Letters

MAXIMUM REPLY

Sandip Roy-Chowdhury’s editorial (“Maximum Horror in Maximum City,” India Currents, August 2006) is a nice piece, more so because he laments the lack of personal stories and human portraits of the victims of the Mumbai bomb blasts. The blasts, be they in India, United Kingdom, Spain, Bali, or Israel, leave a trail of tragedy for all.

The cities might recover with time and resources, but families cannot. They might not mourn everyday, and superficial wounds heal with the passage of time, but deep down in their hearts they know that their world is not the same.

Yes, the media would do its duty much better if they wrote about human suffering and gave the tragedy a face that cannot be erased. However, there is another important aspect—bringing the killers to justice. To the victim families, victim cities, and victim nations justice can only be done when the culprits are dealt with adequately, effectively, and speedily.

In that respect, if the media and the people rake Manmohan Singh over the coals for not responding speedily, they should not be blamed. This tragedy in Mumbai is not the first. It has been happening in India for decades, and the government is helpless.

Chowdhury seems to be uncomfortable with the remark: “Remember Bush’s speech immediately after 9/11? That’s what is required.” He wants to explore another way. What other way? Negotiations with terror groups? Concessions to jihadi killers? Or what Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee said: “We will not be provoked.”

Chowdhury’s remedy for the nameless dead in Mumbai (and Madrid, New York, London, Bali) is to get justice, not revenge, and he sees a difference between the two.

How do you bring justice to the victims? Financial compensation? Bringing the dead back to life? The former is possible, and often provided. The latter is not possible. The proper justice to the victims and their families, the cities, and the nation is harsh punishment for terror groups and their supporters. They should be crushed to the maximum, making their rebirth impossible in the foreseeable future.

That’s what Bush vowed in his speech after 9/11. That’s what every victim nation should do—take immediate, effective steps to deal a crushing blow to all those who train, support, arm, finance, and export terrorism to all corners of the world. Call it revenge if you like, but this is the only form of justice the nameless need, and would welcome. Anything short of that is an insult to the memories of the victims, and not justice. Not wielding a big hammer will make terror groups repeat their acts on innocent people and soft nations.

Whatever you may say about Bush’s speech, and subsequent actions, don’t forget that for the last five years the nation has not suffered a second 9/11. Terror groups have not been able to inflict another tragedy on the nation, thanks to that speech.

Yatindra Bhatnagar, Fremont, Calif.

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IN DEEPER WATERS

I haven’t seen Water but did manage to get to a screening of Sringaram at the Dance on Camera Film Festival. Sringaram is a period piece set in the 1920s. In her analysis, (“Still Waters Run Deep,” India Currents, July 2006) Ketu H. Katrak herself says that it is. Yet, she argues that directors Deepa Mehta and Sharada Ramanathan fail to inform viewers that the social conventions depicted in their films do not reflect contemporary realities in modern India. Why should they? Why does a period piece have to explain to its viewers its purpose? I’m not a film expert but I know that when I watch a film like Elizabeth or Lagaan, or Water or Sringaram, I take into account that we’re being transported to a different time altogether, and view the film with that in mind.

Sandya, via the Internet

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COVER OTHER PRESSING ISSUES

This is a great article (“It Takes a Village,” India Currents, August 2006). I have no doubt that families go through a rough time because of divorces. But how many? Maybe a thousand or so. I am not saying that this is not an issue but does it deserve front-page coverage? There are other important issues like immigration. I feel that India Currents should put more thought into which issue is more important.

M.N. Rao, via the Internet

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LACK OF COMPASSION

Thank you for this article (“It Takes a Village,” India Currents, August 2006). It is a realistic view of the problems faced by divorced families. I think every society has its norms and is very unforgiving when someone breaks them. I’m glad that divorced Indian Americans have formed a support group and wish them well. It also brings to fore a sad truth—lack of compassion for those who cannot maintain an “ideal” family, for whatever reason.

Smitha, via the Internet

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ALLURE OF RAZOR PHONES AND AIR JORDANS

Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan’s story (“Money Matters (Really),” India Currents, August 2006) hits close to home as I’ve recently come back from a similar experience. I was working with various marginalized populations in Fiji with the Peace Corps. The balancing act between the desire to make money for your own security and the desire to make money to impact the structurally marginalized is a hard one to deal with.

Being in America doesn’t help one bit, what with the media and this society forcing you to believe that you need a Razor phone, Air Jordans, SUV, and real estate investments to survive. A lot of times this message is so biased that I tend to just reject the entire notion of needing money and, more importantly, Things. On the other hand, having lived and worked in a developing country, I know that money is necessary for a meaningful and secure life. How do you achieve a balance? I’m still trying to figure it out.

Atasi Das, via the Internet

Write India Currents Letters, P.O. Box 21285, San Jose, CA 95151, email editor@indiacurrents.com, or fax (408) 324-0477.



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