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February - March 2005


Letters

Letters to the Editor


From: Aline Dobbie
Scotland

Dear Krishan

I cannot tell you how pleased I am and impressed that you took charity and giving back as your theme for your editorial. In this life those of us who are privileged, and by that I mean having happiness, being loved, having reasonably good health, family, the security of a roof and enough material comfort to make life pleasant; we are like princes and princesses compared to the deprived and disadvantaged of the world. Yet so many in our developed world always want more and more, and stress themselves with their competitive striving for material wealth and the tangible signs of success.
My great love for India has matured into an awareness that its fundamental soul is that of being, having awareness, dipping into the simple beauty that is around if one has the eyes to see it. A short interaction with a simple man or women, their flashing shy smile, a greeting, we the privileged can give so easily, naturally tangibly with money but also in spirit and respect and friendship. If one goes to India, time and time again these little experiences can be part of the whole and one returns thoughtful and refreshed. Naturally that thinking applies to anywhere in the world, not least so easy and facile just to remain a journal recording the tangible ‘gloss’ and success and self satisfaction of the Asian community within the United Kingdom. Now your journal has shown the sign that it is mature and confident and not obsequious to its readers. Long may the ink in your pen flow!

Aline Dobbie

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From: KUMUDINI D. VALAMBIA
KINGSBURY, LONDON NW9

FRIENDS IN NEED
Dear Sir,
Recently I had a very interesting conversation with my GP who lost her employee of some twenty years who was also her practice manager and a close and trusted friend. She was suffering from cancer for some time.
As we all know, cancer is one of the most deadly illnesses of our generation. Just to mention the word cancer to a patient is like passing a death sentence, even if the cancer may be curable. It sends cold shivers through one’s spine and not only the patient but also every member of the family goes through hell. So often it is impossible to cope without outside help which we are so often reluctant to seek or accept when it is needed most.
It is difficult to imagine how much stress and mental anguish such a scenario may create for my GP or for that matter any other doctor when she has to tell her patient that the diagnosis is cancer, as my GP treats most of her patients as friends. I have been with her for 22 years, so I feel that I am well qualified to know her, to know how she feels and what mental distress and grief she may have to endure.
My GP is a founder member of St. Luke’s Hospice in Kenton, Harrow, which provides care, comfort and a home for the terminally ill, thus giving some respite, a break and a breathing spell to the family members who are caring for their close and a dear family member 24 hours a day.
Saint Luke was a disciple of Lord Jesus Christ but by profession he was a physician. He devoted his life working for the poor, caring, healing and comforting the sick, the disabled and the underprivileged member of the human race, a real Mother Theresa figure of his time. For his services to humanity, he was declared a saint. Today St. Luke’s hospices are found throughout the Christian world and beyond, caring for the terminally ill people of all colour, race, creed and religion without any distinction whatsoever.
St. Luke’s hospices are staffed with highly trained and caring McMillon nurses. Half of their salaries are paid from the official funds and the rest comes from public donations. It seems the Asian community is not sufficiently aware of the wonderful work done by this charity. As a result we do not contribute, donate or support the charity to the same extent as we do our own or other well known, high profile charities such as Red Cross, RSPCA and NSPCC, a few among many.
As India Link is read at the highest level, amongst the most influential people in the Asian community and beyond, I hope this letter will enlighten your readers about the wonderful work done by St. Luke’s hospice in Harrow. They are the friend in need, a friend indeed.
I feel that instead of sending flowers at the time of funeral, we should donate the equivalent amount to such a worthy cause. I hope your alert readers will nominate such other charities doing similar, caring and wonderful work, lending support to the sick but not readily recognised among our community.

Yours Sincerely
Kumudini D. Valambia

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From Prof Bharat Gajjar

Dear Sir,
When the world offered help after the tsunami disaster, the Indian Government told the world, "We do not need your help, we’ll take care of our own people." India isolated itself. After many complaints from Indian organizations the government then changed its policy, telling the world, ‘we’ll accept your money but we’ll distribute it ourselves’.
BJP said, "We are shining," and they lost the election. Now the ruling congress party is stating "we are a world power". It seems when these people come to power they forget reality. In India, thousands of people go hungry every day. Education is a disaster so where is this world power coming from. In such a great disaster where 10,000 of our people died and billions of dollars of damage has occurred, people are left homeless, children orphaned. Under these conditions we should accept all the help we can get. I’m sure India is really working hard to take care of our people. However we need more help now.
The question is why is the ruling congress party which came to power with the help of the Indian Communist party playing politics now while our people are suffering. The Congress party means control of everything. The congress is trying to please the Communist party of India, who hate the West by denying Western help. The congress party claims that the western news media creates a circus, which they don’t like. They saw that during the Earthquake of Gujarat.
I’m very disappointed that the Indian government is playing politics at this time and has lost credibility with the outside world. The world is wondering what’s wrong with these people.

