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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Suspected Fascists in Obama Administration

Suspected Fascists in Obama Administration

Fascism should have no place in Obama Administration or any nation for that matter. We just got out of it and we cannot let it sneak back in.

We cannot ruin our nation after the freedom we have received on Nov 4th. As friends of Obama we need to be hard on him, tough on him in his early decisions. We cannot let him go far that we cannot straighten him.

Continue

26 comments:

  1. A person with such FACISTS background must not be inducted in the TEAM, as people all over the world are EXPECTING much from THIS PRESIDENT, by having such ELEMENTS who have supported the massacre of more than 10,000 innocent lives in Gujarat, and even whole of the family is associated with all tainted organizations as reported and demonstrated in many event conducted by her father and brother, if she is in the team definitely it will be DAMAGING FOR THE PRESIDENT REPUTATION. How talented she might be but her roots are tainted with blood of innocent lives indirectly. Hence this request to keep away from her.

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  2. With the appointment of Rahm "Auerbach" Emanuel as Chief of Staff, we see America will continue to be Israel's money pit and mercenary army. May God help us all.

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  3. I am shocked at few members of our community hijacking the pride we feel in what Sonal has achieved all her life. I hope community at large is smart enough speak up. If Sonal has facist connection what kind of connection our president or vice president have?
    Republican operative has not learned their lessons. Accusing Obama of Palin around with terrorist did not work. Now, you are hoping to derail his administration by painting Sonal as connected to fascist???

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  4. Why not question root of our president (who by the way won with decisive margin) talk about his roots, his family etc. If we learned anything from this election is this. American people have risen to level of trusting a person for his or her talents and negative campaign has failed miserably.
    Let us stand behind Sonal Shah and be grateful for her inclusion in transition team. This is truly an honor.

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  5. May God bless and grant Obama, the gifted President of America,wisdom enough to stick to himself, and not be swayed by the ill informed people who know nothing about the justice, progress and peace prevailing in Gujarat, the wonderful Indian state that made the wonderful personalitiess like Sonal Shah. Mr Obama will have to be ware of the communalista, communists and the selfish parochialists who, for the sake of their narrow ideologies, want to snatch peace from our beautiful planet, and create misery for the mankind.
    Let us congrate Obama on his selection of an excellent team comprising of the gems like Sonal Shah, and hope that he will not leave himself, keep walking and talking straight, and firmly hold his head and heart. All the best, Mr Obama, and Sonal.

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  6. I was an Indicorps fellow and volunteered for one year in Gujarat, working with an NGO that provides non-formal education to child laborers in the slum areas of Bhavnagar, Gujarat. From first-hand experience, Sonal Shah is an inclusive, tolerant, and service-oriented individual, and this shows through in the way she shaped Indicorps, in addition to all her other commendable work. The diverse members of Indicorps and its projects is a reflection of the united and empowered India that she tirelessly works for.

    Sonal should be congratulated for her appointment to Obama’s Transition Team and for breaking new ground for Indian-Americans and, in fact, the global Indian diaspora.

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  7. Dr. Vijay Mehta found the statement from Sonal Shah:

    Here is the statement from Sonal Shah,

    "The following is a statement by Sonal Shah, Transition Board Member, for President-elect Barack Obama.

    "As an Indian-American who has lived in this country since the age of four, serving on the Obama-Biden transition team is a unique privilege for me. A presidential transition is always a time of excitement and, in some cases, of rumors and unfounded gossip. I'd like to set to rest a few baseless and silly reports that have been circulating on the Internet. First, my personal politics have nothing in common with the views espoused by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or any such organization. I've never been involved in Indian politics, and never intend to do so. Second, I've always condemned any politics of division, of ethnic or religious hatred, of violence and intimidation as a political tool. Some factually inaccurate internet rumors have attempted to link me to Hindu Nationalist groups through a variety of tenuous connections: Relief work I'm proud to have helped coordinate following the Gujarati earthquake of 2001, or cultural and religious affiliations of some of my family members, or apolitical humanitarian work I've been privileged to do as a founder of the NGO Indicorps and as the Director of Global Development for Google.org. Finally, I do not subscribe to the views of such Hindu nationalist groups, and never have. Ridiculous tactics of guilt by association have been decisively repudiated by the American people. I am delighted with what the victory on November 4 says about my country, and about our place in the world. I look forward to serving our President-elect in this time of transition."

