Tag Archives: #letterstotheeditor

Letters to the Editor: Response to Instagram Filters

Dear India Currents and Medha,

Medha, may I take the liberty of stating you looked so much better and more natural with no filter than with it?

I love your points about society deeming certain White physical traits as attractive ones, however, we don’t have to pander to it. We can simply ignore those standards and learn to feel comfortable in our own skin. No one is holding a gun to the heads of Indian women and forcing them to get blonde highlights, or worse, go totally blonde, yet many Indian women do. It will be a while before Indians feel pride in their nation, their religion, their dress, their food, their customs, and their languages. It is the unfortunate aftermath of the toxic British colonialistic legacy that still lingers on and makes us belittle ourselves.
It has nothing to do with White culture, and everything to do with how we Indians feel about ourselves. Let’s take accountability for it and begin the change from within. Kudos to you for your candid self-expression.
Go ahead and eat that idli-sambar and lick your fingers clean!

Sincerely,

Gayathri Chakravarthy

Cupertino, CA

Letters to the Editor: Boost Your Immune Response to COVID

Dear India Currents,

It appears Covid-19 will be with us for a while, and so it makes sense that we prepare ourselves to fight off the virus as best as we can.

Several factors determine how sick one might get from Covid-19. Principal among the reasons appear to be: (1) Viral load carried by the transmitter, (2) Distance from the transmitter to the receiver, (3) Duration for which the receiver remains in the vicinity of the transmitter, and (4) Immunity of the receiver. This brief article focuses on the last x-factor in this list.

First, Yoshinori Ohsumi received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for showing how fasting is supportive of health and longevity. Researchers report that fasting activates autophagy, the process of cell recycle and renewal, which helps slow the aging process and has a positive impact on cell renewal. Along these lines, supplements such as vitamins D have also been reported to boost immune response.

At the fundamental level, scientists say that they have identified a set of genes that fight the Covid-19 infection. These genes are related to interferons, a group of signaling proteins made and released by the host cells in response to the presence of viruses. The researchers found that a weak interferon response to the infection results in some of the more severe cases of COVID-19. This understanding led researchers to search for the genes that are triggered by interferons, known as interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), which act to limit SARS-CoV-2 infection, and they identified eight such genes.

Against this background, medical researchers have found that meditation lengthens telomeres and slow aging. It is plausible that meditation may strengthen the interferon response, boosting immunity to Covid-19. By now, the medical benefits of meditation are widely documented.

Covid-19 being primarily a disease of the lungs, enhancing the functioning of the lungs should be supportive of higher immunity to the disease as well.

A 2014 report in Nature found that pranayam (breathing exercises) and meditation could help fight flu-like systems. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, The Healing Power of Breathing offered evidence of the medical benefits of proper breathing.

Maybe with the regular practice of pranayam and meditation, fewer people will be sickened by the dreaded disease, and those who do get sick, will not become as sick. Be sure to talk to your healthcare service provider before adopting these suggestions.

Sincerely,

Pradeep B. Deshpande & James P. Kowall


Pradeep B. Deshpande is Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at the University of Louisville, and President of Six Sigma and Advanced Controls, Inc.

James P. Kowall is an independent researcher based in suburban Eugene, Oregon. He is a retired physician certified in Neurology, Internal Medicine, and Sleep Disorder Medicine, and he additionally holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics.

If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 


 

Letters to the Editor: Earth Day Open Letter to Mayors & CEOs

Dear India Currents,

To the Community Leaders –

Please do not try to rush back to the pre-Covid normal. Indeed, drop the idea altogether. It will be the best thing you can do for the planet, for your residents & employees, and for the overall US economy.

To the Mayors of large metros –

Many of you are leading your cities to become more environmentally friendly and demanding Congressional leaders take bold action to protect our planet. One of the boldest actions you yourself can take for the planet is to stop pushing for businesses and people to come back to your city as soon as possible.  Your large metropolises have for decades drawn resources from the surrounding areas facilitated by cars, buses, and trains – each mode of transportation relying predominantly on fossil fuel. Cities can facilitate lower carbon lifestyles, being densely packed they reduce miles traveled for city-dwellers and most of that travel is on public transport, which is easier to electrify. However, there is a serious counter-balancing externality of daily travel in and out of cities for suburbanites. The same engine that has spurred your cities’ spectacular growth has also imperiled the planet and choked areas with air pollution. Scientists had been warning about the potential of a global pandemic, now they are warning us that going back to pre-Covid normal, when normal is what has brought us to the brink of disaster, is simply untenable. We don’t have much time left and your actions/inactions will help seal the fate of our planet. Why must you then push for an anti-planet agenda?

