“I am an American”: Sonal Shah’s New and Improved Statement

Let me start by posting Sonal Shah’s newly-released statement in full, as one goal of this post is to let readers judge her words for themselves:

I was recently maligned by a professor at a college in Connecticut who wrote an article in CounterPunch accusing me of association with Hindu extremism. Then, a few days ago, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, published an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, to which this site linked, that echoed the CounterPunch accusations. These attacks sadden me, but they share one other thing in common: the accusations are false.

In reaction to these attacks, my closest friends — and many strangers — have rallied to my side. I am touched by this outpouring of support. And as painful as this episode has been for me personally, I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with the seriousness that it deserves, but the conversation should proceed on the basis of verified facts and reasoned argument, not innuendo and defamation.

Indian politics and history are contested and emotive, but also unfamiliar to most Americans. I understand why so many Indians and Indian-Americans feel strongly about religious extremism in India, because I share the same concerns.

I am an American, and my political engagements have always and only been American. I served as a U.S. Treasury Department official for seven years, and now work on global development policy at Google.org. And I am honored to serve on the Presidential Transition Team of President-elect Obama while on leave from Google.org.

I emigrated from India at the age of four, and grew up in Houston. Like many Americans, I remain proud of my heritage. But my engagement with India has been exclusively cultural and humanitarian. After the devastating earthquake in Gujarat in 2001, I worked on behalf of a consortium of Indian-American organizations to raise funds for humanitarian relief. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHP-A), an independent charity associated with the eponymous Indian political group, was among these organizations, and it was the only one to list my name on its website. I am not affiliated with any of these organizations, including the VHP-A, and have not worked with any of them since 2001.

The experience with the Gujarat earthquake did, however, teach me an important lesson. It pointed up a lack of dedicated infrastructure to help alleviate suffering in India, so together with my brother and sister, I founded Indicorps, an organization modeled on the U.S. Peace Corps that enables young Indian-Americans to spend a year in service to marginalized communities in India. The fellows come from every religious background, and have worked among every religious community in India. Indeed, some Indicorps fellows focus on inter-faith dialogue as part of their projects.

In 2002, Gujarat suffered one of the most profound tragedies in its long history, when extremist political leaders, including some associated with the VHP, incited riots that resulted in the deaths of thousands. Had I been able to foresee the role of the VHP in India in these heinous events, or anticipate that the VHP of America could possibly stand by silently in the face of its Indian counterpart’s complicity in the events of Gujarat in 2002 — thereby undermining the American group’s cultural and humanitarian efforts with which I was involved — I would not have associated with the VHP of America.

Sadly, CounterPunch and Senator Santorum have suggested that I somehow endorse that violence and the ongoing violence in Orissa. I do not – I deplore it. But more than that, I have worked against it, and will continue to do so. I have already denounced the groups at issue and am hopeful that we can begin to have an honest conversation about the ways immigrant and diaspora communities can engage constructively in social and humanitarian work abroad. (link)

I was happy to see a believable account of how Shah’s name appeared on the VHPA website as a coordinator for earthquake relief in 2001. Shah doesn’t specifically address the statements from a VHPA spokesman to the effect of “she was part of our leadership council for three years,” but there is a clear and convincing account of what she now believes about the VHP as an organization in India, as well as a clear statement about Gujarat 2002. I think we should also not overlook the statement “I am an American” that is here: she considers her personal political commitments to be first and foremost oriented to the American political landscape. I think this fact is important to remember whenever we talk about 2nd generation South Asian Americans’ relationships to specific political issues within South Asia.

After the fold, some thoughts following a personal meeting I had with Anand Shah, Sonal Shah’s younger brother, today in Philadelphia.

First, Anand is a pretty intense person — he had a lot to say about the work he and his siblings have done with Indicorps. What came through is a real passion for the kind of work Indicorps does, namely help people find NGOs in India that need hard-working, compassionate people who have skills that can help people all over India. I got the strong sense that Anand would infinitely prefer to be talking about his experiences on that front in India (where he has lived full time since 2002), than dealing with this attack on his sister’s reputation. (Though he is an extremely passionate defender of his sister, don’t get me wrong.)

