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the making of bobby jindal June 23, 2008

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, comedy, politics, race, religion.
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details magazine:

When Bobby Jindal was 12, a Southern Baptist friend named Kent gave him a paperback Bible for Christmas. Jindal was disappointed, not least because the Bible was engraved with his name and thus unreturnable. “I was raised in a strong Hindu culture, attended weekly pujas, or ceremonial rites, and read the Vedic scriptures,” Jindal wrote in a 1993 article in America, a Jesuit magazine, one of many religious essays he published in the early nineties. “I considered myself anti-Christian,” he wrote in another piece; elsewhere, he confided that he thought Christians worshipped fish (“in the same way that many Westerners think Hindus worship cows”). The Bible went into a closet, and might have remained there had Jindal not sneaked away with a girl from a high-school dance at a Baton Rouge hotel.


meet bobby jindal…louisiana’s new governor October 21, 2007

Posted by KG in news, politics, race.
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In a widely expected victory Saturday night, Bobby Jindal, a 36-year old Republican congressman, won the Louisiana gubernatorial election, becoming the nation’s first governor of Indian-American descent and the youngest chief executive of any state.

Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants, is generally acknowledged to be an ambitious policy whiz kid. An Ivy League-educated Rhodes Scholar, he was appointed head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the state’s largest agency, at the tender age of 24. At 28, he was tapped to head one of Louisiana’s university systems. Two years later, he served in the Bush Administration as an assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services. He first ran for governor in 2003 at the age of 32, losing by a mere four percentage points to current Democratic governor Kathleen Blanco.

Following his defeat in 2003, Jindal ran for and won the congressional seat in Louisiana’s first district. Since then, the staunch conservative — who converted from Hinduism to Catholicism as a teenager — has traveled often to northern Louisiana, hitting up churches and pressing the flesh. The strategy appears to have worked, as Jindal handily won the areas he lost to Blanco four years ago and that heavily supported white supremacist David Duke’s bid for the governorship in 1991.


“All the relatives are gathering at our ancestral home, and it’ll be a big party for all our friends and family,” the U.S. politician’s cousin, Subhash Jindal, said by telephone from the family’s hometown in Maler Kotla, a town in northern India’s Punjab state.

Bobby Jindal, 36, has not visited his ancestral home for more than three decades — but that has not hampered the joy in Maler Kotla.

The family planned to celebrate with a traditional Punjabi bhangra folk dance to the beat of drums called dhols, setting off firecrackers and enjoying sweets, said another cousin, Harinder Jindal.

When the governor-elect, born Piyush Jindal, was 4 years old, he asked his parents to call him Bobby, after the youngest son on a then-popular U.S. family television show called “The Brady Bunch.”


The ascendancy of the Brown- and Oxford-educated Mr. Jindal, an unabashed policy wonk who has produced a stream of multipoint plans, is likely to be regarded as a racial breakthrough of sorts in this once-segregated state.

A born-again Roman Catholic, Mr. Jindal made a particular campaign target of these areas, visiting them frequently and bringing his brand of devout Christianity to their rural churches. His social-conservative message — teaching “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolution in public schools, a total ban on abortion, repealing hate-crimes laws — would have been welcome in these areas.

perspective from sepia mutiny here and here

not to be a downer: while it’s definitely good news that jindal is the first nonwhite to become governor of louisiana since the 1870’s, i find it interesting that most articles seem to fetishize his ethnicity. i suppose it’s bound to happen, but it’s ironic coming from indian-americans who ordinarily would never support his politics. i guess rooting for one’s own team, so to speak, is a powerful force and also a phenomenon i find unendingly stupid. let’s judge him on his merits and not get carried away with his success just because his photoshop shade swatch matches yours.