HOME | ABOUT US | Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com You can send an email to: MikeGhouseforIndia@gmail.com


Monday, February 19, 2018

Did Russia Meddle with Indian Elections in 2014?

Do you see a correlation in getting the innocent Hindus to develop anti-Muslim sentiments through the communal riots, leading into to complete takeover of the Uttar Pradesh by BJP?  The likes of which were done here in the United States.  Did Russia pay for those riots through the Sangh Parivar organizations to weaken the Indian Democracy?  Both Modi and Trump have a special affection for Putin, and both of them want to emulate Putin.   



Deepa Seetharam, a reporter from Wall Street Journal called me and asked if I spoke in a rally at White House in September 2016? I said no, and then she reminded me that my name was a listed as a speaker.

Seetharam wrote in WSJ’s October 30, 2017,  publication, “Representatives from the Facebook page “United Muslims of America” asked Mike Ghouse, an interfaith activist, to speak at a Sept. 3, 2016, event in Washington, D.C. billed as “a peaceful rally, to make mosques and their neighborhood safe!”
The group sent Mr. Ghouse placards they intended to use that included anti-Trump messages, causing him to back out, he said. “I said they should be more pluralistic, more inclusive because there’s no need to attack Trump,” Mr. Ghouse said. “They wouldn’t, so I didn’t go.” Obviously, I did not speak there either.
“Some events stoked public discord. At the rally in front of the Islamic center in Houston, about a dozen protesters gathered, some waving confederate flags or holding a sign that said “#WhiteLivesMatter,” according to video footage.”
Russians had an elaborate plan of pitting one American against the other, their end goal was to weaken democracies and create discord within each nation – their logic was; for Russia to shine, other countries have to be weakened, and Russia will stand out as the strongest nation in the world with a strong man running the nation. Putin is the Czar under his skin.

CNN reports that “80 times Trump talked about Putin.” Indeed, “Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump consistently broke from political orthodoxy in his effusive praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. His glowing statements on Putin have become central in stoking the suspicion that he and his campaign were somehow connected to Russian interference in the election.”
Narendra Modi in Russia praises President Vladimir Putin’s family for sacrificing lives for the country. Modi praises Putin’s effort in convening 1st Tiger conservation Summit.
Both Modi and Trump think Putin is awesome, someone to be modeled after, as they want to dictate to the public.
 Senator John McCain said in an interview that Putin is determined to prove to the world that Democracies don’t work. Indeed, that is what the fascists think about democracies – they get their devoted slaves to do whatever they want – attacking others as Sikularist and calling the news that goes against them as fake news.  It’s amazing how many people buy that stuff in India and the United States.
Both Modi and Trump have resorted to divide and rule policies; they are determined to pit one Indian against the other in case of Modi, and one American against the other by Trump.

Russians staged “Anti-Trump rallies’ in the name of American Muslims. Perhaps, that may be the reason Trump is so anti-Muslim. Some of the rallies were held against Hillary to give the impression that it is the work of public, and some were devised against Trump just to make it look real.
What happens in India? Manohar Joshi writes in the Wire, “The fact that communal violence is rising in India is not hidden. Even the government acknowledges that there has been a steady uptick in communal incidents. In response to a question in parliament on Tuesday (February 6), minister of state Hansraj Ahir disclosed that as many as 111 people were killed and nearly 2,500 injured in 822 communal incidents in 2017, as compared to 751 incidents in 2016 that took the life of 97 people and 703 in 2016 when 86 were killed.” 

Did the Russians stage these events? Did they pay these men to stage communal riots and murder people?
The fake encounters set up by the Gujarat police earned further support for BJP from an average innocent Hindu. Of course, Musharraf’s Kargil invasion strengthened the hold of BJP in power.
Putin failed in France and Germany but succeeded in Austria, India, United States and other nations.
Most Indians will resist the idea of an investigation; they simply do not want to believe that the Indian Elections may have been rigged. They are afraid of even exploring the possibilities. If they have lost their loved ones, they would want to know if Russia is paying the goons to create chaos. Is Yogi Adityanath paid agent of Russia?  The purpose of the investigation is to find the truths if they are clean, that would be good news. What if they were not? Should they continue governing India and continue to pit one Indian against the other?
Do you see a correlation in getting the innocent Hindus to develop anti-Muslim sentiments through the communal riots, leading into to complete takeover of the Uttar Pradesh?  The likes of which were done here in the United States.  Did Russia pay for those riots through the Sangh Parivar organizations to weaken the Indian Democracy?  Both Modi and Trump have a special affection for Putin; both of them want to emulate Putin.
Neither Trump nor Modi was expecting to win; all the surveys, reports and polls indicated the win for Congress in India and Democrats in America. Both the men were surprised with the win, let alone land-slide wins.
The Russians publicized or financed at least 60 events – on all sides of most polarizing issues – before and after the 2016 election.  What about India’s 2014 election?
Is it worth investigating Russian hand in the mess that is created in India?   Should we save the nation from divisive men? These men will come and go in one or two terms, but it is the common men and women in India that will bear the brunt of their karma.
(The author is an Indian-American committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  As we learn to respect the “otherness” of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, conflicts will fade and solutions emerge. He is the president of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC.)


