Notes From the News
"Make the whole people of this land equal to our high trust, reverent in the use of freedom, just in the exercise of power, generous in the protection of weakness.
"Enable us to guard for the least among us the freedom we covet for ourselves; make us ill content with the inequalities of opportunity which still prevail among us. Preserve our union against all our divisions of race and class which threaten it." (From a Prayer for the Armed Forces.)
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (From second inaugural address.)
"The four freedoms of common humanity are as much elements of man's needs as air and sunlight, bread and salt. Deprive him of all these freedoms and he dies-deprive him of a part of them and a part of him withers. Give them to him in full and abundant measure and he wilt cross the threshold of a new age, the greatest age of man.
"These freedoms are the rights of men of every creed and every race wherever they live. This is their heritage, long withheld." (From speech on Flag Day, 1942.)--Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
RUTH ST. DENIS RECITAL
Before a capacity house of several thousand enthusiastic spectators, Ruth St. Denis, for so long the leading American exponent of Eastern dance forms, presented in a single recital the numbers which have been highlights of her successful career. In the final number (an interpretation of the Psalms)
Miss St. Denis, as the spirit of David, flaunted her own shining white hair-but even then it was impossible to think of her as one who has whirled through sixty-five years! During the remainder of the evening her undiminished grace, vitality and artistry, framed by the arts of costume and makeup, produced whatever age and type of person the number called for.
From the gaunt Yogi, the stately bearer of Incense and the seductive Nautch dancer to the nostalgic beauty of Tagore Poem her transitions of mood were made with apparent ease. To students of the Eastern religions, White Jade and Radha were the outstanding interpretations. In the former, Kwan Yin, the compassionate Goddess of Mercy, tells of her relation to mankind in a series of graceful postures reminiscent of the priceless jade statues which embody her.
In Radha, the goddess (feminine counterpart, or negative aspect, of Krishna who is the Eastern embodiment of Christ consciousness) descends from an altar to show her devotees that only through renunciation of the five senses can they attain enlightenment. To illustrate these desire-provoking faculties which must be cast aside, Radha uses jewels to symbolize sight, bells for hearing, garlands for smell, wine for taste, and the skirt of the Nautch girl for touch. Since many students retain the memory of visual symbols more clearly than that of written words, the message carried in such a Temple dance fulfills a spiritual as well as an aesthetic mission.
In each performance-all too infrequent now - Ruth St. Denis proves again that Eastern culture can find an understanding response in the West, when once it is brought to the attention of the people; and for this all friends of India are grateful to her.
U. S. CITIZENSHIP
FOR INDIAN NATIONALS
Only a few weeks ago the outlook was bright for the Cellar and Luce bills calling for naturalization of Indian nationals and a quota for India. Public opinion and the Press were preponderantly sympathetic. Our late president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had lent his full support, as shown in a letter addressed to the chairman of the committee. His definite recommendation included these words: "I regard this legislation as important and desirable, and I believe that its enactment will help us to win the war and to establish a secure peace ....
"The present statutory provisions that discriminate against persons of East Indian descent provoke ill-feeling, now serve no useful purpose, and are incongruous and inconsistent with the dignity of both of our peoples.
"The quota for East Indian persons would be approximately 100 immigrants a year. There can be no real danger that this small number of immigrants will cause unemployment or provide competition in the search of jobs.
"It is my hope that the Congress will take steps to remove the present provisions of our Immigration and Naturalization laws that discriminate against persons of East Indian descent."
Attorney General Biddle and Under-Secretary Grew also expressed themselves in favor of the bills, and distinguished Indians and Americans appearing before the committee had presented an impressive case. But-now the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization has tabled the bills, and this means that action will be postponed indefinitely.
The Next Move
Identical bills are pending in the Senate: S. 505 by Senator Arthur Capper of Kansas, and S. 331 by Senator Joseph H. Ball of Minnesota. If you are anxious to have them passed, do your part by writing now to Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia (chairman of Senate Committee on Immigration) asking for an early hearing on these bills and strongly recommending their passage.
These bills provide (1) that qualified nationals of India may become citizens of the United States. (2) that about a hundred nationals of India may enter the United States annually as immigrants, The minimum quota to be established would be equally available to East Indians and other races born in India.
At present only races eligible to naturalization, such as English, French and other European races, can enter under India's quota. Therefore, naturalization as well as quota entry into the United States must be authorized for "Eastern Hemisphere Indians and descendants of Eastern Hemisphere Indians."
BIBLES FOR SOLDIERS
Bibles Not Bombs is the present slogan of the American Bible Society in its drive for funds to supply Testaments and Bibles to soldiers, internees and prisoners of war during this difficult period. Even those of us who do not advocate sending the Bible as a proselyting agent into countries which have their own sacred Scriptures, can join wholeheartedly in this task of the Society-supplying a means of spiritual inspiration to peoples of Christian faith who are eager for it.
The Chief of Chaplains in the European Theatre recently ordered 350,000 Scriptures (Protestant) for distribution to our soldiers, reporting that the shortage was acute. He also requested "500 German Bibles, 120.000 Testaments and 95,000 portions for immediate use with German prisoners of war and interned civilians."
As Lloyd C. Douglas says. these Scriptures are "equally valid for victor and vanquished alike. . . . Preeminently it is out most effective way of providing spiritual help to our armed forces, to prisoners of war on both sides of the fighting fronts, to refugees, to war weary peoples, to millions of newly literate people."
V-E Day has not changed the situation in Europe, except that many of the soldiers supplied may now read their Testaments on Pacific Islands instead of on European ground. Certainly our prisoners of war, those still in the hands of the Japanese, need whatever spiritual succor we can provide. One prisoner, among the fortunate few who have returned, says: "As is always true of men cast away in adversity, we began to think a great deal of religion. This was chiefly in our minds and souls, however. There was little surface indication of the trend except for Bible reading. A few Testaments had been smuggled into the camp. . . . During the entire time I was in Japanese prisons I never saw an idle Bible. In the daylight hours those little volumes were being read constantly."
A new solution to the question: Can the various factions in India form a unified Government? Is being placed before England, according to Bijaya Lakshmi Pandit, sister of the Indian leader, Jawaharlal Nehru. According to this plan, a government would be formed at the Center with the Congress and the Moslem League each holding forty per cent of the seats, the remaining twenty per cent to be divided among the minorities. The Amrita Bazar Patrika, influential Calcutta newspaper, points out that it might well prove the practical answer. ". . . All we need is that the power so transferred comes to be exercised by the accredited representatives of India's toiling millions. In this perspective there is no room for a Hindu oligarchy or Moslem misrule."
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