Our Many-Faceted President-Elect

It’s well-known that Barack Hussein Obama exhibits a tendency to associate with political extremists. First and foremost are the Black Nationalists (Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright). He also likes Radical Socialists (Bill Ayers). And he keeps company with Islamists (Hamas supporter Rashid Khalidi).

But Barry Soetoro is an equal-opportunity friend of many other sorts of extremists. He promotes a policy of ecumenical outreach to a rainbow of radical diversity. His latest choice of associates — a radical Hindu — has enraged his erstwhile Muslim admirers in Pakistan.

According to the Daily Times:

Yet another controversial Obama appointment

WASHINGTON: Another of President-elect Barack Obama’s appointments has been greeted with disbelief by Pakistani-Americans and liberal members of the Indian community because Sonal Shah, the adviser picked up by Obama for his transition team, is known for her links to communal Hindu organisations.

Vishwa Hari Parishad (VHP) and its student wing Bajrang Dal are believed to have been involved in the massacre of over 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat and for the last three months have been carrying out a sustained campaign against Indian Christians in Orissa.

– – – – – – – –

Sonal Shah has been the national coordinator for VHP-America and her father has been associated with the Overseas Friends of the BJP. Further, her organisation IndiCorps works with a VHP-sponsored initiative called the Ekal Vidyalayas — or single-teacher schools with a curriculum steeped in instilling hatred against non-Hindu religious minorities. Ekal Vidyalayas have played a key role in anti-minority violence in the states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. IndiCorps founders also have a close relationship with controversial Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

According to Vijay Prashad, Chairman of South Asian history and director of international studies at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, Sonal Shah’s Houston-based parents were “not only in the ecumenical Gujarati Samaj, but also in the far more cruel organisations of the Hindu Right, such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and the Ekal Vidyalaya. Shah’s parents, Ramesh and Kokila, not only work as volunteers for these outfits, but they also held positions of authority in them. Their daughter was not far behind. She was an active member of the VHPA, the US branch of the most virulently fascistic outfit within India. The VHP’s head, Ashok Singhal, believes that his organisation should ‘inculcate a fear psychosis among (India’s) Muslim community.’ This was Shah’s boss. Till 2001, Shah was the National Coordinator of the VHPA.” In 2004, the hard Right government in Gujarat honoured Shah with the Pride of Gujarat (Gujarat Garima) award.”

Is there an ideology known as “Hinduism”?

Hat tip: JD.

26 thoughts on “Our Many-Faceted President-Elect

  1. What tripe! You dredge the dregs of a Pakistani newspaper for opinions on an Indian-American apointee? This is rather like going to FARC to ask them about what they think of the Columbian government!

    I’m nothing short of astounded that you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel by running to Pakistan for arguments against Obama – Pakistan, home of the Islamic A-Bomb, safe haven for Taliban and Bin Laden, where Christians are daily persecuted (and not infrequently killed for their faith), where there is open season on women. Pandering knows no limits, I guess.

  2. pleas —

    You’re new around here, so I’ll ignore for the moment your nasty and unpleasant tone.

    I am hardly using the reactions of the Pakistanis as an indictment of our President-elect. What an idea!

    I am simply amused and entertained by the multicultural knots into which Mr. Obama has tied himself by engaging in all this ethno-religious bean counting. Now he is hoist with his own petard.

    Nice try. Dig you later.

  3. Senator Obama has a penchant for overstepping; he is NOT president elect until December 13 when the Electoral College votes. But on December 1, Senator Obama (or his lawyer) must be in The U.S. Supreme Court to answer the lawsuit about his birth certificate.

  4. NATO has been using the worst kind of fascist and racist scum for it’s geopolitical objectives around the world. Afghanistan Mujahideen, Kosovo Albanians, Croat Nazis, Georgian fascists.. What next?

    Hindu extremists?

  5. “It’s well-known that Barack Hussein Obama exhibits a tendency to associate with political extremists.”

    Totally unfair statement. In fact, he only has a tendency to hang out with hard-core leftist extremists.

    Other than that, good job!

  6. laller —

    Please don’t paste long URLs into the comments; they make the post page too wide and mess up the appearance of the permalink page.

    Use link tags; the instructions are at the top of the full post’s comment section.


    laller said…

    Would other links satisfy “pleas”?

    How about:


    (yes, I know it’s a long link)



    And, well, search for yourself pleas(s)

  7. Blogger Baron Bodissey said…

    “blogagog —

    I don’t know that Hindu extremists count as Leftists. They don’t really fit the left-right dichotomy.”

    Sort of like those certain Christian social conservatives in the West who support far left economic policies and protectionist measures.

    You can’t tell the players without a program

  8. homophobic horse:

    Sorry man I coud not resist to notice your wisdom: RACIST!RACIST!

    I am racist
    You are racist
    he she it is racist

    Nous sommes racists
    vous etes racist
    Ils elles sont racits

    Everybody is Racist! Racists of the Universe Unify!

  9. “I’m nothing short of astounded that you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel by running to Pakistan for arguments against Obama”

    Actually, these apparent facts about Obama’s Hindu advisor would constitute the beginnings of an argument in FAVOR of Obama. Or, as Baron implies, Obama could have just hired her in his multi-culturalist-imbued ignorance. Either way, this is a good thing. Any enemy of Muslims in any shape, form or flavor on the Obama team is a good thing.

    The Hesperado

  10. Hi,

    I’m an Indian, and also a non-religious atheist, but I’m wondering why GatesOfVienna is against a person of Indian descent being on Obama’s team? What bean-counting are you talking about? It’s not like she was given some kind of quota slot. She was involved based on her merits and contribution to the campaign. Why suddenly inject her religion into this and make an issue out of it?
    Naturally, the Pakistanis hate anyone who happens to be Hindu. They’re not too fond of any non-Muslim, but they hate Hindus in particular. Naturally, they’ll make an issue out of her ethnicity, but why are you? This is why the Islamists are winning, because the infidels are so divided and bickering — and frankly you’re not helping things. Jihadwatch.org is a much better site than yours, as they call for infidel unity in confronting the Islamist threat. You seem to have some kind of different slant.

