As the din over the “Howdy, Modi!” event in Houston settles, many questions have been raised about the Indian prime minister’s clumsy “Ab ki baar Trump sarkar” slogan. There were loud cheers from some in the crowd, but many in attendance may have been less than impressed. Has there been a shift in the Indian American political consciousness, so as to suggest the diaspora’s embrace of one of the most racist and xenophobic American presidents in recent memory?…
The growth of Hindutva as a popular cultural current among Indian Americans has been well-documented over several years (Mathew and Prashad 2000; Kurien 2007; Bhatt and Mukta 2000; Bose 2008; Kurien 2006). Since the 1970s, Houston has remained the headquarters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) US wing, the VHP America, the main force behind a host of Sangh Parivar organisations that have replicated much of the Parivar’s organisational structure in the US.
While these efforts have, over decades, built support for a Hindu supremacist vision in India, it has also meant simultaneously staking and defending a space within an American multicultural space that privileges cultural identity as key to social membership. This is the context in which the RHC and its cognates such as the Hindu American Foundation attempt to invoke the category of “Hindu American” as an identity distinct from the Indian American. The Hindu American is one who signals ideological affinity with, and political support for the Hindutva project in India.…
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