American presidents

Watch a Hindu American group stage a 'jihad' dance to support Donald ('Parliament in Mumbai') Trump

When weird met bizarre.

You know a political rally that advertises itself as a “Coalition for a charity event to support Kashmiri Pandits, Hindu refugees, & other victims of terror” on the one hand and a “Bollywood/tollywood/musicial extravaganza” with “Music/masti/dance” on the other isn’t going to be your average event. That's what the Republican Hindu Coalition's-charity-event-cum-concert-cum-political-rally exactly was.

One of the sequences (video above) perfectly encapsulated the tone of the rally. Two pairs of romantic dancers are attacked by "jihadists" with light sabers from Star Wars, only to be rescued by US Navy Seals. Funny in a movie, but worrying when it finds its way to reality.

Hours before this rally on Saturday, Donald Trump appeared at another one in Maine, addressing mostly a crowd of white Americans and pledged to "unite America under one god". A line that the Presidential candidate has also taken in the past.

Shalabh Kumar, the founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition, who became one of Trump's biggest backers after "seeing his heart", perhaps chose to ignore this aspect and said, “Mr Trump is all about development, development, development; prosperity, prosperity, prosperity; tremendous job growth. And at the same time, he recognises the need to control the borders.”

Even posters advertising the event chose to ignore Trump's comments on immigrants.

In an interview before the rally, Kumar gave Trump a clean chit because his derogatory comments about women was "locker room talk" and there was "no proof" in a court of law. He also said that his support for Trump came from the fact that the Republican candidate addressed the "camel" in the room – terrorism.

“I am a big fan of Hindu, and I am a big fan of India,” Trump declared as his opening statement. (Not very well briefed, was he?) He then went on to place the Indian Parliament in Mumbai and said India and the United States needed to have unity because Hillary Clinton unleashed the ISIS.

"This is so important in the age of ISIS, the barbaric threat Hillary Clinton has unleashed on the entire world." The rest of his speech (video below) continued the usual bombast about making America great again, about the falling growth in the economy which he would fix instantly and so on.

The Hindu-Americans at the rally cheered when Trump said "radical Islamic terrorist", "crooked Hilary", and expressed a desire to "repeal Obamacare".

Play

Outside, Trump supporters heckled people holding posters that read "No More Trump/Modi rape culture" and "South Asians Dump Trump" in line with the Islamophobia of the rally. "You support Muslims", "You promote rape culture".

Here's what comments on social media had to say.

While most pointed out the absurdities of the event, a few seemed to be inspired by the song-and-dance quality of the Republican Hindu Coalition's rally.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.

Play

It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.