I call upon all South Asians to vigorously oppose the insane and immoral Iraq war. Every reason advanced by the godless neocons has proved to be utterly false. No weapons of mass destruction (formerly sold to Iraq by the United States, Europeans, China, and Russia, who now express moral outrage—such hypocrisy!), no role in 9/11 (the Bush mantra notwithstanding), no al-Qaeda connection, and no jalebis and gulab jaman greeted the invaders!
It is incumbent upon us to remember the dark days of the British Raj when our nation was forced to endure the indignities of British imperialism. We need to identify ourselves with nations yearning to be free from the horrors of undue U.S. influence.
The entire infrastructure of Iraq has been crippled by the grotesque “shock and awe” invasion. U.S. corporations swooped down and plundered the wealth of Iraq, uncaring and oblivious to the appalling suffering of the Iraqis. Heavy censorship prevented the horrors of the killings from being beamed into our living rooms. Over 650,000 Iraqis have died and many times that number seriously injured. Over 1,000,000 Iraqis have been displaced. Hundreds of intellectuals have been killed and others have fled, leaving Iraq weak and fragile. The old strategy of “divide and rule” has turned Iraq into a bloodbath of sectarian violence. The sinister influence of Israel in promoting the invasion and serving as military advisors, have been well documented by Robert Fisk (London Independent) and other reputable reporters. Medieval torture has been used to exact “confessions” from hapless detainees, making a complete mockery of our claim to be a law-abiding nation.
Cheap labor from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, is being exploited by private contractors to service the occupation forces. Earning a small percentage of their white colonial masters (about $300 per month) they work under extremely dangerous and hazardous conditions.
Meanwhile, on the home front, our civil liberties have been severely curtailed and hate crimes have escalated.
I urge Indian Americans of all stripes to voice their opposition to the anti-democratic, imperial designs of our misguided administration. We need to hold the new corps of Democrats’ feet to the fire and ensure they root out corruption and malfeasance and demand that the war profiteers return their ill-gotten gains to the U.S. Treasury. Our elected officials must chart a new foreign policy based on peace and justice and not on advancing U.S. corporate needs to the detriment of the poor and disenfranchised people of the world.
Jagjit Singh, Palo Alto, Calif.
WHY BRING UP RELIGION?
Moushumi Khan’s cover story (“Nobel for Microcredit,” India Currents, November 2006) on Muhammad Yunus made very compelling reading. This humble man’s vision was exemplary and the results are inspiring. It is true that sometimes we consider the poor and uneducated to be ignorant, not realizing that they know their environment best and come up with the best solutions to resolve their local problems.
I was a student of the Institute of Rural Management in Anand, Gujarat, a program started by Verghese Kurien of the Amul milk revolution and National Dairy Development Board fame. I went through rigorous training programs involving local people from the villages of Gujarat. It was amazing and refreshing to see the intelligent and simple yet appropriate solutions proposed by the village folks.
So I can understand the excitement in Khan’s tone given that she had the good fortune to interact with Yunus and see for herself the policies and successes of Grameen Bank from close quarters. Her pride is also genuine since Bangladesh is suddenly prominent on the world map.
However, her comment, “It is also an acknowledgement that the Muslim world has something valuable to offer,” was a shocker. Suddenly the reader is made to realize that Yunus is a Muslim, Khan herself is a Muslim, and Bangladesh is a Muslim country. This comment suddenly relegates the achievements of this great man to the background and brings his religion to the forefront. Also, let me remind Khan that even before this huge achievement by Yunus, Muslims all over the world have proved time and again that they have something valuable to offer to the world. I think Yunus is a brilliant economist, a smart businessperson, and a rational thinker, and it would only be appropriate to leave his religion alone.
Veenu Puri Vermani, San Diego, Calif.
PRIDE OF BANGLADESH
Reading Moushumi Khan’s article (“Nobel for Microcredit,” India Currents, November 2006) made me feel proud to be a Bangladeshi Muslim woman. We need more writers like her to show the world the positive side of Bangladesh. Muhammad Yunus is the pride of Bangladesh and he should also get a Nobel Prize in economics for his microcredit theory.
Inara Islam via the Internet
PRESSURE TO BE PERFECT
I usually don’t get India Currents, but picked up a copy because I’m planning a trip back home and wanted to get phone numbers of local travel agents.
I am really glad that I did, because I read Sarita Sarvate’s article, “Don’t Belong to the In-Crowd” (India Currents, October 2006). Reading that made my day.
The part about her kids not being “straight A” students and not winning spelling-bee contests made me smile. I guess that for Indian kids growing up here, the pressure to be perfect must be enormous. I am glad that Sarvate’s kids have her as a mom.
Gopal Prabhu, via email