Story May 12, 2014
India's 2014 Elections: Voices of the Diaspora
As the six week-long 2014 Indian general elections draw to a close, the country stands at a crossroads. The Indian National Congress, a party that has ruled India for all but 13 of its 67 years of independence, is predicted to lose its control of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, to the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, a party that is connected to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh a hindu nationalist organization. Narendra Modi, a politician with fierce supporters and fierce critics, is the candidate for the BJP. He's running a campaign that promises development, foreign investment, and a more business-friendly India. Many things in India may change with this transfer of power and the Indian electorate is optimistic that this election may signal an upswing in the country's economic growth and a shift in the way the government deals with widespread high-level corruption.
People all over the world have been closely monitoring this election. But one group in the United States is particularly invested in the outcome of the polling—the Indian diaspora. Members of this community have family in India and feel tied to the country through heritage, culture, and religion. Indian Americans are participating in the Indian electoral process like never before, sending money, calling relatives and friends, and even traveling to India to campaign for their favorite candidates and parties on the ground. Why are Indian Americans so invested in an election halfway around the world, and what does this involvement mean for the connection between the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy?
In this podcast, the diaspora speaks for itself, exploring these questions and more.