Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Whitewashing India's Religious Pluralism

India has an impeccable history of welcoming the stranger and giving refuge to the oppressed, rejected and the evicted. She has welcomed Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and the Baha’is. Indeed the very first mosque built outside of Arabia was in India by a Hindu King in the state of Malabar. The Tibetan Buddhist refugees found a home in India; the Ahmadiyya Muslims felt secure, so were the displaced Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees.
This beautiful pluralistic 5000-year-old tradition of India is in peril now. BJP and its affiliates (The Sangh Parivar) that govern India “currently” are hell-bent on destroying that heritage. They want to force non-Hindus into obedience and tell them what they can eat or believe, and whom they can marry or live as 2nd class citizens. They want to free India from Christians and Muslims and plan to convert them by 2025 to Hinduism.  Indeed, the ISIS had given similar options to the Christians and Yazidis. 
Make no mistake about it; Hinduism is a religion of peace like all other religions. The problem is not between people of faith, but the radicals.
A few Indian American organizations linked to the Sangh Parivar want to whitewash the situation. They want to portray that everything is hunky dory in India.  
Hunky dory it is not, the  Congressmen and Senators are fully conversant of the harassment, lynching, raping and killing of Christians, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists and others in India. 
It is time for the Indian Americans to save the honor of India and restore her pluralistic heritage that got derailed in the last four years. 
The prosperity of a nation stands on her two firm legs; economic growth and social cohesion, one will not sustain without the other.   
 If the minorities continue to live in apprehension and fear, the whole nation gets engaged in useless battles and the prosperity will come to a grinding halt, and the country will limp until it reaches a new life or loses all that was achieved.  
The confidence of foreign investments in a nation spurs the growth, India’s IT industry,  call centers, and businesses have raised the standard of living for many. As long as the investors feel secure about their investments they will pump in more funds. However, when they see chaos emerging with the nations discriminative practices, harassment, lynching, rapes and killing of the minorities, they will pull out and everyone stands to lose.
It was embarrassing to note the missing presence of India at the religious freedom conference held by the Department of State in July 2018. If the violations continue, India may get stamped as a “Country of Particular Concern” for violations of religious freedom. It will hurt India, particularly the business community and the information technology sector. 
The whitewash report produced by the Hindu America Foundation is understandable. No Indian wants India to lose, but neither should we compromise on the truth to look good. We hope to produce an accurate state of the union; after all, India’s emblem includes the phrase, Satyameva Jayate – Truth triumphs.
The majority of Indians of all faiths believe in Pluralism, i.e., respecting the otherness of other.  It is not Hindus either,  but the radicals among Hindus that are causing the problems with the subtle encouragement from the BJP government.
Quotes from the HAF, reported by Jha;
“The Indian government provides “unprecedented” religious accommodations to its religious minority population, says a report by a US-based Hindu advocacy group.” 
The truth is far from it. It sounds like the majority is doing a favor to the minorities in ‘accommodating’ them.  It is like saying “we give equal rights to women” who the hell are we to give them their rights, to begin with, the rights were theirs.  Indeed, every Indian is guaranteed those rights; we are all equal citizens. No one has more privileges than the other. 
“To bring greater stability to the region and prevent the growth of radical Islamist and Communist/Maoist terrorism.” This statement is too hypocritical and divisive to exclude radical Hindutva terrorism from the list.  The issue is not with Hindus or Muslims; it is with radicals among them. 
“Overall, it seeks to show the broader story of religious freedom and pluralism in India, which is often not, reflected in the media or US policy circles.” Indeed, India was a pluralist nation until the Hindutva brigade took over the country four years ago.  
We need to come together and appeal to the Government of India, to issue visas to the commissioners of the USCIRF to investigate the Sikh Genocide, Massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, killing of Christians, Rapes, and lynching of Dalits, and harassment of Sikhs. If the commission gives a clean certificate, it will help boost the investor confidence in India; on the other hand, if India’s record is of particular concern, then it is time to fix it than pretending to be holier than thou.  
I would appeal to the Hindu America Foundation to issue press releases condemning the lynching of Muslims, killing of Christians, harassment of Dalits and Atheists, by condemning each event, it will give them the credibility to be a legitimate pluralist organization for Human rights. 
We will also write a letter urging Prime Minister Modi to speak out forcefully against harassment of any Indian and pledge that no Indian has more privileges than the other. Ambassador Sam Brownback says, if evil acts get condemned as they occur, they will be choked and will not see the light of the day. 