Second, I get the sense that at least these two Shah siblings are “doers” rather than “talkers.” In our conversation today, Anand repeatedly emphasized his desire to work with people of different political stripes, if it can result in positive outcomes for people in need. He seemed especially impatient with lefty academic types in the U.S., who tend to talk a lot about poverty over dinner at pricey restaurants in New York City. He sees himself bi-partisan in the Obama vein — if a conservative wants to work with him to get something done that will have a positive impact, he’ll go there. These folks are pragmatists, not ideologues.

Third, he stressed the need for second-generation South Asian Americans (the target readership for this blog, incidentally) to take charge of our own self-representation, and not leave it to people like Vijay Prashad. Many of us have complicated affiliations that don’t fit the Indian paradigm of “hardcore religious” or “hardcore secular/Marxist.” For example, some of us have strong connections to religious identity (and associations that come with those strong connections), but nevertheless also would want to be identified as tolerant and progressive when it comes to the broader social order. (I’m thinking of my friends over at blogs like The Langar Hall, or perhaps Ali Eteraz [who has stopped blogging]. And I’m also referring to the religious youth camps that I discussed in my previous post on “Yankee Hindutva”)

Fourth, he agreed with my assessment that all this close attention to an association in Sonal Shah’s past is a bit insane given the gravity of the ongoing communal problem in India, where a person’s political and religious affiliations generally are worn on one’s sleeve. (No one needs to snoop and speculate to find out what you really think; chances are, it’s right out there in the open.)

Sonal Shah, I’ll say again, has never been heard to say anything remotely intolerant — and she’s not exactly been a shrinking violet when it comes to speaking engagements over the past few years. It’s also not clear that she ever did anything for the VHPA other than this role as an earthquake relief coordinator in 2001 (which she describes as only one part of a larger effort involving a consortium of organizations). In her own narrative of this association, as well as her brother’s account of it that I heard in person today, this was not a sustained or major involvement. Their decision to found Indicorps emerged precisely out of a need to establish a mechanism by which second generation Indian Americans could channel their desire to do good secularly, specifically where it would be of real benefit in India.

I hope there is enough evidence out there now that Sonal Shah is not some kind of ideologue for the Hindu right (in fact, she is not an ideologue at all). Moreover, her role as a member of the Obama transition team has had no involvement with policy related to India, so why exactly are we still talking about it?

It’s by the standard of Indicorps that Anand Shah wants to be judged — and I for one am willing to give him that.

340 thoughts on ““I am an American”: Sonal Shah’s New and Improved Statement

  1. well, naravara, at least you lend credence and legitimacy to the grievances of terrorists of all stripes, so i take my previous comment back when it comes to you.

  2. 298 · liberal said

    297 · NaraVara said
    Why couldn’t they just build restaurants like normal thugs?
    why don’t the hezbollah and hamas do that? hint: you need a carrot to go with the big red button of fear. ennis, sorry about that comment. i guess i embraced the communist lefty wingnut label that i had generously been given by some of these commenters,

    This only makes sense if you assume Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ only reasons for existing are to commit acts of terror. They’re political parties. Like all political parties they’re motivated by actual issues. You can say that violence is not an acceptable method to push an agenda but that doesn’t change the fact that there is still an agenda there. When the underlying issue evaporates than the pretenses they use to justify their actions will suddenly find a great deal less support. Even if people agree in principle they won’t stake their lives or property on it.

    But all that is besides the point because the Sangh is not a terrorist organization and never was. Riots aren’t terrorism and attempts to paint them as such are mere political posturing.

  3. NaraVara said:

    As for the “efficiency argument.” If there was an earthquake in Lebanon and Hezbollah was the most effective group on the ground with aid, I don’t see why one wouldn’t support the relief effort.

    That would not only disqualify somebody from office in the united states, it probably would get them indicted and convicted:

    The organization’s web site stated, “Our mission is to find and implement practical solutions for human suffering through humanitarian programs that impact the lives of the disadvantaged, disinherited, and displaced peoples suffering from man-made and natural disasters.” Their primary area of focus was with the Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. They have also provided support to victims after disasters and wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, and in the United States (Iowa floods, Texas tornadoes, and the Oklahoma City bombing). The government did not allege that the foundation paid directly for suicide bombings, but instead alleged that the foundation supported terrorism by sending more than $12 million to charitable groups, known as zakat committees, which build hospitals and feed the poor. The prosecution said the committees were controlled by Hamas and contributed to terrorism by helping Hamas spread its ideology and recruit supporters. [link]

    While the criminality of such actions is new, the unacceptability of it has been consensus for decades now and will likely remain so.

