space for free expression is increasingly being policed, not only by the government itself, but also by an army of supporters of its ideology who are using “extremely sophisticated software” to abuse journalists online. After the tweet was highlighted, she says she was hounded by thousands of strangers online, including in the form of “rape threats, death threats and pornographic content”.

“I was in the middle of the worst abuse,” she adds.

Jaswal says she is now undergoing a digital security course in an attempt to safeguard herself against such attacks “because I am scared . . . I am scared of what’s to come.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 12, 2022 at 7:45am

Hindutva and the shared scripts of the global right

The forum on “Hindutva and the shared scripts of the global right,” curated by Supriya Gandhi (Yale University) and edited by Mona Oraby (TIF editor and Howard University), examines the rise of far-right movements and actors through a global lens with Hindutva and the Hindu right at the center of this inquiry. As Gandhi states in her introductory essay to the forum, “these movements do not exist in silos but, rather, frequently feed into each other.” On the other hand, Gandhi also makes clear that differences between emerging forms of authoritarianism are significant to scholarly and public debate on this topic, suggesting that “the questions and problems examined here include asking how supremacist projects, such as Hindutva and white nationalism, may reinforce each other even as they also diverge.” The contributors to this forum urge scholars and the public to consider how far-right movements are born in local environs but also converge into a global phenomenon.



Dr. Audrey Truschke
Like white nationalism, Dr. Gandhi points out, Hindutva crosses borders. The gravest consequences are in India, and she highlights here Hindutva persecution of Muslims, environmental degradation, and more.



Dr. Audrey Truschke
In introducing a series of essays, Dr. Gandhi argues for identifying convergences and divergences between "supremacist projects, such as Hindutva and white nationalism."

Contributors to this forum will write on Turkey, Brazil, and other sites of authoritarian projects.


Dr. Audrey Truschke
One really important point that Dr. Gandhi makes is positing the analytical place of Hindutva in understanding other supremacist movements --

"Hindutva holds up a multifaceted mirror reflecting the complex web of connections between the global right." #Hindutva

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 13, 2022 at 11:47am

In #Britain and #India, we must resist the tragic thinking that pits #Hindus against #Muslims. The recent disorder in #Leicester echoes the ‘communalist’ politics that now dominates India thanks to the ruling #BJP | Opinion by Chetan Bhatt. #Hindutva https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/oct/11/britain-india...

Chetan Bhatt is professor of sociology at the London School of Economics

he terrible events in Leicester last month saw several hundred young people marching to Green Lane Road on 17 September chanting, “Jai Shri Ram” (“Glory to Lord Rama”). Other youths, in response, gathered to chant “Allahu Akbar”. Both expressed heady allegiance to their god – not as a simple demonstration of faith, but as a combative slogan against others. Several British politicians have intervened, as have the governments of India and Pakistan. Social media “influencers” descended on Leicester to video themselves and their “patrols” and further provoke young people. With a few important exceptions, most of those intervening chose to enlarge, rather than contest, a dangerous logic of communalism. It is in their political interests to keep communities pitted against each other.


The RSS, the BJP and their affiliates have placed strong emphasis on working in the Indian diaspora, especially the UK, the United States and Canada. In Britain, for example, the RSS’s Indian organisational structure and its main affiliates are reproduced as religious, women’s, student and other wings that work alongside its regular training branches for children and young people. Among more recent migrants, including those who have arrived directly from Modi’s India, other Hindu right affiliations have reportedly emerged. Similar dynamics are found in the international organisation of the Jamaat-e-Islami from Bangladesh and Pakistan, the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt and other sectarian political-religious movements. These organisations have worked doggedly in UK south Asian communities over many decades, and the growth of deep communalism is the outcome, one actively energised by local authority, national government and political party support for these groups and their charitable offshoots.


The Hindutva groups in the UK have tried to distance themselves from the Leicester violence, blaming it on “Muslims”. As with the tedious view of the Indian RSS when faced with repeated evidence of its atrocities, they say that Hindu protests, however provocative or violent, are always peaceful, and Hindus are eternally innocent. Locally, some of the established Gujarati communities have blamed recent arrivals from India. Sympathisers of Islamism have blamed the “Hindu right”. They are each following a communal script that is engraved on their political souls.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 15, 2022 at 8:10am

(British) Labour (Party) relegated to third place in North Evington (Leicester) amid accusations its candidate supported India’s ruling BJP


“North Evington was one of the jewels in the crown in Leicester East with the majority that Labour had, but that has been turned around completely,” said Abdul Osman, a former lord mayor of the city, who spent 20 years as a Labour councillor before defecting to the Conservatives.

