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Letters from Readers

December 2014
Letters from Readers

Prime Minister Modi will be pragmatic

I enjoyed your well balanced, honest editorial about Modi (“Shapeshifter PM: Who’s the Real Modi?” November 2014). As students of history we know of too many good and powerful leaders eventually becoming a curse to the nation. You mention this as a possibility with his passionate religious fervor. My personal feeling is he will be pragmatic when such a challenge comes up. And my main confidence that he will retain his balance is one thing: Democracy. Long live good old Democracy that India is blessed with.

Once again, hats off to you for keeping your magazine healthy and growing—a Herculean feat these days!

Jayant Kamicheril
by email

Service to nation is appreciated

Kudos to Ms. Deval Zaveri and appreciate her service to our country (“An immigrant’s call to service,” November 2014). I also immigrated to the U.S. over 40 years ago, after a brief service in the Indian Army. Now looking back, I am sorry I did not join the U.S. armed services. About choosing the service, the Fox special about Mr. R. O’Neill, “The Man Who Killed UsamaBin Laden” [sic], is worth watching. Thank you again for your service.

H. Haridutt
by email

Passport and visa services

In a Khabar email I received, I noticed in the subject line about BLS passport services moving to a new location. This information is confusing because BLS is no longer the passport and visa service provider for the Indian Consulate in Atlanta. Please clarify this.

By the way I enjoy reading the online issue of the magazine. Thank you.

K. L. Satyaprakash, Ph.D.
Gainesville, Florida

Editor’s Note: BLS provides Passport services;
Cox & Kings provides Visa/OCI/PIO/Renunciation services.
(You can remember it alphabetically:
B comes before C, P comes before V.)
Here is the press release from the Atlanta Consulate:
Discrimination against African-Americans

Kudos to Nazeera Dawood for writing from her heart on the ugly truth about how many Indian-Americans, like the mainstream population, treat African Americans with similar prejudices and apprehensions (“Let the human race triumph over race discrimination,” January, 2014). Many of us have the hypocrisy to scream to high heavens when one of us is discriminated against, but we remain silent when the same occurs to others, especially African Americans.

It is time we as a community invited and engaged them in our various functions and events. I’m a retired psychiatrist and an octogenarian. During my long career in this country, I had many African American patients. My book of stories, based on my experiences, is called Adventures and Misadventures of Dr. Sonjee. Incidentally, Dr. Sonjee was the name of my character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the 1975 film which won five Oscars.

Prasanna K. Pati, M.D.
by email

Saying “illegal” is inaccurate

I’m writing in response to an event that was posted [on the Khabar website]. The event was hosted by Freedom at Emory and featured undocumented youth and immigration activists. In the event description, the term “illegal immigrant” is used several times to describe undocumented people. I want to ask Khabar to please refrain from using the term “illegal immigrant” in the future. No human being is “illegal” and using that term to describe immigrants without documentation is inaccurate and dehumanizing. The Associated Press Stylebook started recommending their journalists to use “undocumented” instead of “illegal” in April 2013. I implore Khabar to uphold responsible journalistic standards and not use the term “illegal immigrant.” Thanks.

Nowmee Shehab
by email

Editor’s response: Thank you for drawing our attention to this. Not only will we update our policy about the use of these terms, but we have also addressed the issue in this month’s editorial (page 8 and on the website).
Accidental entrepreneurs keep the American dream alive

I am an “accidental banker” and an “accidental hotelier.” That’s because when I graduated from college in India, I was trained to be a mechanical engineer. I then came to America by choice and once here, I became a business owner by choice. However, I became a banker and hotel owner by chance. If my story sounds familiar, it’s because this is the story of many immigrants from India and from around the world: we were educated in our mother country for a much different career than we ultimately achieved in our adopted home land.

Today, we are America’s “accidental entrepreneurs”—we adjusted the course of our careers to take advantage of business opportunities that came up. Often, if the right opportunities didn’t come up, we created them!

And therein lies the lesson for all Americans, the lesson of achieving everything that is possible, whether you are an immigrant or whether you were born in the United States. Today, Indians are one of the fastest growing immigrant groups. We are well-educated and we typically believe that working for yourself brings a better life than working for someone else.

Consider these statistics:
• The number of immigrants from India who are living in the United States has grown by 800% since 1980, from 360,000 then to more than three million today. This makes Indians the third largest immigrant group, behind Mexicans and Chinese.
• Indians are the best educated immigrants coming to the U.S.—
71% have a bachelor’s college degree compared to 52% of Chinese immigrants and only 28% of the general American population.
• Indians are inclined to be entrepreneurs—
we are only one percent of the U.S. population, but we own 20 percent of the nonfarm businesses in the country. We own almost half of all the hotels, and we have founded more American engineering and high tech companies than immigrants from the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, and Japan combined.

Those figures are impressive, but more important are the qualities that enable Indians to achieve high levels of business success—“can do” qualities such as self-confidence, hard work, willingness to take risk, and a desire to control your own destiny.

Immigrants are determined to turn dreams into reality. They usually appreciate—far more than typical Americans—the liberties, the responsibilities, and the opportunities that America offers. This “immigrant mentality” is about more than money—it is about security. It is about improving yourself. It is about making a better life for your children and future generations of your family. India is the homeland where I gained invaluable character skills, cultural heritage, and a moral compass for life, while America is my home where I have been given the means to a better life.

America is not a perfect country, but it is certainly the most shining example of social and economic opportunity anywhere in the world. In the United States, if you believe in yourself—if you’re determined—and if you persevere against obstacles, you’re going to achieve your goals for business success and personal happiness.

Immigrants from India understand this. That’s why Indians have become a vital, vibrant part of America—building their adopted country while also building a better life for themselves and their families.

There’s nothing accidental about that!

Nitin Shah
Chairman & CEO of Embassy National Bank
by email

What’s on YOUR mind?

We welcome original, unpublished letters from our readers. You could either respond to a specific article in Khabar or write about issues relevant to our community. Letters may be edited for length and other considerations. Longer submissions by readers may be considered for the “My Turn” column.

Email: • Fax: (770) 234-6115.

Mail: Khabar, Inc. 3790 Holcomb Bridge Rd. Suite 101, Norcross, GA 30092.

Note: Views expressed in the Letters section do not necessarily represent those of the publication.


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