  11. What “Hinduists” is that rag talking about? I’m disappointed that you’re buying such unadulterated garbage. It is Islamic propaganda against Hindu nationalists. If Hindus massacred 2000 Muslims in Gujarat, then the Jews executed 9/11 and the Christianists massacred 200000 civilians in Iraq and Afganistan. And if Obama is a closet Muslim like some people say, why would he pick a “Hinduist”? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever from an Islamist perspective. I have to say I’m beginning to like this Obama guy. The Christianists can hobnob with their cousins, the Taliban and the Mujahideen that they encouraged and nourished. They do have a lot in common.

  12. The Hindus are just taking care of their own and that means keeping the Abdullahs in their midst in line. Of course the Pakis would be hopping mad about it and do their damnedest to portray the Hindus as aggressors. Since when did the Pakis give a damn about all the non-Islamic religious minorities in India when they themselves brutally persecute Hindu and Christian minorities in Pakistan?

    I’m actually surprised by the Hindus’ remarkable restraint after all the Jihadist bombings that they suffered. The total death toll is what? More than that of the 2005 London tube bombings?

  13. san:

    Please note this is an International Blog with American, Eastern and Western European participants focusing mainly on the European theatre. That’s why you see very varied opinions unlike other, nationally more homogeneous and MODERATED forums.

    My State of Louisiana’s governor is of Indian descent and prospective presidential candidate for 2012. Piyush Jindal family is originated in Punjab but he was born in the US.

  14. erich:

    From Wiki:

    “Piyush “Bobby” Jindal (born June 10, 1971) is the current Republican governor of the U.S. state of Louisiana.

    Piyush Jindal (pronounced /ˈdʒɪndəl/) was born on June 10, 1971 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Punjabi Indian immigrants Amar and Raj Jindal, who had recently arrived for Raj to attend graduate school at Louisiana State University.[1] His father Amar left India and his ancestral family village of Khanpura in 1970.[2] His mother, Raj Jindal, is an information technology director for the Louisiana Department of Labor.”

  15. “Piyush” Jindal converted to christianity in college. If that were motivated by some inner spiritual urge – that would be acceptable. However, religious conversions are an act of aggression – they generate social disharmony and familial discord. I forget which “denomination” he converted to, but he is on record making hateful statements about the other denomination – (Catholic, I think)…
    Of course, the worst condescension and derision is reserved for the faith and civilisation of his own parents and ancestors.
    Therefore, “Piyush” aka Bobby Jindal is no representative of India, least of all Hindus. We care two hoots about his political fortunes.

  16. As an Indicorps Fellow, I had the immense opportunity to spend a year pushing myself to break down the barriers that inhibit development work. I worked in tribal Tamil Nadu, India alongside a hilltop community of Adivasis to further a community defined initiative of creating sustainable systems to address a lack of food security.

    The most important realization that I came to by the end of my year was that it may not be what you do, but the bhavana or the spirit with which you do it that makes the real impact. In social work. In India. In life.

    Sonal Shah’s bhavana or spirit of selfless service has marked her career and her life. She has, much like the President-Elect, worked to build bridges with diverse and far flung communities. She has proven her conviction to her principles through various capacities thus earning her the distinction to work alongside an inspiring and inspired group of people to make hope possible.

    “To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing” – Raymond Williams

    Let’s take this opportunity to rally around Sonal. To be part of hope rather than despair. To bring forth light instead of darkness.

  17. Karthik sure has a talent for stringing together a bunch of vague leftist touchy feely buzzwords. It feels so good, yet… so empty. So what actually happened to that project to get the hill tribe to produce enough food reliably? It sounds like you accomplished zip. The real impact is having a system down that actually reliably grows enough food for the tribe, not your indulgence in narcissistic new-age talk about some bhavana nonsense on an Internet forum.

  18. Sort of like those certain Christian social conservatives in the West who support far left economic policies and protectionist measures.

    Can’t remember who said this. Was it Snake Oil Baron?

    I know lots of Christian conservatives but they are consistently conservative in their economic philosophy also.

    What you say is interesting. Can you give me the names of some individuals or groups who think this way? An odd combination.

  19. Don’t y’all be bad-mouthign bobby Jindal. He’s smarter than any of you…or maybe all of us put together.

    Fair warning: he’s my main man for 2012. And just for the record, the reason he didn’t give the keynote address at the Republican convention is that he was in the process of conducting the smoothest, most successful evacuation of the areas of Louisiana affected by the hurricane.

    Bobby Jindal rocks, Catholic or not. This is a pluralistic country; people change religions without it usually being remarked upon except in the family. Jindal grew up in a state that has a long Roman Catholic heritage. Seems natural he would convert.

    Heck, if a bunch of Baptists and Jews from California can convert to Hinduism, move here and open up an ashram in our little backwoods county, whose business is it but theirs?

    They make nice neighbors, too.

    BTW, didn’t some peace loving Hindus in India recently go on a blood-letting splurge against Christians? Those must have been bad Christians they were killing, hmmm?

    Some smart Maoists got this particular hell going by killing a Hindu religious leader and blaming the Christians.

    “Nuns have been raped, pastors, priests, religious workers injured in their hundreds,” it reads. “Over forty churches have been destroyed, many for the second time, apart from once again hundreds upon hundreds of houses burnt in towns, villages and forest settlements. Christians have been chased and hunted like animals.”

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