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Letters from Readers

August 2015
Letters from Readers

Touched by yoga and youth perspectives

I am an admirer of your magazine for its very good articles. Whenever I am in Atlanta during my visits to the U.S.A., I read your magazine, including the back issues I have missed. In your [July] editorial “Demystifying Yoga,” your statement that “it is often mistakenly seen as a religious activity—which it most accurately is not” perhaps refers only to the part of it related to control of the body that is required for gaining control over the mind and which is attained by observing all the remaining steps outlined by you in Raja Yoga. This should ultimately lead to Self-Realization, which is the goal in Sanatana Dharma. The vast majority of people in other parts of the world and even in India understand yoga as referring only to Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, and meditation—and even practice of these will lead to a better world. But complete transformation is possible only if people strive to observe yamas, niyamas, etc. to the extent possible in their daily lives. In India, yoga was totally ignored even after gaining independence but it is heartening to note its revival in recent years and the boost given to it by the Modi government.

I almost missed reading the Youth article [“Louder than Words” by Ramya Prabhakar] as I am over eighty. But when I saw my son and granddaughter huddled together reading it, my curiosity was roused and I started reading it. Halfway through I had to rush to wash my face as tears had welled up in my eyes. The writer has really brought out the feelings of youth going through adolescence in a poignant “slice-of-life” reminiscence. I am sure this high school senior student will blossom into a good author whatever line she may choose. You deserve kudos for encouraging such budding writers!

J. S. Aiyar
Alpharetta, Georgia

I have been enjoying Khabar magazine for a long time. You have done a tremendous job for us here in America. Your editorial [“Demystifying Yoga”] is a very intellectual piece of writing. I realize that you have written about it also from your experience in making your life better using yoga practices. About fifteen years ago, I had some setback in my career and some health issues as well. I had bought a book, Hindu Psychology by Swami Akhilananda, back in 1992 but did not read it until 2002. I got hooked on this book. Then a year or two later, I found a small book of lectures by Peter Ouspensky, a Russian scientist who had visited India during the Russian Revolution. Deeply influenced by yoga philosophy, he developed the concept of Integral Yoga (he also called it The Fourth Way) and published several books on the subject. Since then I have read many books on yoga philosophy and the Bhagavad Gita, including our Indian thoughts. I love your editorial articles.

Brij Singh
Hixson, Tennessee

Article deserves wider audience

I am a casual visitor to Atlanta, visiting my son here. I had occasion to go through [“American Dream or Nightmare”] in your journal of June 2015. I am really thunderstruck by the correct perspective of the authors of the article who have so eloquently and tellingly portrayed the position of our countrymen who have made this country their home. I must congratulate the authors for their very frank and correct assessment of our brethren here. This article should be printed in the thousands and made available at all the mandirs, clubs, associations frequented by our people here.

J. Radhakrishnan
G. M. (Law) (retd.) & Advocate, Chennai, India

It’s not just about scores

I had the privilege of doing graduate studies at both Harvard and M.I.T. and being offered admission with scholarship and sometimes more at about ten top universities in the U.S.A. It was not my academic records alone which made it possible. There were other factors involved: my experience to date, my research plans, and my plans to serve India after graduation, among others. Later in life I recommended several young people, for their uncommon bent for research, in spite of their not-so-brilliant academic records—and they got admission to Harvard, M.I.T., and others.

What I especially liked about Harvard and M.I.T. was the fact that my classes were like the world in microcosm. Students and faculty came from virtually every corner of not only the world but also the U.S.A. The lessons I learned were far beyond the classrooms. It was a holistic experience. It was obvious to me that such an experience was a deliberate plan of the universities. It would be really sad if classes were to be filled with only Asian students by virtue of their superior SAT and GMAT scores. I feel that there is much more than these scores in evaluating the potential of a young person. Yes, subjective measures do count and increasingly they are counting more heavily than the so-called objective ones. GDP is increasingly being replaced by GNW or Gross National Well-being.

JFK did not score high. Bill Gates did not even complete his coursework. Einstein performed poorly in school. Tagore never attended any formal schooling. Yet they excelled. Such examples abound. The Asian students should stop crying “wolf” and try instead to pay attention to the world beyond the book.

A. N. “Shen” Sengupta
Smyrna, Georgia

Look beyond relief efforts

The Indian media has grabbed the headlines with information about India’s massive commitment to economic support and rehabilitation in the aftermath of the recent Nepali earthquake. Many Indians have donated money to Nepali Relief Funds. But these efforts are miniscule and ineffective compared to an existing and larger problem—the mass exodus of Nepalese to Middle East countries, especially Qatar.

Qatar has employed about 2 million migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal, of whom almost half are Nepalese, to construct the multiple stadiums needed for the FIFA World Soccer games being hosted by Qatar in 2022. Over 1600 workers died in 2014 due to exposure to extreme heat; still, the influx of migrant workers has not stopped thanks to the high rate of unemployment in Nepal. Their plight continues to be miserable, because they are exploited by their shoddy employers.

The money flow (inward remittance) to Nepal is almost 40 percent of gross domestic product, which is a blessing in disguise as it has helped fuel a rise in standards of living, access to health care, better housing, and educational facilities. In short, the poverty rate has declined from 33 percent in 1999 to 16 percent in 2013.

The root cause of the migrant labor problem lies in Nepal, where there is too little domestic economic activity and too few jobs. Hence, its citizens feel it is better to face horrible working conditions in the Persian Gulf and be able to send money to their families than to live unemployed and poor in Nepal. So before you reach for your wallet and donate a few dollars to charities, think of Nepal’s larger problem and do something about it.

Rajesh Gandhi
Decatur, Georgia

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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