SAMAR Magazine has a new issue up on its website on elections — both within South Asia and here in the U.S. They have essays on the recent election in Gujarat, the Parliamentary elections in Pakistan, the upcoming elections in Nepal, a piece by an SAFO member, and a piece on the Desi vote in New York. There’s also a short essay by myself, on “Skinny Candidates With Funny Names,” which brings together points made in several of my Sepia Mutiny posts on Barack Obama and Bobby Jindal. In the piece I make reference to some Sepia Mutiny comment threads, and I actually quote directly from commenter Neal (Neal, thank you).
My own piece aside, I would recommend people start with the piece by Ali Najmi on the Desi vote in New York. It’s informative, for one thing, and Najmi makes reference to a new organization called Desis Vote, which aims to mobilize participation in the South Asian community:
Unfortunately, a consistent and widespread attempt to register and sustain participation on the local level has not occurred. Believing in the importance of this potential, a team of us have started Desis Vote, an organization focused on registering and mobilizing as many South Asian voters in New York City. At the moment, there is a unique opportunity to tap into the social momentum and hype created by the 2008 presidential election, as seen through the Democratic primaries, in order to create a South Asian American political voice. South Asians who are registered to vote could empower the entire community by flocking to polling stations in all upcoming elections and showing the importance of the South Asian ballot in the contest. (link)
This is something we’re always talking about at Sepia Mutiny, but I’m not convinced it’s actually happened yet. Maybe 2008 is going to be the year…
(I would also recommend the piece by Luna Ranjit on the upcoming elections in Nepal. Ranjit explains why the planned elections last year were postponed, and explains why the upcoming elections will be historic for Nepal. In addition to addressing the Maoist question, she talks about some of Nepal’s ethnic/tribal problems, with groups such as the Terai.)