The last line of Lakshmi Mani’s review of Pico Iyer’s The Open Road (India Currents, April 2008) is the punch line: “When a plane does take off occasionally, there is no room for the luggage, so that passengers arrive at the other end, ‘to learn (as in a Buddhist story about death) that none of their possessions have accompanied them.’”
The Dalai Lama and teachers like him truly realize that there are no possessions that will accompany us after life’s last appointment. With that realization perhaps true non-violence will arise and give birth to an absence of violence in our world. As Patanjali said in the Yoga Sutras, “Ahimsa pratishtaya tatra vairam tyagah,” when non-violence establishes itself, ill will has to leave. That non-violence goes beyond politics; it is awareness. Thanks to Mani for the review and interview.
Raja Ramanathan, online
“10 COMMANDMENTS” RESONATES
I wish I had Pavithra Mohan’s email address so I could thank her for the wonderful article, “High School 101: The Ten Commandments for Desi Parents”(India Currents, April 2008). I must confess, I do all the “do not do’s” she listed, and I have two kids currently in high school and a sixth grader. Thanks to Mohan, I have changed my attitude and was laughing throughout the article because my 15-year-old daughter always told me these things but I never listened. Now, seeing it from another student in print, it got my attention.
Simran Heyer, via email
STAND UP TO TERRORISTS
It is always interesting to read a different viewpoint, as in Samma Ishaq’s“Muslims Under Radar” (India Currents, March 2008). I am not a Muslim but ever since 9/11, my life has been hectic when traveling. I have had to part from my favorite Italian wine, throw away expensive perfume and creams, and initially even my lip gloss! At one time, I was wearing clothes in layers and I was asked to remove the top shirt. I had only a spaghetti strap tight t-shirt on underneath that was not very flattering to my 50+ figure. I felt like I was being asked to go through the security in my bra. It isn’t just Muslims who are paying the price of terrorism. We all are.
I don’t know whether I am just not tuning in to the right media, but I would like to hear some outcry from Muslims about the acts of terrorists. Why are Muslims letting a small fraction of fanatics hijack their religion? Why don’t I hear more Muslims denouncing terrorists and their actions? I am an immigrant, and I can’t believe how tolerant America is compared to many other countries. Though Ishaq raised a couple good points in her article, I am sad she didn’t have the guts to stand up to the terrorists.
Eva Kumar, via email
PENALIZE CONSUMERS NOT OLYMPICS
The editorial on whether or not to boycott the Olympics (“Game Over?” India Currents, April 2008) caught my attention. I, too, think it is time to think about world politics and how to handle world crises. However, I don’t think boycotting the Olympic games is the best way to go about showing our disapproval of China’s policies. China is not a superpower because it is hosting the Olympics, but the other way around. And it got that way through flooding the world markets with cheap goods. I confess that I shop only at big retail stores because those are the ones where I can get more bang for my buck, and I don’t have many bucks to begin with. I, and other consumers like me, should rightly be penalized for supporting a regime that is brutal to Tibet. But don’t punish the athlete who has gone through much pain and sacrifice to hone his/her skill in a sport that will shine only in the Olympic arena (I’m not talking basketball), only to see his one chance slip away because of his country’s decision to “take a stance,” all the while maintaining trade relations with China.
Let us try to keep politics out of the Olympics, shall we, and enjoy watching athletes of every hue and shade perform to the best of their abilities. The wars will always be waiting when the Games are over.
Lakshmi Palecanda, Bozeman, Mont.
NO PLACE FOR “BILLARY”
Sarita Sarvate’s “Billary Revisited,” (India Currents, April 2008) is hollow and lacks civility. The Clintons might have disappointed many liberals during their stay in the White House by not passing some truly liberal laws. But Hillary truly has the experience. Hillary’s claim is not like that of a high-school-drop-out wife of a veteran surgeon aiming for the chief surgeon’s role. Hillary and Bill Clinton have been on the political field for a very long time; they started well before their marriage. And unlike many other wives of politicians, Hillary knows what is going on. It looks like Sarvate does not have the remotest idea of what a U.S. president would have discussed with a politically active first lady.
V. Elencheliyan, Santa Clara, Calif.
THEORY WELL THEORIZED
Nice piece, Ray (Raywat Deonandan’s “The Politicization of Science,” India Currents, March 2008). Particularly telling is the confusion over the word “theory.” I am glad you pointed out the difference between a garden-variety theory and a scientific Theory. Science isn’t alone in being distorted to suit the distorter’s purposes; how about public opinion polls? Ask one type of question and you get one set of responses, but change one word in the same question and you get the opposite reaction. There’s a whole another article for you.
Raju Chebium, Washington, D.C.