India and the News
I was a little taken aback by Jaya Padmanabhan’s critique of American media for covering Jay-Z (How Jay-Z Trumped Modi, India Currents, June 2014). She refers to Fox News coverage of a leopard on the loose as non-news worthy.
Working for Fox, I can tell her that any story involving animals is news worthy for the American people are very concerned with animal safety and welfare and partner with Indians who are equally concerned: PETA. Sometime ago we had a bear come down from Glendale and hundreds of media hours were devoted to a bear-cam and bear twitter/facebook feeds. It is actually very eltist of India Currents that it does not devote any press to pets/animals/Indian vetenarians etc.
As far as covering Modi, Fox followed the norm. Elections in friendly countries is often covered lightly … do you hear minute-by-minute coverage of elections in Australia or the United Kingdom?
What is concerning to me is that so little time was devoted by India Currents to cover our local candidates such as Neel Kashkari and Kamala Harris. As a volunteer pollworker I know there is a lot of interest in Indian-Americans running for office. It is time to drop the left liberal bias of India Currents and deal with real people.
Gopal Chakravarthy, California
I agree with the editorial by Jaya Padmanabhan last month. The United States media completely ignored India’s election results. Major TV networks and newspapers make little mention of news from India. When the United States media features India it is seems to be negative, like a train accident, a murder, rape, poverty or slums. The problem is that half of the people in the United States do not know where India is and it is likely that they know more about Hong Kong then about India.
A complete absence of news this time may have another factor. It was a major victory for Narendra Modi and the BJP. Narendra Modi was persona non grata in the United States till he was elected. He was denied a visa to enter the United States. If violation of human rights was the issue against Modi, then why not pay more attention to China, where tanks were rolled on innocent people, or Saudi Arabia where a woman caught driving is arrested and her husband fired.
Today Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of a country whose middle class is bigger than the entire United States population, and this middle class has huge spending power. United States corporations are hungry to get into India and cut themselves a piece of this spending pie. And magically the visa situation has been resolved. In fact, Modi has been invited to the United States by President Obama himself.
United States administrations, whether democrat or republican, have a habit of treating other countries like banana republics. It is time to stop this practice.
Virendra Jain. California
There are two important issues to consider: first, if you lived long enough in the United States, it is no surprise for you that locals/natives view the United States as the entire world; and second, Indians in general have an unfailing tendency to look for “endorsement” from the United States. In reality, it hardly matters.
Los Angeles Times devoted front page for five days in a row to report a recorded racial slur from a real estate developer who also amassed wealth and owned a NBA team. Election results and Narendra Modi’s taking over as India’s Prime Minister were on a second page.
India is the largest democracy in the world, as everyone in the world is aware of. So it is time to move on and establish India as the most powerful democracy that will overshadow the rest of the world. It is just a matter of time, now that the corruption-infested country ousted a dynasty that made India an impoverished nation.
Kasi Gabbita, California
Modi and India
Vamse Juluri, you are on point in your article (Decoding Elections 2014, India Currents, June 2014). I am an enthusiastic supporter of Modi and am no Hindu fanatic. I see Modi as a level headed pragmatist, patriotic and has a soft heart for the poor and oppressed of India of any community. I predict he will deliver the goods as he has promised and re-establish true pride for India for the first time since 1947.
When you write, “ … most reasonable Hindus. They may not care for the ultra-nationalism and minority-abusing that some Hindutva leaders did, but they do care about their religion, their nation and their place in the world,” you speak for the balanced nationalists who care about India and that goes for many people of Indian origin all over the world.
Let’s not jump too high on Modi. Modi’s foundation is RSS, which killed Mohatma Gandhi. Modi rode to power riding on Hindu nationalism where Hindu fundamentalists amply rewarded him for his role in Gujarat riots.
Within a week of Modi’s inauguration, two teenage Dalit girls were raped and then hanged to death. An innocent Muslim man was beaten to death by a Hindu mob on the false accusation that the Muslim had insulted Shivaji. Modi preferred to remain silent on both.
This was a golden opportunity to take on Hindu higher castes, corrupt police force and fanatical extremists. When a man in power excludes morality from his political expediency—nothing good or great can ever come out of him, no matter how many of us are eager to ride on the Modi bandwagon.
Hiring and Inspiring
Vivek Wadhwa appears to have joined the vultures circling the Silicon Valley, who are on the prowl for race, age and gender bias (Silicon Valley Elitism, India Currents, June 2014). Silicon Valley is just a geographical spot on the California Coast. It is far, far smaller than the sum of its parts. The sum encompasses the globe.
Google has photographically recorded every street with a name or number, in every country. It has made every encyclopedia in the world obsolete and updates the information package continuously; totalitarian governments are afraid of its knowledge content. Cisco teleconferencing technology brings literally anybody from anywhere on to your inter-active screen; Facebook has a free membership well in excess of a billion people, the majority in South-East Asia, and so too does Twitter. Skype, smart phones (including tablets) and other telecom derivatives are the craze of the times.
Suffice to say that the Silicon Valley community has now spread to every corner of the globe through innovation, development and marketing, all in the last three decades.
Truthfully, Silicon Valley refers now to this whole community, not to the headquarters of the major players. No country in the world will decline an offer from anyone to duplicate a version of Silicon Valley in their own locale notwithstanding the stigma of elitism.
P. Mahadevan, Fullerton, CA