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Letters from Readers

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July 2015
Letters from Readers

Life is what you make of it

“American Dream or American Nightmare?” (June issue) by Shobha Ramesh and Ramesh Venugopal is an expository article about a pure reality that has affected thousands of first generation [Indian-American] parents who are caught up in a disenchanted world of despondency.

I am now past 70 and have joined that crowd. The day I landed at 7.30 PM on January 10, 1971 in freezing, knee-high snow at Chicago airport, I had no intention of remaining in the U.S. forever. But the eye-catching golden card called green card reached my hand easily through the influence of a powerful friend. I thought, after 5 or 10 years, I would leave for India—but the mud walk led me, like the rest, into a deeper mud walk, so the fantasy of returning to the homeland never materialized. Materialism became a religion to those of us who arrived in the “promised land”—and we all plunged deeper into that religion, to open wider the doors of prosperity and opportunity for our children.

The authors write about our ancient culture that emphasized “the inner journey of discovery.” If we own a car for transportation and a comfortable home with an eye towards the wandering, hungry, and helpless children of the world, sharing our material blessings with them, then our life will be worthwhile and productive. On the other hand, if our material possessions are tagged to display our prosperity and material success, then our life will turn into a nightmare in course of time.

My request to the authors: please write more such socially penetrating articles which can draw the attention of the young generation who are blindly captivated by wild dreams of hoarding the tangible and attractive things of the world while missing the real purpose and joy of life.

A. S. Mathew
Ringgold, Georgia

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I was truly sad to read the article (“American Dream or American Nightmare?”), even though it appears that the authors have researched the subject well.

We have lived in this country since 1967. We have always believed that we all belong to the Human Race. Nothing more and nothing less. We are all God’s children. We are neither Indian nor American. We are just humans. No one is better than others. More so, no one is inferior to another. I hope all children will be brought up with a positive broad mindedness, rather than a negative view of fellow humans. Thanks.

T. Nagendran, M.D., F.A.C.S.
by email

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Articles provoke thought

Thank you for the wonderful magazine. The article titled “Culinary Crusaders” in the April issue was thought-provoking. I think Indian restaurants can attract more Americans when they start offering vegan dishes. The concept of “vegan diet” is growing at a rapid pace in the United States. People who are health conscious and compassionate are reducing or eliminating animal-based food [from their diet]. According to the United Nations, the meat industry and dairy industry contribute more pollutants to our environment than all other human activities combined. The United Nations is urging people to eat less meat. Also, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is urging Americans to eat less meat. No wonder Meatless Monday is becoming popular coast to coast.

It’s very easy for Indian restaurants to adopt vegan fare—tofu is an excellent substitute for eggs and paneer. Indian sweets such as carrot halwa, kheers, and payasam can be made with home-made almond milk. Blogs such as Vegan Richa and Vaishali’s Holy Cow are awash with awesome vegan recipes from Indian cuisine.

My take on “American Dream or American Nightmare?”: What we are doing as Indian parents is no different from what parents anywhere would do for their children. Most Indians move to the West not for economic reasons or because of persecution. They are fully aware about Western society, but still move for personal aggrandizement and to satisfy their personal and family ego. For the same reasons and selfishness, they choose not to go back to India despite numerous opportunities. Thus, they leave their parents and family for good on their own volition. Now their children in the West are doing the same. Should that be a surprise at all? Our parents in India may miss us, but luckily they are not as lonely as we will be in our old age in America!

Kumudha Venkatesan
Suwanee, Georgia

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What was India’s Daughter really about?

I was neither impressed seeing Leslee Udwin’s documentary India’s Daughter on the internet, nor am I impressed reading her interview in the June issue of Khabar.

What I gather from the interview is that being a male, you are defensive and being an Indian, you are over-defensive. You don’t want to accept the fact that had this documentary not been made by a British woman and had it not been banned by the Indian government (for whatever reasons), nobody would have paid attention and it would be sitting on a back burner. Just as Udwin says in the interview, Jyoti Singh’s rape caught the limelight because she was a college student and was brutally murdered after the rape. The huge protests by Delhi’s college students created a media fire in this modern age of social media and 24/7 news channels. Had this happened a decade ago, nobody would have noticed.

What I did not like about the documentary is that there is no narration. In a good documentary that I have seen on PBS, the producer/director pieces together various scenes and makes an interesting story by adding narration without interjecting his/her personal opinions. Like the film Bandit Queen (which was also banned in India) depicting the real life of dacoit Phoolan Devi, I hope someone in Bollywood will make a film based on Jyoti’s story that conveys an appealing message to society.

Rani Bhatia
Norcross, Georgia

Editor’s Note: While questions in an interview tend to reflect what’s being discussed publicly, they’re not necessarily a reflection of the interviewer’s views and positions.

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Busts of Gandhi and Kasturba installed with community involvement

As reported in your June issue (Around Town), delegates from Gandhigram Rural University (GRU) in India met Dr. L.E. Carter, Dean of MLK Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College, during their visit to Atlanta.

Perhaps it would interest your readers to learn about a unique piece of history connecting India, Atlanta, King, and Gandhi. Fifteen years ago, beautiful bronze busts of Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi were installed in the lobby of Morehouse College’s King Chapel. These busts were a gift from the people of India via the Indian Embassy. India American Cultural Association (IACA), of which I am currently Chairperson of the Board and was at that time President, donated funds for the marble stone base. The project was completed in less than four months, and the busts were unveiled at an official ceremony on April 2, 2000, which also marked the founding of the Mahatma Gandhi Center for the study of peace and nonviolence. More than 1200 people—including Dr. Coretta Scott King, Dr. Arun Gandhi (Gandhi’s grandson), the mayor of Atlanta, community leaders, and the president of Morehouse College—attended the ceremony.

Ani Agnihotri
Atlanta, Georgia

Website Bonus Feature

Links:

Embassy of India, Washington, D.C., Press release on "A Season for Nonviolence":
https://www.indianembassy.org/archives_details.php?nid=357

The "Gandhian renaissance in metro-Atlanta" from 1998-2001:
http://www.infinityfoundation.com/indic_colloq/persons/person_bilimoria.htm

Lawrence Edward Carter, Sr.'s involvement:
http://www.firstchurchatlanta.com/bulletins/Oct19Bulletin.pdf

Description of the Chapel, and the busts:
http://www.compassionateatl.com/uploads/2/4/0/1/24019588/compassionate_atlanta_karen_armstrong_april_3_event_brochure.pdf

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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