Showing posts from March, 2016

Trump an American Modi? No way, say NRIs

By Rajiv Shah
A tweet the other day by a well-known America-based political scientist, Milan Vaishnav, amused me. Associated with the think-tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which has research centres in Beijing, Beirut, Brussels, Moscow, and Washington, he quantified what I had witnessed during my recent US visit: Though he has been called “American Modi” by many in India, Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump isn’t quite liked by NRI Modi supporters.
Impossible to dub him a “left liberal” by any stretch of imagination (he supports market reforms), Vaishnav’s tweet said, “Reminder: Upwards of 80% of Indian-Americans vote Democratic.” That was in response to a story in “The Hindu”, “Indian-Americans for Trump? Only a handful”.
Though I haven’t ever met or interacted with Vaishnav except through Twitter, his commentaries have interested me. In one of the latest ones, published in “Foreign Affairs”, he says, “The challenge for Modi is to use his considerable polit…

Dalits: “Trained” to be empowered?

By Rajiv Shah
The other day, after several months’ gap, I visited Dalit Shakti Kendra, situated around 12 kms from the spot where the now-famous manufacturing plant of Tata Nano car is located. Situated away from Ahmedabad in a pollution free atmosphere, my purpose, unlike my earlier visits, which I had made to attend several rights’ groups events held there, was very specific. I had come to know that 50-odd boys had come from different parts of rural India, mostly Dalits, to be trained in some sort of technical skill; alongside, they were also being “trained” to be empowered in their struggle against discrimination.
Belonging to poor families, these children seemed educated; majority of them had email id, which they immediately forwarded to me. They knew how to operate email on their smartphone. Naturally, they were more aware about the issues around them. I specifically avoided asking them about Rohith Vermula, the new Dalit “icon” who had committed suicide under pressure allegedly …