Persian Story is Pre-Islamic

In the article (Bharatnatyam in Persia, July 2011), the author, Priya Das in her comments on Malini Krishnamurthi’s stage production, “Tales and Legends,”that adapts a story from the Persian epic Haft Paykar, writes “.. the stage backdrops will display the Sphinx and pyramids, an ancient market scene will be brought to life with hawkers and tricksters; even as serious business folk call for prayers chanting ‘allah hu akbar.’  Since the setting is Islamic literature, Krishnamurthi has opted to incorporate a qawwali vignette,…..”

I would like to point out that although Nizami Ganjavi, the author of Haft Paykar(“Seven Beauties”) was a Muslim, the stories in his epic are about a pre-Islamic Persian king, Shah Behram Gur (421-438 C.E.), who was a follower of Iranian prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster). The reference to chants of “allah hu akbar” is misleading, because prophet Mohammed was not yet born during the king’s reign.

Laurel Victoria Gray, founder and artistic director of the Silk Road Dance company, in her article in Azerbaijan International (2005), confirms this with her comment “The marriages of Bahram Gur echo the ancient pre-Islamic ritual of the Sacred Marriage between the King and the land.”

Maneck Bhujwala, Huntington Beach, CA

Domestic Worker Rights are Important

Domestic workers need to be assured of their basic rights, period (Should California Pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, August, 2011). As a young girl, I was banned from a friend’s household for teaching the the maids English. They brought them from Texas to California, and kept them virtually in slavery. It was shocking to me then and is now.  There is no reason domestics should be exempt from these protections. If some seniors require low-cost care, then we need to figure out a way they can have it, but not at the expense of the worker who is providing it.

Lily L. Diamond, online

Alcohol Shouldn’t be Celebrated

I am disappointed to see writers in India Currents approving of the use of alcoholic beverages in a recent article (Soma Rising, July 2011) and in readers’ letters. Consumption of alcohol is a causative factor in many of the evils of society, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, drunken driving, dementia, and cancer. A report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that medium and high consumption of alcohol led to 75,754 deaths in the United States in 2001.

Fetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world.

Many reports state that about 73% of felonies are alcohol-related. One survey shows that in about 83% of homicides, 80% of wife-battering, 72% of stabbings, 67% of child-beating cases, and 41% of forcible rape cases, either the attacker or the victim or both had been drinking.

Over-consumption of alcohol is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide.  One study links alcohol to 1 in every 25 deaths worldwide and that 5% of years lived with disability are attributable to alcohol consumption.

Mike Sage, Santa Clara, CA

Let’s Be Civil

I really enjoyed reading the editorial (Dishing it Out, August 2011). I thought it hit the nail on the head and the last line hammered it home. I have often wondered about the comments section on blogs being the repository of undue hatred in terms of gender and nationality. I read the article (Shaadi Dot Kya, July 2011) and found it humorous. Only after scrolling down to the comments section did I realize the writer had opened a veritable Pandora’s Box.

Sometimes people miss the point. An article reflects the writer’s viewpoint and, while you have the reason and right to disagree, it is important to maintain civility and not name-call or resort to judgmental comments.

On a different note, I found the piece on Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (Report Foreign Investments Now, August 2011) very informative, since most of us are unaware of these amendments.

Meera Ramanathan, Danbury, CT

More Adventures in Online Dating

I found this article extremely entertaining and very well written (Shaadi Dot Kya, July 2011). I have had my own share of funny experiences. There was “Hairy Dude,” “Desperado,” “Cute Yet Boring Google Guy,” “Gold-digger IIT Guy,” “Searching for Citizen,” and so on! One thing about this whole dating game is that it helps you learn exactly what you want and don’t want in a potential husband. All we girls are looking for is a normal guy who is ready to accept the girl for who she is. The super hot desi guys are stuck up and shallow, the hot ones are players and not ready to settle down, the not so hot ones are super sweet and extra nice( which can repel a girl and make her want to be just friends!) I am not trying to be shallow, but where the heck are the good-looking, funny, genuine guys out there? Are they all taken?

Megha, online

Dating Does Involve Personal Criteria and Preferences

I am a non-Asian, married for 25 years to a foreign-born South Asian. I am sitting here open-mouthed at some of the silliness passing back and forth in this [online)]discussion (Shaadi Dot Kya, July 2011). Back in my dating days, I was called shallow for not wanting to seriously date anyone without a college education. The fact was that I had put myself through college and I wanted someone who shared my expectations and outlook since I was looking for a possible husband, and not just someone to spend time with (that’s called a “friend.”)

If something happened where I had to go back to the dating pool at this stage in my life, my reactions would be different, since I would have different expectations about what I was looking for. Everyone has their own private list that is, hopefully, somewhat flexible as to what they want in a spouse. To deny that is to pretend to be someone you are not, no matter how much you wish to be more politically correct, open-minded, or liberated.  It is hard to know, from the brevity of the article, how much the author shared of herself with her dates, and which men might have dumped her as well. We can argue back and forth about fairness and equality, but in the end, all that matters is the honesty of an individual connection—will it work or not. One lives in the real world, not the ideal.

Mary Arulanantham, online

Elections 2012

Are you a South Asian involved in American politics? India Currents is planning a series of articles leading up to the Presidential elections in 2012. We are looking for varied viewpoints—from the grassroots organizer to the seasoned campaigner. To share your experiences and perspectives, get in touch with us at with the subject line “Elections 2012.”

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...