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The tale of shining Indian Americans

Source: PTI
February 05, 2006 21:42 IST
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Much has been said about outsourcing of American business to India, but far less is known of the singular influx of Indian talent and wisdom that has enriched this country in a big way, says a new book.

The book California Dreams - India Shining in the Land of Hollywood says that today there are more than 2.5 million Indians living and working in America - 2,00,000 in Southern California alone - the most creative and wealthiest minority in the United States.

It is in the land of Hollywood - Southern California that an Indian Dalip Singh Saund began the struggle for equal rights to Asians. Indian mystics and yogis like Parmahansa Yogananda and Jiddu Krishnamurti first started preaching the wisdom of the east here and transcendental meditation and Yoga started acquiring worldwide following, says the book by Gurmukh Singh, a journalist and author of The Rise of Sikhs Abroad.

The inspiring life stories of these remarkable Indian Americans of Southern California's community, as recounted by Singh are a testament to the ever-growing enterprise and ingenuity of Indian Americans.

'They have enriched this country in every field of creative activity and enterprise, from fine arts and philosophy through industry -- from Ravi Shanker to Zubin Mehta, from Krishnamurti to Swami Yogananda, from Professor Kumar Patel to Dr. Amartya Sen,' says the book.

In 1956, the first person of Indian origin, Judge Dalip Singh Saund, was elected to US Congress and in 2004 the second Indian American, Bobby Jindal won his congressional election.

Southern California's Dr. Rajen Anand was appointed by President Clinton to head the USDA Centre for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Dr. Amarjeet Marwah, one of the first Indian doctors to come to America was appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley to chair the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission and third generation Indian American David Dhillon was Mayor of EI Centro from 1985-2001, and in 2004 Harry Sidhu was the second Indian American ever elected to a city council in Anaheim.

'Indian civilisation's unique wisdom has bequeathed to our modern world not only the philosophy of ancient Hinduism's Vedanta and Yoga, but the serenity of peace-loving Buddhism and Jainism, the global faith of Sikhism and the decimal system and zero which have opened our minds to a global digital age of cyber technology and the exploration of remote cosmic and invisible nanospace,' says the book.

Indians have always stressed education and family as their highest priorities, expanding their minds in every field they venture to explore, while retaining strong attachments to their ancestral roots as well as their progeny and community, says the book.

The book besides giving a chronology of the Indians – how they arrived and settled here, also enlists their contribution to the American and the Indian society back home.

Ahir Ukabhai Solanki, owner of one of California's biggest Hispanic grocery chains has started a project to help kidney and bladder stone patients in the Saurashtra region.

The Gujarati businessman has donated liberally to the Rajkot Kidney Hospital to buy the latest equipment. He never fails to mention that he comes from the land of Mahatma Gandhi and has put up a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the city of Riverside near Los Angeles.

Dr. Rajendra Desai, a cancer specialist has launched Project Deaf India in a 'deaf village' near Hubli.

"More than 40% of deaf cases in India can be prevented by vaccination. Our aim is to set up a modern institute for the deaf from the kindergarten to college level. He has also thought of setting up an IIT for the deaf. I sleep and wake up with this idea", he says.

To highlight the gravity of the situation, he and his team have made a documentary called 'Silent Village-Prevention of Deafness in India'.

"India should wake up. It heads a national policy for early detection and vaccination. It has more than 1000 technical institutes, which produce graduates to meet high-tech demands around the world. Each institute should train 20 deaf students to save a lost generation".

California Dreams-India Shining in the Land of Hollywood

Author: Gurmukh Singh

Published by: British Columbia Books

Price: Rs 999

PP: 208


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