These Hindus be trippin’ yo
As a practising ‘Hindu’ it’s taken me over a day to process what happened in New Jersey on Saturday evening.
The #HindusForTrump Bollywood Event.
Thankfully I live 3,500 miles away in London – because if I was any closer I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from attending the event to try and sabotage it in some ‘Looney Toon-esque’ fashion.
But while I am shocked at what I saw, I’m not surprised that right wing politics is taking ‘a swim in the Ganges’ so to speak. Let me take you back to springtime in London when Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) were in the running for London Mayor.
The Goldsmith campaign targeted the British-Indian demographic by posting flyers through our doors promising to protect ‘our family gold’ from Khan’s wealth tax, telling us how much he loved to celebrate Hindu festivals like Diwali, and reassuring us of his support for Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
This tactic was poorly received by the Indian community – but it does shed light on the approach right-wing politicians believe will impact a fraction of society they clearly know very little about. Donald Trump capitalised on that sentiment this past weekend.
Bollywood is near and dear to the Indian community. It’s what many Indians believe to be India’s greatest export. I’d argue against that saying that yoga and worldly literatures probably take top spot there – but I’m not ashamed to say that I also love a good Bollywood movie. So it comes as no surprise that many ‘right-wingers’ try to use this angle to capture the hearts of the Hindu diaspora.
But when these politicians open their mouths about how much of a fan they are – disaster strikes… example “I’m a big fan of Hindu” – Well Mr Trump – ‘Hindu’ says thanks but no thanks.
Watch Zac Goldsmith squirm his way through this interview when he’s asked exactly how much he loves Bollywood. Skip to 0.18 for the Gold.
Frankly it’s embarrassing to be identified as a community that is thought to be so easily swayed by pathetic propaganda attempts led by the Trumps and Goldsmiths of this world. Not to mention this ‘masterpiece’ by the ‘Conservative Friends of India’ called ‘Neela Hai Aasma’ (Blue Skies). It’s a Bollywood styled propaganda video that was published in 2015 to rally support from the British-Indian community for David Cameron.
Seriously though… you need to watch this video.
Trump’s campaign team has acknowledged common ground between Donald Trump and Narendra Modi supporters. With the increasing tensions around Kashmir and talks of another India – Pakistan war, an age-old dispute between Hindus and Muslims is being incited for the sake of gaining political ground. This anti-Islamic sentiment is the bond between Trump and this small fraction of Indian-Americans who resonate with an anti-Islamic message.
Leveraging the historical tensions between Hindus and Muslims is an old trick that both communities should be very sceptical of by now. The last time they fell for it India was split into two, and hundreds of thousands of people from both communities were killed during partition. The conflict in Kashmir is a result of the very same, the consequences of which have been devastating for Hindu and Muslim communities alike.
It was slightly encouraging to read in a Washington Post article that many of the attendees were unaware that the event was meant to have any political overtones, and only showed up to see some of their favourite celebrities and leave.
But it’s this cavalier approach that implies that the Hindu community will tacitly accept injustice for the sake of superficial pleasure. This idea of our community is reflected in Goldsmith’s and David Cameron’s campaigns as shown above, and was grossly demonstrated by the #HindusForTrump Bollywood event on Saturday.
For any of the Hindus that attended Saturday’s event who may be reading this, I’ll quote one of our own very prominent Vedic figures – Emperor Yudhishthira from the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata.’
“Those who have the right to be responsible do not have the right to be ignorant.”
As voters in this election you are responsible.
We come from a culture that encourages – NO – demands us to be informed and accepting at all times. If you follow a leader who preaches hate and focuses the majority of his energy on defaming other people, saying abhorrent things about women and condemning other religions – you are working against the very culture you claim to represent.
These cringe-worthy attempts deployed by right-wing politicians to gain support from Hindu voters – whether it be here in the UK, over in the US, or in India itself – should be viewed in the same way you view a doctor giving a baby a lollipop to distract her from the needle going in her arm – a childish tactic… and you’re adults for Krishna’s sake!
BuzzFeed published a post sharing ‘The 12 Most Incredible And Absurd Things That Happened At The “Hindus For Trump” Bollywood Event’… Incredible, absurd and I’d add downright disturbing to that list.
If my article or BuzzFeed’s list hasn’t swayed your thinking – I have one last thing for you…
If Trump ever met Gandhiji… he’d probably call him a pussy.