“I’m Here for the Sunderkand Katha”: Outtakes From the Republican Hindu Coalition's Donald Trump Event

21 October 2016
For all its fanfare, the Republican Hindu Coalition's Donald Trump event failed to impress Indian Americans—some of whom appeared to be there for the evening's entertainment instead.
NIHA MASIH
For all its fanfare, the Republican Hindu Coalition's Donald Trump event failed to impress Indian Americans—some of whom appeared to be there for the evening's entertainment instead.
NIHA MASIH

On 15 October, in the loading bay of the New Jersey Convention Centre, amongst a mess of cables, broadcast vans and catering trucks, a white stretch limousine with the license plate AVG One cut an incongruous sight. Its owner, Shalabh Kumar, who goes by the moniker Shaili, is a portly man with white hair and vintage spectacles. That day, Kumar, stood in front of the gleaming limo, wearing a blue suit, red tie and black, heeled shoes. Two diamond-encrusted brooches—one in the shape of his initials SK, and the other in that of an Om—were pinned to his lapel.

Kumar is a Chicago-based businessman who owns AVG Advanced Technologies, a multi-million dollar electronics company. He was the organiser of the event I was in New Jersey to attend—an awkward yoking-together of moderately successful Bollywood celebrities to raise funds for Hindu victims of terror in South Asia, headlined by the Republican candidate for President of the United States, Donald Trump. In 2015, Kumar founded the Republican Hindu Coalition to get Hindu Americans on the policy making table on Capitol Hill.

Niha Masih Niha Masih is an independent journalist and photographer based in New York, focusing on politics, social justice and conflict reportage. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, she was a correspondent at NDTV. She tweets @nihamasih.

Keywords: diaspora Hindu New Jersey election Indian-American Donald Trump US Presidential Election 2016 Republican Hindu Coalition Hindu American
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