  4. 301 · liberal said

    well, naravara, at least you lend credence and legitimacy to the grievances of terrorists of all stripes, so i take my previous comment back when it comes to you.

    I subscribe to a pragmatic ethic of responsibility rather than the naive ethic of ultimate ends. My concern is with making sure as many people on the planet are afforded basic human dignity as possible. If I have to work with unsavory types to do so I’ll do it because my responsibility is to the people being helped. Not to the organizations I’m working with. This is why India engages with the Pakistani government even though they’re bad-faith negotiators.

  5. 304 · NaraVara said

    My concern is with making sure as many people on the planet are afforded basic human dignity as possible.

    i agree with the lofty ideal, but it is not clear that an organization which systemically nurtures and commits communal violence is the best way to do that.

    (and let’s be clear, being a hindu does not equate to being a member of the vhp and subscribing to the ideology of the hindutva movement, which is at heart nativist and exclusionary, despite rob’s incessant repetition of this equation)

  6. <

    blockquote>303 · Ennis said

    NaraVara said:
    As for the “efficiency argument.” If there was an earthquake in Lebanon and Hezbollah was the most effective group on the ground with aid, I don’t see why one wouldn’t support the relief effort.
    That would not only disqualify somebody from office in the united states, it probably would get them indicted and convicted:
    The organization’s web site stated, “Our mission is to find and implement practical solutions for human suffering through humanitarian programs that impact the lives of the disadvantaged, disinherited, and displaced peoples suffering from man-made and natural disasters.” Their primary area of focus was with the Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. They have also provided support to victims after disasters and wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, and in the United States (Iowa floods, Texas tornadoes, and the Oklahoma City bombing). The government did not allege that the foundation paid directly for suicide bombings, but instead alleged that the foundation supported terrorism by sending more than $12 million to charitable groups, known as zakat committees, which build hospitals and feed the poor. The prosecution said the committees were controlled by Hamas and contributed to terrorism by helping Hamas spread its ideology and recruit supporters. [link]
    While the criminality of such actions is new, the unacceptability of it has been consensus for decades now and will likely remain so.

    Obviously our strategy of pretending jihadist groups are illegitimate within their countries has not been working. So maybe it’s time we actually acknowledge that political parties we disagree with actually need to be engaged with if we want to make any progress. More broadly I don’t really care that much about Lebanon and Hezbollah gaining power is sufficiently inimical to my (and the United States’) interests that it’s not worth it for me to work with them. But if someone does I wouldn’t suggest they’re terrible people for it. They just have different priorities.

    My priorities with charitable organizations affiliated with the Sangh, however, are different. First of all, their activities aren’t nearly so bad as Hezbollah’s and the instability the riots their members participate in cause is more a function of how derelict the Indian government is than anything else.

  7. Dr. Amonymous #

    Thanks for reminding us what this whole issue is basically about- a state orchestrated pogrom of a brutality matched by few others in world history, and that in the name of Hinduism. No amount of whitewashing by Amardeep or others here of Sonal and Anand Shah’s connections to VHP, RSS and Modi will change the fact that they continued to associate and participate in the activities of the perpetrator organizations and their affiliates. No amount of throwing guilt-by-association or other distractions at people who are asking very serious questions about Sonal Shah’s past activities and associations will change those simple and verifiable facts. Anand Shah responds poorly even with the carefully screened questions Amardeep reports he asked of him. As best as Amardeep has tried to spin it (“bi-partisan in the Obama vein”, “doers”, “pragmatist”), there is little Anand offers in “passionate defense” of his sister, besides avoiding and deflecting it all over the place. No straightforward answers to the specific questions people are asking about Sonal and their organizations. At least Modi appears to have found a deserving candidate for his Pride of Modi’s Gujarat award…

