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Indian-origin entrepreneur takes on Democrat firebrand

After Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren claimed she was part Cherokee, VA Shiva Ayyadurai has called 2018’s election a a battle between a “real Indian” and a “fake Indian”.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2017 22:52 IST
Yashwant Raj
Ayyadurai, who has four degrees from MIT, says he invested the email.
Ayyadurai, who has four degrees from MIT, says he invested the email.(vashiva.com)

VA Shiva Ayyadurai, an Indian American who says he is the inventor of email, is looking to unseat firebrand Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, with supporters calling next year’s election a battle between a “real Indian” and a “fake Indian”.

Warren had claimed, without evidence and to much derision, in her 2012 campaign for the senate she was part Cherokee, an American Indian tribe. She won that election, but has not been able to shake off the controversy about her heritage since.

Ayyadurai, a Republican, has slammed Warren on Twitter with the hashtag #FakeIndian and #RealIndian, with supporters calling him the “real Indian” who will unseat the “fake Indian” Warren, who has emerged as a leader of progressive Democrats.

He launched his campaign in February on Shivratri, tweeting, “Today, ShivaRatri, when Light overcame Darkness, we launched my campaign for US SENATE against @SenWarren. Defend the American Dream!”

His campaign has picked up steam since, including the support of former baseball star Curt Shilling, who warned Warren in a tweet: “Stay hot @elizabethforma (Elizabeth for MA), you’re going to get destroyed be (sic) by REAL Indian come election time.”

Ayyadurai, 53, came to the US from Mumbai with his family in 1970. “On my 7th birthday, in 1970, I left India and came to America: to this land of incredible opportunity,” he said on his campaign website.

In a section called “The All-American Indian”, Ayyadurai said, “I have lived the American Dream. I grew up playing baseball, playing soccer, having a paper route, while running my own small lawn mowing and snow shovelling businesses as a kid.”

While still in high school, in New Jersey, Ayyadurai, who was 14 then, says he developed an “electronic version of the old-fashioned interoffice paper mail system (inbox, outbox, folders, memo attachments etc)” and named it Email. In 1982, he received a US copyright for “Email”.

Ayyadurai went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned four separate degrees from the elite institution and now is now chairman and CEO of CytoSolve Inc, which says it has “developed the world’s first computational platform for scalable integration of molecular pathway models”.