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Below: Nikki Haley with her father.

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Nimrata ‘Nikki’ Kaur Randhawa Haley:
Trump 2.0

FATEHPAL SINGH TARNEY

 

 

 


 



I preface this column by stating that I am not a Nimrata ‘Nikki Kaur Randhawa Haley (widely known as ‘Nikki Haley‘) admirer. This should be apparent from the title I have given to this column. I contend that Nikki Haley, as his ambassador to the United Nations, has sold her soul to Donald Trump in the interest of her long-term political advantage – and a future higher office.

To be fair, there are a few positions – a very few – that she has taken that I do approve of. She has, for example, been critical of the persecution of gay people in various parts of the world.

Nikki should also be commended for calling Russian meddling into the 2016 American election an act of “warfare.” Moreover, when Trump was criticized for ignoring the women who accused Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault, Nikki stated clearly that women who accuse men, including the President, of sexual misbehavior “should be heard.”

Trump was not always pleased with Nikki’s comments, but maintained – at least publicly – a good relationship with her, but complained about her privately.

Let us begin with Nikki Haley's ‘religion‘. Yes, she had two wedding ceremonies, a Sikh marriage ceremony and a Christian one. She is a Christian by her public proclamations in the recent years of her political career. She is a member in good standing of a Methodist church. According to our Rehat Maryada, a Sikh is a person who does not owe allegiance to any other religion. True, she remains proud of her Punjabi and Sikh heritage, which is a good thing, but she is not a Sikh. Her parents are devout Sikhs and her father wears a turban.

Nikki knew that she could not get very far in conservative Republican circles in South Carolina as a non-Christian. Only God and her conscience knows whether her conversion to Christianity was a meaningful one or one of political expedience. I am reminded of Henry of Navarre [Henry IV of France - King of France from 1589 to 1610 I.C.E.] who was baptized a Catholic, but raised a Protestant, but in order to be king of France had to renounce Protestantism and return to Catholicism. Henry was believed to have said: “Paris vaut bien une messe” -  “Paris is well worth a mass!” Returning to Catholicism had enabled Henry to gain the loyalty of most Frenchmen.

In a way, history, repeated itself with Nikki Haley. She also endeared herself to Trump's daughter, Ivanka, which probably helped her get her cabinet position as UN ambassador.

In 1996, Nikki married Michael Haley, I reiterate, with both Sikh and Methodist ceremonies. By the way, my wife, who worships with me at our south Florida Gurdwara, is also a Methodist. Nikki claims to be a devout Christian, but attends both Sikh and Methodist services. In 2014, she and her husband made a pilgrimage to the Harmandar Sahib during a visit to Punjab.

During an interview with a Christian magazine, she was inappropriately asked if she hoped that her parents would convert to Christianity. She replied, "What I hope is that my parents do what's right for them." I would have preferred for her to have said something more fearless like, “Sikhs respect Christianity. Therefore, Christians should respect Sikhism!”

Nikki supported Marco Rubio - not Trump - in the Republican primaries prior to the 2016 presidential election. When Rubio dropped out, she then supported Ted Cruz. When Trump became the Republican candidate, she said that she would vote for Trump, but was "not a fan."

Her first speech as UN ambassador, taking a page out of Trump's book, emphasized American financial contributions, and referred to the UN not as the “UN,” but as the “US/UN” as if money was everything.

I have no trouble with Nikki's and Trump's support for Israel. What I have trouble with is their unqualified support for any and all Israel actions. There are Jewish resistance groups in Israel opposed to its right-wing government's policies. The Trump administration conveniently overlooks these Israeli opposition groups.

In July 2017, after The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO] designated Hebron's Old City and the Cave of the Patriarchs as Palestinian territory and as endangered world heritage sites, Nikki called these decisions "tragic on several levels." This exemplified her and Trump's total bias against Palestinian interests at the cost of human decency.

In December 2017, Nikki warned UN members she would be “taking names” of countries that vote to reject Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. She wrote a letter saying that Trump and the United States would take such a vote very personally. In other words, agree with Trump or else! Nikki has even said that the UN has "bullied Israel for a very long time" and pledged that the US would end this unfair treatment.

Now, she is defending Trump's use of the term "Mission Accomplished" after the Syria raids despite the fact that we have no coherent, long-term strategy there, and have actually achieved little or nothing in the recent wave of much publicized bombings.

But she was clearly not on the same page as Trump when she recently announced new sanctions against Russia that Trump back-peddled on. She has been commended by some for snapping back and speaking out about her position when she was criticized by some of Trump's people ... as often happens in this tumultuous White House between members of the same administration.

Nikki Haley's political future is, of course, closely linked to Trump's floundering ship, so we shall see, won't we?


April 22, 2018
 

Conversation about this article

1: Inder Kaur (Buffalo, New York, USA), April 22, 2018, 9:57 AM.

That image you have up there is scary. Looks like one head growing out of the other. Gives new meaning to the expression, "joined at the hip"! Scary image ... scary people.

2: Ari Singh (Burgas, Sofis), April 22, 2018, 12:57 PM.

Nikki Haley is a star now; I respect her resolve to climb the political ladder. In the wider world, she is regarded with respect. As long as she is a good soul and human being, she is Sikh: this is Sikhism. Not delving into her past and present religious affiliations, genuine or forced upon her, etc., I predict that she will be President of USA within the next 2 elections :) I wish her success.

3: M Kaur (Canada), April 22, 2018, 9:07 PM.

As long as she is not anti-Sikh I see nothing wrong with her. I hope she becomes the next POTUS.

4: Fatehpal Singh Tarney (Boca Raton, Florida, USA), April 23, 2018, 5:23 AM.