– https://www.facebook.com/100001262335435/posts/1998170193568372/

Mike Ghouse, is president of the Center for Pluralism and is committed to fostering cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. His India Blog is http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Democracy alive in Indian Parliament, Modi may welcome dissent from Owaisi


I have criticized Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi in the past and will continue to do so for his approach. However, given that there is no spineful opposition in our parliament, we need to admire him for being critical of the government and question them.   We need to have men like MallikArjun Kharge and Asaduddin Owaisi to question and criticize, it is a sign of a healthy democracy.  Shehzada and others will probably speak nothing and do nothing.

As Indians we need to mature, and appreciate the men and women who question the government. I would say, the most patriotic Indian would be the one who keeps the government on its toes, like my friend Sean Hannity. If we don't keep the government in the line, they will become what we hated before, and before.

Today at the parliament he spoke up loud and clear.   Vajpayee had done it, Sushma had done it,  and so they do at the US Congress and Senate or any democratic system. Even the shouting responses are democratic, as they do in the UK Parliament. At least chappals were not flying.

As people, we need to appreciate the men and women who criticize our governments. I am sure Modi will speak up about it, and I hope and pray that he values dissent - the foundation of democracy.   

Mike Ghouse

YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Kmbn_Xu4Go

Asaduddin Owaisi and Shanavas baffle BJP in Lok Sabha

NEW DELHI : Asaduddin Owaisi, President All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen and M.P. from Hyderabad created uproar in Lok Sabha during his address. He hit at BJP with his precise points. Even he sarcastically congratulated Narendra Modi for destroying myth of Muslim vote bank, and added that "in doing so you have proved there is a Hindu vote bank which can be consolidated". Further he said:
"I stand here as the son of Ehsan Jafri...
"I stand here as the brother of Ishrat Jahan...
"I stand here as the Uncle of Mohsin Sadiq Sheikh...
"I stand before you as the voice of those poor voiceless people affected by Gujarat genocide  and I want justice to be done with them.

Owaisi's remarks regards Babri Masjid and Gujarat riots evoked sharp reaction from BJP members who were heard shouting "shame on you". Unperturbed by the protest, Owaisi noted there are very few Muslim representatives from BJP in the Lok Sabha. “Where is the inclusiveness?” he asked and demanded that the Prime Minister make it clear what he proposed to do for the minorities. He didn't spare Najma Heptullah for claiming Muslims are not minorities.

Owaisi added that soon, this Parliament would nominate Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse for Bharat Ratna.

Congress MP from Wayanad M I Shanavas  in his address said despite the defeat, Congress would rise again. "Congress will never die. Congress can die only with the nation... Whatever may be your victory, victory is not all that matters. Hitler had won, Mussolini had won, Stalin had won, victory will not make all the differences. I tell you in this august House that the Indian National Congress will come back like a storm in this House itself," he said.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Narendra Modi will defend free speech

Freedom of speech is the God given right of every human, and no one should have the power to tell what others can think, speak or believe.   Freedom should be absolute and free, when it becomes discretionary, it leads to mismanagement and abuse.
 It is not what the evil people say or do that matters, it is how we react that matters. We can aggravate the situation or mitigate it. Of the billion and a quarter Indians, not even a 1000 will be abusive - that is 0.000001% - insignificant in numbers to give any value to it. However, if it results in deaths and mayhem,  then the instigator should be held responsible.

Modi did not mince his words in the parliament this week, if the court decides the criminality of an individual including the member of the Parliament, they go to jail.
I am studying Narendra Modi fairly closely, and knowing him and predicting him fairly well in the last few weeks, I feel certain that he will say the following about the students who were arrested in Kerala for insulting him;
“If the only crime of the students is insulting me, then please release them. People should have the freedom to speak their mind, even if it means insulting me.”  Then he will add, “I will not vanish or diminish with insults”. Imagine the hearts he will win, and restraint he will cause in people's language.
I see a statesman emerging in Modi, and I will repeat my doha
"Khuda jab bhi insaan ko hidayat deta hai
Hum Modi ko Gandhi hotay huway dekheinge."
"Whenever God gives guidance to a man,
we will witness Modi becoming Gandhi-like."
Indeed there ought to be a park in every City, where individuals can go and speak all they want from a raised platform.
On Modi, the word puzzle asks, “If Namo is Nayinte Mon (‘Dog’s son’ in Malayalam), who is Namo? The answer keys included the letters “Mo” and a picture of Modi.
On Amritanandamayi, the puzzle asks “the mother who sells the largest number of kisses in Kerala”. The key included a picture of Amritanandamayi, who is known as the hugging saint.
On Rahul Gandhi, it said “the Amul leader of India who stopped feeding on breast milk at the age of 40?.
The magazine titled “Name” was brought out by an editorial board chaired by activists of the Students Federation of India, which is the student wing of CPI (M). It was published by Sree Krishna College near the temple town Guruvayur. The college is under the Guruvayur Temple Board, which is a government body

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Modi's India by Mike Ghouse

I have been writing about Mr. Modi since February 27, 2002.  However, on this special blog dedicated to Modi,  my writings include from 11/04/13 - 6/10/14. Most of the other writings about Modi are at http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com and http://rivr.sulekha.com/mike-ghouse_100777?t=blogs 

With a few exceptions, almost all of the articles published on this Blog - Modi's India would be written by me, and at http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com  articles written by others are included, that amounts to 20 Articles, plus what the other news papers have written about me including Times of India, Time and Saudi Gazette.