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Shehla Rashid - in support of Interfaith Marriages


It is disappointing to see the ‘a few’ among Hindus and Muslims are misled about their own religions. Neither of the religions is for violence and both the faiths believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum as a part of Hindu belief,  and the Muslim belief is no different, they believe and the entire world is from one couple – we are all one large family with our differences.  None of us are alike, each one of us is endowed with our own thumbprint, eye print, taste buds, religion bud, cloth bud and of course, DNA.  

What is needed is education.  There is no compulsion in religion says Islam, free will is the way forward. No one is responsible for other’s act; we pay for our karma either afterlife (Islam, Christianity) or thru reincarnation (Hinduism and Buddhism). I hope we live our lives and let others live theirs.  I hope to respond to this particular incident through an article in support of interfaith marriage and in support of Shehla Rasheed.

Those of you who are Muslims, an article "Can a Muslim woman marry a non-Muslim man" will be out in a few days explaining the freedom God has offered to women. If your promise to think and not react, I will email you the link. MikeGhouse@aol.com

Dr. Mike Ghouse
Center for Pluralism | World Muslim Congress
Washington, DC


Shehla Rashid, former JNUSU vice-president.
Shehla Rashid, former JNUSU vice-president.(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ Shehla Rashid)

Shehla Rashid Speaks Up for Interfaith Love, Receives Rape Threats

THE QUINTUPDATED: 14.02.18

Former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid had to deactivate her Facebook profile after receiving multiple rape threats and hate messages for speaking up in support of interfaith marriages and the right of Muslim women to choose their partners.
Referring to the recent murder of Ankit Saxena in the national capital by his Muslim girlfriend’s family, student activist Shehla Rashid Shora published a Facebook post asking if the Muslim community would allow their daughters or sisters to marry a non-Muslim man of her choice.
Demanding an answer from her own community, she said if Muslim girls are not allowed to marry a non-Muslim of her choice, then they “lose the moral authority to fight the ruckus created by RSS” over the so-called “love-jihad”.

Drawing a comparison with the Hadiya case, she said, while the outrage over the denial to let an adult Muslim woman choose her life partner was justified, the same right should be given to all Muslim girls, irrespective of who they love.

When we insist that Hadiya be treated as an adult, as an individual who has Constitutional rights, let’s please uphold the same standard for all adult Muslim women – regardless of who they love

Shehla in her Facebook post.

She further went on to say that it is the Constitution, and not Islamic/Hindu law, that gives both Hadiya and all other Muslim women to choose their partner.

Special Marriage Act allows interfaith couples to register a marriage without conversion, she said adding that while Muslims as a community insist on Constitutional rights, they should also respect the rights given by the Constitution to an individual.

Slamming the so-called “love-jihad” brigade, Shehla said, “If we do not make room for love, we deserve to be ruled by hatred.”

Soon after her post on Facebook, rape threats, hate messages and regressive trolls were hurled at Rashid, alleging her of trying to spew hatred among people.

Kavita Krishnan Writes in solidarity with Shehla

Shehla Rashid has deactivated her Facebook account - NOT HER PAGE WHICH IS STILL ACTIVE - and the reasons are distressing and angering.

She wrote a post appealing to fellow Muslims to recognize that Muslim opposition to inter faith relationships by their daughters - as witnessed in the Ankit Saxena case - weakened the moral ground for opposition to the Sangh hate campaign against inter faith relationships that they brand 'love jehad'. She was visited with hateful rape threats by some Muslim men who misrepresented and distorted what she was saying. They claim she is 'egging on Muslim women to marry Hindu men'. This is plain silly - as a feminist Shehla would never presume to tell Muslim women or any women whom they should love and marry! The whole point is that we must respect the right of women and men and persons - of any community - to choose their faith, their ideas, their relationships and partners and stop treating women as the property of communities.

