Share Your Thoughts

Rishi Jaluria and Jagjit Singh have strong views on President Bush (IC, February 2004).

I agree with Jaluria that India Currents, otherwise a very good and readable magazine, tends to side with liberals, leftists, and the like, and keeps on Bush-bashing. It has become rather fashionable to do so, just like anyone taking pride in being a Hindu is dubbed as communal or anti-Muslim.

On a technical note, Singh’s letter violates the magazine’s policy of only exclusive letters. The same letter is printed in another newspaper also.

On Singh’s tirade against Bush: former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Tom Daschle, frontrunner John Kerry, and the staunchest Bush critic, Edward Kennedy (all Democrats) were convinced that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and also an ambitious program to further develop their capability and delivery systems. The difference: Clinton and others chickened out, Bush acted boldly.

Bill Clinton said: “One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them.”—Feb. 4, 1998. “We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”—Feb. 17, 1998

Sandy Berger (Clinton’s National Security Adviser): “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983.”—Feb. 18, 1998

Al Gore (vice president under Bill Clinton): “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”—Sept. 23, 2002

Sen. Edward Kennedy: “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”—Sept. 27, 2002

Sen. Hillary Clinton: “Intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary, to terrorists, including al Qaeda members.”—Oct. 10, 2002

Sen. John F. Kerry: “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real.”—Jan. 23. 2003

Yatindra Bhatnagar, Fremont, CA


I read the article “The Dowry Disease” by Chander Mehra (IC, February 2004). It is sad that people in India still live in the old traditional way and expect others to fill their homes with gold, money, and electronic gadgets not earned by them. They do so in the guise of “social status” at the time of their sons’ marriages.

But I feel that brides’ parents are also responsible in some ways. I give an example. I am a self-made person who raised five children in India: four daughters and one son. My first daughter is a Ph.D. in Sanskrit, second daughter a Ph.D. in Zoology, third daughter an M.B.A. and M.A. in English literature, and fourth daughter is M.Com. and M. Phil. My son got a B.E. (Hons) degree and is now a software engineer. All my daughters are happily married with highly educated husbands from respectable families, one is settled in India, two in the U.S., and one in Australia. Their parents-in-law did not ask for any dowry. Each match was approved on the bride’s merit and there have been no demands for dowry even after their marriages. I am proud of each of my sons-in-law.

Now, when the question of my son’s marriage arose, we saw about eight to 10 marriageable girls. We did not ask for any dowry. When the girls’ parents asked about our demand for dowry, I told them, I do not believe in this system, I do not want anything, the merit of the girl is more important. Ask your daughter, give her, if you want, what she wants from you. Otherwise, we have enough by the grace of God. From my family, let me know how many guests we may bring for the wedding, but strictly no money, no dowry, no gifts of any kind for any family member including myself and my wife.

You know what happened? Many parents of the girls dropped the proposals, thinking that our son had some defect, so we were not asking for any dowry. Wasn’t that a shame? My son was and is still settled in the U.S. as a software engineer. He’s well paid, intelligent, tall, and in good health. He doesn’t drink or smoke, and is respectful. His superiors always speak highly of him. Back in India, our family is well-reputed and well-established with lots of relatives.

I advise parents of girls to educate them as highly as they want, teach them family values, household chores, freedom to a limited extent, and not compromise under social pressure. It is the parents of girls who are superior to the parents of boys, because their daughters, when married, give birth to the next generation. The boys and their parents who do not understand this are poor in heart and mind, and do not realize this blessing of God, which they cannot buy even with a million dollars of dowry.

B.B. Lal, via e-mail


Congratulations to Anand Shah and his mom. I really enjoyed his article (“The Detached Desi,” IC, December 2003) because of the sincerity of the author’s explorations. Coming to terms with one’s heritage in one’s own way is a wonderful experience. I am a mother of two daughters in their 20s who were born and raised in the U.S. While raising them in this country as a working Bengali mother, I did not do many things that I was supposed to do for my children. Because of the unusual circumstances in my household, I could not talk about religion in my home either. It seems that my children have struck a reasonable balance in their life without becoming desi. By the way, they think that the term “ABCD” is obnoxious and should never be used.

Bakul Banerjee, via the Internet


The latest Last Word column by Sarita Sarvate (“Radio Days,” IC, February 2004) reminds me of my days of listening to Indian radio. My favorite program was All India Radio ki Urdu Service. I was a member of various radio listeners’ clubs.

I still listen to radio here in the Bay area on Saturdays and Sudays but they are more commercial, except for India Waves Radio Live. I wish we had more listener-oriented radio programs where we could send our farmaish, listen to our favorite songs, and interact with hosts. Thanks to Sarvate for her beautiful writing.

Inderjit Manga, Pittsburg, CA


It’s good to read Arvind Kumar’s thoughts on the Editorial page. I share his joy and appreciation of Satyajit Ray and his work, and his snippets and insights from time to time on various topics.
Nanda Aiama, via email

We will continue to feature Arvind Kumar’s editorials alternating with those written by other members of our editorial board. This month’s editorial is by assistant editor Nitya Ramanan.