In response to Sarita Sarvate’s essay (Has Democracy Been Compromised, India Currents, Dec ‘14—Jan ‘15)—it may be worthy to consider that democracy is an idea compromised from the very beginning. It’s an idea not even worth dying for, as so many American soldiers have for decades. Democracy comes from a Greek word (demokratia) which essentially means rule of the people. This means that if you can get a majority of the people to agree with a certain set of ideas you can make the laws of the land, you can even change the Constitution of the United States.
In extreme cases, entire groups of people have been declared unfit to live, as in so many of the communist People’s Republic regines. Laws can change based on the contemporary tastes of the people. Currently, in a democratic system we have abortion, gay marriage, pornography, marijuana and excessive taxes to support a welfare state, and this is what American soldiers are fighting to defend. More specifically, when a people discover that they can vote for legislators who will tax others so as to give them welfare checks, that is when a democracy finally implodes on itself.
A democracy could possibly work if you have enough people who believe in objective truth and morality, such as that which comes from the Bible. Otherwise a democracy can easily turn into tyranny.
Ara Piranian, North Hollywood, CA
Cannot Justify Spanking
As a liberal and a progressive, I take great pride in who I am and what I believe in. So I take issue with the letter in the November issue of India Currents, titled “Spanking and the Bible,” written by Ara Piranian. No one should use the Bible to spank children and justify it by saying that it’s loving and done in a Biblical manner. Children are people and have needs that differ. What works for some parents doesn’t work for others.
Daniel Garcia, Gilroy, CA
Foot and Mouth Disease
Bobby Jindal seems to be suffering from a bad bout of foot and mouth disease. Following his ludicrous defense of former President Bush’s heinous torture practices, the Louisiana governor made a major faux pas by echoing Fox News assertions about Muslims in the wake of the terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher Market in Paris. Jindal echoed the absurd claims of self-described terrorism expert, Steve Emerson, of Fox News that parts of Europe, including the entire English city of Birmingham (my birth place) was firmly in control of Muslims where non-Muslims feared to tread. Emerson ended up with mega doses of egg all over his face and was forced to apologize; Fox News broadcaster, Julie issued the broadest apology, directed at the people of England and France—“Over the course of this last week, we have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France. Now this applies especially to discussions of so-called “no-go zones,” areas where non-Muslims allegedly aren’t allowed in and police supposedly won’t go. To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.” It is now time for Jindal to issue a similar apology failing which he should take a vow of silence and retire into obscurity.
Jagjit Singh, Los Altos, CA
Contribute Against Corruption
Shashi Tharoor in his article (Corruption is still India’s Biggest Problem, India Currents, November 2014) makes many good suggestions, especially regarding how business owners and ordinary citizens can make a contribution against corruption. I would like to add the obligation of people of Indian origin who live outside India to this noble cause, and give a few examples worth following.
Tharoor advises businessmen and citizens to refrain from bribing government officals and others and making excuses to justify the bribes. One good example in this regard is the policy of Tata Industries (started by Parsi Zarathushti/Zoroastrian Jamshedji Tata and currently headed by anothr Parsi, Cyrus Mistry) against giving bribes, even though they have often suffered delays and refusals in obtaining licenses.
In my own personal life, I have also followed this policy against giving or accepting bribes. Whenever I go to visit my family in India, I have faced indirect pressures from customs officials for some bribe to get through the line quicker, especially when I arrive at Mumbai airport after midnight with wife and child, tired from a long journey. One time, the passenger waiting in the line behind me congratulated me for not buckling under, when we were finally let through without any bribe giving.
It is not easy to fight corruption as Tharoor points out, but as Mahatma Gandhi said, you have to “Be the change you wish to see.” With the leadership of visionary prime minister, Narendra Modi, Indians at home and abroad can make a difference in combatting corruption and lifting this burden from the suffering poor class.
Maneck Bhujwala, Huntington Beach, CA
An Evocative Description
Prem Souri Kishore’s travelogue on her trip to the shores of Croatia kept me engrossed (The Lure of Croatia, India Currents, October 2014). With its adroit sprinklings of mythology, history and current affairs the article brought me to the conclusion that with this country, one does not have to worry about traveling in hope or fearing the arrival.
I, like a few others, did not know anything of Croatia till it became independent, and precious little after that too. The article has greatly enhanced my knowledge of the country, and has ignited a desire in me to visit it.
Travel for most of us, including for the arm chair traveler, is mostly a trip to historic monuments, and yet there are others who hold out against the classic countries. (Say Rome, once more, and I will scream). The hardy souls want to brave the least traveled routes to be able to come back and say “the natives were friendly.” But for the ones wanting a happy middle, travel in “unknown” but “enchanting” climes, Croatia seems to be the answer, after reading the article.
Getting there is not the fun, it is the going that matters, through road trips. The author’s description of her journey to and fro the New Riviera, with evocative descriptions of the sights and sounds, not to mention the tastes, of the Italian cities she passed through, clearly point out the advantages of a road trip to the Croatian shore. I would if I could.
If the tour operators in North America find their telephone ringing off the hook, with calls from your readers on how to get to Croatia, I should not be surprised.
Vijay Mohan, Chicago, IL