Bhagavad Gita (mid 19th century)
ink, opaque watercolour and gold paint on paper, cotton and cardboard cover, stitched binding
9.8 × 16.8 cm (page) 11.0 × 17.4 × 3.8 cm (closed) 11.0 × 35.0 × 1.9 cm (open)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1965
Photo: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Battling Dominant Narratives: Struggles of a Critical Hindu American

Indu Viswanathan, Ed.D.
14 min readNov 19, 2019


It was somewhere in the first few minutes of watching the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s hearing on Jammu and Kashmir that the dangers of contemporary American progressivism sank even deeper into my gut, and I felt acutely party-less, unrepresented, and knowingly silenced in the name of human rights.

Let me be clear, because as a Hindu American caught in the insufferable binary of American socio-political posturing, I apparently need to say this. I will never support Donald Trump, I will never vote for him, and I will never endorse him. I believe he spewed forth from the most heinous mechanisms of white supremacist patriarchal capitalist entitlement and violence that exist in this nation. I don’t agree with him and I don’t trust him, even when he says seemingly positive things about India or Prime Minister Modi or Hindus. I have been a card-carrying member of the Democratic party for twenty-six years now. It is, by no means, a perfect party. I am well aware of the issues. But it has never even crossed my mind to “vote Republican”, or to support any public servant who speaks or works against what I perceive to be the highest ideals of any government. This includes: honoring the Earth and all its creatures, protecting the most vulnerable people, standing up against bigotry of any kind, valuing pluralism and dissent, and enacting innovative policies that directly address the harm and inequity caused by the very institutions meant to sustain and nurture our society and planet. I left finance and became a public school teacher early on in my career because of these very ideals — because I felt I needed to live them in order to be in my integrity. And I will continue to be a Democrat because I still maintain hope that this party is where these ideals — often overlapping with the goals of social justice — are most possible.


One of the weakest and most violent edges of the party is its foreign policy, and this is where I’ve long felt immense turmoil and disenchantment. As a transnational American, I am keenly aware of how the narcissism of the world’s wealthiest nation is dangerous and oppressive.

But members of the Democratic party — both those in office and those running for office — at all levels — are making it clear that…



Indu Viswanathan, Ed.D.

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