Do we need Green Card?
J. EDEN ALEXANDER
A lively conversation between two Indian engineers attracted my attention as I was waiting at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris for our connecting flight to Chennai recently. One of them was exultant about getting his Green Card, while the other was lamenting over the inordinate delay in its issue.
Their love for this sacred card was obvious. It looked as though their life would become empty without it. I was rather pained to see their blind infatuation for this enchanting card. The question that I asked myself repeatedly was “Is life in America as attractive as these young men think?” Darker side
After visiting the U.S. four times during the past six years, I am fully convinced that Americans do not enjoy any better life than ours in India. Life there too has its darker side.
It is a well known fact that 9/11 changed American history and its life. No one knows the real objectives. But under the guise of finding out weapons of mass destruction (that did not exist), Iraq was shattered to pieces. The Americans lost their serenity and peace of mind from the day their forces stepped into Iraq.
To fight terrorism, Mr. Bush has brought the life of every one in the U.S. under constant threat. Every small incident such as a boiler burst or a power failure is viewed with suspicion. Security is kept beefed up at all times at all places.
The biggest tragedy is that a passenger cannot carry his toothpaste or liquid medicines beyond a small (inadequate) quantity even in domestic flights in the U.S. with the advent of liquid bombs.
We know what happened in New Orleans. The incidents of rape and looting created more devastation than the hurricane itself when Katrina struck. The Bush administration could only be a silent spectator simply sitting and watching the chaos and lawlessness. On the other hand, not one such incident was reported in India when the tsunami destroyed our coastal villages.
Instead, our deep-rooted values evoked compassion and sympathy for the fellow countrymen and every Indian in relief work exhibited selfless and sacrificial service throughout. New Orleans showed the real colour of America in times of distress. I fail to understand why our people are so crazy about American life most of which is glamorous, hollow and empty.
Despite employing our software engineers for their survival, the Americans seem to have a very poor opinion about us. Once, as I stood singing ‘Silent Night’ on a Christmas Eve Service in a church in the U.S., watching the lyric projected on a white screen, an American youth next to me whispered with surprise, “How long have you been here?” “For the past two months,” I replied. His next question was painful. “How did you learn English so quickly?”
I waited for the service to be over and told him in unambiguous terms: “Almost all the primary schools in India start teaching English from LKG. No one from India comes to the U.S. to learn English.” He felt sorry for having had a misconception about the Indians. There are many more Americans who have numerous delusions like this.
I am not against our young engineers going to the U.S. to earn, but only averse to their unfounded love for settling in a foreign land leaving their own motherland. The lawlessness among the American children who kill their own classmates in schools should make them think twice before they venture to bring up their own kids in such a country. (The Hindu,23:09:2007)
Life in India,USSUDHEER MARISETTI
This is in response to the article “Do we need Green Card?” (Open Page, September 23). I am a 41 year old Indian, who lived in the United States for 18 years and returned with my family to live in Hyderabad one and a half years ago. Based on this background I wish to highlight what is good about living in India and the U.S.
The U.S. is not as difficult a place to live in after 9/11 as portrayed in the article. Even though people in New York do live a little in apprehension (I lived and worked for 15 years in the New York metro area), they are as resilient and tough as Indians in Mumbai and Hyderabad after the regular bomb blasts that we encounter here in India.
Regarding the writer’s reference to school children killing their classmates, we see a constant stream of juvenile crime in India more often than in the U.S. I see constant news about young children kidnapping other kids for ransom in India and eventually killing their victims, I see students committing suicides over ragging (hazing), examinations, relationships.
The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was indeed a black spot in the history of U.S. public administration, so are the atrocities of America overseas such as in Vietnam (My Lai massacre), Iraq, Chile (Allende), Iran (Shah and Mossadeh), and other incidents. But I found that country learning from its mistakes. We see equally tragic and shameful events here such as the recent collapse of a flyover in Hyderabad, the constant barrage of news of corruption, rapes of tribal women by the police in Andhra Pradesh, and many more to add.
It is true that most Indians crave for U.S. permanent residency (Green Card) but for very good reasons. Here are some:
* People respect law and order. You cannot jump red lights, cheat on legal agreements, hold money from tax authorities (black money) as we do in India.
* You are left alone irrespective of what ethnic group you belong to or what colour your skin is as long as you are a law abiding citizen.
* You are respected for what you are, not for what community you belong to in the U.S.
* You play by the rules and your life is easy, and without hassles.
* You don’t have to bribe to get simple things done.
* You get uninterrupted power, clean water, roads without potholes, high-speed internet services as long you pay your taxes and bills on time.
I returned to India and believe India to be a good place to live in for different reasons from what the writer has listed. Here are a few of them:
* An Indian is always an alien within a foreign culture irrespective of how many years he lives there.
* The love and affection we get from our people is touching. It does not mean Americans don’t have such feelings. They do but they show them differently. I am used to Indian display of emotions.
* We are very accommodative. Recently I had to travel on a train without a berth and only a ticket for seating. The passengers made it easy for me to do that without problems.
* We may be poor, disorganised but we are a country that will survive. We know how to survive without power, water, roads, police. If ever there is a collapse of human civilisation, it will be countries like India that will survive, not the developed western world.
India is a better place for Indians with education, connections, belonging to the right community, and money. It is still a struggle for many lower-middle and lower classes. For those of us who belonged to these sections, America gave us a break and lifted us to upper strata and now we return to enjoy the newly found status. India has a long way to go before there are equal opportunities for every one. Till then Indians should travel abroad, develop themselves economically and intellectually. Even if a small fraction of them returns to India, it is going to benefit us all.
Labels: Telugu/ culture