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'Limbaugh denigrated Indian citizens by calling them slumdogs'

Aziz Haniffa in Washington D.C | April 17, 2009 01:16 IST

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The new Indian American Republican Council chairman Dino Teppara and its long-time board member and strategist Suhail Khan -- a former senior Bush Administration official -- contacted by India Abroad / for a reaction to the garrulous conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who insulted Indian workers who undertake outsourced jobs by American companies as 'slumdogs,' issued a carefully worded, restrained and cautious statement.

But the new vice chairman of the IARC, long-time community activist Dr Sambhu Banik, had no such qualms, describing Limbaugh -- who has a following of millions of loyal right wing conservatives -- as a "demagogue" for what he called his "outright insulting" statements about Indian workers.

Meanwhile, as expected, Indian American Democratic activists like Toby Chaudhuri slammed Limbaugh and also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Limbaugh's favorite politician, Louisiana Governor Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal, whom Limbaugh, believes is the reincarnation of former President Ronald Reagan and strongly pushed for as a running mate of Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain [Images], during the 2008 elections, and since has said would be the best GOP presidential contender to take on President Barack Obama [Images] during the 2012 presidential elections.

Even though other conservatives panned Jindal for his lukewarm response to Obama's recent address to a joint session of the Congress, Limbaugh was the only leading conservative to praise Jindal's rebuttal.

Teppara and Khan, in issuing the IARC's statement, said, "Rush Limbaugh made an inappropriate comment and denigrated citizens of India."

"More jobs have been created in the US by Indian investments than jobs allegedly outsourced to India," they said in their statement and added, "Business processing is utilised by many Indian American information technology firms, allowing job creation in both countries, leading to increase productivity and mutual economic growth."

The statement said, "Furthermore, Americans of Indian origin are well educated, industrious, and entrepreneurial. We are proud to be a job-creating business community in America."

Teppara and Khan argued in the IARC statement that "since the 2004 presidential campaign, labour unions and their backers in the Democrat Party have constantly singled out India and maligned its workforce regarding outsourcing."

They lamented that "it is disappointing for us to see an intelligent conservative like Rush Limbaugh take this propaganda bait."

"As Americans of Indian origin and proud conservatives, we believe in creating jobs right here at home, keeping the tax base low, reforming legal immigration laws, and maintaining a strong national defence. We support a strategic alliance between the US and India," the statement said. "We hope that in the future, Rush Limbaugh will continue to promote these values and maintain a civil dialogue at the same time."

But Banik, did not pull his punches and told India Abroad / that Limbaugh was "a demagogue" and his comments were "utter demagoguery" and said "they are not only inappropriate and insensitive, but it is also outright insulting to the highly accomplished Indians and Indian Americans."

He argued that "outsourcing has helped America more than it has done India," and said, "India's economy is strong and it is heartening to note that car sales have increased in India whereas car sales have plummeted in the US."

"Rush Limbaugh, as his name implies tends to 'rush' his comments and judgments without proper facts or information," Banik said.

"He wants to get cheap publicity. He needs more education about India and outsourcing. It appears that some Democrats and persons like Rush Limbaugh will use India as a scapegoat for America's economic and moral decline," Banik added.

Limbaugh, who fashions himself as the new 'face' of the Republican Party has been known for his misogynist comments, prejudiced opinion on African Americans, insensitive remarks about the physically disabled and incendiary comments on homosexuals, and this is only the tip of the iceberg in a long list of his obnoxious behaviour and insulting rhetoric.

On April 10, Limbaugh viciously insulted India and her citizens, inanely referencing the Danny Boyle [Images] smash-hit film Slumdog Millionaire [Images] to make his point. "There's a reason (these jobs) aren't coming back," he said. "They're outsourced for a reason, an economic reason, and they're not coming back," he told a caller named Terry from Ohio. "If you're sitting out waiting for a job that's now being done by a slumdog in India, and you're waiting for that job to be cancelled, for the slumdog to be thrown out of work, and you to get the job, it ain't going to happen. It's not the way economics work," Limbaugh said.

Chaudhuri, communications director of Campaign for America's Future, told India Abroad /, "The foolishness of such diatribes, on the part of someone recognized as the leading voice of the modern Republican party, points to the party's dire intellectual straits."

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