National Geographic : 2003 Oct
Forum mm u June 2003 Fora magazinefilled with photog raphy,the GEOGRAPHIC usually doesn't get a lot of mail about photo graphs.But June'spictures set off a few sparks: Bill Allard's images of Untouchables inspiredan inquiry about adopting a little girl and offers of help for a man disfigured by acid, while Jim Brandenburg'sphotos of Minnesota'sBound ary Waters triggered a small debate (see next page). India's Untouchables I thought there could not be anything else that would shock me about man's cruelty to his fellow man. I see that I was sorely wrong. SAM MARKS Amelia Island, Florida Tom O'Neill describes a Brahman who snubs the lower classes. This Brahman's fundamentalist view of Hindu life does not nec essarily reflect accurately the beliefs revealed in the Vedas (Hindu sacred texts) or the beliefs upheld by most Indians. Ask a swami (a teacher of Hindu philosophy) what he thinks about Untouchability, and he will tell you that he abhors it. In recent years, journalists have duped Westerners into believing that Islam is a religion of vio lence, misogyny, and intolerance. These journalists only focus on fundamentalist interpretations. MEMBERSHIP Please call 1-800-NGS-LINE (1-800-647-5463). Special device for the hearing-impaired (TDD) 1-800-548-9797. Online: nationalgeographic.com/ngm AOL Keyword: NatGeoMag Online index: nationalgeographic.com/ publications O'Neill has made a similar mis take in his radical depiction of lindu philosophy. Such mis takes promote divisions that have proved incredibly detrimental to world peace. JOHN-MICHAEL PARTESSOTI New Orleans,Louisiana We Indians take great pride in saying we are the largest dem ocracy in the world, but we con tinue to deny human rights to these unfortunate people. If Indians want to become a part of the civilized world, we must not allow the scourge of Untouch ability to exist. PATRE S. RAJAStHEKIIAR Bangalore,India This article uses Untouchability as a tool to make yet another attack on a country from which the West has taken so much and given back so little. A country that has suffered from centuries of imperialist exploitation, with a population of a billion plus, will need time to change. RAJIV NAG State College, Pennsylvania As an Indian and a Hindu, I found myself burning in embar rassment as I read your article. The root of the problem lies in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * OCTOBER 2003 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increaseand diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C ., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,000 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., Presidentand CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON LINDA BERKELEY, President, Enterprises TERRY D. 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Hefner III, Samuel C. Johnson,Bruce L. Ludwig,SallyEngelhard Pingree, W. RussellRamsey, Edward P.Rosk, Jr., Alice Rogoff Rubenstein, B. FrancisSaul II, Garry A. Weber RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman;John M. Francis, Vice Chairman and Executive Director; RichardS. Williams, Jr., Vice Chairman; Martha E. Church, Scott V. Edwards,William L Graf, Nancy Knowlton,Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nijman, Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, William H. Schlesinger, Bruce D. Smith, Hans-DieterSues, Henry T. Wright, Patricia C. Wright EXPLORERS-IN -RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Sylvia Earie, Zahi Hawass, LouiseLeakey, Meave Leakey,Johan Relnhard,Paul Sereno CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell, Annie Griffiths Belt, DavidDoubilet, Karen Kasmauski, Emory Kristof, Frans Lanting MISSION PROGRAMS Develop t JacquellneM. Holllster. Education Foundatlon: BarbaraA. Chow. Exhibite: Susan S. Norton. Expedtlons Comcll: Rebecca Martin. Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P. Andrewvan Duym, Gregory A. McGruder School Publlshing: Erlcka Markman, Sr. Vice President. International: RobertW. Hernandez, Sr. Vice President. Human Resources: Thomas A. Sablb, Sr. Vice President. Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President. Treasurer H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS R.PATRICK, Presidentand CEO Televiolon: TimothyT. Kelly, President. National Geographi Channel: David Haslingden,President, International; Laureen Ong, President U.S . Contributionsto the NationalGeographicSocietyare tax deductible underSection 501(c)3) of the U.S . tax code. Coprigt 0 2003 NationalGeographicSociety. All rightsreserved. National GeographicandYellow Border:RegisteredTrademarks® Marcas Registradas. NationalGeographicassumesno responsibility for unsolicitedmaterials. Printedin U.S.A.