Piarey Ari Singh ji, you have every right to admire Nikki Haley and to believe she will be president of these United States in the future. I have a different point of view. Moreover, I question your view that “As long as she is a good soul and human being, she is Sikh: this is Sikhism.” This suggests that good people of any religious persuasion are Sikhs. Would, for example, good Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others, accept that they are, in fact, Sikhs? I think not. Piari M Kaur ji, Nikki Haley not being anti-Sikh is a necessary, but insufficient qualification for POTUS. I and others are concerned about many of her ultra-conservative positions and her abiding support for Trump.

5: R Singh  (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), April 23, 2018, 9:31 AM.

She claims she is now a Methodist Christian ... so why discuss her here?

6: Amandeep Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), April 23, 2018, 12:03 PM.

T. Sher Singh wrote an article about her on sikhchic.com with title “Nikki Haley: Feeding Lions to the Christians" and narrates his thoughts after meeting her and her family at an annual Vaisakhi gala of the Centennial Foundation. Below are the few lines towards the end of the article which sums it all: “She has indeed sold her soul to win this Governorship. I know her distancing herself from her Sikh roots was a mere ploy to placate her bigoted detractors and that she doesn't really believe it. A lie of this magnitude is bound to destroy all the integrity one has within oneself. But that has never been a danger with politicians - we require them to leave their integrity at home, once they start on their political journeys. Nikki's has been a double lie. But I lay only part of the blame at her door. The rest of it is at the door of Southern Christianity and the South's warped brand of democracy which demand their politicians to be weaklings and unprincipled and prove their qualifications to the world by publicly declaring allegiance to their brand of Christianity. An abomination, I tell you, which would drive Jesus Christ to tears. And each of the founding fathers of the United States of America to spin in their graves. True, Nikki has failed us - and herself. And so has America! Our work as Sikhs - saint-soldiers - is cut-out for us. Instead of turning our guns at poor, weak, unprincipled Nikki - or our backs to her - we should concentrate on fighting this racial and religious bigotry that plagues America as pervasively as it does Hindu India, Muslim Pakistan, or the Jewish-Muslim Middle-East. There is nothing to rejoice for us in Nikki's election victory. There is nothing to rejoice for Americans or Republicans or South Carolinians or Southern Christians either, in Nikki's election victory. All it has done is expose the ugly under-belly of America. And how much we Sikhs have neglected the upbringing of our own children - how we have failed them at home”.

7: R Singh  (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada), April 23, 2018, 2:30 PM.

Not only is she not Sikh she registered as 'white' to get votes ... I saw this on Facebook, don't know if it is true.

8: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, USA ), April 23, 2018, 4:44 PM.

In response to #6, I would like to add that when Nikki Haley went to The Darbar Sahib in Amritsar after 40 years, a reporter asked her for the reason for her changing her religion. She responded that at the gurdwara with her parents she was unable to understand any word due to Punjabi, but in church she was able to understand everything. Who is responsible for this situation?

9: M Kaur (Canada), April 23, 2018, 7:30 PM.

Fatehpal Singh ji, I understand your concerns, and #6 Amandeep ji, I know what you are saying about integrity and being true to oneself. However everyone has the right to 'choose' their own religion and not just be bequeathed it at birth. I think in order for Sikhs to survive and thrive it is strategically important for us to have 'Sikh-friendly' friends in high places. I am hopeful with her background Nikki will be one of those. We need to cultivate our relationship with her and not reject or condemn her. She has done nothing wrong towards us and her emotions at Darbar Sahib speak volumes. We do not live in a perfect world and no human being is perfect. If we want to change the world then we need power and influence, and one avenue is through strong and powerful allies. As they say, 'no man is an island' and neither are the Sikhs.

10: Graham Tottenham (London, England), April 24, 2018, 8:52 AM.

The issue raised in this article is not whether Nikki Haley is Sikh or not, or to what extent she is so. The point being made is that her turning to Christianity for political gain doesn't give her permission to slide into supporting criminal behaviour, as is evidenced by her performance as the front-person for Trumpian criminalities in the international arena. This makes her as culpable for Trump's fraud, incompetence and wrongdoings as he is. Surely, having been raised as a Sikh, she could do better.

11: Sandeep Singh Brar (Canada), April 24, 2018, 10:05 AM.

We have some amazing Sikh role models who are achieving new heights in the political arena without being shamed into scrubbing their Sikh religious identity for political expedience. Let us focus on them instead of an extremist right-winger with no moral compass. No doubt she will be in the running as a republican nominee for President in a future election; that has been her sole pursuit for years. Trump 2.0 indeed.

12: Roop Singh (Canada), April 24, 2018, 11:34 AM.

9: M Kaur ji - I understand your point that strong and powerful allies are necessary. The Sikhs sacrificed so much for the British during the world wars and currently contribute so much in the U.K. But were the British not advising and assisting India during Operation Bluestar? We need allies, but I think we would be better served by those who share our values. I also believe that as long as you are a minority, you matter only at the ballot box. Not challenging your thoughts, but just saying how I feel.

13: Amandeep Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), April 25, 2018, 10:46 AM.

@ #9 M Kaur ji: I am nowhere in my opinion addressing why a few Sikhs are converting into Christianity or Christians converting into Sikhism. Moreover, I believe ‘One cannot be born a Sikh - You have to become One.’ The point I am making is that people use religion or convert to a different religion for personal convenience. I am sure she could have sought answers to her questions in Hinduism, Judaism or Islam - but she very well knew that to get a higher office in South Carolina, she would have to convert into Christianity, if she has to reach somewhere on that ladder in southern US, and therefore the entire makeover from Nimrata to Nikki and a Sikh to a Christian.

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