What's also alarming is the attempt by the opportunist and right wing Sanghis to try and use this episode to rationalize and legitimize their own Islamophobic campaign to brand the Muslim community as uniquely 'backward and patriarchal'. That's bullshit. Every community has its fundamentalists. In India, what makes the khap /Sangh /anti Dalit brand of patriarchy more dangerous is that it has state backing - courts and police support Hindu upper caste patriarchy and cooperate with it, this isn't the case with Muslims and Dalits.
Solidarity Shehla.

INDIA- Inter-Faith Marriages Are No Reason For ‘Conscience-Keepers’ To Interfere, Declares Supreme Court

Thank God, the Supreme Court is taking actions against the villains of the society. This restores hopes that people can continue in the pursuit of their lives.  I do hope any voilations of these, must result in holding the Chief Minister of the state accountable and responsible.

Mike Ghouse

Courtesy of Better India

Inter-Faith Marriages Are No Reason For ‘Conscience-Keepers’ To Interfere, Declares Supreme Court

The apex court is also considering appointing a high-level police committee appointed to protect couples from different castes, religion, or other “opposed” marriages.

In a remarkable move, the Supreme Court has taken a tough stance against khap panchayats and asked the Centre to protect couples whose marriages are opposed by these organisations.
They have observed that khap panchayats cannot be the “conscience keepers of the society” or play law-keepers against adult women and men who marry each other.
The apex court is also considering appointing a high-level police committee appointed to protect couples from different castes, religion, or other “opposed” marriages. They have directed the Centre to take steps towards this decision.

The bench was headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and included Justice AM Kanwilkar, and Justice DY Chandrachud.

CJI Dipak Misra. Source.
They were hearing a petition seeking help from the court to put an end to the trouble caused by khap panchayats who take the law in their own hands and commit crimes against couples who have married outside their caste. The petition was filed by NGO Shakti Vahini in 2010.
“Where two consenting adults agree to enter into matrimony, no individual rights, group rights or collective rights shall interfere therein or harass couple. You don’t have to play the conscience keeper of the society. Law and courts will take care of all relationships. Whether it is parents, society or anyone, they are out of it,” the bench told counsel Narinder Hooda who represented the Sarv Khap Panchayats of Rohtak.

This list of directives explicitly includes parents and society to stay out of adults who have consented to marry each other.

Representative image of a wedding ceremony. Source.
As Hooda pointed out, “[the] main culprits of honour killings are not the representatives of khaps but the near and dear ones of the affected couples and more so the relatives of the girls.”


“They [khaps] are only against same gotra marriages for which they had made a representation to the Central government seeking an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which was a democratic act. Religious scriptures had prohibited such marriages, and as such, it should be part of [the] law,” Hooda said. He claimed that Khaps don’t go after couples from different religions, caste, creed or regions.
To this, the CJI replied, “The law will take its own course. Who are you to interfere?”
“We are conscience keepers,” responded the counsel

“When two adults get married, it is for the law to declare the marriage null and void and khaps cannot resort to violence against the couple,” the CJI retorted.

Representative image of a wedding ceremony. Source.
In one such incident about radical prejudices resulting in violence, a Facebook page had called for violence against over 100 interfaith couples in India. The post carried the names of men and women, along with links to their Facebook profile.
Fortunately, the post, as well as the page, were taken down from the social media site. If the Centre follows the directives by the SC, such radical outbursts could be brought under stringent laws.
Pinky Anand, who serves as the Additional Solicitor General of India, represented the Centre in this case and assured the court that the government would submit its proposal over this petition within a week.

Friday, February 16, 2018

South Indian Food - what is good food?

Good food is whatever appeals to your taste buds. Our taste buds are trained and conditioned to enjoy the foods we grew up eating. Whatever it was; American, Stew, Steak & Potatoes, Chinese, Mexican, French, Moroccan, German, Mongolian, Ethiopian, English, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Indian (Indian, Pakistani, Nepali, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan), Thai or Middle Eastern or any one of the thousands of cuisines, we are drawn to the food we grew up with, essentially Mother’s food. That is the Gold Standard for each one of us.




I grew up with Idli-Sambar, Bisi Belebath, Biryani, Masala Dosa, Khichdi, Lemon Rice, goat curry etc. Of course, as a pluralist in food, I have enjoyed more variety of foods than most people. My friend who is like my older sister suggested us going to Savarana, an Indian Vegetarian Restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia. Their Daal (Lentil) was superb! My best Daals have been at my Mother and Sisters home, then my late wife’s daal, then the Daal at Apna Bazar Restaurant in Carrollton, Texas and now this Daal…. I need to learn to cook my own daal. Their Rasam was disappointing – it is a watery soup made with tamarind…I will wait to go see my sister in India, she makes the best Rasam.

