Dancing terrorists. Hillary Clinton and Sonia Gandhi with devils horns. Promises about quicker green cards. As bonkers as American presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign has been, the Republican has also inspired equally weird responses and Saturday's Hindus For Trump event in New Jersey did not disappoint.
There were already signs early on that Trump, whose campaign has spouted bigoted, misogynistic and Islamophobic commentary, would find much in common with the Hindu Right in India. A tiny organisation called the Hindu Sena even held a hawan for Trump in New Delhi, leading to general hilarity when the Daily Show discovered them.
But this wasn't just fringe outfits in India seeking publicity. An actual organisation aiming to speak for Hindus within the Republican party started organising support for Trump, and even depicted him as Vishnu.
Their big moment was to be an extravaganza in New Jersey, featuring film stars and musicians from India and a special appearance by Trump himself. And to get people going, they put out a poster that just about tells you everything you need to know about the Hindus for Trump movement.
In case you're not sure what's going on, that poster shows Trump's opponent, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Congress President Sonia Gandhi with devil horns yelling 'Get Modi.' It features Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing a kurta that has, in blood, the words 'Hillary Clinton Behind 'Get Modi' Plan'.
There's a burning train supposed to represent the Gujarat riots of 2002, when Modi as chief minister was unable to prevent hundreds killed in communal carnage. To the bottom left there are ski-masked commandos and, letting things get particularly weird, there is a faux detective at the bottom-right, with the words "Hillary's NGOs" emblazoned on his sleeve, while he uses a magnifying glass to peer at skeletons of what appear to be buffaloes.
A flyer handed out at the event explained this in full detail, with the added perk of including attribution: The Asian Tribune and NewsX.
The event itself appeared to be quite something. It began with a regular list of film world appearances, including Prabhu Deva. Then came videos of Anupam Kher and Sri Sri Ravishankar.
In addition to the dancing and singing there was also one particularly odd skit featuring ballroom dancers being interrupted by lightsaber-wielding men in masks yelling what can only be described as Arabic-esque sounds, only to themselves be attacked by dancing commandos. No seriously.
The Republican Hindu Coalition's founding chairperson Shalabh Kumar then came on stage to introduce Trump, while claiming that the Republican candidate – one whose poll planks involves keeping people out of America – will make green cards easier to come by.
This was followed by Trump himself, who gave a standard speech about taxation and his promises about using "extreme vetting" to keep dangerous Muslims out of the country. Trump also included references to Modi and his love for India and its Hindus.
Trump reiterated this feeling in an interview to NDTV earlier in the day, saying he loves India and its Hindus, prompting Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith to conclude that what Trump would really like is to be America's Modi.
This was borne out by scenes outside the event, and the some astute commentary on Twitter.
Correction & Clarification: An earlier version of the piece misidentified Ben Smith as Buzzfeed News' political editor. Smith is Editor-in-Chief, BuzzFeed.
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