Your cities haven’t just fueled climate emissions; they have also been funnels of economic activity sucking jobs and wealth from their surrounding suburbs. In many ways, your cities have imbibed the logic of the market with competition dominating the sphere. In pre-Covid times, the country was littered with listless towns, their sole purpose being feeders of human resource to your illustrious cities. Covid-19 changed that. Suburban house prices have gone up all across the country, especially as many city-dwellers flocked to the suburbs in search of more spacious housing. People already living in the suburbs, unencumbered by the rush of getting to work each morning and returning exhausted at night, find themselves with time to relax, so they spend it enjoying their own neighborhoods, eating out more often, revitalizing their own localities. Our own little Long Island town’s Main Street is buzzing like never before; even during weekdays and weeknights, when it used to be nearly deserted before, is now swarming with people at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the vibe is superb. If these people are again forced to go back to their sordid commutes, it may bring more economic activity to your cities, but it would be at the expense of the suburbs. Why is it that for the benefit of your large cities so many small towns across America must suffer?

To the CEOs of big corporations –

For decades, there existed a model of business and management that assumed employees’ physical presence in an office a prerequisite for growth and profitability. Covid-19 has finally proved this to be a fallacy. Corporate profits are skyrocketing and an overwhelming majority of employers acknowledge that remote work has been successful. The best example of remote-work success is the software/tech industry. This success is now possible because by 2020, the technology to work remotely had matured in the form of high-speed internet access and myriad video conferencing software.  Any remaining kinks in technology will soon be sorted. Towering skyscrapers with their gleaming glass offices have already started to resemble monuments of the past. Many employees have discovered that not having to spend 2-3-4 hours each day driving in rush hour traffic or riding on trains & buses offers a much higher quality of life. Sleep deprivation has been a major detriment to the health of long-distance commuters, napping being the most common commuting activity. Imagine having an extra 2-4 hours added to your daily life; you can sleep more, play more, spend more time with your kids, have more time to think creatively, or just ponder. This prized gift of time improves productivity and makes for happier employees. Why would you then try to upend this superior work-life balance?

Of course, some employees, especially young people, might want to come back to the office. Others, especially older ones, who have homes & roots in the suburbs and/or are raising young children may vastly prefer to either fully or mostly work from home. It is not so difficult to find ways to facilitate these shifts. Those who do not desire to go back to a daily commute should be allowed to come to the office once or twice a week as per need, potentially for a day of meetings or if a new employee on-boarding requires physical presence. Even those employees who would mostly prefer to work in the office are more likely to appreciate being able to work from home 1 or 2 days a week, especially if the home is no longer a cupboard size apartment. Pre-Covid, the living arrangement in some of these “wealthy” cities was close to inhumane for most people, tiny apartments carved up into “flexes” converting living rooms into extra bedrooms to add another roommate. The sole objective of renting such an apartment was to get away from it for most of the day. Facilitating more employees to live and work from homes in the suburbs not only adds to their quality of life, but it also relieves housing pressure in cities allowing the employees living there to be able to afford humane housing conditions. Why not embrace this win-win for both employees and employers?

To all reading –

You might ask the fundamental question – if people start working right where they live and if corporations close offices in large cities, what does it do to the stature of a big city? What would “New York, New York” mean if the suburbs in New Jersey, Long Island, and the other NYC boroughs no longer funnel all their resources to the tiny island of Manhattan?

While you may not like the answer, the truth is that there is nothing sacrosanct about the stature of a big city. History shows that crises and disasters have always set the stage for new paradigms of thinking and living. Mega-cities have long been considered the engines of human progress, but they have also brought immense misery to countless areas through depopulation & brain-drain, and commuting to and from cities is a huge source of sleep deprivation and carbon emissions. For far too long, scientists’ warnings have been ignored by governments and corporations alike, both unable to see beyond the next fiscal quarter’s growth figures. And the abomination of “business as usual” has continued unabated.

