Journal of International and Global Studies


This essay aims to foreground the types and patterns of political participation of Asian Indians in the US and the change and continuity thereof since migration of the community began in significant numbers in the 20th century. It shows how immigration reforms and citizenship laws prevented the community, for over half a century (until at least 1965), from achieving a demographic critical mass, which is a crucial factor in becoming an effective player in the political system of the US, and the community’s reaction to these restrictions. Surveying the political participation of Indian Americans since the years prior to India’s independence in 1947, the essay illustrates how the community could be an example of transnational activism and long distance nationalism even before these terms became fashionable in academia. In the light of various activities of Indian American organizations, including fund-raising for some of the past elections and the creation of congressional caucuses, the essay examines how a diasporic ethnic community sought to make its voice heard in electoral politics in spite of being numerically insignificant, accounting for 2.8 million in the 2010 census, which is only 0.9% of the total population. The community’s efforts at lobbying US Congress are seen in the context of diasporic mediations in international relations, a subject increasingly attracting scholarly attention. The essay concludes with an assessment of the political activism of the Indian community.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.