  8. 302 · NaraVara said

    298 · liberal said
    297 · NaraVara said
    Why couldn’t they just build restaurants like normal thugs?
    why don’t the hezbollah and hamas do that? hint: you need a carrot to go with the big red button of fear. ennis, sorry about that comment. i guess i embraced the communist lefty wingnut label that i had generously been given by some of these commenters, This only makes sense if you assume Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ only reasons for existing are to commit acts of terror. They’re political parties. Like all political parties they’re motivated by actual issues. You can say that violence is not an acceptable method to push an agenda but that doesn’t change the fact that there is still an agenda there. When the underlying issue evaporates than the pretenses they use to justify their actions will suddenly find a great deal less support. Even if people agree in principle they won’t stake their lives or property on it. But all that is besides the point because the Sangh is not a terrorist organization and never was. Riots aren’t terrorism and attempts to paint them as such are mere political posturing.

    people get in where they can. its a different location and different situation so they may believe different tactics work better.

    its kind of how the U.S. military in Iraq isn’t terrorism. but what is it? and who decides when it is … you ?

  9. if someone does I wouldn’t suggest they’re terrible people for it. They just have different priorities.

    Naravara – your attitude is very far from the consensus about what is acceptable for a member of the American government. You’re disagreeing with that standard, but that’s a very different thing from saying it is unfairly being applied.

  10. a state orchestrated pogrom of a brutality matched by few others in world history,

    This is absolutely wrong, and an unnecessary hyperbolic flourish. Even reducing it to just democracies, this statement isn’t true. This does not minimize the fact that Modi is a murderer and the VHP is a bunch of thugs. Also, I would really appreciate it if you would stop foisting agendas on Amardeep purely because he expressed a viewpoint, and even accusing him of complicity in the hindutva agenda! this kind of hysteria only feeds into the paranoia and accumulation of constructed grievances of hindutva supporters like ponniyin and rob.

    i also don’t know why sonal shah should be held accountable or be required to explain anand shah’s actions. (she has enough to explain for her own, and if she ever actually gave an explanation that was consistent with the facts, and was honest, instead of indulging in weaselly historical rewritings like bill ayers’ times editorial, she might actually convince people.)

  11. if Sami Al Arian was part of the transition team how many here would say that he’s nothing but a professor and that he sent money for charitable reasons to feed people?

  12. 310 · liberal said

    a state orchestrated pogrom of a brutality matched by few others in world history,
    This is absolutely wrong, and an unnecessary hyperbolic flourish. Even reducing it to just democracies, this statement isn’t true. This does not minimize the fact that Modi is a murderer and the VHP is a bunch of thugs. Also, I would really appreciate it if you would stop foisting agendas on Amardeep purely because he expressed a viewpoint, and even accusing him of complicity in the hindutva agenda! this kind of hysteria only feeds into the paranoia and accumulation of constructed grievances of hindutva supporters like ponniyin and rob. i also don’t know why sonal shah should be held accountable or be required to explain anand shah’s actions. (she has enough to explain for her own, and if she ever actually gave an explanation that was consistent with the facts, and was honest, instead of indulging in weaselly historical rewritings like bill ayers’ times editorial, she might actually convince people.)

    Yeah she hasn’t done a great job in clearing things up when she avoids major points. Its correct that she is not running for office. Its correct that she doesn’t have to answer anyone. She doesn’t have to work in government either. Why is it so hard for her to come clear. Does she get that she has left many unanswered questions. She’s not running for office so why is she acting like a politician. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I would like her to clear it up so that I can reconsider applying for indicorps.

  13. I think the reason that there is disagreement here is that

    1) some of us think there is a problem with being associated with these organizations

    2) some of us don’t think there is a problem with being associated with these organizations 2a. these tend to be the ones that think someone working in the federal government doesn’t need to answer questions 3) some of us don’t care but think she should answer ALL of the questions

  14. Does anyone care to speculate as to why Hezbollah, Hamas, LeT, and the LTTE (a secularist terror outfit with, let’s admit it, a lot of people from Hindu families in it!) are illegal in the US, but the VHP isn’t? I submit that it’s b/c this labeling of anything “Hindu” (in the sense of not privileging a secularist agenda) as fascist and responsible for murders, pogroms, etc. is incorrect. (For example, introspection tells me that I don’t have a murderous agenda or want to see any ethno-religious cleansing or anything like that at all.) So, just why has my view prevailed in terms of which groups are banned? You could suggest pro-Israel sentiment in the US as responsible for Hezbollah and Hamas, but then it’s surprising to see LTTE and LeT got on the list. . . . How are the mighty Hindus able to convince the US not to list there “terrorist” outfits as terrorists?

