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August 2017
Letters from Readers

Incident at India-Pakistan Border: Colonial Mentality Continues

During a recent trip to India, I traveled to the Attari- Wagah India-Pakistan border to witness the famous military ceremony at the border, the daily lowering of the Indian and Pakistani flags. I was accompanied by two of my very dear family friends, both of whom had served and retired from the Indian Air Force (IAF).

A horseshoe shaped stadium-type seating accommodates the thousands of people who visit from both sides of the border. There are a lot more people on the India side, and there is a lot of patriotic fervor in the people attending. When we arrived, about 5,000 people were already seated. Indian soldiers were assisting people with the seating, and we were directed toward seating on the left-hand side of the stadium, quite a bit away from the event.

The seating closest to the event, we were informed, was reserved for foreigners. But I saw a fair amount of Indians also seated in that section and I was not sure of their status. I informed the soldiers that my hosts were retired Air Force personnel and perhaps they should get some consideration on that account. My host, the retired squadron leader, who is 80 years old, also made the request, and offered his official Air Force-issued identification card.

But we were politely asked to take our seats in the next section and that the soldier could not do anything about this. I was quite shocked: I thought they would make some accommodation for a retired military officer. Having lived in the United States for the past 29 years, and having witnessed the respect and courtesy that is extended every day to men and women in uniform, I know in the U.S. they would have instantly accommodated the request.

After having heard enough, I told the soldier in charge that I did not think we would see this sort of apathy in any other country, wherein a “foreigner” was being favored over their own retired military officer in an event which is primarily a display of national pride. The soldier was patient and did hear me out, but he told us that he understood where we were coming from but that he would get into trouble if he bent the rules. I told the soldier that I was a U.S. citizen myself and asked if that would help. I was told that if I had my passport he would gladly let me and my hosts sit in the better section. However, I was not carrying my passport, and to be honest, even if I were carrying it, I was at this point so miffed, I would not have sat in that section anyway out of defiance. By this time it was almost 5:30pm and since the ceremony was about to begin, we took our seats in the assigned area, witnessed the ceremonies, and went home.

I had been most excited to visit the Attari-Wagah border ever since I had read the book Freedom at Midnight, but my visit turned out to be bittersweet, in light of the above incident. I was saddened that even after 70 years of independence from the British, we Indians are still carrying these vestiges of colonialism and we do not respect the sacrifices of our own men and women of uniform. God bless India!

Manjunath A. Gokare, Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Alpharetta, Georgia
By email


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“Golden Songbirds…”: Incomplete without all the rasas

My interest in the June 2017 cover story (“GoldenSongbirds of Indian Cinema”) stems from the author’s unique approach in tabulating Indian cine songs based on classic navarasas identified in Sanskrit literature.

Perhaps because of concern that the article would become too long, she did not include all nine rasas, but that left the article incomplete. At least she could have listed all nine of them, since Sanskrit language is a scientific language where any deficiencies are not endured.

The nine rasas (emotions) are hasya (joy; related to humor, sarcasm), karuna (sadness; compassion, pity—which is not shokam or grief), shringara (love; beauty, devotion), raudra (anger; irritation, violence), veera (courage; confidence, pride), bibhatsa (disgust; depression, self-pity), bhayankara (fear; anxiety, worry), adbhuta (wonder; mystery, curiosity), and shanta (peace; relaxation, calmness). Although the author has created the category of bhakti (devotion) and vatsalya (affection), they can be an offshoot of other rasas but are not authentically included in the nine rasas.

Many well-known authors in Sanskrit and the Indian languages have acquired the deftness to slide from one rasa into another and one can also see how one particular cine song can be accommodated in two or more rasas. That is the beauty of Indian arts. There are many songs that have slipped into the category of cine songs but they carry the profound depth and art of classic literature.

Some of the soft imagery used in the cover story shows Western instruments. Using Indian instruments like tabla, flute, etc. would have been more representative.

The changing scenario in Indian music is not threatening but enriching our old system. Our culture has always been inclusive and not exclusive.

Bhagirath Majmudar, M.D.
Atlanta, Georgia
by email

 


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Love Melvin Durai’s Humor

I loved the humor in the column Fun Time (April 2017), specially this paragraph, “Just like that, a colossal mistake was made, the type of mistake that in certain countries would result in the culprit being brought in front of a judge and given a stiff sentence, if not a few months in prison then at least a few weeks of listening to Donald Trump speeches.”

The last sentence brought a good laugh in me. Mr. Durai, keep the humor alive. It releases quite a bit of stress.

Ajay Mehrotra
Greenville, SC
by email

CORRECTIONS

1. Kyle Patel was the author of the report “Atlanta Film Festival shows an Indian-American film that breaks away from stereotypes” (June 2017). We regret the incorrect byline on the article.

2. The item titled “Remembering Premil Patel” (page 117, June 2017—please see our digital edition)Khabar article. We inadvertently missed the page header which would have clarified that, and are sorry for the omission.


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: letters@khabar.com • Fax: (770) 234-6115.

Mail: Khabar, Inc. 3635 Savannah Place Dr, Suite 400, Duluth, GA 30096.


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

 


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