“The fact that there was a big upsurge in the Green vote, that must have been a protest again at the Labour party. The trend nationally is against the Conservative government, but you have to look at a local administration that hasn’t delivered.”

The byelection came after the resignation of Labour’s Vandeviji Pandya, who took office following a byelection in May last year in a result that also showed a sharp swing towards the Conservatives.

The Tories also took a seat in the neighbouring Humberstone and Hamilton ward in a byelection last year, with 44% of the vote, giving the party its first council seat in two years.

A spokesperson for Tejura’s campaign team said: “This result is a wake up call for the Labour party. They have been in power for a very long time, not only in North Evington, but in the city itself, and it’s quite clear the council needs to do more and deliver for the people of Leicester if they want to continue with their support.

“We’re happy and proud of the campaign we’ve run, and we’re confident we can bounce back and win seats in May’s election.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 16, 2022 at 8:08am

Religious Polarization in India Seeping Into US Diaspora
Clashes in India between Hindu nationalists and minority religious groups, particularly Muslims, have sparked tensions online and in person in the Indian American diaspora.


By DEEPA BHARATH and MARIAM FAM, Associated Press

In Edison, New Jersey, a bulldozer, which has become a symbol of oppression of India’s Muslim minority, rolled down the street during a parade marking that country's Independence Day. At an event in Anaheim, California, a shouting match erupted between people celebrating the holiday and those who showed up to protest violence against Muslims in India.

Indian Americans from diverse faith backgrounds have peacefully co-existed stateside for several decades. But these recent events in the U.S. — and violent confrontations between some Hindus and Muslims last month in Leicester, England — have heightened concerns that stark political and religious polarization in India is seeping into diaspora communities.

In India, Hindu nationalism has surged under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party, which rose to power in 2014 and won a landslide election in 2019. The ruling party has faced fierce criticism over rising attacks against Muslims in recent years, from the Muslim community and other religious minorities as well as some Hindus who say Modi's silence emboldens right-wing groups and threatens national unity.

Hindu nationalism has split the Indian expatriate community just as Donald Trump’s presidency polarized the U.S., said Varun Soni, dean of religious life at the University of Southern California. It has about 2,000 students from India, among the highest in the country.


Syed believes violence against Muslims has now been mainstreamed in India. He has heard from girls in his family who are considering taking off their hijabs or headscarves out of fear.

In the U.S., he sees his Hindu friends reluctant to engage publicly in a dialogue because they fear retaliation.

“A conversation is still happening, but it’s happening in pockets behind closed doors with people who are like-minded,” he said. “It’s certainly not happening between people who have opposing views.”

Rajiv Varma, a Houston-based Hindu activist, holds a diametrically opposite view. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims in the West, he said, are not a reflection of events in India but rather stem from a deliberate attempt by “religious and ideological groups that are waging a war against Hindus.”

Varma believes India is “a Hindu country” and the term “Hindu nationalism” merely refers to love for one’s country and religion. He views India as a country ravaged by conquerors and colonists, and Hindus as a religious group that does not seek to convert or colonize.

“We have a right to recover our civilization,” he said.

Rasheed Ahmed, co-founder and executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Indian American Muslim Council, said he is saddened “to see even educated Hindu Americans not taking Hindu nationalism seriously." He believes Hindu Americans must make “a fundamental decision about how India and Hinduism should be seen in the U.S. and the world over.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 19, 2022 at 7:46am

Pieter Friedrich
Chandru Acharya of the HSS, the international wing of India’s fascist #RSS paramilitary, was appointed as advisor to a Department of Homeland Security council. “Acharya has often denounced reports highlighting the alleged religious intolerance in India.” https://www.thequint.com/us-nri-news/who-is-chandru-acharya-hindutv...


An Indian American member of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), a Hindutva group, was appointed to the United States Faith-Based Security Advisory Council of Homeland Security, a press release said on Monday, 17 October.
Chandru Acharya, who lives in Michigan, is the lone Indian and Hindu voice in the committee of 25 faith leaders residing in the US.
The council, which includes prominent personalities from different faiths, has been set up to give advice to the secretary on matters related to the protection of houses of worship, and coordination between people of different

