A segment of American Hindus lean toward Trump

Although roughly half of Indian-Americans are registered Democrats, a sizeable segment of the Hindu diaspora in the U.K. and U.S. have embraced much of Republican candidate Donald Trump’s agenda reports the online academic blog The Conversation (October 26). The Hindu right organization Hindu Sena (Hindu Army) in India went so far as to perform a havan puja (religious offering) for Trump last summer because of his views on combatting “Islamic terrorism.” But more recently, a larger Hindus for Trump movement has emerged in the U.S. At a Republican Hindu Coalition event in New Jersey, Trump stressed the values of entrepreneurial success, hard work, and education—values upheld by the rising Indian-American middle class, writes Eviane Cheng Leidig.

Trump’s praise of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his drive to root out corruption and embrace capitalism further endeared the candidate to his Hindu audience. But it is Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that has stirred the greatest interest among conservative American Hindus. There are even similar proposals by Hindu nationalists to build a wall along the India-Bangladesh border as they view poor Bangladeshi immigrants as India’s “Mexican problem.” Leidig concludes that anti-Muslim prejudice on the subcontinent has carried over to the Indian community in the U.S. post-9/11, although “younger generations of American Hindus are challenging this divide and attempting to build solidarity across all forms of racial and religious discrimination.”

(The Conversation, http://www.theconversation.com)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump enlists the help of Republican Hindu Coalition Chairman Shalli Kumar to light a ceremonial diya lamp in Edison, New Jersey