These days, thousands of supposedly well educated and rational Indians believe that circumambulating a statue of Lord Balaji will bring them their much desired H-1b visa to the United States. Such is the diversity headed in this direction.
HYDERABAD, India — Lord Balaji is one of the most-worshiped local incarnations of the Hindu Lord Vishnu. His adherents flock to his many temples to pray for things like happiness, prosperity and fertility.Mexican drug smugglers have their beloved Narco-Saint Jesus Malverde and Indians have their Lord Balaji. Americans have so much incoming diversity to celebrate.
Lately, the deity has grown particularly popular at the once-quiet Chilkur Balaji temple here, where he goes by a new nickname: the Visa God. The temple draws 100,000 visitors a week, many of whom come to pray to Lord Balaji for visas to travel or move to the U.S. and other Western countries.
Mohanty Dolagobinda is one of the Visa God`s believers. Three years ago, a U.S. consulting company applied for a visa on his behalf. It was rejected. When the company tried again the following year, Mr. Dolagobinda`s friends told him to visit the Chilkur Balaji temple ahead of his interview at the U.S. consulate. Weeks later, he sailed through the interview. "I`ve never heard of anyone who`s gone to the temple whose visa got rejected," says Mr. Dolagobinda. [Divine Intervention? Indians Seek Help from the `Visa God`, Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2007]
In other Indian culture news, an immigrant in Chicago is accused of setting an apartment fire to commit multiple murders: Father accused of killing pregnant daughter and her family (CNN, Jan 1, 2008).
Prosecutors allege [Subhash] Chander used gasoline to start the fire late Saturday. The India native told police he disliked his son-in-law because he belonged to a lower caste and had married his daughter without his consent, said Cook County First Assistant State`s Attorney Robert Milan.Thanks, India, for a diverse new motivation for murder!
"His son-in-law was beneath him in his opinion," Milan said.