In an effort to help South Asian politicians seek elected office, and help educate South Asian citizens at a local level in Texas, a group headed by Dheeraj Chand has started the political action committee, Desis for Texas (DesiPAC).
We have four primary objectives:
1. Support the election of candidates who have demonstrated support on issues pertinent to S. Asians, such as immigration and civil rights.
2. Provide a community infrastructure to encourage and support S. Asians to run for elected office.
3. Ensure that every legal S. Asian voter is registered and able to vote in as many elections as possible.
4. Ensure that as many S. Asians are educated in the political process, informed on the issues and candidates and able to develop cogent perspectives. We will concentrate our efforts on elections in which we feel that our communities will be greatly impacted and those elections in which we can make a great impact.
At the national level we already have a U.S. IndiaPAC that has similar objectives. In my opinion however, they spend far too much time (or at least that’s the impression I am left with) battling the Pakistani American lobby over weapons sales on the Indian subcontinent. As an Indian American born here, India/Pakistan relations are at the bottom of the list of policies that matter to me. Where was IndiaPAC on the Modi issue?
USINPAC Chairman Sanjay Puri called the State Department’s decision to revoke the visa of Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, Ã¢Â€Âœa setback to the US – India relationshipÃ¢Â€Â. Mr. Puri added Ã¢Â€ÂœMr. Modi is a controversial figure in India and a number of cases against him are making their way through the Indian legal process. Until those cases reach a resolution, Mr. Modi is still a duly elected representative of a large Indian State and our Government should be showing deference to India’s democracy and rule of law.Ã¢Â€Â
Wrong. As American citizens we should be showing deference to American ideals, or work diligently to better those ideals, first. I do not find myself obligated to show any kind of deference to India’s government. This was a cowardly and short-sighted statement that stabs at the heart of why I have never supported IndiaPAC. The organization clearly has divided loyalties. It is their perogative of course, but that leaves a vacuum as to where I should direct my support. A DesiPAC type organization could seek to finally join together the disparate brown populations by focusing on issues of common importance to us rather than the inconsequential ones that divide us. If it proves over time to be a success in Texas, then hopefully DesiPac will go national and over many years make IndiaPac irrelevant.
There is also another organization out there named South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT).
South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow is a national non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the full and equal participation by South Asians in American civic and political life. We accomplish this mission by:
-Providing an informed and unified voice on issues affecting South Asians that relate to equality and civil rights.
-Developing South Asian coalitions that transcend religious, ethnic or linguistic differences, to facilitate collective action and broader community change.
-Creating opportunities for leadership, service and volunteerism by South Asians in order to foster civic engagement.
There seems to be a good deal of synergy between the goals of SAALT and DesiPAC that may lead to a collaboration.
Jay Aiyer, Dilip Nath and Thakar Singh Basati have never met but share a political philosophy — involvement in local politics. The three are only the latest examples of a growing trend of Indian Americans in the US getting involved in local politics to make a difference where it matters.
“I believe the Indian American community is now beginning to be quite visible at local political levels. The key for us is not to aim for the high federal offices straight away but work our way up. We must start locally,” Aiyer, a Houston, Texas based attorney, told IANS.
Aiyer said he has a simple reason to run for Houston City Council At-Large Position 2 — “I believe in this city.”