Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Did I Leave Out Job-Stealing?

Get ready for the latest allegation from Businessweek's Mehul Srivastava:

The Evil Job-Stealing Urine-Drinking Wife-beating Hindoo Menace!

In the 15 years since the H-1B began, a strong U.S.-based Indian diaspora has emerged, in part because of the visa program, to become one of America's most successful minority groups. It has also become politically powerful within India. Many Indians in the U.S. are strong supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party, leader of the opposition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government; U.S.-based Indians often make donations to BJP causes and lobby through its parent body, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (Global Alliance of Hindus). Courting nonresident Indians has been a consistent fundraising tactic for the BJP and VHP, especially since a large proportion of the Indian diaspora in the U.S. comes from Gujarat, a state north of Mumbai where the BJP holds power and is more popular than elsewhere in the country.

So as news trickled in about the provision in the stimulus bill, political groups in India swung into action. The VHP first asked India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to see if he could arrange for Indians losing their H-1Bs to have more than the regulated 30 days to leave the U.S., allowing them to sell their houses and settle their affairs with more flexibility. A spokesman for Mukherjee says no action has been taken on that letter.

Call for a Boycott

Then, the VHP decided on a more popular approach, calling for Indian consumers to boycott the goods of 14 U.S. multinationals. Praveen Togadia, general secretary of the VHP, declines to share the list of the companies the group plans on targeting. He says a boycott is justified. "If these policies hurt Indians abroad, then we have to take steps to hurt American companies in India," he says. "The reaction must be strong, or else who knows if the legally resident Indians in the U.S. are one day thrown out."

Unlike the BJP, the Indian government is trying to take a less confrontational approach, with New Delhi taking what the Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry calls a "holistic view" of the visa issue.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, classic subterfuge - lumping H1-B holders who are predominantly from AP, Karnatak and Tamil Nadu with older generation of Indian immigrants. Before advent of H1-B program Gujaratis immigrants outnumbered non-Gujaratis and they may be termed as "BJP supporters" but cannot say the same thing about IT professionals. Tamil Nadu and AP are hardly the bastion of BJP.
I think anti-BJP propaganda comes reflexively to all Indian journalists.

siva said...

“Holistic view” is UPA’s euphemism for bend over and hold your knee.

Arvind said...

A large proportion of H1-B visa holders are not from Gujarat. Most of them are from Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu.

VHP's call for boycott is unlikely to strike a chord with the H1-B visa holders. These are mostly problem solvers who deal as individuals with whatever situations arise in their lives. Blaming others for their predicament and acting as a group in response to a call by a leader is a typically leftist behavior. Neither VHP nor the journalist understand this. The fact that the journalist thinks that this will appeal to H1-B visa holders and the call has set alarm bells ringing in his head is amusing. You can safely bet that most NRIs in the US neither know nor care about such boycott calls.