Covid-19 has brought the world immense tragedy but it has also given us a glimpse of new possibilities. It has shown us that even cherished old paradigms have an expiration date. For the sake of the planet, our own well-being, and for the greater good, we are counting on you for the right kind of leadership.

Thank you!

Swati Srivastava and Mark Bartosik

Long Island, New York


Swati Srivastava is a filmmaker and an environmentalist. Mark Bartosik is an engineer and an environmentalist. Together, they try to lead a sustainable life and live in a Net Zero Energy Home in Long Island, NY. They can be reached at Swati@TiredAndBeatup.com and Mark@NetZeroEnergy.org 

If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 


 

Letters to the Editor: 4/02/2021

Dear India Currents,

Biden Can’t End Cancer

Some politicians like to take credit for everything.  During a speech in Houston on February 26, 2021, President Joe Biden said, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  There’s just one thing—one thing—I could be known for as president.  It would be the end—the president who during his era ended cancer as we know it.”  There are three major problems with this statement.

First, scientific researchers, not politicians, will end cancer.  Second, there are over 100 types of cancer.  They won’t all be cured at once.  Third, the president cannot single-handedly allocate more taxpayer money for cancer research.  The House of Representatives and Senate are involved in determining how taxpayer money is spent.  Biden can’t end cancer.

Ashu M. G. Solo

Wilmington, Delaware


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 3/18/2021

Dear India Currents,

Captain Tom Moore served in an imperialist force.

The United Kingdom and the world are celebrating the life of Captain Tom Moore for raising a lot of money for the British health service’s charitable wing. Moore is being praised as a hero, but he was a member of the British occupying force in India. The British caused millions of deaths in India and left the country in shambles.  Moore should have apologized to the people of India for being part of an imperialist force in India. Instead of raising money for NHS Charities Together, he should have raised money for reparations for India.

Ashu M. G. Solo


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 3/11/2021

Dear India Currents,

I read the piece written by Dr. Soni of her critique on Netflix’s new video series on over the top Indian weddings “The Big Day“. I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on it. I found the series entertaining, interesting, and funny. Each couple had a unique love story and their weddings were customized for that and to reflect their own individual styles and tastes. Since these couples came from very wealthy families and backgrounds, they could afford such grand extravagant weddings and the planning team to do it.

What bothered me was that The Big Day showed Indian couples that came from families is not even the 1% in India or the Indian American community but the less than 1%! These were people in extremely wealthy and elite circles.  How many of us Indian Americans, even those who are in the upper-middle and upper class of doctors, engineers, CEOs of companies, can afford weddings on such a grand scale?

Let us take Nikhita and Mukund. Nikhita said in the trailer “I wanna make this wedding everything I ever dreamed of.”  Well, considering that she and her husband were around 24-25 at the time of their nuptials, can someone that young pay for a wedding that cost upwards of tens of millions of dollars? Her father Subrah Iyer is a Silicon Valley tech CEO worth several hundred million dollars ($750 million).  Of course, the majority of parents want to pay for their kid’s weddings but how many Indian American kids have parents who can afford to pay for a weeklong over-the-top wedding in India in the tens upon tens of millions of dollars? The Iyers are in less than 1%, and Nikhita and Mukund’s wedding story is a very far removed reality!

Again, these couples and their families are extremely wealthy and have every right to have these types of weddings. It is just that this is not the reality for most of us. I wish the wedding series was called ‘The Big Day for Indians in the 1%’.

Warm Regards,

Laavanya Pasupuleti


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 2/25/2021

Dear India Currents,

On skin color…

I am not an apologist for the Indians’ penchant for fair skin. I merely want to say that different nations/ethnic groups have different criteria for beauty/handsomeness, mostly illogical.  Why is a taller man considered more handsome than a shorter one or a 36-24-36 an exquisite figure for a woman? 

