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American Hindu Coalition: Another Hindu American organization that seeks to unify Hindus in America

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American Hindu Coalition
American Hindu Coalition

American Hindu Coalition members meet with White House political director Brian Jack. Credit: American Hindu Coalition Facebook Page

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — An organization launched by a group of influential Hindu Americans, the majority of whom are of Indian descent, aspires to emerge as a political platform for Hindus across the country regardless of their ethnic origin. In America, currently there are two prominent Hindu organization the Hindu American Foundation, rooted in advocacy and providing support to the victims of hate crime and the Republican Hindu Coalition, credited with the election and conversion of Hindu Democrats to Republicans in the 2016 election.

Now a third group seeks to unify the Hindu American community through political outreach to Democrats and Republicans. The American Hindu Coalition will not be formally inaugurated until May, but the group has launched a website and started raising funds online. The group’s leadership is comprised of Republicans, but will stress a bipartisan platform that will bring together Democrats, independents and anyone who believes in “Hindu enlightenment principles,” Shekhar Tewari, chairman of the organization, said.

“The primary aim of the AHC is to represent Hindus in America who are U.S citizens, not all of them from India. Hindu Americans are from all nationalities. Americans who have been here for five or ten generations also convert to Hinduism. We want to represent them as well,” Sue Ghosh, legal counsel for the AHC, told The Hindu.

Ghosh, an American-born Hindu, was an early and ardent supporter of President Donald Trump. She was charged by the Trump campaign with selecting delegates representing Maryland at last year’s Republican National Convention. Tewari has been an active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS which many claim is a right-wing political element in the complex landscape of Indian politics. Tewari  is also known publicly as an early supporter of the Republican Party.

He thinks the notion of being classified as “Indian American” does not bode well with the American populous.

“For the Hindus to be part of the mainstream of American politics, they have to give up this notion of being ‘Indian’ Americans. That signals mixed loyalties. Religion is constitutionally protected in America and that can be the legitimate the basis of organization,” he said.

The AHC says the organization is not to be confused with the Republican Hindu Coalition, which carries more of a party message.

“The RHC is limited to the Republican Party. We will reach out to Democrats and independents, whoever is willing to support our platform,” said John Jaggers, Strategic Advisor of the AHC.

The organization plans to open an office in the nation’s capital and appoint full-time staff to organize events with U.S. lawmakers, executive officials and regulators. “Limited governance and strong national defense are our priority. We believe in economic nationalism and we wish to invest in America and make America strong. On the other side we support strong national defense based on the principle of peace through strength,” Ghosh said. “And Hindu values are family values, that we support.”

The AHC will advocate strong strategic relations between the U.S and India, Ghosh said.

“There is a convergence between the two countries, both in terms of threats and interests,” she said.

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Miss India Manushi Chillar brings home the Miss World crown after 17 years

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NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Manushi Chhillar, a medicine student from Haryana, India won the crown for Miss World 2017, topping her competition to take home the coveted title.

20-year-old Chhillar, stunned by her own victory,tweeted:


It’s been 17 years since the country has won the title, according to the Miss India twitter account, and the sixth time an Indian woman has been crowned the winner. The last winner was none other than Bollywood actress turned American Network TV Star, Priyanka Chopra who tweeted:


Manushi couldn’t believe her win (Image: AFP)

Contestants from all over the world took part in the 67th Miss World beauty pageant, which was held in China.
Miss Mexico, Andrea Meza came in 2nd & Miss England, Stephanie Hill came in 3rd.

Miss India Manushi Chhilar (C) smiles as she wins the 67th Miss World contest final next to second place, Miss Mexico Alma Andrea Meza Carmona (L), and 3rd place, Miss England Stephanie Jayne Hill (Image: AFP)

Miss India Manushi Chhilar (C) smiles as she wins the 67th Miss World contest final next to second place, Miss Mexico Alma Andrea Meza Carmona (L), and 3rd place, Miss England Stephanie Jayne Hill (Image: AFP)

Congratulatory tweets soon followed:

Manushi beat her competition from 108 women representing their countries. Former Miss World Stephanie Del Valle, from Puerto Rico crowned, Manushi as per tradition.

ormer Miss World 2016 Stephanie Del Valle crowns Miss India Manushi Chillar as the new Miss World (Image: AFP)

ormer Miss World 2016 Stephanie Del Valle crowns Miss India Manushi Chillar as the new Miss World (Image: AFP)


The 20-year-old, whose parents are both doctors, said in an interview that mothers around the world deserve the highest salary of every profession. She added, “My mother has been my biggest inspiration, so I have to say, a mother’s job. It is not always about cash, but love and respect as well. A mother deserves that the most.”