Several prominent Indian Americans have, however, denounced the appointment of Acharya to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and alleged that the HSS, whom he represents, is actually the overseas arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The website of the HSS also says that it takes inspiration from several Hindutva groups, and specifically mentions the RSS in this regard.
"HSS USA is inspired by a long lineage of Hindu movements in India, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which have helped rejuvenate the society and take Hindu civilisation forward," the website states.
Acharya, however, has denied any relation between the HSS and the RSS.
Who Is Chandru Acharya?
While Acharya was raised in India, he settled in the US as an Information Technology (IT) professional and served as the president of an IT firm called Imetris Corporation.
A yoga instructor and football coach, he teaches Hindu history, culture, and heritage at the Hindu Temple Balgokumal in Ohio's Canton, and is often invited to speak at several schools and colleges on the topic of Hinduism, according to The Interfaith Observer.
The press release confirming Acharya's appointment says that he is known in the Hindu American community and interfaith forums for building bridges with people from different faiths through dialogue and peace initiatives, news agency PTI reported.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 22, 2022 at 4:47pm

Far-Right Hindu Nationalism Is Gaining Ground In The U.S.
Hindutva, an extremist ideology, takes many cues from white nationalism — and it’s endangering millions of Muslims and other religious minorities.


Audrey Truschke, a professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University, never thought her work could result in death threats and vicious vitriol.

Yet Truschke, a scholar, mom, wife and author of three books, now sometimes needs armed security at public events.

The publication of her first book, in 2016, challenging the predominant perception of 16th- and 17th-century Mughal kings — Muslim rulers who are widely vilified by Hindu nationalists — put a target on her back. Her email was bombarded with hate mail. Her Twitter account was inundated with threats. People wrote letters to news outlets about her.

“It felt like the world exploded at me,” said Truschke, pushing back her dark hair to reveal the salt and pepper streaks that frame her face. “This was my first brush with hate email. I’m sure it would seem like nothing to me now.”

Far-right Hindu nationalism, also referred to as Hindutva, is a political and extremist ideology that advocates for Hindu supremacy and seeks to transform a secular and diverse India into an ethnoreligious Hindu state. Hindu nationalism has been around for over 100 years and was initially inspired by ethnonationalism movements in early 20th-century Europe, including those in Germany and Italy. Champions of Hindutva have viciously targeted religious minorities including Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, and have sought to silence critics such as academics and activists.

Hinduism, the faith, is not Hindutva the far-right movement. But the label Hindu can be categorized as a religious, political or racial identifier depending on who is using it, explained Manan Ahmed, a professor and historian of South Asia at Columbia University. Hindu nationalists, he said, are morphing the religious, political and racial into one identity in order to advance a supremacist, majoritarian agenda.

People impacted by Hindutva in the U.S. say the movement has crept into their hometowns and workplaces, making life more dangerous for them and threatening to make their communities less diverse and tolerant. The ideology has deep ties to white nationalist movements across the globe, and the targets of nationalist groups warn that the impact could be deadly if Hindutva is not addressed and defeated.

“We see Hindu nationalism as an ideology which seeks to transform India from a pluralistic secular democracy to a Hindu state in which non-Hindus are seen at best as second-class citizens and at worst targets for extermination and disenfranchisement of all sorts,” said Nikhil Mandalaparthy, the deputy executive director of Hindus for Human Rights, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting pluralism and human rights in South Asia and in the U.S.

“It’s a vision that we think is in direct opposition to a lot of the values of Hindu religious traditions,” he added.

A Different Kind Of Extremism
In India, Hindu nationalism can be traced back to the 1920s. The formation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, in 1925 fortified the core belief in a Hindu state for Hindus, despite India’s secular constitution and the long history of ethnic and religious minorities in the country. The RSS has been banned three times since it was established, including after a former party member assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.

It was out of the RSS that India’s ruling political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, emerged. It has held power since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014.

Since then, the crackdown on India’s minorities, particularly Muslims, has intensified with little to no accountability.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 25, 2022 at 10:38am

The hypocrisy of the Indian diaspora is overwhelming



Earlier this month, the Indian actor and United Nations goodwill ambassador Priyanka Chopra expressed her support for Iranian women who have been removing their hijabs and chanting “death to the dictator” after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death over a dress code violation. Chopra, who now lives in the United States, said she was in “awe” of the women fighting their government. She was immediately criticised for her “selective outrage” and “double standards,” and her deafening silence about a similarly awe-inspiring resistance being waged by India’s Muslim women, who are facing moral-policing under the Narendra Modi government for wearing a hijab.

The incident is, no doubt, revealing of the actor’s politics of convenience, but the larger issue at hand is how they moved in parallel with the growth of her international stature. It is a glance into the psyche of the vast, powerful and wealthy Indian diaspora, which suffers from an intellectual malady: being double-dealing and phoney in India and champions of democratic values as soon as they board an international flight.

