Recently, I met with a group of Indian Hindu expatriates, non-resident Indians, and discussed with them my brief thesis on the Indian culture in a nutshell: cow worship, monkey worship, elephant worship, money worship, devil worship, idol worship, cow urine drinking, polyandry, caste system, widow shaming. 

They had to concede Hanuman, Ganesh, Lakshmi & Kali Maa. But one of them said he had hit both a cow sitting in the middle of the road, and smacked a monkey. He also said he had worshiped Kali Maa. One of them eats beef once a week. 

What they told me was that polyandry is illegal in India, and Widows have slowly in the urban areas, started to get remarried, and that over 55% of India’s population is now living in Urban areas while facilities of urbanization (toilets, highways, electricity, and gas) under Modi have rapidly extended into the rural areas changing the face of India since he got elected. I also learned that one of them drinks his own urine, in America and believes it cures cuts and makes balding hair regrow when applied externally. I had previously told one of the others that I found the very notion, “sick”. They said Muslims in India are very happy with Modi, because they were part of an inclusive model of development. I said what about the under-representation in government jobs of Muslims in India? They are even more backward than Dalits. Caste system was being increasingly ignored by the new generation in the urban areas. It was the parents who were striving to keep it for compatible marriages. All the Indians were from Bombay area. They talked about the $1 million-plus ordinary apartments in Bombay, far from the city center. And that now India instead of having multiple taxes like octroi, sales tax, etc., had just one tax simplifying things tremendously. Also, the government decided the value of your house and land which when sold had to 

have its government assessed tax paid. If you sold it for less, you still had to come up with the taxes for what the government’s assessed value of your property is. Corruption is down in India. Modi and his government have not had a single scandal related to corruption. Modi has made education for girls free through college. Private schools are charging around Indian Rupees 400,000 for admission to KG. 

When I brought up the Hindu Priest who is Chief Minister UP, Yogi Adityanath who had recently said that the Taj Mahal was not representative of Indian culture, and had stopped giving gifts of replicas of the Taj Mahal to visiting dignitaries and substituted the Gita, I was told that every time something like that happened Modi rapped him on the knuckles. 

The conversation turned to Indian occupied Kashmir, and I told them that I think the uprising in IOK is indigenous, they want their Azaadi (freedom from India), I registered my protest at hundreds of Kashmir’s people being blinded by pellet guns, and raped, one of them said, he agreed this was a violation of human rights to tie up a Kashmiri man as a human shield, and that the rape allegation was de minimus and an isolated incident, not a regular feature of Indian army behavior, to which I replied further that the Indian Army Chief, gave the officer in question a commendation (the human shield case), and that the Indian army refused to cooperate with the police in their investigations of abuses by the armed forces. To which the Indian posed the question, What would the Pakistan army do if hundreds or thousands of people threw stones at it? I had to tell him that the Pakistan Army would shoot back. The Indian said that ISI was paying anyone willing, Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 to throw stones. Once India changed its currency notes, ISI had to stop printing Indian currency notes, and the stone throwing stopped as a direct result. 

OMAR MIRZA,  

USA, January 9.