  15. Rob – all these groups attacked recognized states. The VHP has only attacked people within a state.

    I also don’t understand why you think that any non-secular group will be labeled as fascist. There are plenty of religious Hindu organizations that people think are great that don’t organize “riots.” Even Sonal Shah concedes that of the VHP, as does the US government. Do you think that Sonal and the US Govt are communist? Or perhaps that they both hate Hindus?

  16. 314 · rob,

    U.S. Intelligence Agencies (haha) or is it the ones in charge of applying that intelligence (haha).

    There ARE some Hindu organizations or ones that consist primarily of Hindus such as those from Sri Lanka that are banned.

    Is your point is to say that there are no Hindu organizations with violent / extremist / terrorists outfits ?

    If that is your case then there really is no need to defend Sonal Shah because that would mean her having associations or not with any of these organizations would not be controversial.

    If there is no Hindu organization that has elements that are violent / extremist / terrorists then why is this issue of Shah having any affiliations controversial.

    She should probably just cut the …. and be really clear and address ALL the issues so that she can clear her name. Someone else pointed out that if she was really being clear and not avoiding issues that it would take 3 press statements to get her point across.

    She could end all of this if she would just address ALL of the issues to clear her name.

  17. Liberal:

    I only mention that Amardeep by being so persistently defensive of Sonal Shah on this issue- to those of us who are aware of Sangh tactics and history of obfuscation (legal and PR)- maybe, and I say likely inadvertently, participating in such a thing. I am very aware that Amardeep and most ABDs, if they knew the true nature of the VHP/RSS (which I think Amardeep does, even if not the extent of its evildoing in India) would stay miles away from these organizations. For all its problems, an American upbringing at least does not allow most people to hold and flaunt bigotry in the way even an affluent, privileged Indian upbringing can (and I say this as an Indian, or DBD if you will). I have said earlier (post #139) that I suspect that this defense of Sonal Shah by Amardeep and other ABDs smacks more of a double standards as regards Indian hate crimes and Indian victims (versus American hate crimes and lives) than a subscription on their part to Hindutva philosophy.

    Regarding “matched by few others in world history”- I meant that it is matched by few select others in world history- wrong choice of words, perhaps, but I did not mean unparalleled.

  18. Thanks for the responses, Ennis and Raj. I’m not up enough on “terror law,” as it were, to know whether the claim that it’s vs. state vs. within-state that’s doing the work here–I wonder, for example, whether giving $$ to the Burmese junta (SLORC) is legal? I suspect not, even though they haven’t attacked a recognized state.

    I guess that for me, this VHP issue comes down to the question of “can there be a legitimate ‘Hindu right’”? My guess is that the (bulk of) the VHP critics think the answer to this is “no,” which is why I’ve tried to characterize them as implying that the only legitimate way of “being” a Hindu is, in terms of politics, to be on the Left. If the answer is in fact “yes” then I’m not sure where that leaves us–perhaps condemning the rioters (and, yes, presumably there was planning, etc., so I’m not naive enough to say just the guys with sticks) but not coming down on mere VHP-A membership (well, or, leadership role) given that, insofar as I can tell, VHP-A is “the” ‘Hindu right’ org. in the USA.

  19. 314 · rob…

    No one but an idiot is proposing that anything labeled Hindu is violent and associated with terrorism. In the U.S. its harder to convince a lot of people of that same sentiment for groups associates with other religions.

    You are blinding yourself to fact that there are elements of violence and riot starting in all types of groups, including Hindu groups not banned by the U.S. government, because you think that the majority of people are saying that Hindu = violence. These riots are not just breaking windows and burning tires. They include people being raped and killed in front of their kids as well as thousands of people dying. If any other group does that its called terrorism.

