Indians trolls discover that Boston Brahmins can be Black too!

A week ago, the famous Indian classical artist Sudha Rughanathan announced the wedding of her daughter Malavika, and the wedding invitation went viral on social media. The reason: the groom to be happens to be Black, an African American. Never mind the fact that Mr. Michael Murphy happens to be a well educated, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh; a Boston Brahmin in his own right.

Ms. Sudha Raghunathan happens to be the latest victim of unsolicited public scrutiny and judgmental remarks and incessant trolling, hate tweets and racial taunts. What makes the trolling appalling is the fact that Ms Rughanathan is a well-respected classical musician who was conferred India’s highest honors –  Padma Shri in 2004 and Padma Bhushan. She has performed and collaborated with other artists all over the world, including performances at the United Nations, and the Théâtre de la Ville, Paris.

Image result for sudha raghunathan daughter malavika

Some comments have been especially personal and tangential. A few bigots and Hindu fundamentalists went as far as questioning “her decision” to allow her daughter to marry a Christian. Fundamentalists asked her to relinquish her rights to perform in Carnatic ‘sabhas,’ supposedly a privilege accorded to ‘Brahmins only.’

The comments posted against Ms Malavika proudly introduces her mother at a concert in the US “I cant see a carnati (sic) singers Daughter waring such bhikari dress”

The groom to be, Mr. Murphy seems to be acutely aware of racism, and Brahmanism as he writes in his blog

“There’s a long standing maxim in the African American community that if you want to succeed in this country, you’ll have to work twice as hard as anyone else. Everywhere that I turn I am accosted by images of greatness that continue to exclude the multitude of incredible human beings who happen to be marked by some—more often than not intersectional— difference.”

The trolling issue is sure to blow over soon and become a non-issue soon. As expected, the trolls were soon drowned out by an outpouring of support for Sudha Rughanathan and her family, and articles and columns in the media jumped in, calling for their privacy.

Bottomline: Incidents like this shows the deep-rooted sense of parochialism and bigotry that exists in modern Indian society. Relative anonymity accorded by tools of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp can enlighten the masses can also exacerbate and amplify such bigotry.

[Image and video posted from public sources]


Articles in the media:

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U.S. Visa Applicants will be required to share Social Media accounts with State Department

The US State Department will now require new visitors, visa applicants and prospective immigrants to the United States to hand over their social media account names as well as email addresses and phone numbers used over the past five years.

Earlier last year, the government posted 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for Nonimmigrant Visa 

The Department also is revising the collection to add several additional questions for nonimmigrant visa applicants. One question lists multiple social media platforms and requires the applicant to provide any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application. The platforms listed may be updated by the Department by adding or removing platforms.

See the source image

According a State Department statement,

“We already request certain contact information, travel history, family member information, and previous addresses from all visa applicants, We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”

In March 2017, President Trump asked the secretary of state, the attorney general, the secretary of homeland security and the director of national intelligence to put in effect “a uniform baseline for screening and vetting standards and procedures,” according to a memo published in the Federal Register. Requiring information about the social media accounts of visa applicants was part of that.

Unless you are exempt due to diplomatic or official reasons, you will need to supply five years’ worth of social media and email account history, as well as past international travel information.

The forms will list the most popular social networking platforms — likely including Facebook and Twitter, among others — and will also invite applicants to list any other platforms and accounts not included on the paperwork.

US war veteran mows down Indian-origin family, thought they were Muslims

According to an IANS report, An African American Iraq War veteran intentionally ran down a family of Indian descent in California thinking they were Muslims, according to police.

A 13-year-old girl identified as Dhriti was in coma and fighting for her life after the attack in Sunnyvale on Tuesday, police said on Friday according to Mercury News.

US war veteran

US war veteran mows down Indian-descent family in California. (Photo: Twitter/@SunnyvaleDPS)

The girl’s father and 9-year-old brother, identified as Prakhar, were also hurt, according to police. One of the eight people injured was listed as Rajesh Narayan, 45, but it was not known if he was related to the two children.

The driver of the car, Isiah Peoples “intentionally targeted the victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith,” Sunnyvale police chief Phan Ngo said according to local ABC7 TV station.

Peoples was produced in a San Jose court on Friday and charged with attempted murder.

ABC7 TV quoted police as saying that Peoples was on his way to a Bible study group when he drove his car into the pedestrians.

It reported that after the crash, a witness said she heard Peoples say, “Thank you Jesus, praise Jesus.”

