Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama Advisor Linked To "Hindu Extremists"

There are disturbing questions being raised about Sonal Shah, an Indian American economist and Google big whig, who is also an advisor on President-Elect Obama's transition team.

Vinod K. Jose, in an article entitled ""Obama Advisor's Disturbing Affiliations In India", explains that Sonal is linked to a Hindu extremist group.

Jose writes:

The economist of Indian origin on President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team, Ms. Sonal Shah, has one dubious credential on her resume--her relationship with the Hindu extremist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). This militant group was held responsible for the genocidal pogroms against Muslims in the western Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 that killed 2,000 people and rendered 100,00
homeless. Ms. Shah was the "National Coordinator" for the VHP in North America. So the lingering question is: why hasn't the Obama team vetted enough on Ms. Sonal Shah's Hindu extremist connections?
Read the rest of the article here.

Sonal Shah denies that she is connected to "Indian right wing organisations like RSS and VHP" according to a report in

Professor Vijay Prashad who wrote the excellent monograph "The Karma of Brown Folk", is chief among those raising questions about Sonal Shah's extremist connections. See his article entitled "Obama's Indian" for additional discussion of Sonal Shah.


HT to Prasanth for bringing the excellent webjournal Counter Currents.Org to my attention.

Picture Credit


Dade said...

Fire her!

Ridwan said...

I hear you brother ... and Google should review her employment status too if she cannot clear the allegations.

Professor Prashad is no light weight academic and one should take his view seriously in this matter.

Peace Dade,

Prasanth said...

You have raised a most pertinent issue.The fundamentalist branches of the The Hindu right-wing are making very powerful inroads into the growing Indian community in the USA. Of course there they masquerade as promoters and protectors of "pure Indian" culture and play on the vulnerabilities of migrants who see American culture corrupting the traditions of Indian life.

Of course the irony here is that their brethren in India(the BJP which was in power for 7 years in the previous decade) played a most significant role in aligning India's interests with those of the USA, a process which still continues(In a unique moment, India's PM told George Bush last month that "The people of India deeply love you".)

Professor Martha Nussbaum in her book, "The Conflict Within" has chronicled the influence of the fundamentalist RSS and other organizations and people sympathetic to them in the American academia. These efforts include vicious attacks on those academics who "denigrate" Indian culture(a most conveniently amorphous category).

It is ironic again that Sonal Shah's rise happens in the same organization which is led by,among others, Re. Nancy Pelosi who was vocal in criticizing China's record in Tibet. The RSS,the VHP and its minions practice a similar brand of cultural politics seeking to ruthlessly eliminate all diversity and "design" a monolithic, chauvinistic Hindu society.

But end of the day, I don't think it really matters to the Obama transition team. So..


Ridwan said...

Hi there Prasanth. Thanks kindly for your insightful comment.

I think you are right that Shah is probably not too important to Obama.

He will distance himself. Most Americans, even those who voted for Obama, could care less about the issues that Shah represents.

It is one of the ironies of the American empire, that is, most of its people are absolutely ignorant about global issues.

Be well brother.


ps. I have added your blog to my "notable blogroll." :0)