Editorial August 2021
Once again, in this issue of Desh-Videsh, we are covering a topic that is near and dear to my heart: India. On August 15, 2021, we will celebrate India’s Independence Day! And on that day, Prime Minister Modi will kick off year-long celebrations to mark India’s 75th Independence Day. Our cover story – “Independent India: A Prosperous and Self-Sufficient Nation” – covers various areas in which India has made astounding leaps forward in progress. These areas range from the economy to infrastructure to space exploration … and, of course, India’s second religion – cricket. Today is a proud moment for every Indian! Reading (and editing) the article gave me goosebumps.
I am sure Winston Churchill must be turning in his grave, hearing about India’s progress! Since he hated the idea of a free India. This is how he talked about an independent India:
If Independence is granted to India, power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.
Wow! Just wow. How negative! And the irony is that at present, it’s his own country that is currently going through several notable troubles related to Brexit (Britain’s own attempt at independence) – while at the same time, India is thriving economically. Well, I better stop here – otherwise, I could easily go on and talk about the rascals and rogues of the Evil Empire or, as Shashi Tharoor described it, the Inglorious Empire.
While we are on the topic of an independent India, talking about the history of India’s Tricolor Flag would be timely. Please read how India’s flag design evolved from 1907 to 1947.
Over the weekend at a party, I met a soft-spoken, humble woman knowledgeable in Sanskrit and the Bhagavad Gita – a wonderful lady named Jyotsna Narayan Swami. We end up talking about various subjects in Hinduism, ranging from the Bhagavad Gita to the Panchdashi to the Thirukkural. The entire conversion was interesting. And at the end, she mentioned that she had participated in an essay competition titled “How the Gita Transformed Your Life.” The article was so interesting that I asked her permission to print it in Desh-Videsh. And she graciously agreed. Please read her article in this issue, and give us your opinion on how the Gita has transformed your life.
In this issue, it is our pleasure to talk about an Indian American student, Kristi Biswas from Jacksonville, Florida, who won first place in the Florida State Science Fair and third place in the International Science and Engineering Fair. Congratulations to Kristi and her family!
As I have mentioned before, publishing Desh-Videsh is not business for me anymore, it has become my passion. It’s a passion to talk about India; Indian culture; Hinduism; and finally, Indian Americans – and specifically, Indian American kids. We are careful when we publish an article and make sure we do not offend anyone – and, more importantly, that we do not write something that is not true. Even after paying attention to every detail, sometimes we make mistakes. But the last issue contained an error that wasn’t merely a mistake; it was actually a big blunder. One of our Desh-Videsh readers, Renu Nair, thankfully pointed out our blunder in an article published by us in the last issue. This was the article entitled “Yoga Isn’t Timeless: It’s Changing to Meet Contemporary Needs.” In the article, author Dr. Jeremy David Engels acknowledged that “it was a Hindu reformer, Swami Vivekananda, who first introduced yoga to a larger audience.” So far, so good. After that, though, the article had mentioned that Vivekananda had originally come to the United States to seek funds to relieve poverty in India. This is an absolutely wrong statement. As we all know, Swami Vivekananda came here in 1893 to attend the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, where he delivered several electrifying addresses on Hinduism. I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for our blunder.
Let me close my column by announcing that we are postponing all our 2021 bridal shows because the Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading very rapidly. Please spread the news. We will let you know the new dates very soon.
Until next time, be safe and be well!