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  8. Dr. Siegfried E. TischlerNovember 11, 2008 at 1:02 AM

    Hello,

    I do not know your affiliation (or conncetion with HBO), but let me say one thing: to me it looks very much like the people of the world (the downtrodden ones that is) have been projecting their own "goodness" on what they saw as an alternative: .... that HBO has turned around and has put Rahm Emanuel als his Gatekeeper spells disaster for his presidency.

    America (the world) has been had again by yet another con artist. This time it is not split loyalties because of dual passport,,,, now disloyalty is in the genes!

    It will need a LOT of backpadelling to make up for this gaffe! The damage is done, the trust
    is gone, the goose is cooked and the fat lady ist starting to learn her lines.....

    if HBO does not smarten up soon,he's toast! To call his allies (Olmert....) and NOTcall the Kremlin was his biggest gaffe so far. But then again, American arrgogance will soon turn into American helplessness ...cheers,

    fried t.
    Dr. Siegfried E. Tischler
    Visiting Professor - Ethics of Science

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  9. I fully agree with your assertiions. I do not know the background of Rahm Emannuel, so I can not speak, yet I can say that if he is of Jewish background it is impossible for him to be not-biased. It would be a pity if a fair-minded Pres. like Obama acts like Bush against the Palestininias who have suffered for nearly six decades, all because of US support for Israel.

    Rajinder

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  10. Yes, I've been reading about all this on an Indian American list I am on..Quite shocking.. Sonal Shah is on the Transitionary team;need not necessarily be part of the permanent team..Still, through her clout, Modi might get the visa that he failed to get all these years. That is the problem right now.

    Right now, the BJP is trying to polish up Modi and present Gujarat as the most ideal location for businesses after Ratan Tata moved his Nano project over there. There is no doubt that Modi runs a disciplined state in such matters. Their infrastructure, governance etc is really good but the life of minorities is beyond description. The Central govt under the Manmohan Singh and cronies regime is just not bothered about anything beyond votebank politics. I have no respect for them..

    Under these circumstances, Modi getting a visa to travel to the US can be disastrous. It legitimises his actions and attitudes.. At the same time, asking for Sonal Shah's removal can work in the opposite direction. The thing to do is to try and get the facts on the ground in India highlighted in the US media, somehow. The Orissa pogroms, against Christians might find more of attention there now than the Gujarat pogrom of years ago. The fact that Indocorps that Sonal Shah and family are associated with is a front for VHP activities, must come out. The woman should be forced to make her stand clear so that the Obama people who are in the middle and not on the extreme right of the US religious groups would think about it..The VHP is not the kind of organisation that should be represented in the Obama administration but the way it is conveyed to them is impt.

    I don't know how these things will play out. In my opinion as an observer on the outside, I wouldn't worry about India and the Obama administration. Of course, I would say that Kashmir is not the problem of the US at all.. Pranab Mukherjee is right when he says that it will be sorted out by the two countries through bilateral discussions. Americans need not bother. While I admire many of the typical characteristics of the American people, I do not trust them to look out for us more than they look out for themselves as far as behaviour goes..I always think of what Indira Gandhi had to face in the Bangladesh war situation.. If it suits them they will be our friends, and disappear once they have got what they want! Plus, I don't think they should consider themselves the saviours of the world! Those were the days when they could do that.. Now we, in India, are quite fine and can hold our heads high on many fronts.. Don't you think so?

    I do hope the new US administration will be balanced come January.. Otherwise we are celebrating for nothing. I am sure things will be just fine. Of course, the fact remains that things have changed in America and the world for ever, in certain areas, with the results of this election. It is not the solution to all problems there, of course, but a great opportunity for Obama to get it right..

    Hope you are all right and getting used to life alone. It must be so hard. My prayers are with you..

    Regards,

    Madhusudhan Pillai

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  11. Well said.
    We have to call a spade a spade, yet give the opp to prove they are innocent, which, hopefully are not. I am making a point with the all of us Americans, including some 800 Main stream media members.

    thanks

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  12. I am thrilled about the Obama election and not in the mood for grumpy negative speculation... not YET. Give him a chance, for God's sake.

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  13. Does being a member of some organization disqualify one for any service ? In that case how did we elect Obama ? he was believed to be member of or had connections to some groups .. If few members of an organization has done something, does that mean all members are contributors to that ??