Tea – Nothing like a good cup of tea and who drinks the most tea?


How Ironic it is, this morning; I resumed making the good tea that I was making and had lost the touch…. It takes time to make good tea like it takes time to make good friends. I was tired of drinking the run of the mill tea made in a hurry. I decided I am going to make good tea and enjoy drinking it, and I did.

The color of the tea is as important as the cup it is contained in, and the amount of sugar.  I don’t like the layers of cream floating in it. I have figured it out to make the right tea once again, Eureka! 

A friend sent an article (ref1) and while reading it, I said, “It is a ridiculous claim that Britain has the 3rd highest consumers of tea in the world after Turkey and Ireland!” I said baloney!



Tea was discovered in China in 1760 and it became the biggest commodity of world trade after Tobacco, Sugar, and Cotton. 

History Today writes, “As the national tea habit grew – along with the introduction of the social ritual of afternoon tea – fears increased that Britain was too reliant on China. Thus the discovery in the 1820s of tea growing wild in Assam in British-controlled India was met with euphoria in government circles.”

The best tea I have had was at Food Craft Institute in Bangalore (1973-77), where Muniyappa made the tea for the entire staff and delivered it on our desks every morning at 10, and then coffee was served at 4 PM daily.  My habits have formed since then.  Now, sometimes I drink coffee in the morning, but one cup of tea makes my day. 

The other tea I enjoyed was at a friend’s home in Louisville, KY and of course the street Tea Shops in Saudi Arabia, where they drink in clear glasses and stir a sugar cube in it.

I gave up on tea, as I was not enjoying it anymore. Today, I made it and enjoying it and hope to make this every day… as an enjoyable activity.  I am completing my book, hope to wrap it up this week and this tea just gives me the joy.


Well, I could not resist checking the facts, per the Atlantic newspaper, which I trust for their scholarly articles, Turkey leads in per capita consumption of the tea, and India is in 27th place.  Turkey is known for its coffee though! China no doubt leads the gross consumption but it is 19th in per capita consumption. Turkey, Ireland, UK, Russia, and Morocco are top 5 consumers of tea/capita.

 




Mike Ghouse

Thursday, February 15, 2018

BJP Is Playing With Fire

India is blessed with two new heroes:  Chandan Gupta's family and Ankit Sharma's family, despite their loss, they refused to give communal color to their tragedies. 

When the free press is being quashed, and when most of the Indian media has lost the freedom to report, rather they are afraid to report. God always sends heroes to rescue the society. In fact, Lord Krishna had said, whenever adharma takes over the society, I will emerge among you and restored Dharma.  Thanks to the bold publishers of The Wire, Quint, Quartz and few brand new news organizations for reporting boldly. A free press is the only thing that will save the nation if there is no one to question it, the good guys become bad guys, such is the temptation to rule and control people. I have always admired Goenka and other media persons in the mid-seventies who went to jail to keep the mantle of the free press alive.


Thank God for the wire

Mike Ghouse

Courtesy: The wire


The BJP Is Playing With Fire, It’s the Decency of Ordinary Indians That’s Saved Us So Far

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

India's religious freedom

Washington, D.C., February 13, 2018 – Today we met at room 1540 at Longworth House Office building to discuss the religious freedom in India.  The program was sponsored by the International Religious Freedom Caucus, co-chaired by Congressmen Gus Bilirakis and Thomas Garrett. The meeting was run by Miranda, Maya, and Tripp representing different Congressmen.

Ajaya Kumar Singh, a Dalit leader himself,  gave a presentation of what is going on in India with Dalits, Christians, and Muslims.

When my turn came, I asked Jay Kansara, representative of HAF, the Hindu America Foundation to take the initiative and make statements against the lynching of Muslims, persecution of Christians and harassment of Dalits?   I also urged HAF to write to the Government of India urging them to grant a visa to the USCRIF Commissioners to do their findings of religious freedom in India.  

I hope to see HAF come out clean and looked up to as a just American organization. I asked him to issue a press release to say that every Indian has a right to breathe, eat, drink, wear and believe whatever he or she desires, and no Indian has a right to forcibly impose his ideas on others. The Government of India will listen more to HAF than anyone else, as they all have similar affiliations.  Some of the other things I have said are expressed in the letter below.

Ultimately, we all have to come out clean and wash our inconsistencies and operate beyond reproach. If we don't stand up for the rights of others, then who will?  It is not about Hinduism or Hindus, it is about the radicals among Hindus we need to work with.

