In Sarita Sarvate’s piece (“My Brush with Evangelists,” IC, December 2004-January 2005) there is ample demonstration of her education at Berkeley. Her liberal brainwashing is complete and perhaps irrevocable. She paints a picture of an America filled with Bible-thumping evangelicals waiting at JFK and SFO for hapless immigrants to rush them off to the nearest church for conversion.
In reality, in the Bay Area there are Hindu temples in Fremont, Livermore, Milpitas, and Sunnyvale, Sikh gurdwaras in San Jose and Fremont, and countless mosques. Immigrants enjoy unparalleled religious freedom in America. Last time I checked, the lines at U.S. embassies worldwide for visas (including in the Middle East) are much longer than any list of aspiring immigrants into Libya or Egypt or even the United Kingdom. Or check with your friends or relatives living in Saudi Arabia, where possession of the Bhagavad Gita is a crime.
For us simpletons from India, who still care to remember the complete decimation of the education system by the reservations policy, editorials and opinion pieces touting affirmative action in America don’t make any sense. Some of us, who still remember the Coimbatore or Mumbai bomb blasts or the near-complete elimination of pundits from the Kashmir valley by cross-border terrorists, do not understand the glorification of bomb-strapped suicide killers in Gaza or the justification of Taliban who support stoning women to death under the Shariat law. Perhaps Sarvate does when she cites Taliban’s passion for their lost culture.
This article is a classic example of blaming everything that is American, and vague references to “Christian fundamentalism” without any serious analysis of reality. The faith-based initiative proposed by President Bush is designed to exploit the large number of churchgoing Blacks and Hispanics and help them with federal aid, not a disguised conversion tool, as the paranoid Left wing would like to believe.
I hope the political and cultural beliefs of your readers are less monolithic than that of your editorial board. It has been a while since I stopped looking for balance of (political) opinion in India Currents, but I hope you will print this letter at least for the sake of showcasing diverse thoughts and opinions, which you must surely support from a philosophical standpoint, though it was hardly visible in your magazine’s Bush-bashing frenzy leading up to the elections.
Shankar Pennathur, San Jose, Calif.
JIHADIS WIPING OUT ENTIRE POPULATIONS
Sarita Sarvate writes, “The way I see it, at least the Palestinian in the Gaza is fighting for something far more crucial, namely the very survival of his people who have been relegated to the confines of a concentration camp called a refugee settlement. At least the insurgents in Kashmir are fighting over a magical valley where they have lived for hundreds of years. At least the Taliban, born in a land ravaged by Russians and Americans, are incited by a passion for a lost culture.” (“My Brush with Evangelists,” IC, December 2004-January 2005)
Kashmiris are not fighting for a magical valley where they have lived for hundreds of years; they are fighting to clear the valley of people who have lived there for thousands of years and have destroyed the culture and roots of these very people. They have also destroyed their own roots and their own culture and are now practicing only jihad. The Taliban has also destroyed thousands of years of culture and heritage by destroying the Buddhas. There is no difference between evangelists and jihadis. They sail in the same boat.
Rashmi, via the Internet
HELP SURVIVORS OF TSUNAMIS
In order to help and support the victims of the earthquake and tsunamis, my sister Harsha (age 12) and I (age 15) have created a website (http://ourhelpisontheway.com) with links to various reputable organizations where you can find out how to help the people of South and Southeast Asia. Please visit the site and forward it to your friends and family.
Pavitra Viswanathan, San Diego, Calif.
MOVING BACK TO INDIA
I can relate to the Ranjani Nellore’s experience (“India Advantage,” IC, November 2004) in a small way since we have also decided to move back to India after living in the United States for over six years. I have quit my Bay Area job and joined an Indian firm.
I feel that no person is fully prepared for this and no time is the right time. Currently, I am back in the Bay Area to work on a project after which we will return to India. At first, my wife had apprehensions about moving back, but is now happy that we made this decision and is looking forward to our return.
Sriram Ariyalur, via the Internet