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
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
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
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
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
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
"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.