Interview w/ Reshma Saujani at Netroots

The September 14th Democratic Primary in New York City could be the make or break date for Reshma Saujani’s bid for Congress. And of course, what is the biggest issue at the polls these days? The few-blocks-away-from-Ground Zero-Islamic-community-center.

There’s nothing smooth about the infighting for the Congressional seat from the so-called “Silk Stocking District” on the Upper East side, where 18-year Democratic incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 64, is facing a primary election challenge from upstart Reshma Saujani, 34, an eight-year resident of the city who is making her first bid for elected office.

the two both support the right of Muslims to build a mosque on Park Place, two blocks from Ground Zero (though Saujani, an American-born Hindu whose parents were born in India and later became refugees from Idi Amin’s Uganda, snipes that Maloney has been all-but-silent about her support for the mosque.)[nydailynews]

I had the chance to meet up with Reshma at Netroots Nation and asked her some questions about what it was like to run, her issues, and her fellow Desi candidates. Here’s what she had to say.

Candidate campaigns are no easy game, between the posturing and pandering and bickering. I was hesitant about Reshma’s bid after I found the following video earlier this year where she talks about being pro Netanyahu’s settlement plan in Israel. It seemed an awful lot like pandering for votes to me. But her support of New York City Muslims in this time of Islamaphobia is to be commended, both with the support of Park 51 as well as speaking out on the slashing of a Muslim NYC cab driver. After the Ami Bera fiasco of last week, I want to highlight how particularly important it is for people, ESPECIALLY CANDIDATES, to stand firm for what they believe. I commend Reshma for taking a stand, despite the risk of losing votes. And I challenge all other candidates to do the same.

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates and blogs at Follow her at

12 thoughts on “Interview w/ Reshma Saujani at Netroots

  1. I don’t trust Reshma. She’s inauthentic, doesn’t represent what we the people want, she’s mean, and she’s full of lies.

  2. i think all politicians are ego maniacs . this interview did not change my mind. real change happens in the private sector. government just gets in the way

  3. Oh, she stands firmly for what she believes, quite shamelessly so. It sounds like she talks out of both sides of her mouth. How can someone whose parents were thrown out of Uganda be for the settlements in the West Bank? Pathetic.

  4. “How can someone whose parents were thrown out of Uganda be for the settlements in the West Bank?”

    Jai, it’s quite simple really. For as long as South Asians in Uganda (or those with Africa in their history) fail to examine their own role in a long legacy of settler colonialism (and figure out where exactly to point the finger), it will be quite easy for them to support other settler colonial movements in Israel, the US, anywhere.

    And she sells herself to the master so well, with that whole “my parents were thrown out and then Ed Koch came down from the heavens and saved us” line. Ed Koch? Really? Are you freaking kidding me? The same freak who called the Gaza flotilla activists, terrorists? She looks to that moron as her hero? More than pathetic, absolutely unacceptable and nothing short of disgusting.

    And to anyone who says, “yeah but the Indians in Uganda were brought in by the British to build the railroads” I ask you, yeah and then what happened? Oh, right, they were the economic backbone of the country…. lovely. And how did black Ugandans feel about that? How did black Ugandans, who were made to be servants in South Asian homes, feel about that? Never mind that South Asians practiced racist and classist ideology, all along the post-colonial way.

    Reshma, you House Desi, you need to sit down and Chup Tha! Ikhras! Shut Up! How dare she come to the NetRoots Nation Conference and play that whole, “you don’t need to change your name” line, as if she’s down with the people. She is nothing but a House Desi. Shame on her. And shame on her for failing to examine how her personal history and settler colonial legacy, directly informs her pro-Israel stance. And shame on anyone who says, “She’s pro-Israel but… I still support her.”

    You know what bothers me most? She lives in the same city as a professor who shares her own history and lectures on Africa. All she needs to do is sit in one of his classes for a minute and learn about all of where she comes from, not just the parts that bring tears of joy to the creators and perpetuators of colonialism.

  5. What a joke! With all that money from Wall Street, South Asian Americans, and her vanity shows, she managed to get 19% of the votes.

  6. “What a joke! With all that money from Wall Street, South Asian Americans, and her vanity shows, she managed to get 19% of the votes.”

    Well, she ran on a pro-mosque platform at a time of anti-Muslim hysteria, when the entire ny dem establishment (except bloomberg) hid behind the first amendment.

    she’s also pro-wall st at a time of economic populism, forsaking even the safer position of quietly taking money from the street while simultaneously deploying anti-rich rhetoric to get votes.

    she’s ran an anti-populist campaign. populism is dangerous. it gave us jim crow and socialism. classical liberals called it tyranny of the majority. we need to rediscover elitism in American politics soon or else masturbation will be outlawed in delaware.

    more vanity shows please. Saujani-Bloomberg ’16 (I’ll let Bam cruise to victory in ’12 against Palin).

  7. “(I’ll let Bam cruise to victory in ’12 against Palin).”

    unless the rethuglicans wise up and run someone smart like petraeus. Rethuglicans are known to not be very wise though.

  8. “unless the rethuglicans wise up and run someone smart like petraeus. Rethuglicans are known to not be very wise though.”

    well…rove knows but its the puppets who pull the strings, as gail wynand discovered at the end.

    Bam is sitting pretty in the same space where Reagan and Clinton were almost 2yrs in. Good time to bottom-out as it gives unemployment 2 solid years to catch up to growth, as its a lagging indicator. bush I, in contrast, was peaking around this time.

    Meanwhile, the repubs are experiencing the dead cat bounce. of course the teabaggers will hurt them november but the net gain and short-term enthusiasm will create the illsuion of siuccess and viability.

    this, Bam hopes, will enable a palin nom in ’12, who will then get goldwatered like there’s no tomorrow, unless there’s double-dip, and even then i’m not betting on her. after that, the party wil turn to a grown-up and start treating their base the way Obama treats progressives: with utter and complete disrespect mixed with patronizing feel-good rhetoric to keep the children from wandering off.