I am fascinated by Mr. Modi, and will continue to monitor him for at least one year.

The accusation leveled against me and Tharoor is that we have changed. We have not! It is actually Modi who has changed, taking a 180-degree turn, and every Indian should welcome it as we do. Modi started speaking the language of inclusiveness that we understood, and the right thing to do is to appreciate it. What we offered was not blanket, wholesale praise but selective praise where he deserves it.

Skepticism is good and without which nothing good can come, and I understand the concerns people have. Over the years, I have learned and spent hundreds of hours researching and writing, listening to his speeches and understanding him. I do connect with him now, and I will stick my neck out and say, things will get better under Modi Sarkar, good days are coming for every Indian regardless of his or her affiliation. 

The real conflicts are not between Hindus, Muslims, Dalits, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and others, but between two mindsets.  India has two kinds of people;  the ones who cherish unity, and the others who relish divisiveness;   the ones who believe in freedom, and the others who want to restrict the rights of others; one who believes that all others should surrender to their whims of the majority, and the other believe that every individual is equal; ones who believe minding their own business and the others who meddle in how others live.

Every Indian should have the freedom to breathe, eat, drink, wear and believe whatever the hell he or she wants,  then the pragati (prosperity) will be sustainable. If people fight over these issues, our constitution should put them in their place for the common good of Indians.

I must give credit to NDTV - their debates are based on respect for every human, and have defended he undefended and voiceless.  They are good for India and I applaud them.

Thank you
Jai Hind


Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 text/talk



06/10/14 -Shashi Tharoor and Mike Ghouse on Narendra Modi

06/02/14 - Anti Muslim and Anti-Christian Frisco Meeting

05/29/14 - Muslims Welcome Modi's Victory

05/26/14 - Indians will start feeling safe under Modi

05/26/14 - Notes from Swearing in Ceremony http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/05/notes-from-watching-swearing-in.html

05/25/14 - Aap Ki Adalat me- a TV Show (not by me) http://www.indiatvnews.com/video/category/aapkiadalat-1.html

 05/23/14 - Narendra Modi's hypothetical Speech http://www.opednews.com/articles/Mr-Narendra-Modi-s-hypoth-by-Mike-Ghouse-2014-Elections_Bharatiya-Janata-Party_Governance_Historicism-140525-136.html

05/19/14 - Congratulations Mr. Modi http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/05/congratulations-mr-narenda-modi.html

05/16/14 - US Policy on India needs to change http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/05/us-policy-on-india-and-modi-needs-to.html

 05/09/14 - India's Modi on his best behavior, can we trust him? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/indias-modi-on-his-best-behavior-can-we-trust-him_b_5280892.html#es_share_ended

 04/23/14 - Times Poll changed due to my efforts http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Modi-Kejriwal-become-Times-most-influential-people-thanks-to-dodgy-poll-and-online-fan-club/articleshow/34123215.cms

 04/23/14 - Times poll did not list Modi on the top http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/04/time-100-it-is-not-narendra-modi-but.html
04/21/14 - For every Muslim Ass, there is a Hindu ass, add hole if you want to http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/04/for-every-muslim-ass-there-is-hindu-ass.html

04/06/14 - World's largest democracy goes to vote / Most papers including CNN has copied me http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/04/worlds-largest-democracy-goes-to-vote.html

03/15/14 - It is time Modi shows strength in softness http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/03/its-time-modi-shows-strength-in-softness.html

03/15/14 - India's Journey into the future on a level playing field http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/03/indias-journey-into-future-on-level.html

02/26/14 - Saudi Gazette about Modi's stars - My interview http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140227196984   

02/18/14 - Is it Modi's fault or is it the System? http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/02/is-it-modis-fault-or-is-it-sytem.html

01/18/14 - Modi dehumanizing women http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/01/narendra-modi-and-dehumanizing-women.html

01/03/14 - Modi's Nakshatras are not in his favor http://www.opednews.com/articles/Narendra-Modi-s-Nakshatras-by-Mike-Ghouse-Anti-christian_Bharatiya-Janata-Party_Business_Congress-131227-999.html