DON’T LET A FINGER DISCOURAGE YOU

I read Kishen Bhagavan’s letter about his disillusionment when a white woman driving alongside him showed him the finger (IC, March 2006).

Born in Arkansas, and raised in Modesto, Calif., I am a country-fried redneck. However, I have many friends of all colors and religions.

We have a saying that I learned as a child: “Trash comes in all colors.” Yes, you will see white litter along the roadways. Don’t let a finger discourage a mind. Remember the all-erring member of our bodies—the tongue.

Dwaine Johnson, Hayward, Calif.

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AVOID CONFRONTATIONS ON THE ROAD

I would like to respond to Kishen Bhagavan (Letters, IC, March 2006).

Kishen, there are many small-minded, ignorant people all over the planet, and I am sorry that you had to be exposed to one here in your adopted country. You are a U.S. citizen now, and have just as much right to be here as that driver who insulted you. That woman was a nasty racist, who was taking out her anger on an innocent person. I am shocked and appalled by her behavior. It is absolutely inexcusable.

However, I would like to make a suggestion. If another occasion arises where someone cuts you off in traffic, please do not respond in any way, such as honking, or blinking your lights. Just leave them alone and let them go. Call the police if they seem to be drunk. But I recommend that you do not confront anyone, because it can be dangerous. It could be dangerous for any one of us, no matter what skin color or prior nationality. You never know who you are confronting or what they will do. So my advice is to keep a low profile on the road, be non-confrontational, and just get to where you are going. Let us be safe, always.

Samadhi Devi, via email

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ONE IGNORANT INDIVIDUAL

I am surprised that Kishen Bhagavan is questioning whether he is really American just because a white woman gave him the finger. Living in this great country for so many years should have taught him not to judge a whole nation by the gesture of one ignorant individual. Every country has such characters and at best we should feel sorry for their lack of knowledge and upbringing.

Unfortunately, the attitude was much the same in India when I lived there 20 years ago. I was labeled by many as a “black South Indian” in Calcutta and as “a damn Malayalee” in Tamil Nadu, especially at the peak of the sons-of-the-soil campaign. That however never caused a divide between me and a host of my better-informed friends from both states. I still love both West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where I spent many wonderful years of my youth.

It is because nobody was concerned with the color of his skin during his immigration test that Bhagavan is a U.S. citizen today.

We Indians should take care and not refer to others disparagingly as “gora,” “vellakkaran,” North Indian, South Indian, Gujarati, Bihari, Mallu, scheduled caste, lower caste. Let’s do that first.

K.B. Nair, Los Angeles

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GIRLS ARE EQUAL TO BOYS

I am glad to read that you have decided to discontinue Dr. Suresh Nayak’s ad that was promoting “gender pre-selection.” Every time I would open your magazine, and came across that ad, it infuriated me!

I am one of only two sisters, and my father made the decision not to try for a boy, much to the dismay of our extended family. In this day and age, girls are considered equal to boys. As only two sisters, we have endured the stigma associated with not having a brother. It is about time someone took a stand!

Rekha K. Sharma, Fremont, Calif.

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PROUD OF MY BABY GIRL

Good article by Sunita Puri (“It’s a Girl,” IC, March 2006). I was not familiar with the practice of gender selection until recently. My wife and I were wondering about so many male kids in our friends’ circle. About 80 to 90 percent of the children are boys. Now I am beginning to wonder if our friends used any of these techniques.

We just had a baby girl and couldn’t be prouder. However, I was dismayed that my own mother and in-laws asked me if I was upset and tried to console me.

I guess the desire to produce sons runs in our blood. It’s sad but true.
Name withheld

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ILL-FATED NUCLEAR PACT

It is a pity that many Indian Americans support the recent U.S.-India nuclear deal.

While Indian entrepreneurs and business moguls deserve much credit for biting off a sizeable piece of the world economic pie, over 700 million of our less fortunate brethren still live in abject poverty. It is therefore unconscionable that our scarce resources are being squandered to build more nuclear weapons that can never be used without causing self-immolation of Indian society and a rapid demise of our precious planet.

We become so enamored when the lone superpower glances coyly in our direction that we embrace an ill-fated deal that is driven purely by U.S. economic self-interest.

Indians and many Indian Americans seem to be intoxicated with the thought that we may soon be become senior members of the exclusive nuclear club.

Bush’s overtures to India expose the blatant hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy. It does not hesitate to castigate and bully Iran for its nuclear ambitions while rewarding India’s refusal to sign the non-proliferation treaty.

India missed a wonderful opportunity to become a peacemaker and responsible custodian of our planet. It should have used this historic meeting with the United States and taken a lead role by insisting that the United States and its erstwhile allies—Britain, Israel and Pakistan—freeze production of nuclear weapons by signing the non-proliferation treaty and calling a halt to this nuclear madness, which is bringing us all to the brink of annihilation.

Let us hope the U.S. Congress stiffens its spine and kills the deal.

Jagjit Singh, Palo Alto, Calif.

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TEACHING BIAS

I don’t always agree with the editorials in India Currents, but Arvind Kumar got it right with regard to the impact of the California textbooks on young Hindu and Indian children in the classroom. Teaching bias is exactly what the textbooks do, much to the chagrin of Hindu parents and educators.

The recent fight in Sacramento could have easily been avoided if the State Board of Education had just listened to people who practice Hinduism, not just study it from a dry, out-of-date academic framework.

Al Abrams, Tarzana, Calif.

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MANUFACTURED VERSION OF HISTORY

I read Arvind Kumar’s editorial comments in the latest issue (IC, March 2006). Thank you for standing up for the injustice currently being dealt to the Hindus apropos of the California textbooks issue.

The very fact that you inserted a disclaimer (“I am not a Hindu fundamentalist”) is a reminder of where we are. Anybody who opposes the establishment view and stands up for Hindus today runs the risk of being smeared with epithets like “Hindutvavadi,” “Hindu nationalist,” or “RSS-vala.” The entrenched white professorate and their brown Indian sepoys (mostly Marxists) have no tolerance for any view that challenges their manufactured version of history.

Rajan P. Parrikar, via email

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SPEAK YOUR MIND!

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