    I know Sonal and her entire family, where we have been members of many Indian organization in Houston , have done fund raising etc. We don't share what few people in some other organizations do.. Important part is some one from India is on team


    Warm Regards,
    Ramesh C. Patel,

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  14. May God Bless your words if Obama remains inspired to throw out all such as allured in your mail below. This is how millions desire now not only in US but all around the world. But the pressure is too much to be easily taken off as none of the US President is promoted to WH without Corporate Support and donations pouring in from vested interest groups with powerful lobbies and it is precisely those sets of hidden power elites and members of Global
    Power Cabals who under agreements are appointed the chiefs of Domestic and International Advising Committees.

    Much of Obama's stand would not be clear before Jan 20 his Inauguration day but still let us see if he can remain neutral and pro people in making a good choice to appoint worthy people to head the chairs as Economic Advisors, HomeLand Security, Intl Agencies, Pentagon etc.

    Ashok

    Reach out and touch someone with your Love & Gratitude..
    ~Ashok

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  15. I am sure Sonal Shah will definitely clear the accusation. But here is something very interesting.

    A must read for all Why India needs Narendra Modi? the writer is Managing Partner, Counselage Let me begin with a set of disclosures: I have perhaps written more articles against Modi and his handling of the post-Godhra scenario than most people have; I have called him a modern-day Hitler and have always said that Godhra shall remain an enduring blemish not just on him but on India's political class. I still believe that what happened in Gujarat during the Godhra riots is something we as a nation will pay a heavy price for. But the fact is that time has moved on. As has Narendra Modi. He is not the only politician in India who has been accused of communalism. It is strange that the whole country venerates the Congress Party as the secular messiah but it was that party that presided over the riots in 1984 in which over 3,500 Sikhs died: thrice the number killed in Gujarat. The fact of the matter is that there is no better performer than Narendra Modi in India's political structure. Three weeks ago, I had gone to Ahmedabad to address the YPO and I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with Modi. I called him the evening before and I was given an appointment for the very day I was getting into Ahmedabad. And it was not some official meeting but, instead, one at his house. As frugal as the man Modi is. And this is something that the Gandhis and Mayawatis need to learn from Modi. There were no fawning staff members; no secretaries running around; no hangers on...just the two of us with one servant who was there serving tea. And what was most impressive was the passion which Modi exuded. The passion for development; the passion for an invigorated Gujarat; the passion for the uplifting the living standards of the people in his state and the joy with which he recounted simple yet memorable data-points. For instance, almost all of the milk consumed in Singapore is supplied by Gujarat; or for that matter all the tomatoes that are eaten in Afghanistan are produced in Gujarat or the potatoes that Canadians gorge on are all farmed in Gujarat. But it was industry that was equally close to his heart. It was almost like a child, that he rushed and got a coffee table book on GIFT: the proposed Gujarat Industrial City that will come up on he banks of the Sabarmarti: something that will put the Dubais and the Hong Kongs of this world to shame. And while on the Sabarmati, it is Modi who has created the inter-linking of rivers so that now the Sabarmati is no longer dry. He then spoke about how he was very keen that Ratan Tata sets up the Nano plant in Gujarat: he told me how he had related the story of the Parsi Navsari priests to Ratan and how touched Ratan was: the story is, when the Navsari priests, (the first Parsis) landed in Gujarat, the ruler of Gujarat sent them a glass of milk, full to the brim and said, there was no place for them: the priests added some sugar to the milk and sent it back saying that they would integrate beautifully with the locals and would only add value to the state. Narendra Modi is clearly a man in a hurry and he has every reason to be. There is no question in any one's mind that he is the trump card for the BJP after Advani and Modi realizes that. People like Rajnath Singh are simply weak irritants I would imagine. He also believes that the country has no political strategy to counter terrorism and in fact he told me how he had alerted the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the NSA about the impending bomb blasts in Delhi and they did not take him seriously. And then the September 13 blasts happened! It was this resolve of Modi's that I found very admirable. There is a clear intolerance of terrorism and terrorists which is evident in the way the man functions; now there are many cynics who call it minority-bashing but the truth of the matter is that Modi genuinely means business as far as law and order is concerned. I left Modi's house deeply impressed with the man as Chief Minister: he was clearly passionate and what's more deeply committed. When I sat in the car, I asked my driver what he thought of Modi and his simple reply was Modi is God. Before him, there was nothing. No roads, no power, no infrastructure. Today, Gujarat is a power surplus state. Today, Gujarat attracts more industry than all the states put together. Today, Gujarat is the preferred investment destination for almost every multi-national and what's more, there is an integrity that is missing in other states. After I finished talking to the YPO (Young President's Organisation) members, I asked some of them very casually, what they thought of Modi. Strangely, this was one area there was no class differential on. They too said he was God. But what they also added very quickly was if India has just five Narendra Modis, we would be a great country. I don't know if this was typical Gujarati exaggeration or a reflection of the kind of leadership India now needs! There is however, no question in my mind, that his flaws apart, Narendra Modi today, is truly a transformational leader! And we need many more like him! the writer is Managing Partner,

