Blessed to be living in America
A letter in the January issue (“Living and whining in America”) sounded like a self-proclamation of financial gains after migrating here 11 years ago. I have lived in America for over 25 years, and like my fellow NRIs I consider myself blessed. Almost all the NRIs I have come across are financially well off. In fact, we are the richest community living in America.
I have met a lot of Indians living in big cities like New York, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, L.A., etc. Contrary to what the letter said, I have not heard anyone complaining about life in America. According to a survey of people around the world published in a recent issue of Reader’s Digest, Indians are on top of the list among those who would love to migrate to this country and settle down—not because they are complaining about life in America, but because they think America is like a paradise!
Yes, it is true that in America the working environment is different than in India, but it is more rewarding and fulfilling. Anyone who works hard can enjoy the American dream (own home, own car and money in the bank)—which is not true in any other country, especially in the Southeast Asian nations.
Uniform Civil Code can make a difference
I congratulate you for your January editorial (“If I were an Indian Muslim”). It’s really bold and I fully endorse the views you expressed. I believe that the same kind of article should be published in other Indian magazines and newspapers. Many of the problems Muslims face are self-created and driven by madrasas. The majority of Muslims are peace-loving people. But resisting change in Muslim Personal Law and not speaking out against terrorism can definitely leave a negative impression among the majority community. There should be a single law for all communities, just as in the U.S. A uniform code may not have an immediate impact, but it will make a difference over time.
I agree that politicians support Muslim Personal Law as a vote bank tactic. It should be dumped. Let us all agree that there is only one God and one human race.
Global understanding cannot be selective
A letter in the January issue (“Indian American Jews condemn Mumbai massacre”) noted that an immediate goal of the attackers in Mumbai was “to draw attention to India’s unpreparedness for such a dastardly act.” If that were the case, would India not rise up and correct that weakness? How would the terrorists gain from that certain eventuality? Did they love India so much that they wanted it to be prepared? Then the writer said their aim was to hurt India’s growth. Okay, if growth were the issue, why not attack China, which has grown far more than India? Or, why not attack Japan? Or Singapore?
But, intriguingly, he adds, “Why can’t these energies be utilized for peace and understanding in the world to create a new global community, where people help each other rather than destroy their lives.” Now, that is a great point but directed at the wrong parties. Zionists have come and continue to come from Europe, America and even from India, where they have lived in “predominantly Muslim areas,” as the writer pointed out. Where is the global understanding for Palestinians? For Kashmiris? For Tibetans? And for the peasants in India who commit suicide by the thousands while India has “grown” economically?
Without doubt, the writer of this letter and other chest-beaters need to do some serious research and soul-searching, instead of merely regurgitating what they see on TV or read in the papers.
A cool green idea that works
This concerns a reader’s cool green idea, which Khabar picked for the January issue. While disposable leaf plates are appealing, it is much cheaper and greener to make a one-time purchase of dishes in a thrift store. You could even be very stylish and instead of buying a set, get a fun variety of single dishes in attractive patterns. Washing them by hand will use less hot water than the dishwasher, while providing cozy togetherness time for the hosts to chat about the party. Store the dishes for reuse instead of buying and storing disposable ones. Then use your savings to buy CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) or donate to green causes!
To encourage use of CFLs: Many people don’t bother with coupons because they think coupons only save pennies. Ingles just tripled my coupons, sale prices bringing my savings of $20.79 to over 50 percent of my total! Also, people say coupons make you buy unneeded expensive items—but it is the same for any ad or credit card: just be wise, choosing what you really need. On triple coupon days, choose 50c coupons, 3 per $10 purchase, saving $4.50/$10!—extras are doubled. Use coupons 50c and under at stores that double or triple, coupons over 50c anywhere they’re accepted. Then use your savings to happily buy CFLs—and save again every time you turn them on!
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Are we ready to sacrifice Indian identity?
The cover feature in your November 2008 issue (“Parenting in America”) was interesting. However, the experiences of all the people mentioned in the article are out-dated, because instead of talking about the second generation (kids), we should be talking about the problems that arise with the raising of the third generation (grandkids). For an example, I came to this country in 1965. Both my wife and I are first-generation NRIs. We raised our two children mostly the Indian way. When they were young, both of them spoke Gujarati as well as English fluently. But once they entered college, their Indian-ness began to recede—they wore Western clothes, ate mostly Western food and spoke English with an American accent. Our son married an Indian woman born in the U.S., while our daughter married an American man. Both our children raise their kids differently. Our son’s children like to visit India while our daughter’s children don’t like India at all. Similarly, our son’s children participate in all Indian cultural activities, but our daughter’s children don’t like Indian cultural activities at all. Same thing goes for food habits, language and clothing. From the above example, we can see that the newer generation Indian Americans are not as much integrated with our culture, language and other customs as the older generation. The problem will be similar to many Indian descendents who live in the West Indies, Guyana, Fiji and other parts of the world. The newer generations of Indian Americans will be fully Americanized and remain different from those who came from India. Still, there will be some lingering problems even for those Indian Americans, because they will not be as adaptable as Hispanics and Europeans, whose ancestors also migrated to America many generations ago. Why? I think it’s because, unlike most Indian Americans, they belong to the Christian religion, which allows them to fully assimilate into American society. Sometimes I wonder if we (first and second generation NRIs) are wasting our money in building temples and cultural halls, because our great grandchildren and the generations that follow will not care about Hindu culture or customs. For this reason, we should name our next generation kids in such a way that their names can be easily Americanized. We all came to America because it gave us an opportunity to advance ourselves educationally and financially. But if we had known about the problems in store for our grandkids, especially with regard to adjusting to both cultures, would we have come to America at all?
Are we ready to sacrifice our identity as Indians?
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.
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