Last month’s cover story, Rupa Dev’s “Generation X-cess” (India Currents, February 2008), was an interesting article. I really liked how Dev expanded the subject of binge drinking into a symptom of a larger issue. That framework makes the problem relevant even to those who might not drink too much (or even at all), since the main culprit is not alcohol, but a lack of balance.
I wonder, though, if the binge lifestyle is even limited to youth and young professionals. The whole American culture of “larger, better, faster” seems like it would naturally drive excesses, whether with regard to work, exercise, study, or drinking. So I think it’s a problem that will very soon, if not already, be more than just “our generation’s” issue.
Arjun Venkataswamy, via email
GENERATION X-CESS A SUCCESS
Rupa Dev’s “Generation X-cess” (India Currents, February 2008) was a super read! It was well-researched, anecdotal, and the author seemed to have reached out to the right people to validate the piece. I enjoyed it hugely.
Ravi Velloor, online
I recently read India Condensed—5,000 Years of History and Culture by Anjana Motihar Chandra. This is a short and easy read which covers a breadth of topics on India—history, religion, art—over the course of 5,000 years.
I would recommend it to Indians living abroad, their children (who don’t learn much about India in their schools in the U.S.) and non-Indians who are interested in learning about the country and/or are planning to visit India. It is not a tourist’s guide, but it provides a good background on Indian culture. I was able to revisit historical facts that I had learned in high school in Mumbai and also gained new knowledge about my native country.
Raj Lalchandani, via email
ISLAM IN THE RIGHT LIGHT
In the last seven years there have been so many negative things reported in the news media about Muslims. I’d therefore like to thank Huma Yasmin Attari for her article “In Praise of the Hajj Cough” (India Currents, February 2008) in which she shares her beautiful experiences in Medina and Mecca. I wish more stories like that would come to the public’s attention. I am not Muslim, but it warmed my heart.
Marie Vogel, via email
INDIA IS AWAKENING
I enjoyed reading Sarita Sarvate’s article “India Awakens” (India Currents, February 2008). On my last visit to India, I also witnessed our country’s “own brand of modernization.” The metro proudly runs through the heart of Delhi providing a faster, more convenient, less polluting conveyance. Malls display clothes and items of the finest quality and best brands. Flyovers, flats, and multiplex cinemas are fast coming up.
A country that was the richest in the world before British rule is finally coming out of the dark ages.
Meenu Gupta, via email
INDIA SHOULD NOT IMITATE ISRAEL
In response to the “India-Israel, Bhai-Bhai” Forum debate (India Currents, February 2008), India is already turning into Israel. Kashmir—with a 1 to 7 ratio of soldiers to civilians—is already an occupied state. India asks Israeli experts for help on how to torture Kashmiri resisters. Readers should explore the writings of Nir Rosen and Noam Chomsky for the facts of displacement: 800,000 people kicked out and their homes simply bulldozed.
Gandhi was firmly opposed to Israel. Do we really want to turn to sleazy underhanded tactics like lobbying (like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee)? Lobbies are the traditional tools of despotic regimes (Indonesia used lobbies to get away with its mass murders in East Timor). I’m sure there are many progressive Israelis, but Israel’s reputation for occupation, torture, and backdoor lobbying should be shunned and abhorred, not imitated.
Arul Francis, online
WHOSE FAULT IS IT?
In December 2007, students in Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif. hacked into the school system so they could take a look at the fall semester’s final exam. Using a web based internet program, the students uncovered the passwords for the schools’ exam server. In spite of this transgression, students cannot be blamed entirely. Both parents and teachers share some responsibility in this issue.
Parents sometimes do not give teenagers a chance to talk openly with them; kids have to fear not meeting the standards of their parents. If a kid does face a challenge which his parents would not particularly appreciate, the kid may not have the opportunity to approach them freely.
Teachers also play a huge role when it comes to placing students in such situations. Schools are big, and the classes the teachers have to teach are big, too. Engaging in a one-on-one lesson with each student is hard, but it is something that should not be forgotten. Teachers put a lot of pressure on teens to excel; they should be more flexible and understanding of the students.
This incident raises questions about the significance of the internet and its influence on academics. Parents and teachers must help teenage students to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and help address students’ needs so that such incidents never occur.
Ahish Chitneni, 13, Sunnyvale, Calif.
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