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  16. Yes my friend and brother and "we must watch Obama because he's Muslim"...when and where will it ever end??????? When People are no longer Human Beings....
    Always,
    GGG and family

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  17. Democrats’ Victory 2008
    By Aijaz Younus


    Barack, Barack, Barack
    The star of glorious luck
    Let us all join hands for peace
    Let us forge new bonds for peace
    It’s time to start a marathon walk
    And to open the hearts for talk


    Barack, Barack, Barack
    The star of glorious destiny
    It’s not a question of blue or red
    It’s to deal with problems ahead
    It’s, to create a new landmark
    And from horizon to remove the dark


    Barack, Barack, Barack
    The star of glorious luck
    It’s, the day to honor the brave
    Make a pledge for future to save
    Time has come to shun oppositions
    As also to address propositions


    Barack, Barack, Barack
    The star of glorious luck
    The years of pain have seen touch-down
    Happiness and liberty are wearing crown
    White or black, yellow or brown
    Throng to bring together city and town


    Barack, Barack, Barack
    The star of glorious luck
    The wheel of fortune are geared for change
    The Sun and stars are within our range
    Let us enjoy the flavor of a new pudding
    East and west are longing for change
    Barack, Barack, Barack
    The star of glorious luck

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  18. RSS reception for Sonal Shah
    DH News Service, New Delhi:
    http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Nov112008/scroll20081111100142.asp?section=updatenews

    Gujarati expatriate Sonal Shah, an economist who has now been appointed an advisory member by US President-elect Barack Obama, would be invited by the RSS and accorded a public reception at her village in Gujarat.

    Shah’s father Ramesh Shah, who has strong RSS affiliations, has been approached by the Sangh outfits to make arrangements for her visit to her native village Gabat in Sabarkantha.

    Asked to comment on Sonal Shah’s association with the Sangh Parivar, the RSS national executive member Ram Madhav told Deccan Herald that her father had been “a staunch supporter of the RSS”. He, however, denied that she herself was associated with the RSS. “Where are women in the RSS?” he quipped.

    “She has been a Democrat for the last 20 years and has worked very hard for the victory of Obama for the last six months,” said Madhav.

    “She is from the family of the RSS... There is nothing wrong with it,” he said.

    The Shah family migrated to the US in 1970 and has been active in the overseas VHP activities.

    Shah’s father had headed the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, which collects funds from the US residents to support the tribal schools in India run by Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, one of the oldest RSS outfits working in the tribal areas in India.

    Appointment sparks protest in US

    New York, pti: Three Indian-American groups have protested the appointment of Sonal Shah in American President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, claiming that she is closely associated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. They warned against Hindutva “infiltration” into the power centres of the US society.

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  19. " Hindutva "infiltration" into the power centres of the US society." - are you kidding me?

    "The organizations have asked Shah to clarify her position about her association with the VHP and its "mother organization" RSS. " If someone asked me to clarify my association with some organization (unless it is proven terrorist organization) I would simply want them to come up with some logical reason and proof that my association with them was in any way connected to my mission.

    As you very well know, with thousands of Desi organizations there is going to be few who have concerns about anything. I would be interested to know what if anything these organizations have achieved in terms of positive contributions to our society. Go check out Indicorps website and you will find Hindu - Muslim - Christian youth of our community contributing to the existing challenges of our mother land.

    More copies of "Time of India" are sold when a conspiracy theory is published versus a bland news of Indicorps.

    Thank you for your clarification.

