Most trusted Name in the NRI media
Serving over 22 millions NRIs worldwide


Wall Street Journal recognises Indian American clout

New York, Aug 17, 2004

The clout Indian Americans in the United States are beginning to wield in the political arena has been acknowledged by the nationally respected Wall Street Journal.

In an article entitled "In the US, Indians Gain Political Clout" that was published Tuesday, the Journal interviewed Republican and Democratic leaders in the community, noting that both parties were courting the group that not only had household incomes way above the national average, but was among the most skilled and energised further by the post-9/11 backlash and discrimination.

The Journal's recognition comes on the heels of detailed coverage ethnically targeted papers like News India Times have given to the Indian American community before, during and after the formation of the Indian American Republican Council (IARC) and the Democratic National Committee's Indo-American Leadership Council (IALC).

The IALC has announced it plans to raise $2.5 million for the Kerry campaign and to seek high political offices if their candidate wins in November.

And the IARC has formed a special committee to organize a kick-off event dedicated to Indian American delegates and high level Indian American Bush Administration officials to be held in New York Aug 29, on the eve of the Republican convention.

The Wall Street Journal noted how during the Democratic National Convention, the chairman of the party, Terry McAuliffe thanked what the newspaper classified as "the nation's wealthiest ethnic minority group and a prime target for both parties in a closely fought election".

US Census data shows the median income of Indian American households in 1999 was $63,669, which is $21,700 above the national average, the Journal noted. And nearly 30 percent of the half-million American households have incomes above $100,000.

The numbers of fundraisers in both parties has increased substantially, the paper pointed out. From just Zach Zachariah, the Fort Lauderdale based cardiologist in the top Rangers for George Bush back in 2000, the Republican Party now has at least four Indian Americans in that exalted position of "Pioneers" that total just 300 overall.

The paper quoted Raghavendra Vijayanagar, the Tampa-based heart surgeon responsible for organizing several $2000 a-plate fundraisers for the president. Vijayanagar is founder and chairman of the Indian American Republican Council.

The Democratic National Committee in fact, formed the IALC just days before the Boston convention in a bid to formalise what Ramesh Kapur, a Massachusetts-based physician and businessman, had been urging for over a decade.

There were many more events specifically focusing on Indian Americans in Boston in contrast to just one informal one in Los Angeles in 2000.

News India Times calculated there were 55 South Asian Americans selected as delegates to the Boston convention, of which 48 or so were Indian American, five Pakistani and at least one Bangladeshi.

The Journal quoted Inder Sud, an adjunct professor of international affairs at George Washington University, as saying the community had become active now because the first major wave of Indian immigrants has assimilated.

But it was also the post-9/11 scenario. "The tightening of civil liberties...and the resultant discrimination by federal authorities has really impacted our lifestyles," Harpreet Singh, a Sikh Coalition co-founder, told the Journal.

"With the global war on terror, some Indian-Americans are worried that the US is becoming too close to Pakistan, which India accuses of sponsoring terrorism in the disputed region of Kashmir," the Journal said.

While according to some estimates, Indian American Democrats outnumber Republicans, the GOP is cornering the influential physicians' group, according to the Journal. Physicians worried about rising malpractice insurance costs.

"Some of the 38,000 Indian doctors in the US are particularly incensed by the addition of Senator Edwards, a former trial lawyer who made much of his fortune by suing physicians, to the Democratic ticket," the Journal contended, quoting Sharad Lakhanpal, the Florida-based physician who is past president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

However, News India Times encountered several physicians in Boston who said they supported Senator Kerry regardless of the malpractice insurance issue.


Any comments on this article or you have any news: Click here

Disclaimer will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. We reserve the right to edit comments that are published.