New York: Given Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's strident anti-immigrant stance, he surprised a lot of Americans by declaring that he is a "big fan of Hindu." The sudden declaration of fandom was meant to soften up Hindus for votes, but Trump is going to be royally rebuffed on Election Day by South Asian millennials who say they see through him.
A galaxy of young South Asian celebrities, actors, writers, comedians and musicians are spearheading a campaign called #VoteAgainstHate. They have released a video that has gone viral pleading with the older generation to vote against "hate-mongering" Trump. The video captures how Arish Singh, a Sikh-American protestor was tossed out of a Trump rally in Iowa. Egged on by Trump, the thrilled crowds chanted "USA!" as Trump made a barbed hat joke at the turban-wearing businessman's cost.
"Bye, bye," Trump mocked the Sikh man as he was unceremoniously ejected from the arena.
Indian-American actress Sheetal Sheth who lends her celebrity to the "Vote Against Hate" video which has picked up 3.5 million views makes no secret about who she supports. Sheth, who has hits such as ABCD, I Can't Think Straight, The World Unseen, American Chai and Indian Cowboy, has urged her large fan base drawn heavily from South Asians and millennials to vote for Clinton.
"Hillary is running against a man, who is so unabashedly misogynistic, narcissistic, hypocritical, and adolescent; he, himself, a proved champion of superlatives wouldn't be able to come up with enough words to thoroughly describe the embarrassment he is," wrote Sheth who has been blogging fast and furiously this year in support of Clinton.
"Not one living President thinks Hillary's opponent is fit or qualified to be President. This from men from both sides of the aisle who have actually done the job," blogged Sheth.
The South Asian community has been stung by Trump's penchant to brand completely innocent members of the community terrorists. Trump has gunned for Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin and floated conspiracy theories about her terrorist ties in press interviews. "Today Trump is calling Huma Abedin a terrorist. Why because she is brown? She has an Indian father and a Pakistani mother so Trump just brands her a terrorist! It is outrageous," said Virat Kumar, a young New Yorker.
"This is the kind of dangerous terrorist name calling that gets Sikhs beaten up for wearing a turban or an Indian manning a deli racially abused by customers for having a brown face. Trump is fanning ignorance and hate by making everything about race."
Abedin, who has been swept up in the swirl of controversy regarding Clinton's emails, has been raised by two moderate Muslim intellectuals. Abedin's late Indian father, Syed Zainul Abedin was born in New Delhi. He received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania as a Middle eastern scholar. Abedin's Pakistani mother is an associate professor of sociology.
The Republican Hindu Coalition which tried belatedly to rally support for Trump by organizing a Bollywood style flight of fancy in Edison in October has come out with a salacious ad for large Indian broadcasters in the United States like Star TV, Zee TV, TV Asia and other networks.
"Huma Abedin is of Pakistani origin and will become chief of staff if Hillary Clinton wins," declares the political ad aimed at Indian American voters. The Republican Hindu Coalition has also reportedly sent out some 65,000 flyers in the mail with the same message.
"The South Asian community has everything to fear from Trump and his supporters. They stoke divisions," said Anjali Biswas, a philosophy major at New York University.
"Trump is a plain racist. And yet sadly, he finds pockets of support in our own Indian community. That is stunning. But we are not fooled," said Biswas. "Young people from the South Asian community are all voting for Hillary."
The Indian American community "overwhelmingly leans Democratic, with 70 percent planning to vote for Hillary Clinton compared with 7 percent for Trump, according to the most recent polls," reported The Washington Post.
First Published On : Nov 6, 2016 14:55 IST