Letters from Readers
It was refreshing to read an article (“Americana: Play Ball!”) in the April issue about a classic American sport in an Indian magazine full of Indian culture and values. Now we do realize that we have to assimilate and also absorb and embrace the culture of our adopted country. Well done, and keep it up.
========================Belong to the society by giving
I am responding to the recent letters in Khabar and elsewhere on the topics of isolationism, assimilation, second-class citizens, charitable contributions and criticism of India, etc. NRIs like us migrated to America armored with higher education. Most of us enjoy a better financial status than the folks who have been in this country for generations. Our per capita income is twice that of the average American, whether we are professionals or in business. Thanks to our heritage and hard work, we are able to afford to own top-priced homes and drive high-end cars. I realize a small number of us do involve ourselves in local charitable, social and political activities, but an overwhelming majority of us do not participate.
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why some of us feel like second-class citizens in America and perhaps occasionally are treated that way. But I must say that I, and a few of my friends who do get involved in local community affairs, have never felt like that. Those who feel isolated should get out of their nests and involve themselves in these activities. I realize some of us feel uncomfortable to be a lone person or among a small group in big social or political events, but all of us can do some charitable work depending on our resources.
Charity can be given any of three ways, as our scriptures say: tan, man, and dhan (time, talent, and treasure). Look around your neighborhood and town, and you’ll see that there are a lot of people who can use one or all of the above three donations to make their lives better. An idea for some of you who have time to spare would be to help your neighborhood children with math and science as this gentleman on the west coast did. He started small and grew into a very effective nonprofit online academy that even Bill Gates is supposed have used for his own children. For your information, if you do not know already, the United States used to be number one in the world in math and science not too long ago, but now has fallen to #17. As an educated community let’s us do our part to reverse this trend.Further, in spite of all the euphoria in the press about a rising India, corrupt governments in India have failed miserably to improve the lives of the poor. There are more poor people in India than ever before, even percentage-wise. As NRIs we cannot solve this mammoth problem. But we can do something about it and make a dent, at least. Lack of quality education is the major cause for this sad situation. There are millions of poor students who would want to get higher education, but cannot afford it, even with the free tuition the government provides. We can and should give a hand to these young ones. Assume that we are paying back a small portion of our unwritten debt, of the near-free education most of us, if not all of us, received in India, without which we would not be what we are in America. Pick up the tab of one of these needy students, and help him or her through higher education or a trade school. A dollar a day will send one poor student to college and two dollars will get him or her professional education. Give as charity, but make this a loan, with the condition that this student will repay by helping another student later. There are several genuine nonprofit organizations who can deliver the aid properly, if you do not have any connections in India. It’s a great feeling when you can pull these kids off the street and provide them a better life.
T. Ramchandra Reddy
========================Let’s not encourage these unreal, sad portrayals of India
First of all I agree with your editorial in the May issue, titled “Apu Nahasapeemapetilon Lives On.” In the same context, I’d like to point out that the movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, whose review you also carried, provides the proof for your arguments about how Indians are viewed. The moviemaker completely ignores today’s facts and the reality of India, where we have state-of-the art medical tourism and lavish hotels that can satisfy the choosiest of tourists. Instead we have the same old ridiculous, stereotypical portrayal of India and Indians. To talk of a “dusty wreck of a hotel which is nothing like advertised” indicates not only that we run bad hotels but also unnecessarily questions the integrity of Indians. And why talk of the chaos and confusion of traffic while commenting about cinematography? Indian roads may be congested with traffic, but everyone knows where they are going. I wish that at least a 2012 movie could have shown the flyovers and highways of modern India. And then the perennial favorite of all Westerners—the “untouchable” maid! Why couldn’t it be simply a maid, whom most Indians can afford to employ? Maids are the people that really run Indian households; they are a very important part of Indian families. But the arrogant, sarcastic Westerner HAS to show an “untouchable” maid.
I don’t like the idea these movies convey, that the miserable Indian gets kindness, love and respect in the end only through the Westerner, like the maid receives kindness from Muriel in this movie. In the end the reviewer says the movie teaches that no matter how old you are, change is not only possible but inevitable. I really hope the cast and crew of this movie learn this lesson themselves, and bring some change to the way they present India!Finally, I’d request Khabar readers to not watch this movie. Watching this will only mean a slap on Indian pride. I never watched Slum[dog Millionaire] and I’ll never give my money to this one either.
=========================Happy Father’s Day to All Dads!
For Dad on
A Father means so many things...
An understanding heart,
A source of strength and of support
Right from the very start.
A constant readiness to help
In a kind and thoughtful way.
With encouragement and forgiveness
No matter what comes your way.
A special generosity and always affection, too
A Father means so many things
When he’s a man like you...
— Author Unknown
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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.
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