    Who here has actually stated that Hindu = violence?

    I don’t see you getting all upset about the majority of media associating Islam with violence. Maybe your answer to that is that its because obviously Islam is violent. Which would only display your lack of objectivity and grip on reality. The majority of media is not attacking Hinduism. Your cries that they are makes me feel like I’m reading about some fictional world where all we hear about is about radical Hinduism all day.

    Your misconception of the argument has obviously touched your defence mechanisms and therefore your grievences that everyone is attacking Hinduism except for right wing Hindus. Not everyone is attacking Hinduism.

    If the point was that Sonal Shah is Hindu and so lets interrogate her, I’d be right with you, but its not.

    Just because the U.S. government hasn’t banned a group doesn’t mean that they are completely innocent. Have you ever heard about lobbyists ? Even they couldn’t do anything about Modi being banned from coming to the U.S., which he was, so maybe U.S. intelligence is aware of these groups and DOES have issues with them.

  20. Raj, I think you misread my post. By “Hindu right” I don’t mean “right to be a Hindu” I mean “right-wing” Hindu (as opposed to, say, a “left-wing” Hindu.

  21. Rob

    If a group wants to be “right wing” and Hindu in the U.S. maybe it would do itself service to stand up against violent acts being committed by an organization that it is affiliated with in another country instead of just saying nothing. When it acknowledges these problems it might gain a new respect as simply a “right wing” Hindu organization in the U.S. While some people may have grievences with a “right wing” Hindu organization in the U.S. that is simply that, I’m sure that the level would be about as much as the issues that one might have with a “right-wing” Christian coalition influencing politics in the U.S.

    “Right-wing” Hinduism organizations in the U.S. do not equal terrorism. But currently some may have an image associated with that. Maybe now that you are a celebrated member of one of those organizations (as you stated in a previous post) you would work to get your organization to address these issues. Hopefully you would agree that this would be a positive move for them and not something that should be brushed off because they don’t have to explain themselves.

  22. 315 · Ennis said

    I also don’t understand why you think that any non-secular group will be labeled as fascist.

    because despite the fact that those who label the vhp-a as an organization that spreads communal terror clearly articulate that their complaint is not with “hinduness”, it is easier to battle a strawman.

    321 · Raj said

    If a group wants to be “right wing” and Hindu in the U.S. maybe it would do itself service to stand up against violent acts being committed by an organization that it is affiliated with in another country instead of just saying nothing.

    i think only muslim organizations have that responsibility. hinduism clearly does not, so stop saying these things, you lefty red pseudosecular commie wingnut appeaser!

  23. 314 · rob said

    Does anyone care to speculate as to why Hezbollah, Hamas, LeT, and the LTTE (a secularist terror outfit with, let’s admit it, a lot of people from Hindu families in it!) are illegal in the US, but the VHP isn’t?

    been there, done that.

  24. 317 · Indian said

    Liberal: I only mention that Amardeep by being so persistently defensive of Sonal Shah on this issue- to those of us who are aware of Sangh tactics and history of obfuscation (legal and PR)- maybe, and I say likely inadvertently, participating in such a thing. I am very aware that Amardeep and most ABDs, if they knew the true nature of the VHP/RSS (which I think Amardeep does, even if not the extent of its evildoing in India) would stay miles away from these organizations. For all its problems, an American upbringing at least does not allow most people to hold and flaunt bigotry in the way even an affluent, privileged Indian upbringing can (and I say this as an Indian, or DBD if you will). I have said earlier (post #139) that I suspect that this defense of Sonal Shah by Amardeep and other ABDs smacks more of a double standards as regards Indian hate crimes and Indian victims (versus American hate crimes and lives) than a subscription on their part to Hindutva philosophy. Regarding “matched by few others in world history”- I meant that it is matched by few select others in world history- wrong choice of words, perhaps, but I did not mean unparalleled.

    I’m glad you pointed this out. I don’t think that many are aware of just what some of these groups have done. And no, that statement doesn’t excuse what any other group has done in any place in the world. I think many people’s defences go up before looking into the history because they’ve “learned” that any of these so called riots or actions are in defence of a way of life and their faith and that in all reality they are never as bad as what has been done to them.

