Last Word

America: Welcome to the Third World

When I first came here from India nearly 30 years ago, Americans often asked me about floods, droughts, and epidemics in my native country. The patronizing tone of these queries betrayed most Americans’ simple belief that “it could never happen here.” We immigrants...
Poverty Caused the Tsunami

Poverty Caused the Tsunami

In the infancy of the 21st century, two sudden human tragedies have found dramatic attention in the global eye: the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004. That the former, a shocking mass murder resulting in 2,000 deaths, can be compared...

My Brush with Evangelists

When I first came to America, people would ask me why my native country couldn’t get along with its neighbor. After all, memories of India’s three wars with Pakistan were still fresh in American minds then. I would try to explain a millennium of history, but my...
Waiting for Real Indian Chic

Waiting for Real Indian Chic

In the late 1970s, when I was sharing a house off of Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley with a bunch of fellow students, I once put some Bollywood music on my portable boom box. There were guffaws and sarcastic remarks that it sounded like a mariachi band. I tried to tell my...

Where are the Women?

The Iraqi war has been running on testosterone. George W. and his coterie of blue-suited white men like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft, have gone into another country under the pretext of uncovering weapons of mass destruction, and unashamedly...

My Private Mesopotamia

For my children, the Iraqi war has blurred the boundaries between fantasy and reality. My kids are hypnotized by newspaper pictures of Pentagon war simulators, just as they are fascinated by video games like Mortal Kombat on their computers. They long to drive the...