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October 2009
Readers Write

We need good Indian-American role models

While I wholeheartedly endorse the political views in your September editorial, there needs to be more clarity on what makes a good Indian-American role model. Does one have to be a Hindu or have a name like Madhusudhananda Venkatanarayanaswamy to be an authentic Indian? Such posturing would be as narrow and bigoted as the ultra right-wingers we love to hate. Just ask your Chai Time humorist Melvin Durai. Or Slumdog star Freida Pinto. Or Bollywood heartthrob John Abraham. Or the millions of Indians whose ancestors were Christian long before the West could sell or spell Christianity. Lest we forget, Christianity did not originate in the West. It’s unfortunate that “white” and “Christian” are uttered in the same breath. Indian Christians are just as brown as the Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Jews, Bahais and Parsis whose origins are rooted in Bharat.

Ironically, the Hindutva movement originally envisioned the term “Hindu” in a cultural and geographical context rather than a religious or political one. It was inclusive of other faiths before the RSS/BJP hardliners surfaced with their petty sectarian views of nationalism—views that are as xenophobic as Rush Limbaugh’s. Fortunately, most Indians don’t agree with those views, as was evident in the recent elections in India.

If we’re going to chastise converts and name changers like Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, we should also disapprove of the growing mass of Indians who concede to a colonial hangover of “white is right.” How else do you explain the absurd popularity of skin lightening creams in India? We need desis who don’t blindly ape the West or act servile or succumb to Eurocentric notions of superiority. We need role models who reaffirm the classiness of brown in ways that are more than skin deep.

Thayil Ron Jacob

Alpharetta, Georgia

 

Thank you, Khabar

We have been getting your beautiful, colorful magazine for two years. It’s an all-in-one package that seniors and youngsters and everybody in between can enjoy every month.

Your events calendar, Bollywood column, feature articles, spiritual column and Around Town coverage are some of the items we look forward to reading in every issue. Also, your display advertisements, classifieds and business directory provide so much useful information to readers.

And best of all, we don’t have to pay anything to receive Khabar! Thank you for this gift to our community.

Kishor Jethva

Huntsville, Alabama


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