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  20. Inquiry is always good, once Sonal comes out clean by their inquiry, her crebility would soar. It is the right thing to find out about people.

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  21. Here is the statement from Sonal Shah,

    "The following is a statement by Sonal Shah, Transition Board Member, for President-elect Barack Obama.

    "As an Indian-American who has lived in this country since the age of four, serving on the Obama-Biden transition team is a unique privilege for me. A presidential transition is always a time of excitement and, in some cases, of rumors and unfounded gossip. I'd like to set to rest a few baseless and silly reports that have been circulating on the Internet. First, my personal politics have nothing in common with the views espoused by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or any such organization. I've never been involved in Indian politics, and never intend to do so. Second, I've always condemned any politics of division, of ethnic or religious hatred, of violence and intimidation as a political tool. Some factually inaccurate internet rumors have attempted to link me to Hindu Nationalist groups through a variety of tenuous connections: Relief work I'm proud to have helped coordinate following the Gujarati earthquake of 2001, or cultural and religious affiliations of some of my family members, or apolitical humanitarian work I've been privileged to do as a founder of the NGO Indicorps and as the Director of Global Development for Google.org. Finally, I do not subscribe to the views of such Hindu nationalist groups, and never have. Ridiculous tactics of guilt by association have been decisively repudiated by the American people. I am delighted with what the victory on November 4 says about my country, and about our place in the world. I look forward to serving our President-elect in this time of transition."
    "

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  22. I do not understand why this is of any significance.

    Hypothetically if Mike Ghouse is lucky to be appointed to such a prestigious position (this has been highest official appointment of any person of Indian Origin I know of) everyone who is even distantly connected would organize a reception.

    I think her village in Gujarat, her state of Gujarat, city of Houston, Gujarati Samaj of Houston, ICC of Houston, her prayer group she might have attended as a child and so on... everyone should celebrate this moment. I am not that closely connected to her and I am also celebrating her appointment.

    That is what we do. When someone becomes a high achiever we like to take pride. Everyone tries to approach the champions to come home to celebrate.

    The biggest losers in this whole controversy are those fringe groups whose only mission for past 6 years have been to block Modi's Visa to US. And bring up Godhra at every chance they have gotten. I visited their site to see if they have done any constructive work besides complaining .. I could not find any.

    So finally they got a chance to be in lime liight.

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  23. Vijay,

    As an Indian I would like to join you in the celebration and be joyous that Sonal Shah is one of us, it is an honor and it paves the way for several of us and other immigrants to aspire to serve.

    As an American, I hope you would join me in making sure that our nation continues to tread the path of inclusiveness. We want to make sure, double sure that every appointee is far away from being a fascist. It is the right thing to do, in inquire and check out. Haste has a chance of bringing regrets. On the other hand, if every one is satisfied that Sonal Shah is good for American moral fiber, as Americans you and I and all of us should celebrate.

    We have embraced democracy and come from such a beautiful Indian tradition of democracy and pluralism and it is the right thing to do, to ensure the people in governance are clean.

    Please remember without Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan and several of them were called fringe elements, traitors and all the possible names. But they are our heroes, they are the one who stood up, against war... had the country joined them, we would not be in this mess - budget deficit, sacrificing nearly 4000 of our men and women, butchering of nearly a million Iraqis, destruction of properties, putting half a million women on the street.

    The progress has to come for one and all, and not at the cost of the weak. The group that you call fringe cares about humanity and let them do their duty, we should be proud of them for the checks and balances they provide. Without them, the world would be taken over by the fascists - where neither you nor I are valued as individuals.

    Each one of us is driven by what interests us, as your point of view is valid to you; their point of view is valid to them. Let’s all learn to give room to the other and understand that every one’s right is paramount to survival.

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  24. In India a few years ago I served a one-year volunteer fellowship organized by Indicorps, a non-profit co-founded by Sonal Shah. With the guidance of a partner NGO I helped to create peer educators who generate awareness about HIV/AIDS in the slums of Aurangabad. I learned a lot about India, about myself, and about sustainable grassroots development. But I also learned important lessons about bias.

    Coming from an activist background in college, I had used my well-spring of intention to protest war, corporate irresponsibility, and religious fanaticism, perhaps based on the same core values as you all. I fought desperately against anything that appeared communal, oppressive, or unjust. So I understand where you are coming from.

