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Obama for Indian Americans

I strongly agree with Ro Khanna’s article, “The Strength of Our Ideals: A case for Senator Barack Obama” (India Currents, October 2008).

In a climate of economic crisis, we need to keep and grow American jobs and American leadership. Many Indian Americans are looking for a more equitable immigration policy that allows our aged parents and siblings to seek the American dream. The Indian-American community is also very diverse, and we need to protect gay rights and a women’s right to choose. On these counts, and on strong family values, Barack Obama is the leader American needs and deserves to address the challenges of the 21st century.

Gopal Chakravarthy, Agoura Hills, Calif.

McCain for Indian Americans

Harmeet Dhillon’s “A Reflection of Our Values: A case for Senator John McCain (India Currents, October 2008) is an excellent article making a very strong case for Indian Americans to reassess their priorities and political alignment. It is unfortunate to see how a large majority of Americans of Indian origin feel obligated to support the Democrats without analyzing the reality on the ground. I hope the article will get wide exposure among members of our immigrant community. To Harmeet, congratulations for a job well done.

Tejpal Dhillon, via the internet

Simple but Happy Lives

I really enjoyed reading Ananth Tharoor Srinivasan’s “Coming Home from Hungary(India Currents, October 2008). It reminded me of the simple but happy life I led as a child before coming to the United States. I remember how I used to spend a great deal of time socializing with family friends and kids in the neighborhood. I also had a similar experience while visiting relatives in Sri Lankan later in life; I was surprised by the number of holidays people had and how relaxed the pace of life was. Although the material wealth found in these countries is minute in comparison to America, people enjoy richer social lives, are more connected to their communities, and are content with what they had.

It’s interesting to note that although America is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, there are many Americans who aren’t happy with their lives. They don’t realize that material comforts aren’t always necessary for happiness, but it becomes apparent when they visit other countries and experience it for themselves. Personally I feel there is nothing wrong with the pursuit of status, wealth and material gain, but it is also important to remember that sometimes it is necessary to step outside the rat race to find true satisfaction and happiness, as Ananth did.

Varuna Gunasekera, Los Angeles, Calif.

Blind Men Seeing

D.K. Bhaskar’s “Amidst the Kerala Canals (India Currents, October 2008) reminded me of the story of the blind men seeing an elephant!

As a person hailing from the Kuttanad area, the centre of backwaters of Kerala, I was amused to read the tourist’s assessment of Kerala, God’s own Country. Indeed, the article seemed comparable to someone commenting on America after visiting any one of the wonders like The Grand Canyon or Disneyland and extrapolating from that to talk about the entire United States!

Kerala boasts nearly 100 percent literacy, but also poor road conditions, poor public health services, and political harthals which disrupt travel and routine life. The resort and houseboats referred to are an anachronism in a land where not a single family lives in a boat. To know Kerala, you have to travel into the mainland, not simply live in a fashionable resort with kathakali performances and ayurvedic massage parlors. Travelers must visit the places not showcased by the tourism industry and love Kerala for the right reasons.

K.S.R. Menon, Palo Alto, Calif.

No More Alice-in-Wonderland

Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan’s “Presidential Effects(India Currents, October 2008) was a great editorial! She has aptly described the surreal state of mind of many Americans. This Alice-in-Wonderland mentality got a wake up call finally in the shattering of the economy; the bubble finally burst. This economic disaster may be a blessing in disguise, which may lead us to evaluate our priorities and not behave as if the party can last forever.

Lakshmi Mani, via the internet

Palin Problem

Sarita Sarvate’s “How to Rule the World(India Currents, October 2008) is a great article. I read The Last Word columns from time to time, and they get better and better.

There is one more thing that is scary about the Palin rhetoric: the racism that lies within her attacks on Obama, who she calls a “pal” of terrorists! The “white” woman (“fiesty and strong”) is telling “her male protectors” to watch out for this dark, savage, terrorist who will attack “white” women. This is a very strong and pervasive theme in the history/psyche of the United States. In other areas of the world it would be “protect me” from the “savage Muslim man” or the “devious Hindu man” … and it never stops.

Thanks to Sarita for writing her truth, with courage.

Roshni Rustomji, via the internet

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Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...