The newspaper quoted Ngo as saying that Peoples told detectives that he meant to hit the victims and did not show any remorse. He said that Peoples did not have a known criminal history or make any alarming social media posts.

His lawyer and family have said that Peoples suffered from mental problems.

Mercury News said his lawyer Chucks Smith disputed that the crash was intentional, saying that “this act was clearly the result of a mental disorder or defect”.

Peoples, who had been a sergeant in the US Army, served 11 months in Iraq and had received several awards including a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the newspaper said.

It said that his brother and mother told reporters that he had shown signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq and had at one point been hospitalised for psychiatric problems.

People’s was working a government defense auditor.

Dhriti, who was a seventh-grade student at Sunnyvale Middle School, suffered bleeding and swelling of the brain, and the left side of her skull was removed to relieve pressure, Mercury News reported quoting a court document.


 

Previous reports of hate crimes against Indians

Move over Patel motels… Now come Patel sneakers

An eCommerce vendor is offering an intriguing product – Patel branded Sneakers

 

Available for $59.99 online at amzshoes.com 

The website claims to have a number of Five* reviews:

ALREADY BOUGHT SECOND PAIR 🙂

I thought I was gonna wear these for special occasions only, but they are comfy enough for everyday. Had to get another pair. Five stars.

Published 2 hours ago by Steven D. | Verified Purchase

    

NO PROBLEMS WITH RETURNING PRODUCTS

They came too small so I had to return them for another pair. Everything went smoothly with the exchange.

Published 8 hours ago by Emma K. | Verified Purchase

    

SUPERB!

Fit as expected. I’m super happy with my purchase, product arrived on time and well-packaged.

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BOUGHT THE SECOND PAIR

Great looking shoe. Comfortable too. Love wearing them.

Published 3 days ago by Lisa E. | Verified Purchase

An ode to Desi Ghee – Washington Post

A recent article in washingtonpost about good old desi-ghee makes for an interesting read. Awanthi Vardaraj starts off the article by describing

The very first solid food my mother fed me as a baby in our southern India household was mashed-up rice mixed with a little ghee. This set the stage for my lifelong love affair with this nutty, rich, golden clarified butter.

In recent years, ghee has become a global phenomenon, trending as a “superfood” and beloved by followers of the popular Keto diet. But its history — real and legendary — is long.

…….

Without the milk solids of butter, it can be used for frying and other high-heat cooking. Use the ghee as you would use any fat: roast vegetables with it; slather it onto meat to baste; fry eggs with it. You can even stir it into your coffee (for that trendy “bulletproof” approach) or your morning porridge (which I love to do). Refrigerate your ghee if you like, but it’s not a requirement and will keep at room temperature; it will solidify in the fridge but melt at room temperature or when heated.

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Americans are truly smitten by Ghee. A while ago, Forbes ran a feature on “A brief history of ghee in the US”

It’s typical of Franzen, one of America’s shrewdest social novelists, to slip in this reference to a food that most Americans are unaware of but which has begun to attract a strong niche following. In the US, ghee is trending. Especially among millennial foodies smitten with super-foods like quinoa and kale, fair-trade organic produce, and Bulletproof Coffee, which is coffee blended with butter (or ghee) and a spoonful of coconut oil extract. It sounds expensive and ghastly, but it’s all the rage. At the hip new Bulletproof Coffee Café in Santa Monica, California, you can add ghee to your coffee for a dollar.

Ghee has also received a big boost from the Paleo diet, the latest food fad in the house, whose startling No. 1 guideline is that “a Paleo diet should be high in fat”. It provides recipes for ghee flavoured with garlic, ginger, mint-jalapeno and rosemary-thyme. Elsewhere, Michelin-starred restaurants advertise the use of ghee in their curries, and on Twitter, celebrity chef Alton Brown instructs his million-plus followers on the deceptively simple art of making it: “Do you know how to make clarified butter? Or know what ghee is? We’re big fans of both…,” he writes, embedding a link to a recipe.

India times article on : Here’s How Desi Ghee Went From An Indian Staple To An International Superfood!  Ghee has come into the spotlight lately, with everyone from Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar to reality television star Kourtney Kardashian endorsing it as a healthy superfood. And it’s about time, considering that this Ayurvedic concoction has a ton of health benefits.

Ghee has been an Indian staple for millennia. Now the rest of the world is catching on. – Washington Post

 


 

Ghee is widely available in Indian and ethnic stores , and even online (e.g on Amazon.com)

Questions to ponder after American Missionary was killed by isolated Andaman tribe in India

The media is all abuzz about American Missionary, John Allen Chau who was killed by killed by isolated tribals on island in Andamans in India.