    But the fact of the matter is, Sonal Shah is not the problem. She is one of the most open-minded, progressive, intelligent, capable people I have ever met. During orientation she engaged the fellows in long discussions about how we can achieve a secular India. She continually challenged me to question assumptions, to see every side of an argument, and confront new problems from the ground up. I consider myself lucky to even know her and her siblings, who have both devoted their lives to service.

    Believe me, I am the last person who would support discrimination. You may ignore this, and simply repeat your claims that by whatever tenuous association with the RSS or VHP that Sonal therefore is a 'right-winged Hindu fanatic' or a 'fascist'. But if I had ever seen even a modicum of religious or political agenda in any of the Shahs' work, I would never have been a part of it, and I would not be writing this now.

    I am not speaking from a place of anger or judgment, and I ask only that you take my thoughts into consideration. Sonal Shah and her siblings have worked tirelessly for equality and opportunity for all South Asians, both in the sub-continent and abroad. She will be an outstanding member of President-elect Obama's transition team, and I hope that we can all understand each other soon.

    Thank you

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  25. ======== SALIL TRIPATHI ========
    ======== SALIL TRIPATHI ========
    Sonal Shah should be judged by her resume and her deeds

    http://www.livemint.com/2008/11/12225200/In-defence-of-Sonal-Shah.html?h=B%22

    I have not met Sonal Shah. A member of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition board, Shah is a director at Google’s philanthropic arm, where she has funded right-to-information campaigns in India and elsewhere. But, overnight, people who call themselves progressive have turned her into a hate figure. US-based organizations such as the Coalition Against Genocide (which campaigned successfully to deny a visa for Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister) have protested against her appointment.

    To link Shah, a member of Barack Obama’s transition board, with the Gujarat riots is preposterous
    This seems odd. Shah has worked at Andersen Consulting, Goldman Sachs and the US treasury. She has been with the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress, and the Soros Foundation at the US treasury. She worked in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and crisis-ridden Indonesia. With her siblings Anand and Roopal, she set up Indicorps, which brings young Americans of Indian origin to India to work on specific projects. This is the kind of resume that makes many Indians disproportionately proud.

    I have not met Vijay Prashad either. He holds the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian history at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, with a record of books and advocacy opposing racism and imperialism. For some time now, he has been challenging Shah. In 2001, Shah helped raise money for the Gujarat earthquake which killed nearly 20,000 people. She did so as an office-bearer of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad–America (VHP-A). In an attack on her in the Left-leaning publication, Counterpunch, Prashad also questions Shah’s support for the Ekal Vidyalaya project, which claims to provide “value-based” primary education in single-teacher schools in tribal areas. Prashad says those schools have an aggressive, pro-Hindutva agenda. Finally, it is pointed out, her father Ramesh is associated with the Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

    There is now a subcontinental media frenzy regarding Shah, with articles appearing in the Hindustan Times, DNA, The Indian Express, and Pakistan’s Daily Times. The Daily Times has even insinuated that she somehow may bear some responsibility for the post-Godhra massacre of Muslims in Gujarat.
    To link Shah with the Gujarat massacre is preposterous, tendentious and disingenuous. Yes, Shah is named VHP’s national coordinator for the 2001 quake relief, but she raised funds from several sources, and channelled funds to Gujarat through several agencies. (In many American towns, faith-based organizations such as VHP are often the only entities where like-minded immigrants can meet for socio-cultural comfort, linking them with the home left behind.) Prashad suggests Shah has a deeper involvement with the VHP. “It is not guilt-by-association, but by participation,” he says. But if participating in a Gujarati youth camp is the same as inciting riots, then maybe David Goldhagen had a point, and all Germans were Hitler’s willing executioners (of course not).

    The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate has raised serious, legitimate questions about how donations from well-meaning employees (with matching corporate contributions) could end up supporting the Sangh Parivar’s pernicious agenda. Money is fungible, and your cheque for quake relief can end up supporting brick-building for the proposed Ayodhya temple, or buy trishuls for Hindu militants. But it stretches logic to suggest that every donor and fund-raiser for the VHP-A after the 2001 earthquake wanted to see defenceless Muslims killed after the Godhra incident a year later.

    Prashad’s work in exposing the Sangh Parivar is necessary, but Shah should be judged by her resume and her deeds (not her father’s). To ask her to express her views on her father’s political choices sounds like a leaf from McCarthy, Stalin or Pol Pot’s book—where children or family and friends were asked to denounce their near ones publicly.