Another thing to clarify: in India, unlike in Latin America or among African Americans, skin color is not indicative of racial parentage. Such prejudices hardly exist in India in the workplace, where your work is valued much more than your ‘beauty’.  The preference for fair brides is a throwback from an earlier era, when girls were married off in their early teens and arranged marriages were the overwhelming norm.  The girls were too young to be distinguished by their education and their physique and features had not stabilized yet – skin color was a more definitive characteristic.  This prejudice will slowly disappear as women become more educated and more assertive and have a lot more to show than their skin color.  But prejudices die hard.

Sincerely,

Partha Sircar

Concord, California


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 2/15/2021

Dear India Currents,

I penned a thoughtful article on BLM to celebrate Feb as Black History Month. This is an honest attempt to contribute through Indian Classical dance to the movement. Many asked me to write about this for a long time. February is the ideal time.

We need to understand Black history, and learning more about systemic racism is essential as our country faces backlash to civil rights activists such as the George Floyd protests. We should know Black History Month and how to celebrate it appropriately. The second week of February coincides with Frederick Douglass’s birthdays, a famed abolitionist who escaped from slavery, and President Abraham Lincoln, who formally abolished slavery. Feb. 1 is National Freedom Day, the anniversary of the approval of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865. Richard Wright, who was enslaved and became a civil rights advocate and author, lobbied for the day’s celebration.

Young African Americans and all young adults of all colors need to understand and be proud of the heritage and history. The outpouring of support, particularly from white Americans and brown Indians, and all colors, for the Black Lives Matter movement during the nationwide racial justice protests in the wake of Floyd’s death, was a positive step toward recognizing more enduring structural racism forms. Racism is baked into the American system in many ways.

As we know, the world changed after Derek Chauvin put his knees on George Floyd’s neck for 8 mins and 46 seconds. Our collective conscience about the injustice of policing was shaken to the core. But this was not the first in the struggle against police brutality. A century-long journey, through the days of slave patrols, segregation during Jim Crow’s south, civil rights movements, through the beatings of Rodney King, the killing of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, the struggle and the protest goes on. Taking a critical look at South Asians in this movement, mostly Indians, we can do more to stand with the oppressed black communities and the racist American state.

Piyali is a Bharatanatyam dancer and teacher in Seattle foregrounds, collaborating with talented Jasmine Forrest, BFA (Contemporary Dance, Boston Conservatory @ Berklee). Jasmine has a long ongoing history of struggle as a Black ballerina and Contemporary Dancer in the professional world. The renaissance of Indian Classical Dance itself is an outcome of white colonial supremacy and upper-caste demand to be a custodian of “Indian Culture”. White supremacy in contemporary and ballet became standard in the western world.

This is an honest, collaborative attempt to support BLM through art. In this video mix of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance and music collage, we wanted to portray the movement’s long history against police brutality. Dr. King said, the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But we ask, how long would it be before justice prevails? When enough is enough?

Sincerely,

Piyali Biswas De

 

Sadhana is a 501-(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2019 based in Seattle WA, USA. It aims to explore and highlight ways in which various art-forms can be used to create social campaigns and awareness, to explore and highlight issues that impact everyone, and explore a common thread across diverse cultural forms around the globe. Art is truly a global language; it speaks to our need to express, reveal, heal, and transform. Sadhana aims to nurture and promote arts such as Dance, Music, Theatre, Photography, Creative Writing, Painting, and Fashion to highlight and educate about issues relevant to all of us.


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 2/1/2021

Dear India Currents,

The new year brings new hope in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

As our nation renews its collective focus to end Alzheimer’s, this year can bring hope and optimism to the millions of American families affected by this disease.  2020 was a year of great uncertainty that saw those affected by Alzheimer’s at greater risk than ever before, but 2021 represents a time to be optimistic with the Inauguration of Biden’s Presidency on Jan 20th

My motivation to be a part of this movement comes from my mother who passed away just before the holidays. We are still mourning her loss while trying to overcome our frustration on the late diagnosis of Alzheimer’s which caused irreversible damage. We had to battle with the healthcare systems both in the US and India to find out the cause for her rapidly deteriorating mental faculties. The primary care physician’s timely diagnosis would have helped us prepare for what to expect and actively work on improving her condition. 

With a new Administration and a new Congress, we have new opportunities to address Alzheimer’s as a public health crisis – not just to develop a disease-altering treatment, but also to improve the quality of health care for current and future dementia patients.

