South-Asian Editors See GOP Gaining Ground in Community

By Sandip Roy
Pacific News Service

“Bury Bush in a Landslide” was the title of Achal Mehra’s editorial in the October issue of Little India magazine. Now the editor of Little India confesses that all people like him can do is “move on.”

Though recent polls confirm that Indian-Americans by and large lean Democratic like Mehra, Indian Republicans are growing rapidly in number. In Florida, Indian-American physician Zach Zachariah recently raised a million dollars for George W. Bush at a shrimp salad and steak fund-raiser. Sunil Adam, managing editor of India West weekly in San Leandro, attended the fund-raiser. He came away convinced that many Indians, especially professionals and entrepreneurs, are “fond of Bush” because “Republicans have been courting Indian-Americans and Indians want to be accepted by the mainstream.”

Most of the Indian publications say that as far as Indian-Americans were concerned, the issues facing the president-elect would have been the same, whether it was Bush or Kerry. Mehra of Little India lists them: “The so-called war on terror and racial profiling and the restrictive visa regime, which is reflected in major reduction of foreign students from India and China this year.”

Ashok Jethanandani, editor of India Currents monthly in San Jose, says the Indian-American business community will be looking to see how the new Bush administration will come to grips with the H1-B visa issue, which affects thousands of Indian immigrants especially in the hi-tech industry. The visa cap had been lowered to 65,000 last year. “I hear that the 65,000 quota for the coming year is already sold out,” says Jethanandani. “For one whole year people cannot get H1 visas. That’s a real problem, and the government has not announced any plans to change that.”

But the administration’s support for outsourcing pleases the business community. Amardeep Gupta, managing editor of Sunnyvale-based monthly Siliconeer, hopes that “a more liberal look on outsourcing” will enhance “the healthy relationship (USA) shares with India.” He hopes that though gay marriage, Iraq and security were the front-burner issues for this election, the Bush administration will now look closely “into the economic conditions (in Silicon Valley) and help the otherwise stagnant IT (information technology) industry get a boost.”

…As far as India is concerned, if Indian-Americans have one message for President Bush in his second term it is: “be stern with Pakistan and tell Pakistan that cross-border terrorism should stop,” says India Post’s Seth.

The perceived good relations between President Bush and Pre sident Musharraf ironically have placed Pakistani-Americans in a curious bind. “There are people who know President Bush and President Musharraf enjoy good relations and think his victory will benefit Pakistan, but there are other Pakistanis who think the Patriot Act has had really bad implications for Pakistanis in America,” says Akhtar M. Faruqui, editor of Pakistan Link, based in Southern California.

Faruqui hopes a second Bush term will “redress the grievances of the immigrant community, especially the human rights violations that took place after the induction of the Patriot Act.”

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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