Letters from Readers
This refers to Anu Mehta’s letter (March issue), in which she refers to “narrow-minded rituals preventing assimilation” of Indians into Western society.
According to Ms. Mehta, immigrant Indians in the U.S. and U.K. prefer to live in “ghettos” or “Little India” neighborhoods, without trying to assimilate into American or British society. According to the writer, we brought along “our silly rituals” with us, and built marble temples to boast of our wealth. Ms. Mehta is confident that future generations of Indians will desert all temples, and forget Hindu rituals.
I am not sure how the writer defines “assimilation.” Does she expect Indians to completely dump their culture, and fully acquire the customs of the dominant culture of European origin? Indian immigrants are some of the wealthiest citizens of the U.S. and U.K. Many of them have made remarkable contributions to the advancement of science, engineering, medicine, business, and economics in their countries of adoption. They have assimilated what is good in Western society, but at the same time retained what is good about their own ancient culture.
Every community, including those of European, African or Native American origin, practices some rituals. Evil rituals like witchcraft in medieval Europe, or sati in the early 1800s in India, eventually got weeded out through reform. It is necessary to understand the spiritual and historical basis of good rituals in order to appreciate and continue practicing them in the home and within the community.
The ancient cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome all crumbled due to the pressure of religious proselytism brought about by waves of invasion. However, the basic tenets of our 5,000 year-old Sanatana Dharma will continue to survive in the hearts, homes, and temples of people of Indian origin, no matter where they live.Hem Chaudhuri
I would like to respond to Ms. Anu Mehta’s letter, published in your March issue.
I beg to differ with her in many ways and would like to throw light on the facts. The fact is that Indians are the most easily assimilated people in the world. This is true not only in these modern times, but has been so from the Vedic times. If it was not for the Vedic Aryans who traveled to the west, south, and north, sowing the seeds of civilization and then leaving it to the people of that part of world to develop their own cultures and religions, we would not have so many free cultures and religions. Assimilation does not mean conversion to the religion and culture of the country you have chosen to settle in. Nor does it mean converting others to your ways or losing your own identity and existence.
As for the big, beautiful temples Ms. Mehta seems to be worried about, let me affirm that the next generation of people of Indian origin will in fact take these temples a step forward, making them centers of higher learning, to promote world peace, health and interfaith knowledge.
As for Idi Amin’s act of kicking Indians out of his country, history is proof to what a huge mistake he committed economically and culturally against his country and people.Indu De
Informative article on Mughal monuments
Thank you for the informative and insightful article on the historic Mughal monuments (“Summer in a Golden Age,” March issue). As someone who has been to Agra many times and seen the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, I’d like to say it was a real treat. Jamal Charania
Mughal era was a sad chapter, not a glorious one
This refers to the article “Summer in a Golden Age” by Anju Gattani (March issue). I am glad she, along with her family, had a good time vacationing in Agra. But I take exception to a few observations she makes, especially under the sub-heading “The British were not the only plunderers.” Mohammad Ghazni demolished the Somanath Temple several times and ran away once and for all with the wealth stored in there. But the Mughals, starting with Babur, —“They came, they saw, they conquered”—and they never left. They had no right to build grand palaces and create exquisite gardens (Khas Mahal) in a foreign land. “Gates made of pure silver and studded with 1100 nails, each having a silver rupee coin on its head,” the writer says in admiring
tones. Where did all this wealth come from? Isn’t creating pleasant gardens to spend evenings in with his 3000 wives considered plunder? Anju Gattani deplores the fact that these coins were snatched by the poor Indian tribes and calls it plundering. Who did the real plundering? The Mughal rule in India is a sad chapter in Indian history. These monuments that they left behind may be grand to the sight but only pain the heart.
A promising singer is no more
This has been reported in Chicago and the U.K., and would be of interest to people who heard her sing in Atlanta last year and had hoped she would come to Atlanta again this summer.
Condolences poured in to the IndiansInKuwait.com website in January as the community heard the news of the death of singer Deepali Joshi. The 35-year-old singer had flown to Kuwait to sing patriotic songs on the occasion of India’s Republic Day celebrations and was on her way to the hotel when a speeding car hit the car she was in, killing her. Her manager, Ishaal Naqvi, and the driver of her car were seriously injured and admitted to the hospital. She is survived by her husband, Paresh Shah, and her brother and sister. The shows at the Indian Embassy auditorium were canceled as a mark of respect.
Many music lovers in Atlanta also mourned Deepali Joshi’s tragic end. Deepali had sung here and in several cities in the U.S. last May, and had earned the admiration of many for her lovely voice. Hailing from Dharwad, Karnataka, she spoke Kannada and Marathi fluently and, though young, loved the old songs of Asha, Lata, Noorjehan, and Suraiya. She graduated from SNDT University in Mumbai with a major in music, was recognized by music director Khayyam in the Awaz Ki Dunia show, and a number of videos of her are available on YouTube.Apparently her last post on Facebook, a final adieu to her fans, read, “Thank u so much for the wishes…” Shanta Mitra
For Mom on Mother’s Day
MotherA caretaker, a nurse,
a person with whom
to converse…A reservoir of love, an
angel from above, and
a scaffolding so
incredibly resilient.A woman, a friend,
and patient to no end,
and a warm bunch of fun.Intelligent, smart
with a persona that
is art, and at times
quite frustrating.The opener of doors,
a counter of scores, and
much much much much much
much more…How am I to describe her?
Ah, yes, a Mother…forevermore,
a mother from skin to core. Shashwat N. Kasturey, 13 years
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