    The majority of those who are defending from afar are probably not doing it out of a believe in the spreading of all of these groups ideals. It might just be traditional.

    Many other probably either can not believe the extent of these acts or are just unaware.

  25. 312 · Raj said

    . Its correct that she doesn’t have to answer anyone

    i think you misunderstand me – i said that she is answerable – and i think she has a lot to answer for – but only for her own actions, not that of her brother or father.

  26. 322 · liberal said

    315 · Ennis said
    I also don’t understand why you think that any non-secular group will be labeled as fascist.
    because despite the fact that those who label the vhp-a as an organization that spreads communal terror clearly articulate that their complaint is not with “hinduness”, it is easier to battle a strawman. 321 · Raj said
    If a group wants to be “right wing” and Hindu in the U.S. maybe it would do itself service to stand up against violent acts being committed by an organization that it is affiliated with in another country instead of just saying nothing.
    i think only muslim organizations have that responsibility. hinduism clearly does not, so stop saying these things, you lefty red pseudosecular commie wingnut appeaser!

    i know i know … well being bong and all … ha ha :)

  27. Indian, please stop insulting Amardeep and his intelligence. He’s a tenured professor who I’ve always admired for being one of the more unbiased bloggers at Sepia Mutiny, especially as he seems to at least try to approach various situations with neutrality. Just because he’s come to a different conclusion about Sonal Shah than you have doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know about the full extent to which the VHP operates or that he’s defending the Sangh. I would think that he’d be one of the last to do so. So please, please, STFU.

  28. 327 · liberal said

    312 · Raj said
    . Its correct that she doesn’t have to answer anyone
    i think you misunderstand me – i said that she is answerable – and i think she has a lot to answer for – but only for her own actions, not that of her brother or father.

    no, i understood you. i guess the sarcasm didn’t come through. i agree she doesn’t need to answer for anyone but her self. i meant to say in short that if she wants to work in government that she needs to be willing upfront to answer for herself. AND if she wants to be treated as someone NOT running for office that she should stop answering questions like a politician and actually answer ALL of the questions clearly without leaving a doubt on where she stands.

  29. indian, thanks for your explanation.

    but to clarify, i disagree with your characterization of amardeep. there are several people on the comments here who have taken despicable and shameful positions, but amardeep is clearly not one of them.

  30. there are several people on the comments here who have taken despicable and shameful positions

    liberal,

    Every time you insult me or others, I PayPal $50 to VHP-A.
    Just FYI.

  31. 333 · rob said

    there are several people on the comments here who have taken despicable and shameful positions
    liberal, Every time you insult me or others, I PayPal $50 to VHP-A.

    if that is what it takes to establish your hindu pride, go ahead, be a rightwing hindu. and do be sure to post the receipts so we can all revel in your spirit of giving. i mean, some might say it’s an empty boast, and surely i’ve given you enough for about $500 worth by now?

  32. 333 · rob said

    there are several people on the comments here who have taken despicable and shameful positions
    liberal, Every time you insult me or others, I PayPal $50 to VHP-A. Just FYI.

    Is VHP-A down with Ron Paul ?

  33. 333 · rob said

    Every time you insult me or others, I PayPal $50 to VHP-A.

    sounds similar to the cartoon controversy and every other extremist loser’s grievance mongering. person a (jylland posten/vijay prashad/wendy doniger/liberal/”lefties”) does something that offends person b’s prickly sense of self esteem. person b then promptly takes revenge and demonstrates his manhood by supporting damage of life and property of innocent group c.

  34. Yeah she hasn’t done a great job in clearing things up when she avoids major points. Its correct that she is not running for office. Its correct that she doesn’t have to answer anyone. She doesn’t have to work in government either. Why is it so hard for her to come clear. Does she get that she has left many unanswered questions. She’s not running for office so why is she acting like a politician. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I would like her to clear it up so that I can reconsider applying for indicorps.

    Raj, I think she’s consulting a lawyer or lawyers, though possibly not Bedi, Bhatt & Nayak. She uses the term defamatory aboutthe infamous article, IIRC.