All in the Family The American Sangh’s affair with Tulsi Gabbard
by Pieter Friedrich, The Caravan, July 31, 2019 (excerpt)
…Outside the venue, around two dozen people had gathered to protest. They were neither irate protestors opposing her domestic policies nor activists angered by her stance on America’s wars. They were people such as Baljit Kumar, a young Dalit refugee residing in nearby Riverside. “She supports the people I ran from in India,” Kumar told me. Claiming that Gabbard’s congressional campaign financing is heavily augmented by American affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—the parent organisation of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—protestors held bold red, white and blue signs proclaiming her “Prince$$ of the R$$.” Since 2015, a handful of articles in online Western media outlets have speculated about Gabbard’s perceived closeness to the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the BJP.
Amongst Gabbard’s many donors are various members of the US chapters of groups such as the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America. Thanks to her connection to leading figures of the American Sangh—such as Vijay Pallod, a businessman from Texas; Bharat Barai, an oncologist from the Chicago region; and Mihir Meghani, a physician from California—she has been eagerly welcomed at many Sangh fundraisers around the country.
“She has proved it at a young age that she is a capable leader,” Barai told me. “When a capable Hindu candidate will contest, sure, I look at it favourably. But, of course, I don’t vote for every Hindu candidate. They also have to be capable.” Pallod told me he liked Gabbard because she was a “moderate” and seemed genuine. “She is not like many politicians who do not keep their word,” he said.
Even as mainstream interfaith groups refused to participate in events hosted by the American Sangh, Gabbard repeatedly spoke at its events, in the United States and abroad. While organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have published reports warning about the spread of Hindu-nationalist violence under Modi’s administration, Gabbard has called India an “indispensable partner” to the United States, and pushed for enhanced cooperation between the two countries. Gabbard's donors have publicly applauded her for supporting Modi before he was elected, for speaking against the US decision to deny him a visa after 2002 and for working against congressional efforts to recognise human-rights violations in India.
Tulsi Gabbard began her six years in office as a liberal Democrat. She is now closely aligned with the progressive wing of the Democratic party, and is campaigning for president with rhetoric about peace and diversity. Yet by the end of her first term, one Indian paper was describing her as “the RSS fraternity’s newest mascot.” Few in the United States realise that Gabbard's relationship with the RSS does not agree at all with the progressive image she cultivates. The RSS, as a mainspring of Hindu nationalism, is an organisation that pushes a regressive ideology at odds with a multicultural society. It campaigns for a homogenous, hegemonic culture it hopes will turn India into a Hindu State, in which minorities such as Muslims and Christians will, at best, be second-class citizens.
“The Sangh in America backed Tulsi Gabbard because they understand that the international community is increasingly worried about the sectarian violent politics of the Sangh in India,” Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Sweden’s Uppsala University, told me. “They want some powerful political personalities on their side, particularly in the United States. They believe Tulsi can be one of them, who can provide them cover from international sanctions. Tulsi has also done that in the past.”….
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Rep Ro Khanna: “Important Article”
2018: Tulsi Gabbard Hires Russian Agent to Keep Hawaii Media in Check – “Gabbard’s Hare Krishna guru Chris Butler seeks recognition from mainstream Hinduism in India. Gabbard has developed close ties with the Hindu nationalist government of India. India’s foreign policy is traditionally aligned with Russia. The Hindu nationalists are anti-Islamist. By aligning with India’s foreign policy, Gabbard’s work relating to Russia and Syria dovetails with Butler’s drive for recognition from India.”
BONUS: Why did Gabbard choose to attack Sen Kamala Harris? Simple: Because Harris was the ‘other‘ Democrat attracting support from Hindus.