I wanted to respond to your editorial about Hillary as “The Clear Choice.” (India Currents October 2016). Based on your editorial, I am sure that you bring some Indian ideals of socialism Almost everyone here is an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant. I am the latter and am married to an immigrant. Please understand that Trump does not hate immigrants. He has an issue with unknown undocumented peoples coming into this country, causing crime and bringing drugs to our citizens. I was in Phoenix last year when the Feds dumped busloads of undocumented immigrants into the city at the bus station.
You say that the election is about freedom, but I don’t think you understand what that really means. Many Americans oppose progressivism that seeks to tell each of us what we can and cannot do cradle-to-grave. Liberties and privileges are not hard fought, they are given by the government and can be taken away.
If you vote for Hillary, then the US will continue to look more and more like the country you and most of your readers came from.
Terry Johnson, email
Need the Secret Sauce; Not Advice on Dropping Out
Ragini is just the epitome of desi superwomen who having reached the pinnacle of success in top schools happily drops the ladder and tells the rest of us desis that “high pressure schools” are not that important. (Pressure Cooker, India Currents, October 2016) I have been impressed by the schools she attended—Berkeley and Duke and how she successfully did a tiger mom act by raising her daughter while keeping her traditional grandmother happy and pursuing a rich cultural life.
What some us want is the secret sauce to make it happen and not a lecture on dropping out.
Gopal Chakravarthy, email
Suicide Argument Off the Mark
Ragini Srinivasan’s impassioned plea against academic pressure in high schools (Pressure Cooker, India Currents, October 2016) seems a bit off the mark.
Competition is at the heart of our global economy. Nations compete for natural resources; companies compete for market share; employees compete for high-paying jobs. Schools and colleges are competitive because the real world for which they are preparing their students is competitive.
Competition is not necessarily evil. It often brings out the best in people. But is there such a thing as too much competition? Or too much academic pressure? Perhaps. However, high school students have latitude in choosing their courses as well as their overall academic workload. Purvi Mody’s essay (Want to Impress Colleges? Be Yourself, India Currents, October 2016) provides some good practical advice.
In her article, Ragini suggests that too much academic pressure may lead to student suicides. At first glance, this is an appealing argument. However, academic pressure is just one among several potential causes of student suicides, such as loneliness, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, break-up of an important relationship, parental divorce, protracted illness, and negative body image.
It is very difficult to tease out the contribution of one particular cause (academic pressure) in a statistically small sample of suicides. However, studies show that college students have about half the rate of suicide compared to an age-matched sample in the general population. Moreover, a National Center for Heath Statistics report shows that, in the age group 18-24, the suicide rate for Asian Americans is 40% lower than that for whites and 60% lower than that for Native Americans.
Suicide is a complex phenomenon with many unknowns. But it seems likely that a well-tailored education—one that engages a student’s interests and talents fruitfully—could actually help prevent suicides by providing a positive purpose in life, academic pressure notwithstanding.
Vijay Gupta, email
We received many comments on Kavya Padmanabhan’s piece, “Letter from a College Student to those who are not upset by Trump Video,” that was published online. We are publishing a sample of comments.
Bravo to You!
Bravo to you for writing this and expressing so eloquently what we are all feeling! As a progressive Indian-American woman and mother of teenage girls, we know all too well what’s at stake.
Shobana Ram, email
Eloquent and right on target. Thanks for your courage in speaking up.
Karen Coates, email
We Kept Quiet at First!
Brilliant! My boss was just talking to me about this point—we kept quiet as a society as long as insults were being hurled at Muslim Americans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans. And then it hit us, because all of us have a mother, a wife, a sister, and a daughter. My boss was indignant at all of us collectively—for failing to respond sooner. She is correct and so is Kavya. We should all be emotional as Kavya has rightfully said— at what was done, and what was boasted about. With so many allegations surfacing about repeated behavior of this kind, my emotions have now turned to sadness and fear. Sadness because so many leaders have come in support of him, including women. So many misguided humans follow his word so “loyally,” and I am afraid that they might follow his actions too!
Shivakumar Raman, email
Issues Must Be Addressed
This whole election is a circus! Leaving the elections aside, the issues raised in the letter are real and must be addressed. Everyone from Aaron Persky (the judge who gave a light sentence to Brock Turner) to Bill Cosby (who also called his accusers liars until so many of them came out of the woodworks) should be held accountable.
Prakash Narayan, email