Engage in Politics: How To

Jasbina Ahluwalia

We have one final question here.

Caller Three asks Toby Chaudhuri, Co-Founder and CSO of SocialxDesign: Hi. Toby, thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions today. It was very helpful to hear your insights.

Earlier in the discussion, you mentioned the impact of the youth in Indian elections.

Engage in Politics: First Step

I’m very curious to know your insights on what the youth within the community can do to become involved in the upcoming US election aside from just going out and voting.


Toby Chaudhuri

Engage in Politics: Get Involved

That’s a great question. I’ll tell you first how Indian Americans are getting involved.

I was talking earlier about how activists are changing the conversation out there. There are other ways that Indian Americans specifically are beginning to move the dialogue.


Engage in Politics: Fundraise and Support

You are seeing many starting to lead in political fundraising. They’re starting to support candidates with their resources.

They’re challenging politicians who don’t support our values. We’ve seen this in a few different elections out there, both on the East and West Coast.

Indian Americans are mobilizing activists in their community. We’re recruiting and supporting strong candidates of our own. We should continue to be doing that.


Engage in Politics: Next Generation

Right now, we’re witnessing this new, exciting generation of leaders and candidates within the community gain popularity.

  • They’re gaining strength.
  • They’re operating with political sophistication that they’ve never had before.
  • They’re beginning to enjoy an expanded coalition that cuts across many different constituencies.

These are the different ways that we can transform America’s political debate, by putting forward these new priorities of how we can fix our troubled economy and reestablish our standing in the world.


Engage in Politics: Support Causes, Make the Call

In addition to voting, there are political ways to support causes.

There are campaigns to get involved in. If there is a candidate that you are particularly passionate about, it doesn’t hurt to just call up their headquarters and see how you can get involved in the conversation more deeply.

I saw this throughout my career, especially with Indian Americans in my household and the folks that I grew up with.

They saw the country go from peace to war. They saw it go from prosperity to recession, from relief to terror. Like other working families, Indian Americans paid a price.

We saw wages go down. We saw unemployment go up. We saw retirement security go down. We saw poverty go up. We saw parents who saw their school program scale back and college costs soar.

Among Indian Americans, these weekend dinner conversations about politics are from discussions about what’s needed to turn the country for our community.

There is no reason why we shouldn’t be having that discussion at that scale in bigger ways.

That experience that I saw in New Hampshire in 2004 is one that I saw replicated in places like Ohio, throughout the Midwest and certainly on the West Coast.


Engage in Politics: Formalize Discussion

There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be formalizing our own community discussions about what’s at stake in this election.

We know, for example, that what is at stake is the very survival of the philosophy that attracted many of our parents and peers to the US.

This American promise that if you work hard you can do well enough to raise a family, own a home and put a little away for retirement after a life of hard work.

It is important that we have that discussion in a formal way and that we make sure we are projecting what is important to us to the politicians who are supposed to lead us.


Engage in Politics: His Story

I will end with one anecdote. Throughout my career, I’ve seen many things.

Politicians don’t really lead the march. People do. People are what make the march go forward.

What happens is that politicians run to the front of the parade once that march is pulled together.

This is a moment for Indian Americans, especially our generation, a younger generation of NetIP members and participants, this is our time.

This is our chance to bring that together for us and to start our march, not in a Democrat way or a Republican way, but in a way that is meaningful for us, our families and our longevity. That’s what I think are the most interesting ways that we can get involved on a daily basis.


Tell Us:

Are you ready to engage in politics? What is the first step you are going to take? Tell us in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Toby Chaudhuri.

The entire interview transcript is at: Toby Chaudhuri NetIP (Network of Indian Professionals) Interview – Current State of Politics in US and India

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: NetIP Spotlight