First things first, RIP, Mr. Allen Chau !

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John Allen Chau

A post shared by John Chau (@johnachau) on

This incident and Mr Chau’s death brings up a couple of questions that we need to ponder:

How far will zealous missionaries go to convert isolated tribals? 

Mr Chau was attempting to “convert” to Christianity, a band of highly reclusive tribals. According to a letter, which he wrote to his parents about his attempt at converting remote tribe, Mr. Chau said “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people.”  A copy of the letter was obtained by DailyMail.com,

This incident has left many wondering about the role of Christian missionaries in converting ‘tribals’ who want to remain reclusive and isolated.

The Sentinelese, are extremely passionate about their culture and way of life. According to NYT, “Islanders Who Killed American Have a History of Guarding Their Isolation – The episode appeared to be a culture clash between an adventurous foreigner, who may have been trying to spread Christianity, and one of the most impenetrable communities in the world.”

While one can empathize with the faith of Christian missionaries, and their enthusiasm, many in India and elsewhere are wondering why the missionaries shouldn’t also exhibit empathy towards local cultures.

The tribal people, with their culture going back thousands of years probably have a system of faith and values that you and I don’t understand. This doesn’t give any of us a the right to intrude and enforce our religion or values to them.

 Do foreign missionaries have a right to break local laws?

This incident also raises questions about legality and rights local citizen. According to media accounts and statements by local police, Mr. Chau’s visit to the island was illegal. The Instagram feeds shared by Mr. Chau before he went missing, also indicates that was aware of the risks he was taking.

“Despite knowing fully well about the illegality of the action and the hostile attitude of the Sentinelese tribesmen to the outsiders, these people collaborated with John Chau for this visit to North Sentinel Island without any permission from the authorities,” Dependra Pathak, director-general of India’s Andaman & Nicobar Police, said . (ABC)

Even officials don’t travel to North Sentinel, where people live as their ancestors did thousands of years ago, and where outsiders are seen with suspicion and attacked.

The story doesn’t end here. Chau’s family will want closure by arranging for a proper burial and funeral. However, the Indian Police are going to have a hard time getting Mr. John Chau’s body out of the island.

“It’s a difficult proposition,” said Mr. Pathak, director-general of police on India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where North Sentinel is located. “We have to see what is possible, taking utmost care of the sensitivity of the group and the legal requirements.” (NavyTimes)

 


More about Andamans and Sentinelese tribesmen

 

sentinelese
Image from Google maps

The Sentinelese, also known as the Sentineli and the North Sentinel Islanders, are an indigenous people who inhabit North Sentinel Island, located in the Bay of Bengal in India. As North Sentinel Island is part of the Andaman Islands, the Sentinelese are considered to be one of the Andamanese peoples. They are designated as a Scheduled Tribe. (Wikipedia)

sentineleseMap
Google Maps

Fake call center scam – U.S court sentences 21 people of Indian Origin to 20 years in prison

The United States Department of Justice (link) on Friday announced that a court in Texas had sentenced 21 members of an India-based fake call center and money laundering scam to varying terms of imprisonment. Three others were sentenced earlier this year.

Image result for call centre graphic stock photo

“The stiff sentences imposed this week represent the culmination of the first-ever large scale, multi-jurisdiction prosecution targeting the India call center scam industry,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “This case represents one of the most significant victories to date in our continuing efforts to combat elder fraud and the victimization of the most vulnerable members of the U.S. public.  The transnational criminal ring of fraudsters and money launderers who conspired to bilk older Americans, legal immigrants and many others out of their life savings through their lies, threats and financial schemes must recognize that all resources at the Department’s disposal will be deployed to shut down these telefraud schemes, put those responsible in jail, and bring a measure of justice to the victims.”

“This type of fraud is sickening,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick.  “However, after years of investigation and incredible hard work by multiple agents and attorneys, these con artists are finally headed to prison. Their cruel tactics preyed on some very vulnerable people, thereby stealing millions from them. These sentences should send a strong message that we will follow the trail no matter how difficult and seek justice for those victimized by these types of transnational schemes. We will simply not stand by and allow criminals to use the names of legitimate government agencies to enrich themselves by victimizing others.”

This news of white-collar crime by Non Resident gang was covered by other Indian newspapers after Press Trust of India highlighted it “Over 20 Indian-Origin People Sentenced In Massive US Call Centre Scam”