RACIST COMMENTS

Regarding Arvind Kumar’s editorial (“Truth Will Out,” India Currents, September 2006) it should also be mentioned that similar racial comments have been uttered by by Hillary Clinton, who joked that Gandhi “ran a gas station down in St. Louis,” and by Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who said, “You cannot go into a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” The lesson is that there are people like Biden, Clinton, and George Allen in both major parties; why blame the Republicans alone? Indian Americans are easily the most prosperous people in the United States and it is just a matter of time before Indians will show Biden how very true the Dunkin Donuts catchline is: “America runs on Dunkin.”

Abhishek Banerjee, via the Internet

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ARE WE HYPOCRITES?

My nephew’s comment regarding people who got offended was, “These are the same people who come from families that practice the caste system in India. Such hypocrites!” This is in reference to the George Allen incident mentioned in “Truth Will Out,” India Currents, September 2006.

When you think about it, monkeys are deeply ingrained in Indian culture—in the Ramayana, Hanumana led the army of Lord Rama and invaded Ravana in Lanka in order to rescue Sita. Monkeys are revered in India. In the holy city of Ayodhya you see lots of monkeys roaming free. After getting over the initial sting over being called “macaca,” these other images and thoughts will successfully counter any long-term hurt.

Vijay Kumar, via the Internet

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CORRUPTION IS RESPONSIBLE

Why does Dilip D’Souza blame only Kenneth Lay (“Of Questionable Character,” India Currents, September 2006)? If Enron was not an energy company as you have stated, didn’t Maharashtra’s brilliant minds know about it? And yet they went ahead and signed the deal? Should not the then chief minister Sharad Pawar be held responsible for going ahead with the deal? He has been punished for the same by being made cabinet minister. No wonder India is ranked high in corruption.

Sridhar Mandya, via the Internet

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GIVE SOME SOURCES

It would be interesting to have Rajeev Srinivasan back up his breathtaking claim that the “English language media” said the 7/11 bombers were Hindus trying to make Muslims look bad (“Jihad Comes to India,” India Currents, September 2006). Or that some amorphous “others” said it was aimed at Gujaratis and that was okay because Gujaratis are bad people anyway. Please give us some sources.

Dilip D’Souza, via the Internet

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TOUCHED MY HEART

May I lift a word from the essay to convey my feelings after reading “Prokofiev’s Crossing” by Ranjit Souri (India Currents, September 2006)? Mesmerized. Your feelings touched my heart, now my feelings. Thank you, Ranjit.

Susan Hiatt, via the Internet

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BALLE BALLE

Supriya, interesting article (“Balle Balle on a Sunday Sunday,” India Currents, September 2006). You’re right that some of the lyrics are truly nonsensical, and not even representative of the colloquial English spoken in India. But I think you should’ve dwelled a little longer on the English language itself.

Your article, I’m sure, reflects the way the British felt (feel?) when hearing Americans, Jamaicans, Australians, Singaporeans, or people from other English-speaking nations.

One of the beauties of the English language is its fluidity and how it has evolved into “creoles” of sorts in different parts of the world.

Having lived in Singapore, India, and the United States and spent time in other parts of Asia, it still amuses me how unwilling Americans are to attempt to understand other vernaculars. For example, the familiar “for here or to go?” of American McDonalds is said as “eat here or take away?” in Singapore. Saying “for takeaway” in an American fast food joint results in only blank stares, even though the meaning is quite apparent if you were to think about it. Versus the tendency, in other parts of the world, to try harder to understand you.

I digress. My point is that the language has taken on flavors of its own all over the world, yet remained quite understandable to everyone (if you’re willing to admit that it is a global language over which the neither British or Americans have any particular authority). As our world shrinks, you’ll begin to hear idioms and idiosyncrasies from the world over.

Whether you look at that as a positive or negative thing is up to you.

Hemant Bhanoo, via the Internet

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LOVE BOLLYWOOD

I wonder why the author (“Balle Balle on a Sunday Sunday,” India Currents, September 2006) continues to wallow in Bollywood despite her professed superior intellect.

I love Bollywood, but she definitely seems to have watched more of it, as her facile observations and anecdotal conclusions prove beyond doubt. She not only looks down on Bollywood, she even makes derogatory aspersions to other “Indian-American girls” in her very first line. The article reflects her all-round contempt for the world as it is. Believing that one is the only sensible person in the world is not always the smartest thing to do.

Abhishek Banerjee, via the Internet

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