Obama’s Desi Geek

The Obama transition team this week announced that Sonal Shah has been selected to work on technology policy for the new administration (CNet News). Shah, an investment banker and public policy professional, is prominent within the Indian-American community not only for her work in Goldman-Sachs and the Google Foundation, but as a fund-raiser and community organizer for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, a well-known Hindu Right hate group in India which propagates violent pogroms and genocide against minority communities in India.

See these pieces raising alarm bells in the past few weeks in the Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Hindu.

As an Indian-American who has worked with social movements “back home” and against the organised disinformation of the Hindu Right within the diaspora, this is highly alarming, and another huge goof for Obama, whom I voted for as I bought the line that he was a fellow desi. Homeboy, this ain’t right. For a deep exploration of Shah’s many faces in her role as Obama’s Indian, read Vijay Prashad’s piece in Counterpunch. You may also want to see and sign this petition by Progressive Women of Color to give Sonal Shah’s job to someone with stronger democratic and humanitarian commitments back in the old country.

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