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June 2011
Letters from readers

Not all Indian-Americans can affordable to be charitable

The cover story (“The Charitable Indian-American”) in the May issue was well-written and informative. However, it did not discuss these salient points:

(1) America is the richest country in the world, while India is among the poorest countries. So, you’d be comparing apples and oranges if you compare their charity habits.
(2) Very few people in India possess the extreme wealth of the likes of Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata and Lakshmi Mittal.
(3) Those Indian-Americans who give to charitable organizations are very rich because of their professions (mostly doctors) and they can afford to give away a small percentage of their huge wealth. But most of us are struggling to survive in a foreign country, and have relatives in India whom we support; hence charity takes a back seat.
(4) All U.S.-based Indian-American organizations support local communities where they come from back in India. In the U.S., most organizations are nationwide, and they are established as businesses, with the people at the top drawing big salaries.
(5) Though most middle class Indian-Americans may not be giving much in charitable organizations, they do send money to their relatives and/or open fixed deposits in Indians banks, helping India's economy.
(6) It is our tradition to donate money to temples, which in turn do charitable work. The Balaji temple in Tirupati, the Sai Baba trust, and the Amritsar Golden Temple are a few examples of religious organizations that give out millions for charitable causes.
(7) Despite so many charitable organizations in the U.S., the government also hands out a lot of money in welfare, SSI, Medicaid and other services and thus we contribute indirectly by paying taxes. But India has no social programs like the Western countries. The Indian government should assume a leadership role in helping the underprivileged, instead of relying on NRIs.

Alka Joshi
Duluth, Georgia

HB 87 is shamefully racist

As I write this mail, Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has already signed the anti-immigrant bill, HB 87. By doing so, he has declared to the world that Georgia is the second most racist state in the country, just behind Arizona. Shame on Mr. Deal; shame on the lawmakers that support this bill; and most importantly, SHAME on the South Asian Republicans who take pride in supporting and raising funds for Mr. Deal and other Republicans in Georgia and other parts of the country.

Charles Kuck has rightly pointed out in his guest editorial (May issue) the very damaging and racist provision of HB 87, namely “show me your papers.” This feature of the bill is outright racist, and targets non-Caucasian immigrants, allowing cops to ask for “the papers” if you are not Caucasian, even if you have been a law-obeying citizen of this country. I am 100 percent sure that a cop would not ask for the papers from an illegal immigrant from East Europe or from Canada, but would likely ask for them if don't look Caucasian, even if you are the CEO of a big company. What a pathetic situation in a country that was essentially built by immigrants!

Sam Raj
Marietta, Georgia

What’s the point of these self-serving organizations?

The hunger for power motivates many Indians to start organizations supposedly for the welfare of NRIs. But beneath the surface, they are usually organizations of phony, self-serving people. A case in point is the newly opened Atlanta chapter of a global organization of Indians. The founder of this organization has started similar organizations in the past, but for unknown reasons has now started another one of the same kind. The so-called well-known members of this new chapter chose their personal friends and acquaintances to receive awards.
 
What’s the point of this and many similar organizations that do little more than pat each other’s backs? Despite their misleading names, they hardly represent the masses and the majority of our communities.

Arun Patel
Duluth, Georgia


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