SPENCER MICHELS: The San Francisco Bay area is a magnet for a large number of people from India and Pakistan.
Of the estimated two million Indians-- most of them Hindus-- who live in the United States, a quarter of a million live, work and worship near San Francisco. And, of the estimated 750,000 Pakistanis in the U.S., more than 50,000 of them live in the Bay area; they are mostly Muslim.
Members of both groups found work especially when first in this country, as taxi drivers and small storeowners.
Others, especially Indians, bought hotels in poor sections of the city, and often did well economically. But both Indians and Pakistanis say that those images are outdated.
Today their ranks are filled with highly educated, well-paid high-tech workers and engineers, many of whom came here in the early days of the Silicon Valley boom. Others arrived more recently on special visas for highly trained tech workers.
Hasan Hamdani is a Pakistani community leader and former university teacher of South Asian studies.
HASAN HAMDANI, Pakistani Community Leader: The Pakistani community is the, compared to other communities living in the United States, immigrant communities. They hold more bachelors and masters and Ph.D.s in engineering and medicine than any other immigrant communities.
SPENCER MICHELS: Raman Rao is an Indian community leader and an engineer.
RAMAN RAO, Indian Community Leader: I'd say most of the Indians that came in the 1960s and the 1970s and 1980s, say 80 percent are probably engineers and professionals -- doctors.
SPENCER MICHELS: Pakistani and Indian immigrants to America have been watching closely, and in some cases, taking the side of their homeland in the dispute between India and Pakistan over who controls Kashmir.
The two countries were created out of British India in 1947. Most of Kashmir currently belongs to India, though most of the population is Muslim.
Recently, the fighting and tensions have intensified, especially with the suicide attack on the Indian parliament in December, allegedly by Pakistani terrorists.
SPOKESMAN: The people of San Francisco are in full support of the people of Pakistan.
SPENCER MICHELS: Pakistani-Americans rallied recently in San Francisco, some to call for peace, some to push for a vote by Kashmiris on their own future, and some simply to convince Americans that Pakistanis should not be blamed for the terrorist attacks.
Helping to organize this demonstration were Asim Mughal, who runs a Pakistani news service, and Naubahar Ali, a Pakistani poet. They worry about Pakistan's image in their adopted country.
ASIM MUGHAL, Pakistani News Service: The images that you see on the television, some groups jumping up and down, demonstrating pro-Osama or anti-America, is actually clearly wrong.
NAUBAHAR ALI, Pakistani-American Poet: It makes us very nervous. It doesn't represent our point of view. And we are nervous that people are thinking we are all like that. We are totally not like that.
SPENCER MICHELS: But many Indians living in America, including Kashmir-born engineer Maharaj Kaul, still espouse the Indian Government's point of view. He says Pakistan's military government is responsible for the trouble in Kashmir.
Kaul says his own family, who are Hindus, had to leave Kashmir for India and the U.S. because of Muslim terrorists.
MAHARAJ KAUL, Indian-American Engineer: When you see your relatives, or other people, you know, they're scattered all over the place; mostly not because of their choice.
When you see that, it does hurt. There are 300,000 of them who left Kashmir after 1989; the terrorist war was a religious war. Every year, it gets worse and worse. And so they packed up and left. And those who stayed behind, I think they paid for the mistakes with their lives.
SPENCER MICHELS: But Kaul acknowledges that succeeding generations of Indian Americans won't care as much as he does.
MAHARAJ KAUL: Their children, of course, won't even know where India is.
SPENCER MICHELS: While Kaul is not religious, many of his fellow Indian immigrants are.
Twelve thousand came to pray at the Shiva-Vishnu temple in Livermore, California, last New Year's Day. Hundreds come every weekend. The temple is one of the principal centers of the bay area Indian community. Most of these people retain close ties to the homeland.
And many, including the temple chairman, Raman Rao, feel some kinship with fellow South Asians from Pakistan.
RAMAN RAO: India and Pakistan are actually brothers. And coincidentally, it so happens that I actually roomed with a person, astudent from Pakistan at Michigan State. And he was from Karachi, and we got along famously. That so, and we speak the same language.
SPENCER MICHELS: Rao says there is less political passion among Pakistanis and Indians in America than there is back home.
RAMAN RAO: I think most educated, rational citizens of the U.S., whether they're Pakistanis or Indians, probably have a different perspective than the same people if they were citizens of Pakistan or India, you know?
And that's rightfully so, because I think we shouldn't have, we should not bring the baggage from there where we are from.
SPENCER MICHELS: Other Indians in America, like Anuradha Mittal, a political scientist and an advocate for food and development, blame the politicians in both Pakistan and India for the current tension.
ANURADHA MITTAL, Indian Food Activist: Here are two countries, which have often diverted attention from domestic issues, such as increasing hunger and poverty, to focus on military tensions in the regions. So you have two governments who have a stake to continue this religious fundamentalism because that's how they stay in power.
SPENCER MICHELS: Mittal worries that fundamentalism in both countries could lead to disaster.
ANURADHA MITTAL: Do we want our governments to go to war and fight a war that I do not want, and I know my friends and my community doesn't want?
Do I want to be part of a war, which can go nuclear? No.
SPENCER MICHELS: While some partisans from each side blame the other, many Indians and Pakistanis in America appear more comfortable publicly advocating peace than calling for their side's victory.