Professor Bharat J. Gajjar

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From Kurt Metzer
Alexandra Avenue
Harrow , Middx.

Dear Sir

Tsunami: Comments on Disaster

This disaster shows us that although many portions of scriptures may be based on legend, there is a basis for their moral conclusions.
The present disaster with 150,000 dead is not to me vital as regards deaths - 30 million died in WW2 and more than 300,000 died in Japan in 2 days when atom bombs were dropped. In my own family I lost some 40 relatives due to the Nazi holocaust. But this was not man-made. Arthur C. Clarke talks about ‘Nature’ and the Archbishop of Canterbury's faith in ‘God’ is shaken. Neither appears to have appreciated what the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ says or why Shiva, the God of Destruction is worshipped.
Two disasters in the Jewish-Christian Pentateuch (five books of Moses) have historical basis. Noah’s flood is seen to be based on the pouring of the Mediterranean into the Black Sea via The Bosporus in 3,500 BC; and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army on the ‘sea of reeds’ on the tsunami following the volcanic eruption on Thera (Santonini) in 1628 BC.
When I was in Bombay (now Mumbai) during the second World War, the pavements were lined with poor, starving people; and there was the Bengal famine.
Religious faiths are strengthened by ‘natural disasters’. But the greatest danger facing homo sapiens (self-styled) is self-destruction. Which is why both Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi preached non-violence. Either way, the higher powers may lose patience with us. The tsunami may be considered a warning signal!

Yours etc.
Kurt Metzer

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From Dr Y P Suri
‘Rohtas’
New Castle Upon Tyne

Dr. Iqbal & His Poetry

Sir,

I am very grateful to Krishan Dutt ji for taking this very important yet sad leaf out of the history of the Indian subcontinent for India link’s readers. My respect and adulation for Dr.Mohamad Iqbal is for his former secular views as well as for his stature as one of the great poets of our time; and not for his subsequent change of heart, which most historians regard as very unfortunate.
For this very reason in the past for several years I spoke regularly at public functions as well as on radio on Youm-e-Iqbal (Iqbal Day), which falls on 9th of November.
I have learnt from reliable sources that apart from his studies at Cambridge in the early 1900s he also studied at the nearby renowned school of oriental languages at Durham University.
The following couplet "eh aab roohe Ganga itna he yaad toojh ko, utra tere kinare jab charvan hamara"; Allama must have written this when he was head of Urdu language at Aligarh Muslim University, because Mother Ganges flows not far from there at Garh Mukteshwar in westarn Uttar Pradesh. In this he is urging mother Ganges to jog her memory, going back, millennia when our (the Aryans) carvan, after a very long hazardous and arduous journey from central Asia finally decided to settle on your banks in fertile lush green Indo-Gangetic plains and we made it our home, hamara is the key word here…
And allama was equally at ease and spontaneous in reassuring mother Ganges when he sensed her deeper melancholy which was so clearly evident all over her face; yes, Iqbal `` I do remember it but what saddens me most is this; the periodic communal rioting and bloodletting between Hindus and Muslims, "Mazahab nahi sikhata aapas me bair rakhna, Hindi hai hum watan hai Hindustan hamara", was his reply to mather ganges.
The next two couplets sum up very eloquently and fervently the beauty of {his land} he felt very proud of and his hub- ul- watni and watan prasti. "Parbat w oh sab se ooncha, hamsaya aasma ka". He is referring to the mighty Himalyas, so lofty is peaks almost touching the skies, "woh sentry hamara ho pasban hamara". (Himalayan is the North, which acts as our natural defence and protector).
He goes on to say; "Kuch baat he ki hasti miti hai hamari; sadyon raha he dushman dore zaman hamara". Here, he is referring to foreign invaders marching into India through the Khyber Pass: the Huns, the Kushans, Temur Lame, Chenghez Khan, Alexander the Great, Halaku, Nadir Shah to name but a few.
I did make it a point to visit his tomb at Lahore to pay my homage to Allama* when I visited Pakistan a few years ago. I extend my very best wishes to all lovers of Urdu Adab and poetry in particular, and hope they all will have a very jazbat and thought provoking Youm-e-Iqbal, Dr. Sir. Mohammed Iqbal November 9th 1877 ~ April 21 1938.

Yours faithfully,
Y. P. Suri

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