Home Global Village Why is Congress compelled to woo Indian-Americans (NRI)?

Why is Congress compelled to woo Indian-Americans (NRI)?

diaspora

News Analysis |

On the conclusion of his two-week visit to the US, the Vice President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi urged help from Non-Resident Indians based in America. He was speaking to a 2,000 strong audience at a hotel ballroom near the iconic Times Square, in New York.

India becomes socially fragmented due to the continuing Hindutva rule it seems that cracks and fractures will erupt in this powerful group as different parties try to vie for power

During his trip to the US, Gandhi bemoaned the turmoil and violence engulfing his nation and blamed “divisive forces” for trying to damage Indian reputation around the globe. He asserted that the Congress had a tradition of welcoming members of the Indian diaspora to work for the country, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi told a community gathering on Wednesday, urging them to contribute to resolving the economic and social challenges before India.

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He also highlighted the examples of individuals who had returned to India from abroad and were given a chance by the Congress governments to implement projects that helped develop India. The examples of Sam Pitroda, U.S.-based telecom expert who pioneered the telecom revolution in India and Verghese Kurien, who returned from the U.S and pioneered what came to be known as the White Revolution in India’s dairy sector were given.

This neglect of the diaspora’s leverage explains a large part of the failure of the Pakistani foreign policy towards America among which the Kashmir issue plays a crucial role

He also highlighted the roots of the Congress as an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) party by emphasizing the migrant status of Mohandas Gandhi as well as the outside tenures of Congress leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Azad, Ambedkar, and Patel. He urged the diaspora in the U.S. to come forward with their ideas for another movement of transforming the country.

Rahul’s aggressive attempts to reach out the Indian-American community testifies to the importance this community has now assumed in India’s domestic political dynamics. It is apparent that Gandhi’s forays towards the Indian diaspora in the United States are an attempt to counter the Hindutva Sangh Parivar’s influence in the community. The Sangh Parivar is a network of Hindutva organizations guided by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to which the BJP, the Congress’s main rivals, belongs to. This Hindutva tendency recently manifested in the form of the Republican Hindu Coalition that supported Donald Trump.

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This is why Modi on his first trip to the USA in September 2014 decided to hold massive rallies across the USA such as the 19000 strong gathering in Madison Square

India being the second most populous country on Earth has a large diaspora which is mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. The American Non-Resident Indians are most noteworthy for the significance they enjoy. American NRIs are conspicuous by their presence in almost all levels of American society including the government such as current US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley. Not to be outdone is the presence of high-level NRIs in America’s commercial sector, silicon valley, powerful corporate board rooms, its universities, think tanks, congressional research teams and so on.

It has been both India’s giant market as well as the Indian diaspora that has helped shape current American attitudes towards both India and the neighboring region. While the Democrat party was pro Indian since the end of the Cold War, the Republicans have been steadily becoming more pro India with the increasing presence of Indian Hindus among their ranks.

It is apparent that Rahul Gandhi’s recent forays towards the Indian diaspora in the United States are an attempt to counter the Hindutva Sangh Parivar’s influence in the community

Their leverage is a power which has become of paramount importance for any political power that desires to rule India. The Indian US diaspora has become a shining example of a “successful India” back home with ,many Indians looking upto their American cousins. This is why Modi on his first trip to the USA in September 2014 decided to hold massive rallies across the USA such as the 19000 strong gathering in Madison Square.

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Just like India, the Indian diaspora in the US has become a microcosm of their motherland. While they have a sizeable presence of Hindutva supporters among their ranks, they also have those who oppose them. It was to this group that Rahul Gandhi spoke to and tried to win over through his attacks on “divisive forces” and the citing of the Congress founders.

During his trip to the US, Gandhi bemoaned the turmoil and violence engulfing his nation and blamed “divisive forces” for trying to damage Indian reputation around the globe

The Indian diaspora is a stark contrast to the Pakistani diaspora which is largely riven along political lines and has not yet attained the significance and power inside America as opposed to the Indians. Pakistani diaspora also received set backs in the post-9/11 political climate. Pakistani leaders have yet to show the vision or find ways to mold Pakistani Americans into a tool of foreign policy and are largely concerned with acquiring funding from them. This neglect of the diaspora’s leverage explains a large part of the failure of the Pakistani foreign policy towards America – in which Kashmir issue and image of Pakistan under attack from Indian and US media plays a crucial role.

In the end, the largely unified Indian diaspora has become a major factor in both US and Indian politics largely to the guiding hand of Indian leaders. However as India becomes socially fragmented, and increasingly drifts to ultra-right wing religious identity, due to the continuing Hindutva rule it seems that cracks and fractures will erupt in this powerful group as different parties try to vie for power.


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