First person: Resisting Trump's agenda is both exhausting and exhilarating

Lampooning Trump is easy. The more difficult task is to re-shape the culture that produced him. South Asians can play a role.

I have just returned from a rally. I’ve lost count of how many rallies I’ve been to in the past two months. For a working parent like me, juggling the demands of a job and family is challenge enough. Since the election of Donald Trump, though, a new source of pressure on my time has emerged: the imperative of civic participation. My email inbox is brimming with calls to action: campaigns to support, rallies to attend, elected representatives to call, postcards to write, and petitions to sign. It is exhausting, this daily judgment call about where to focus my attention apart from the usual and necessary commitments. But it is also in this heightened level of civic engagement that I have found the most comfort in recent months: for the first time since I came to the United States 25 years ago, I have a vivid sense of mass activism rather than activism in pockets. Witnessing a citizenry in motion is inspiring.

The most interesting aspect of what some have called the “resistance” is how dispersed and bottom-up it is. Countless neighbourhoods like mine (in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC) have come together and formed committees coordinating actions such as calls to legislators, rallies, postcard campaigns, and town halls. The causes range from immigrant rights, the environment, healthcare, reproductive rights, to public education. They are spurred by national coordinating efforts such as Indivisible, Swing Left, and Women’s March on Washington and countless facebook groups such as Pantsuit Nation. Many local actions are plotted in living rooms of friends and colleagues. And many are led by women. I have attended more potlucks in the past two months than I have in over a decade of living in the neighbourhood. And I have made more friends with strangers: just the other day, someone driving in another car on a highway waved at me because we were both wearing pink “pussyhats”– the signature symbol of the Jan 21 Women’s March.

Much of this activism feels raw and necessary to me as an immigrant. The news affecting immigrants and Indians under Trump’s administration has been especially bad – the travel ban on many Muslims, deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the restrictions on H-1B visas, the shooting of Indian-origin men in Kansas, Washington, and South Carolina. Many of us have noticed an uptick in xenophobic microaggression in public places: jokes about our “terrorist links”, questions about our citizenship, or just fewer smiles. The changing climate has been marked by several progressive South Asian organizations such as DRUM and SAALT, which are tracking hate crimes actively and organising a national summit on South Asians in a few weeks. In addition, new organisations such as Hindus for Justice are countering Islamophobia within the Indian diaspora. Their activists have a record of working in solidarity with other racial justice efforts in the country.

The existence of such organisations is a relief, but also I sense a subdued shock among many South Asians I meet. Not everyone feels secure enough to protest in this moment. I am sometimes only one of a handful of South Asians at rallies ranging in focus from immigrant rights to global women’s health to public education. Of course, not everyone has the means to protest, but I do sense that the online resistance to Trump is far more racially diverse than the crowd I see at rallies. Sticking out one’s neck can feel risky when police are questioning one’s immigration status in everyday and irrelevant situations.

To retreat or to commit?

For some Indians, the xenophobia we experience fuels a sense of not wanting to belong any more. A few weeks ago, someone I know from India turned down a promising job in a Midwest town after years of graduate training in the United States out of a worry that they would feel unwelcome. This is not a story I would have anticipated even a year ago. It makes me turn to activism with even greater ferocity – as if fighting harder for a country that turns against people like me will set things right. The internalised fear and experiences of exclusion call for making stronger claims to space. I feel a compulsion now, having a secure job and citizenship, to act in ways that are louder than one, to reach out to strangers, and to grow filaments of social connection.

Living in the Washington DC area makes some of this activism feel especially valuable. On Jan 21, when attending the March for Women alongside millions, I carried the names of 21 friends, including several in India, written on my hat – they asked to be represented in spirit. The “pussyhat” I wore was itself knitted by a circle of elderly women in California who could not be there in person. At recent rallies outside the White House, I have felt the satisfaction of knowing that my body adds to the numbers reported in stories about Trump’s besieged presidency. We are perhaps a part of the reason he feels compelled to run away to his resort in Florida every weekend.

What I want to say is this: if you live outside the United States, know that the level of resistance to Trump’s agenda is enormous and impressive. There is a new depth to civic engagement in this time, and it is an uplifting thing for anyone to behold. Legislators and governors are receiving unprecedented numbers of daily calls and mail; some are cancelling town halls for fear of being shouted at. It may not be news to you that the US president is unpopular on the left, but his declining popularity among even his supporters is historic. He is regularly and roundly criticized in major newspapers and television channels (with the exception of the most right-leaning outlets) and the butt of jokes on cartoon shows such as the Simpsons and award shows such as the Oscars.

Ultimately, though, lampooning Trump is easy. The more difficult task is to re-shape the culture that produced someone like him. For that task, we need immigrants claiming public spaces rather than retreating from them, questioning white supremacist narratives rather than reeling from them. So if you are living inside the United States, and if you are an Indian immigrant, I want to say this as well: speak up. As the Caribbean-American poet Audre Lorde once put it, “your silence will not protect you.”

Ashwini Tambe is Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park.

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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and Logitech X300 Bluetooth Speaker at 58% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.