I made an assertion that if an American Hindu is attacked; Indian Muslims will stand up for them.  We have a stellar record of that.

John Prabhudas also encouraged Jay to take the responsibility, and he did a great job in explaining how it matters to us in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Sana, spoke exceptionally well, she gives me hope that our next generation has an interest in the well being of India.  She was articulate and spoke American (meaning precise information to the point without digressions).

The IAMC provided the lunch, good homemade Biryani, and fruit tray.  I believe it was prepared by Zubair’s family.

My apologies for not remembering the names, as I had to dash out because of the car parking was 20 minutes walk and the time we had was just 20 minutes left on parking.

I hope someone will write the notes of the meeting. I know the staff of the congressmen took extensive notes. If they send me, I will share with those who want to see, let me know if you do. I have submitted the following recommendations to them.

If the Dalits and others are treated like what India’s constitution calls for; that is Dalit women are not the object of sex for the upper caste Hindu men; and they are not entitled to the Dalit women and they are not raped and hung on trees, and if a Dalit groom rides a horse and the upper caste accepts it instead of beating the groom up; if a Muslim is not lynched for eating meat (suspecting it beef) and if Christian nuns are not raped and harassed. If HAF and HEF can focus on correcting this in India, then the California textbooks should be corrected. 

We cannot dupe our children, teach them one thing but when they visit India, they see it differently. The Indians parents look stupid to the American Indian Children. Over the years, I have asked some of my extremist fellow Indians to show their comments to their children and ask them honestly to grade them on the scale of the stupidity of their statements.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

International Religious Freedom Caucus.
US Congress.
Washington, DC

Recommendations to the International Religious Freedom Caucus 

As an American of Indian origin, I am concerned about the future of Democracy in India, and how it affects us, the Americans. I am pleased to submit the following with concrete solutions.

Governor Sam Brownback, our new Ambassador for religious freedom said it well at the reception held in his honor last week at the US Institute of Peace. If religious freedom is denied to a people, they will bear it to a point, when they have no way out,  they would become resentful and revengeful resulting in unmanageable civil strife. As Martin Luther King said, injustice to one is injustice to all. 

India proved to the world that she can manage freedom and certainly established a pluralistic democracy based on humanistic values, patterned after the US constitution by Dr. Ambedkar.  That stability and rule of law attracted investments that benefited Indians as well as the investors from across the world including the United States. India’s GDP and per capita income rose continually.

The success of a nation rests on its two solid feet – the economy and a cohesive society, an imbalance in one would mess up both in the long haul and the entire nation would reel in the downward spiral.  At the end, not only Indians but the investors will also lose out.  Who would want to invest in a country that practices discrimination, harassment, and lynching against its minorities? Who wants to risk operating in such a chaotic environment? Rule of Law and stable societies are the attractants for investors, both are in peril in India at this time.

The Government of India is not doing it, but their silence is contributing towards the chaos. First, the British kept their control by pitting one Indian against the other, and now the current leadership is repeating that formula.   I hope it does not come to the point where we the American have another Afghanistan on your hands, this time it would be Hindu Talibans.

Solutions:

1.    We urge the US Congress to use its leverage with the Government of India to issue visas to the commissioners of USCRIF – to investigate and report the issues and solutions.

2.    We urge the Hindu organizations in America to step up and use their influence with the current Indian Government to issue statements like;

a.    It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that freedom of Individuals is protected under the constitution and those who harass fellow Indians will be punished.

b.    We declare that every Indian is free to breathe, eat, drink, wear and believe whatever he or she is comfortable with.  We will not tolerate anyone to violate these rights of the individuals.

c.    That we the people of all faiths from Atheist to Zoroastrians will stand solidly with the people of India and expect everyone is treated with dignity.

We will urge the moderate Hindus to take back their faith of 5000 years with deep roots in pluralism.  We have also asked and continue to ask the Hindu organizations to issue a statement, and hope they would., and after I hear from the Congressman, I will enlist support from other Hindu Organizations.  A positive message to India would help build positive energy. 

Together we have to protect democracies around the world. America is a shining example to the world that Democracy works, it brings stability and prosperity whereas fascism destroys everyone in the process.

The Center for Pluralism is committed to building cohesive societies where individuals can live out their lives in the pursuit of their happiness and without apprehension or fear of the fellow humans.


Thank you

What do we do at the Center for Pluralism
http://centerforpluralism.com/what-do-we-do-at-center-for-pluralism   

Mike Ghouse, President
Center for Pluralism
Washington, DC
(214) 325-1916
Mike@CenterforPluralism.com
www.CenterforPluralism.com