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April 2009
Readers Write

Cover story on tutoring was a class act

Let me start off with an “Oh, boy!” Your tutorial cover story in the March issue was a class act.

Although the story almost tried its best not to convey its own conclusions, I loved the points of view that it so smartly put together. The success of the story lies in the fact that it kept my attention till the last line. Such topics I am sure are more difficult to handle without losing the audience in patches. Well, yours succeeded.

Keep up the wonderful quality of your articles—makes for great reading. I often tell my friends in the West and up North [that] we have one superior magazine in Atlanta.

Congrats, Khabar team!

Ajanta Sarkar

(15-year Georgia resident; Atlanta)

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My husband and I have been reading your magazine for a few years now, and it used to be mainly for finding out more about the events taking place in Atlanta. The past year or two has been different since we have actually started reading your articles to get something out of them. Your recent article on tuition dilemmas was wonderful. It informed, enlightened, pondered, and was not boring. We have three sons and liked it a lot and wanted to thank you for taking the trouble to bring us these various facets, especially from some of the experts, of an important decision in the lives of us, parents. Thank you.

Mira Kanphade

Cumming, GA

Doggedly diverse views on Slumdog Millionaire

The editorial as well as the letter from Yi- Cheng Chang regarding Slumdog Millionaire (March 2009) are well written with opposing views in your March 2009 issue. The editorial argues that the movie has no agenda while Chang clearly denounces the Western agenda of stereotyping India negatively.

It is not surprising to see the number of ever-increasing Indians (like the editor) who shoot at their own foot with great accuracy and sophistication. Worst of all they take pride in their foolishness. Perhaps the British are cursing themselves for leaving India—the land of a billion fools.

However, both the editorial and the letter miss the real agenda of the movie, which, in my opinion and many others such as Barbara Crossett (writing in www.thenation.com) is to drive home the following:

a) Hindus are bad people who are insensitive about their brothers/countrymen.

b) Hindus always treat Muslims badly. Muslims of India and Pakistan should never trust Hindus.

c) If Muslims trust the British, they will get Oscars and goodies and maybe even Kashmir.

A.R. Rahman has had many superb performances. This time around, he was used. I have lost my respect for the Academy. Its intellectual dishonesty is pathetic. Dear Indians, wake up to the designs of the British to keep the world divided for eternity.

Venkat Krishnan

by email

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I want to thank Yi-Cheng Chang, who probably is not an Indian, but still could feel, see and understand the prejudice, the bias, the heartless and sick-minded portrayal of the social ills in this movie. The worst part is that in spite of showing these social ills, it is not really about them, rather it is about showing to the world that India has no hope, no single person in India is good. If at all there is some hope, then that is through the Western tourists only.

It is really shocking that people of Indian origin on the other hand, including the editor, want to say ‘Jai Ho’ to this despicable storyline. The editor justifies such a storyline saying there have been acclaimed films about worse topics, such as the Nazi camps. This shows either he really did not get the movie or he is a spokesperson for the Judeo-Christian agenda. I would have agreed completely with this comparison, if Doyle had the courage to show the lives of displaced Kashmiris, the scenes and facts about ethnic cleansing of Hindus going on for years there, and the torture and [humiliation] the minority Hindus are living with and facing on a day-to-day basis in the small villages of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra.

Granting that many Oscars to this movie definitely proves the Judeo-Christian conspiracy to malign India. If you want to say that these awards represented the appreciation of art, you are wrong. If the Academy really cares for art and talent, then, a few years back, why was the movie Brokeback Mountain not nominated in any categories? Maybe because it shows the social side of America which the Christians are against. I loved that movie for story line, acting and direction.

Indu Dey by email

[Editor’s note: Brokeback Mountain actually won three Oscars and was nominated for an additional five: see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388795/awards.]

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There is a lot of discussion about the movie Slumdog, especially after it fetched eight Oscars—what an achievement! The only question I have is, “Why do off beat movies from India dwell only on slums and other negative aspects (Deepa Mehta’s Water comes to mind)? Could it be that the producers don’t see anything but misery in India?” As it is, the perception of India in the Western countries is only ‘poverty,’ and these movies substantiate the same.

Most of population in the Western world had no idea of the rest of the world till 9/11. It is only after that they have taken an interest in the East. When I came to America in 1980s I was often asked if I sat crossed-legged in the middle of the floor with incense burning and chanting? Even eating yogurt was unheard of. What about Mahatma Gandhi being referred to as a naked fakir by Churchill?

We had good movies when I was growing up which dealt with poverty—Boot Polish, Shree 420, Do Bigha Zameen, to mention a few.

Shakuna Trivedi

Norcross, GA

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Your editorial in the March issue is right on the mark. Most NRIs are not as honest as you are and have trouble admitting the facts presented in the movie. Most NRIs and elites in India have been brainwashed by Bollywood filmmakers for decades, and they see India through rose-colored glasses.

Almost three decades ago it was another British filmmaker named Richard Attenborough who made the famous movie Gandhi and bagged 8 Oscars as well. And now came the Slumdog movie.

It shows that Britishers know India and Indians better than anyone else in the world. We may like to think about global economy and India’s power in the coming years, but the truth is that half of India’s population still lives in slums or poverty. I challenge NRIs, when they visit their beloved country in the future, to spend some time and walk in the slum areas of Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata and see the reality.

Arun Patel

Lilburn, GA

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In the aftermath of Slumdog Millionaire sweeping off 8 Oscars, the debate is heating up between two kinds of people. NRIs living in Western countries dislike the movie, because they think it degrades Indians and their image about India.

When Bollywood’s producers make movies that depict crime, corruption and poverty, most Indians do not complain but shower love on heroes (such as Amitabh Bachchan) who portray these roles. So it is unreasonable to criticize Slumdog for showing us the true side of India.

In the past, British filmmakers produced two movies, namely Gandhi and A Passage to India, and both were highly acclaimed outside of India. Slumdog is such a movie with a modern theme. It is a realistic movie.

Next time you visit India go to the slum areas of cities like Mumbai and Kolkata and you will agree with the reality shown in Slumdog.

Rani Bhatia

Norcross, GA

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