Before her win, she said: “”The only thing I believe is certain in life is uncertainty, and this is what is amazing about the pageant.”

Manushi takes the coveted blue crown (Image: AFP)

Manushi takes the coveted blue crown (Image: AFP)

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Ravi Bhalla becomes the first turbaned Sikh American Mayor of Hoboken New Jersey

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Ravi Bhalla elected the new Mayor of Hoboken, N.J.

HOBOKEN, NJ (Diya TV) — Two term Hoboken City council member Ravi Bhalla became the first turbaned Sikh to be elected mayor of the city of Hoboken, New Jersey. Tuesday night, Bhalla was all smiles, thrusting his arm in the air to celebrate his victory becoming one of the first Sikh mayors of a U.S. city. Sikh-American lawyer with a record of fighting discrimination, Bhalla says, “I’m everything that Trump hates. A brown man wearing a turban, and a proud American with the know-how to stop his assaults on our country’s values.”

A victory that didn’t come easy. Bhalla ran against five other candidates in Hoboken, a city of 50,000. The Saturday before election, Bhalla tweeted that the fliers about terrorism were “troubling, but we won’t let hate win.” CBS News reported that the fliers did not name the group that paid for them, a violation of state election law.

The community celebrated in part disbelief and part joy.

Simran Jeet Singh, a friend and support of Bhalla and a fellow turbaned Sikh tweeted in disbelief

“Given how much we’ve endured in this country, and frankly the fact that we have been here for more than a century now in the U.S. and have felt largely ignored and neglected as a minority community, this is for us a signal shift, where we feel like we’re getting on the map. This is a major development for us,” Simran Jeet Singh, a religion fellow at the Sikh Coalition, said. “And it comes in a context where, like many minority groups, we’re facing xenophobia.”

Gurwin Ahuja, executive director of the National Sikh Campaign, said Bhalla is one of the first Sikh people to become mayor of a U.S. city. Satyendra Huja served as mayor of the city of Charlottesville, and some small towns have had Sikh mayors.

Ahuja said that whoever made the fliers implying that “turban” meant “terrorist” interpreted the turban completely wrong. “Sikhs are instructed to be actively involved in their communities…. In fact, the reason why Sikhs wear a turban is because it represents our value of equality and to stand up against injustice wherever we see it,” he said. “The turban represents our commitment to those values of equality — gender equality, racial equality and religious tolerance — and our duty to stand up for those rights. In India, back in the day, when people would see a Sikh, they knew that was someone they could go to for safety.”

Bhalla, finished first among six candidates in the winner take all race, with 4,781 votes with around 34% of votes. DeFusco totaled 4,116 votes, or approximately 29 percent, according to Hudson County Clerk election results, which do no include mail-in and provisional ballots.

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Abhijit Das planning to run for Massachusetts Congress

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Tyngsborough, Mass. (Diya TV) — Abhijit Das, the president and CEO of Troca Hotels announced he is running for the 3dr District Congress in Massachusetts.

The Democrat candidate made the official announcement on his birthday amidst friends, family and community members at the Stonehedge Hotel and Spa in Tyngsborough. The seat ib being vacated by Niki Tsongas in November, 2018.

“As most of you know, I’m not a fan of [President] Donald Trump,” Das said, adding that the unequivocal denunciation of hatred, bigotry and racism should be a prerequisite to running for president. “That notwithstanding, we should not demonize those who voted for him nor can we simply ignore their voices. It is by engaging other viewpoints that we ultimately achieve understanding, compromise and progress,” he said.

Das attended the Brooks School in North Andover and earned a BA in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont.

He later earned a law degree at the University of Michigan’s law school, focusing on constitutional law and the American political sector.

“It was there (at the University of Michigan) that I learned the power of democracy,” he said.

Early in his career, Das served as law clerk to U.S. District of Maryland Judge Benson Legg. There, Das said he was witness to the power of the federal government, its compassion and its injustice.

Before starting Troca Hotels in 2011, Das was senior director of development for Hilton Hotels in South Asia, resurrecting 28 hotels in India from none.

 With Troca Hotels, Das’ mission is to revitalize communities.

“Our state of the economy is troubling,” Das noted. “Something is not working and we need to fix that. We must work diligently to turn this place to one of opportunity and innovation.”

Das says his platform includes the economy, innovation, education and the mental health crisis, among other issues.

“Washington is broken. I entered the possibility of this race because I saw friends (on both sides) shouting at each other,” Das said. “True dialogue is what we need. We need someone who is going to cross over that line and say, ‘let’s talk.’”

 

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