Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Indian students are new victims of violence in America

A 29-year-old Indian doctor studying Internal Medicine in Pennsylvania was killed in the first weekend of March. With him, four Indian students met a violent death in the U.S. only in the last three months.

Akkaldevi Srinivas’ body was found in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds in the neck. A visiting student from Korutla in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district, Srinivas came to the U.S. in 2002; since 2005, he was at the Scranton-Temple Residency Program at Mercy Hospital in northeastern Pennsylvania. Previously, he was an MBBS student at Gandhi Medical College in Hyderabad.

The motive for the crime and the identity of the perpetrators are not immediately known. Scranton police’s assertion that it was a suicide and not a murder is debatable.

Indian students in U.S. have become targets of campus and street violence in recent months. In December, two Ph.D. students from Andhra Pradesh – Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma of Kurnool district and Allam Kiran Kumar of Karimnagar district – were shot dead at Louisiana State University. Abhijit Mahato, a research student from Kolkata, was recently shot dead in his student apartment in North Carolina.

Students from the Indian subcontinent make up a large percentage of international students at U.S. universities. Graduate students in the fields of engineering, computer science, molecular biology, biochemistry and other science subjects are particulary visible on American campuses. Thousands of South Asian students and doctors also make up a substantial proportion in American medical colleges and hospitals. The number of Indian students enrolled in various American schools has increased rapidly in this decade.

The Indian community and media often stereotypically attribute campus or street violence in U.S. on the black or other populations of color. Numerous South Asians — Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis or Sri Lankans — carry with them a hugely false perception and mindset against the African-Americans, and rarely want to know them, befriend them. Instead of misportraying the blacks and other underprivileged communities, one needs to look at the underlying causes of such mindless violence: the overabundance of guns and arms, the glorification of violence by the media, entertainment industry and Hollywood, and racism prevalent in both the American and Indian communties.

Extreme loneliness and forced isolation from the family also contribute enormously to the mental state of students from the Indian subcontinent. Many come to America with exaggerated and fabricated ideas about the so-called riches of this country. Often, in a few years, dreams and lives get shattered by the harshness of reality. Economic or intellectual frustrations on one hand and social alienation on the other create extreme hopelessness. Many Indian students are reserved and reclusive and can’t find a society in America that they can call their own. The Indian community has not been able to create any political clout in the U.S. either, which has contributed to its woes.

With the rampant violence prevalent in America, aspiring students and the Indian immigrant community at large keep paying a heavy price, often with their lives.

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