The Hindu Right And Trump

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And the BJP rears its ugly head on American soil.

Yesterday, far right Hindus came together in Edison, New Jersey to rally for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. It was full of sensationalism and awkward irony, all of which obscured the true intention of the event — to bring an Indian brand of anti-Muslim policy to America.

There were Michael Jackson impressions, a dance number that depicted a terror attack being thwarted by the American Army, and appearances from Bollywood stars. Also Trump was there.

He spoke about being a “big fan of Hindu” and how India and America would be “best friends” when he took office. His mentioned terror attacks that took place in India, though he mixed up events and implied Mumbai was the capital of the country.

While his appearance seemed improvisational at best, the event itself was calculated.

They promised a Bollywood show for a cheap ticket price. It was just $9.99 to see Malaika Arora and Prabhu Deva. Meanwhile they passed out signs and literature that showed a horned Hillary Clinton smiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

They promised faster Green Card lines and a stronger relationship between America and India. Whatever reach the Hindu Right has, they were expanding it innocuously.

BuzzFeed India compiled a list of all the “Absurd” moments from the rally and comedians like Hari Kondabolu and Rohan Joshi tweeted about how ridiculous the event was. It’s easy to laugh in the face of a pro-Trump rally, especially one with all the antics of this one, but the event did it’s job to stoke up anti-Muslim fear.

In one video from the rally, anti-Trump protestors were assailed by a man who claimed Muslims supported rape culture, killing women, and violent homophobia. “This is life or death,” he yelled.

The rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India has created a major political party, major anti-Muslim legislation, and violence. With the ban on beef, for example, fundamentalist Hindus have all but been given license to kill Muslims in the street.

And as distant at India feels, when Modi visits, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country turn out to see him. Amid a widening wealth gap, an increase in caste-based violence, and worsening conditions for minority groups in the country, when Modi speaks in America people still chant his name and scream “Jai Hind.”

He can sell out Madison Square Garden despite everything.

The Hindu Right is reaching beyond its borders now, onto American soil. Trump is just one vehicle for it. And when he loses, there will be others.

A recent survey found that only 9% of registered Asian Indians will vote for Trump. A much greater 82% will be voting for Clinton. Hindu Indians are already a minority in America, and these statistics make them seem like chump change for Republicans. At every level, Hindus for Trump don’t look like much of a threat.

But they’ve made it abundantly clear that pro-Trump supporters are not just a vocal minority and or only crazy white people scared of seeing a change in the status quo. They are now people in our community, in our own backyard attending our Diwali parties and our poojas.

Hindus for Trump are willing to overlook his anti-immigration and xenophobic politics just to see Muslims suffer in this country.

They will dress up their poisonous platforms with Bollywood dance numbers. They will slip in to the cultural consciousness of Indian enclaves in the country while we think they’re just a joke.

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About Author

Nadya Agrawal is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Kajal Magazine. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and wherever fine Bollywood movies are bootlegged.

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