More than 95% of individuals with dementia have one or more other chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.  A person with dementia is 4.4 times more likely to have six or more other chronic conditions than someone without dementia.  Health care utilization is significantly higher among seniors with dementia than among seniors without dementia: the annual hospitalization rate is twice as high; the use of skilled nursing facilities is nearly four times higher.  In addition, on average, a senior with dementia will visit the emergency room more than once each year.

Please join me in thanking Ro Khanna for leading in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and improve care and support for those affected. 

Deepak Rama


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 1/21/2021

Dear India Currents,

It was nice that Kamala Devi Harris swore on the Bible that belonged to Thurgood Marshall; a wonderful gesture, that speaks gallons for one side of her heritage that goes back to the Civil Rights movement and first steps towards desegregation in schooling practices. It is an area I myself teach on. But is Kamala-ji forgetting her South Asian heritage and spiritual prowess of that side of her tradition?  Her mother would have been proud if she also had her mother’s copy of the Bhagavad Gita or some holy text from their Tamil religious background next to the Holy Bible or on the table; or perhaps even her grandfather’s copy of Gandhi’s text on ’Truth is God (which is in his Autobiography: My Experiment with Truth’ as well. I believe Tulsi Gabbard – though not exactly of South Asian origin, but brought up as a Hindu – swore her oath, upon her entering the Congress, on the Bhagavad Gita (which edition or – if – translation I am not sure, as that too matters). It is time more attention was paid to the holy scriptures of other traditions represented in the US and increasingly in the administrative echelons.

 

Sincerely,

Purushottama


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 1/11/2021

Dear India Currents,

First and foremost, I would like to tell my farmers’ brothers/sisters that we feel your pain and anguish. I am writing this letter to make a plea that there should be a long term thinking to lift lots of farmers. This can happen when farmers take control of their produce and sell value-added end product directly to consumers bypassing all middlemen (Government or private). If the farmers set up a co-operative that buys their produce at the same MSP prices; store it in the silos, convert it to products consumed, selling them pre-packaged.

Here are some examples:

Atta (flour), Sooji, Maida, Chapatti/Phulkas, Paronthas (Aloo, Methi, Saada, etc.), Halwa, Sliced Bread, etc.

As the co-operative generates income, other products can be added to its offerings. I have the success of Amul Dairy in my mind when proposing it. Amul started with milk, added butter, ghee, cheese, ice cream, etc. and today there are a plethora of products marketed under that brand. Such a venture will make the farmers less dependent on government policies or profit-driven private sector making them masters of their produce and destiny. We can emulate the business model of Baba Ramdev for Ayurvedic products. 

Bhupinder Singh 


If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note. 

Letters to the Editor: 1/4/2021

Dear India Currents,

Congratulations on the high standard & versatility of India Currents! Refreshing, meaningful to read & worth the time.

With reference to the recent article by Dr. Majmudar on How Certain Are We about Uncertainty?, a timely article, indeed.

The concept of Uncertainty, a philosophic one thus far, has invaded every human life  in the world. There by forcing us to reevaluate our selves, our choices, concepts and re frame our values . It has shown just how fragile life is and the strengths we pride our selves in. This dance of Shiva – construction, destruction, reconstruction – certainty, uncertainty has for ever tested humanity and life’s resilience has won every time. Lessons learnt and forgotten – Newer challenges, newer lessons – thus goes the cycle of time.

The poignant way, Dr Majmudar states this fact of  “Certainty – Uncertainty” by comparing to Siamese Twins,Their dependence is the reason why they survive”, reveals every depth of the concept and absolute necessity of its acceptance in life. 

“Maturity is the capacity to endure and outgrow them” 

Progress and creativity grow in the shadows of uncertainty.

A great advice –in such straight, simple words !!!

This is too vast a topic to be condensed in one article. Considering the present need for such guidance, I hope Dr. Majmudar expands on this concept in follow up articles.

Thanks.

Be well, Be safe & stay in touch,

Vimal Nikore

If you would like your opinion or perspective expressed at India Currents, do not hesitate to contact editor@indiacurrents.com with a submission or note.