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February 2011
Readers Write

Krishnan proves one man can make a difference

Thanks for the wonderful and inspiring story about Narayanan Krishnan (“Listening to the voice inside,” January), who was one of the CNN Top 10 Heroes in 2010.

Can one man make a difference?  Yes, he can and Mr. Krishnan has proved vividly that if one has the courage, determination, enthusiasm, motivation and will, anything can be achieved.  He deserves the highest accolades for sacrificing his “golden career” to serve the needy and destitute.  He is a modern version of Mother Teresa, who gave up everything to serve people in need.

I hope this story will open everyone’s eyes. If we start doing our part then there will be no hunger in the world.  If Mr. Krishnan can do it single-handedly then we all can do it.  

Congrats, Mr. Krishnan—you have made all Indians proud!  We wish you all the best in your philanthropic endeavors and pray for your continued success.  Keep up the good work.

Hussain H.

Birmingham , Alabama

The measure of true spiritual wealth

“Listening to the Voice Inside” by Mahadev Desai in the January issue was an inspiring story.

Narayanan Krishnan listened to his inner voice, and made a 180-degree detour to feed the poorest of the society, rather than entertaining the rich and famous in a foreign land. Many of us pass by these poor and helpless people, but in our race to fulfill our wants, we don't look around to see the suffering, and our inner voice is totally blocked.
 
Krishnan didn't do what he did for fame, but God honored him with fame. If there is a measuring device to gauge his inner joy and contentment, he is far richer, with those divine blessings, than a person living in a billion-dollar mansion.

If life is spent for only satisfying our own ego and pleasures, the world may see us as successful people, but before the Creator, that life is a purposeless one. May God bless Mr. Narayanan Krishnan.  

A. S. Mathew

Ringgold , Georgia

What’s wrong with a legislation that can check prenatal gender selection?

I am perturbed by the article in the January issue, in which the writer complains about the proposed House Bill 1155, which will disallow women to abort their fetuses on the grounds of gender selection.

While she argues that this bill will do injustice to black women as well as South Asian women, she does not cite any proof regarding how the bill will be unjust to black women.

Yes, it is true that many women from the Indian subcontinent abort their babies in the first and second trimesters because of the sex of the fetuses, because in our culture a baby girl causes extreme financial and social hardships to the parents. This information has been widely published; so there is nothing wrong if the proposed bill prohibits women from getting abortions using public money. It has nothing to do with women’s right to choose.

Manju Ghosh

Macon , Georgia

Finding chewed-up gum on the streets is not rare in U.S. either

This is in response to a letter in the December issue criticizing the Indian custom of removing shoes at the door. 

Taking one’s shoes off at the door doesn’t make one outdated or uncultured; it only means we don’t want to defile a place where we spend a lot of time. I am pretty sure you would prefer living in a clean house as well. Another reason we take off our shoes is to reconnect with the magnetic gravity of Earth—the philosophy behind it is that this connection will energize our positive thoughts. Besides, why not take off our shoes at the door if we’re visiting someone? Have you considered that they might appreciate your concern for the cleanliness of their home?

As an Indian living in the United States I’ve been in Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., and there’s no place where I haven’t found chewed-up gum on the streets. Even the sight of people spitting on roads is not so rare in America.

From the letter I understand that the writer has been living in this country for a long time. Clearly, he doesn’t know what India is like now. Does he not know how fast it’s developing? India is a country with a lot of great values and traditions; it is our duty as Indians living here to uphold them, not denigrate them. Adapting to America is great, but keeping alive our good traditions is important, too. Wherever we live, the place we are from is always within us. It’s hurtful and shameful to revile our customs.

Sobha Prem

by e-mail

Yes, India is clean—in your dreams

In response to my letter published in the December issue, one reader wrote that removing one’s shoes before entering an Indian home is due to our respect towards the occupants and not for hygienic reasons. Does he mean that when most Westerners in industrialized countries don’t remove their shoes while entering someone’s home, they are being disrespectful?

Also the custom of removing shoes before entering a temple comes not from our reverence to the deities, but because shoes are made from animal hide, which is considered unholy. That’s why most monks and priests wear wooden sandals. But nowadays most shoes are made from canvas and manmade materials and even their soles are made of rubber. So what is the point of removing one’s shoes at the door? Most floors in temples are dirty and they soil our feet or socks, contributing to the spread of germs.

Another reader wrote that Indian roads have improved and cow dung and dog poop are to be found nowhere! Which India is he talking about—the imaginary India of his dreams or the real Indian towns of Gujarat where he hails from? Does he know that India has the largest number of stray dogs in the world? I ask him to walk on the streets and unpaved sidewalks of Ahmedabad, Baroda and Anand before making these absurd statements.

Praful Shah

Decatur , Georgia

Indian Consulate’s non-communication is distressful

I am writing this letter in response to the letter titled “Surrender Certificate” in the December issue. I am in the same boat as that reader. I applied for both the OCI and surrender certificate together in the beginning of October. It’s been almost three months now, and no word from the consulate. I have called and e-mailed the consulate several times. Nobody ever answers calls or replies to the e-mails. I would be happy just to receive some sort of acknowledgement. They need to let the applicants know that they have at least received the application and are reviewing it. This non-communication leaves us nowhere. We can’t even challenge the payment if something gets lost at their end. They ask for a money order first, which can’t be canceled and if just acknowledging the application (not the entire process) takes half a year, how can you cancel your payment? It would be too late.

 I just want to get my surrender certificate so I can at least apply for the visa while I wait for my OCI. I have an ailing grandparent who might just not be there for long. I lost one of my other grandparents when I had applied for my green card, and it still bothers me that I couldn’t go to her funeral. I don’t want that happening to me again. But I am at the Indian Consulate’s mercy.

Name withheld on request


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