Over the past few years, the Indian diaspora has become political—while keeping a safe distance from the storm centre of the toxic right-wing politics it spews—and Chopra is simply the high priestess of the blinding bourgeois hypocrisy it has come to typify. Like Chopra, the larger community of Indian immigrants to the United States and the United Kingdom have been in the news for what they choose to endorse and ignore. Indian-Americans in New Jersey recently apologised after including a bulldozer—now a symbol of anti-Muslim hate—in a parade to celebrate 75 years of Indian independence. The New York Times noted that, “to those who understood its symbolism, it was a blunt and sinister taunt later likened to a noose or a burning cross at a Ku Klux Klan rally.” In September, the diaspora in Leicester and Birmingham went on an angry march, threatening Muslim residents in the area. Wherever the diaspora is concentrated, it is now flexing its muscles to threaten South Asian Muslims. The seeds of hate sown in India have spread like a metastasising cancer, infecting all corners of the world where Indians live.

VIDYA KRISHNAN is a global health reporter who works and lives in India. Her first book, Phantom Plague: How Tuberculosis Shaped History, was published in February 2022 by PublicAffairs.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 27, 2022 at 5:52pm

Pieter Friedrich
, discussing the end goals of Hindu nationalist groups in the US, says the biggest goal is to normalize Hindu nationalism in America as well as to whitewash the crimes of Hindu nationalists in India. But... she says their job is becoming harder every hour.


Comment by Riaz Haq on October 28, 2022 at 8:25am

Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial ticket, Wes Moore and Aruna Miller, held a fundraiser with Trump supporters and people linked to the Hindutva movement.


MARYLAND’S DEMOCRATIC GUBERNATORIAL candidate Wes Moore is widely expected to blow out his Republican opponent Dan Cox. But that won’t stop Moore from welcoming support wherever he can get it. Lately, the list of Moore’s supporters even includes the leaders of two organizations founded to support former President Donald Trump.

Last month, Moore, a political newcomer, and his running mate, former state Del. Aruna Miller, held a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Jasdip “Jesse” Singh, the founder of Sikhs for Trump. The event was co-hosted by one-time Trump adviser Sajid Tarar, who founded Muslims for Trump and delivered a prayer for the then-candidate at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Singh and Tarar have strong connections to the current Republican governor, serving on his commission for South Asian issues.

The fundraiser was also organized in part by Dr. Sudhir Sekhsaria, a local allergist who referred to himself at the event as one of the campaign’s “finance chairs” and has given at least $12,000 to Moore and Miller since January. Sekhsaria had previously helped Miller as treasurer during her unsuccessful congressional run in 2018, soliciting thousands of dollars in donations from people affiliated with Hindu nationalism.

Adapa Prasad, the national president of the group Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the U.S. outreach wing of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party, also attended the fundraiser. The group, which Sekhsaria has also been linked to, was required in 2020 to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent.

A spokesperson for Moore and Miller’s campaign did not say how much money it raised from last month’s event, but the local news site Next TV reported a total haul of more than $100,000.

The fundraiser in Maryland for Moore and Miller appeared to be the latest instance of Hindutva, or a Hindu nationalist political ideology, creeping into American politics. As the global far right gathers power, Indian policy issues and Hindutva-affiliated money have increasingly shown up in U.S. elections. In Maryland, the combination of cozying up to allies of both Trump and Modi has raised questions among local activists and South Asian Americans as to what interest they might have in helping Democrats take back the governor’s mansion.

“We see this as a stepping stone for more folks with these right-wing connections to come into office,” said Gayatri Girirajan, a member of Peace Action Montgomery, a local chapter of the grassroots peace organization that has been advocating for transparency and accountability around the Moore campaign’s affiliations. “These are people who have a lot of influence, community power, money, and lobbying power to put policies in place that would have a significant effect on marginalized communities.”

Donors who are prominent members of groups associated with the U.S.-based Hindu right have funded Democratic politicians in recent years, including backing former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii; former Texas congressional candidate Sri Preston Kulkarni; and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.

A spokesperson for the Moore campaign told The Intercept that the campaign is happy to accept support from people across the aisle, and that its success depends in part on bringing Republicans into the fold. They also said Sekhsaria is not employed by the campaign.

“In order to win elections, you have to build a broad coalition, and that often includes people who’ve previously supported Republicans,” the spokesperson said. “These donors have given to many Democrats here in Maryland and across the country, including every Democrat currently running for statewide office.”


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