It was interesting to read the article by Atanu Dey published in the August 2015 issue. I wish to refer to the sentence “There’s no denying that Indians are a dirty people.” I presume he is a strong well wisher of India and the Indian people. I am not sure if he is a Person of Indian Origin or an Indian Citizen living outside India, OR … In any case, with due apologies to the learned author, I place several queries to him regarding the word “Indians” in the above statement.
Does he mean
(i) all Persons of Indian Origin or all Indian citizens living anywhere in the world, with the only exception being he himself?
(ii) all Indians living in India, excepting, of course, his own forefathers and their families?
I can understand his probable intention to do something for his motherland and his forgotten brethren. I would like to quote an example of a person having same intentions but an entirely different line of action. This is a person who got selected to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and worked for five years within the service but was not happy because he could not do social work for the upliftment of the downtrodden. So he quit his job and moved in his chappals from village to village for several years. Finally landing in an interior village where he worked among the landless spending from his own pocket and that of like minded friends. He is still working there for the last 40 years and has greatly contributed to the upliftment of the village.
I sincerely wish the respected and learned author gets some inspiration from such noble souls to bring his laudable intentions to practical meaningful actions.
Vinod Prakash, Los Altos, CA
I wish to refer to the article by Atanu Dey (India Currents, “India, Poverty and The Economist,” August, 2015). It quotes a Rapid Survey On Children (RSOC) report by The Economist in 2013-14 which states that child hunger in Gujarat fell from 44.6% to 33.5% in a decade. I feel that such data do not deserve serious attention because of the following reasons:
i. Malnutrition, Underweight, etc. are well defined parameters but “child-hunger” is a very vague term and there is no way to measure or define it. Every person becomes hungry several times in a day. Perhaps the survey refers to a child who does not get enough food to satisfy his hunger. But then, who was questioned: the child or his parents? What is the reliability of the answer? I know obese persons who feel hungry even after eating twice what they should and also children who say “Oh I am done” after eating only half of what they should.
ii. The survey result has been reported to the first place of decimal which implies that they claim an accuracy of 0.25%. This is just ridiculous unless a very large percent of Gujarat children were surveyed and that too with complete reliability.
iii. A Times on page 12 of Aug 17, 2015 says that 1 in 6 Americans are hungry. That comes to about 16%. If the most affluent country has 16% hunger, a country having GDP one ninth of US and population four times that of US should be given credit to have kept their hunger within 30 or 40%.
I also have a comment regarding the sentence “There’s no denying that Indians are a dirty people.” Without going into the merits of this very general comment, I wish to suggest that such comments may be well taken by sober readers only if it has the tone “We, Indians …” and certainly NOT if it has the tone “You, Indians…”
The author may be better advised to take care of that.
Vidya Sinha, Saratoga, CA
Fundamentalism and Favoritism
We enjoyed the last word column by Sarita Sarvate, (India Currents, “Will the Real Bobby Jindal Please Stand Up?). I feel exactly like Sarita Sarvate does about Bobby Jindal. I will vote for Donald Trump (at least he speaks his mind) before I vote for Bobby Jindal. Both Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley converted to Christianity, not for love of Christ, but for political gains. In Marathi there is a saying that a new convert is more fundamentalist and bigoted than original believers. Mr. Jindal seems to speak directly for and to his Bible thumping followers. I doubt that many Indian Americans will vote for him if he is nominated for United States President.
I do feel that the editorials by Jaya Padmanabhan, and the column by Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan are more suitable for Berkeley magazines. I confess I am a little biased and favor Sarita Sarvate’s articles as I am from Nagpur, just as she is. Please continue writing dear Ms. Sarwate. We always enjoy your articles and stories of living in the Nagpur area.
Prakash Deshmukh, San Jose, CA
I read the insightful article about languages (India Currents, “You Lose it in a Generation,” July 2015) by Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan. My son and daughter-in-law, who is from Czech Republic, have a two-and-a-half year old daughter, Zoya Nayani. They live in Chicago and since she will learn English soon enough when she starts pre-school and kindergarten they decided to teach Zoya Czech now. My daughter-in-law speaks to her in Czech and my son, too, tries to talk to her in his broken Czech. Several of their friends are from Czech Republic, so much so that Zoya is becoming quite good at speaking the language.
For us, in the family, it is fun to listen to Zoya speak Czech, even though we don’t understand her and try to converse with a combination of English and sign language. Zoya seems to enjoy our awkward attempts to converse. Of course, her learning Kannada, which is mine and my wife’s mother tongue, is not in the picture, not that we expect it.
So to come to Ragini’s article, it was as well English was spoken. If I am not mistaken, we did admire in our younger days for his language abilities, her not-too-distant ancestor the silver-tongued Srinavasa Sastrigal. Now it seems her uncle Shashi Tharoor’s Oxford debate is not too shabby eiter!
Nagaraja Rao, Fremont, CA