    Prashad says Shah has been silent about the Sangh Parivar. Not any more. Calling these tactics “ridiculous”, she says: “My personal politics have nothing in common with the views espoused by the VHP, the RSS, or any such organization. I’ve never been involved in Indian politics, and never intend to do so. I’ve always condemned any politics of division, of ethnic or religious hatred, of violence and intimidation as a political tool.”

    Prashad has called her political neutrality in the Indian context “self-serving”, saying neutrality is not an option in dealing with Modi. Opposing the sort of politics Modi, the BJP, the RSS and the VHP represent is legitimate activity, and for some, an honourable calling (although it is hardly the Left’s monopoly). But in targeting the Sangh Parivar, indiscriminate shooting at anyone with tenuous personal links with those organizations is different. Shah is accessible, visible and vulnerable. That may make her an attractive target, but makes the attack all the more regrettable and reprehensible.

    Salil Tripathi is a writer based in London. Your comments are welcome at views@livemint.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. KEY INDIANS SPEAK UP
    ====================

    http://www.outlookindia.com:80/full.asp?fodname=20081112&fname=sonal&sid=1

    OUTLOOK INDIA.COM

    OBAMA'S INDIAN
    'Politics Of Innuendo'
    Eminent Indians speak up in support of Sonal Shah: 'We are dismayed by attempts to draw Sonal Shah's name into needless controversy by questioning her ideological affiliations and to make utterly false accusations against her'


    Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Tarun Das, Devesh Kapur, Jayaprakash Narayan, Ajay G. Piramal, Others

    We, the undersigned, are dismayed by attempts to draw Sonal Shah’s name into needless controversy by questioning her ideological affiliations and to make utterly false accusations against her. We do not want to speculate on the motives behind these stories. We simply want to set the record straight on the following propositions.
    1. All of us have known Sonal for considerable periods of time and can affirm this without reservation: She does not in any way support, excuse, condone, justify or do special pleading for political groups that foment hate and/or engage in the kind of violence that was perpetrated in Gujarat. Associating her with the RSS and VHP is an outrageous attempt to insinuate doubt about her commitment to human rights, toleration and the rule of law. There is no reason whatsoever to take these insinuations seriously. You can judge Sonal for yourself. But we urge you not to judge her by false and misleading media reports.
    2. There is something dangerous about the politics of innuendo being carried out against Sonal. It unfairly tarnishes her excellent moral reputation, and is therefore a great violation of her rights as an individual. Such projections of guilt by innuendo are deeply corrosive of public discourse.
    3. None of the stories we have seen give evidence for thinking that Sonal has any political affiliations or beliefs that will come in the way of discharging the responsibilities of whatever office she may occupy. It would be deeply wrong if participation in collecting earthquake relief, or one invitation to speak at some organization would be considered enough to disqualify her for office. Yet ill-informed individuals and groups are using these stories to suggest just this. She has expressly distanced herself and criticized ideologies of hate and division, and that is consistent with her professional conduct and outlook.
    4. It is ironic that some people who claim to be defending toleration and the rights of all individuals should be engaged in this campaign. It suggests, tragically, that some of them are less interested in these values and more interested in using them to foment needless controversy.
    5. We do not have to argue own cause, but all of us have been, in their own way, as deeply committed to the cause of a secular liberal India as any. Some of us have been at the receiving end of the politics of hate the VHP and RSS foment. But we are dismayed when talented individuals like Sonal, with a record of accomplishment, are unfairly targeted by people who allegedly are acting in the name of liberal values.
    6. We urge that liberal civility be restored and individuals like Sonal not be unfairly targeted.
    Sincerely,
    Pratap Bhanu Mehta
    President, Centre for Policy Research
    Tarun Das
    Chief Mentor, Confederation of Indian Industry
    Devesh Kapur
    Director, Center for Advanced Studies of India, The University of Pennsylvania
    Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan
    Convenor, Lok Satta Party
    Ajay G. Piramal
    Chairman, Piramal Enterprises Limited
    Pankaj Chandra
    Director, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
    Reuben Abraham
    Professor, Indian School of Business
    Roopa Purushothaman
    Head, Future Capital Research
    Veena Siddharth
    Vice President, International Division, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
    Former Asia Division Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

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