HOME | All my write ups at THE GHOUSE DIARY | 63 Links to my work at www.MikeGhouse.net | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IndiaPluralism | This site is http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/ ---- if you are an Indian, please join our 1800 member group discussions at DallasIndians@yahoogroups.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Obama sends chadar to Ajmer Sufi shrine

Obama Sends Chadar to Ajmer | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Thank you Mr. President for this gesture, although a majority of Muslims do not subscribe to this ritual, almost all Indians regardless of their religion respect the Saint and pay a homage to him.  It is not an Islamic value, but a cultural value.

I've been there with my late wife to honor this man who forged healthy relationships between people of different faiths.  
I can never forget that day - Najma was around 50 then, and we were not comfortable under the green chaddar (cloth covering the shrine). The Mujawar (care taker of the shrine) suggested that if we do the minnat (wish) for a child, and tie the dhaga (string) to the metal screen around, the saint may bless us to have a child. It is all belief and I wish all the visitors the best. 

As a Pluralist who admires the pluralistic ethos of India,  I welcome this step, and hope Mr. Modi follows it as well. I fully understand Mr. Modi's predicament, he wants to do a lot of good for "all Indians" but he is not trained to do that. Not all, but many kids coming out of an RSS Madrasa or a Muslim Madrasa have an exclusive language...their language does not figure others, and  they don't know how to talk about all Indians as Indians - A few Muslims talk negatively about Hindus and the same percent of Hindus do the opposite; talk negatively about Muslims. 

What matters is, if we can have a good heart for all people, every one would be better off. There is no need to do the score keeping either. These are the small things that go a long ways in building better societies, as envisaged by the Vedas - Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum as well as Quran. 


Mike Ghouse
# # #
Obama sends chadar to Ajmer Sufi shrinehttp://www.dawn.com/news/1177206/obama-sends-chadar-to-ajmer-sufi-shrine

NEW DELHI: A red coloured Chadar (Holy Cloth), which was sent by US President Barack Obama on the occasion of the 803th annual Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Moinudeen Chishty, was offered at Ajmer Dargah Sharif in Rajasthan on Monday, Press Trust of India said.

People carry a holy "Chaddar" (shawl) to offer it at the shrine of Muslim Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti during a Urs procession at Ajmer in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan April 20, 2015. — Reuters
The Chadar with a message ‘Greeting of Peace’ from Mr Obama was handed over to Haji Syed Salman Chishty, Director of the Chishty Foundation by the US Ambassador in India Richard Verma.
According to Haji Chishty, the Chadar was received from the US Embassy a few days back.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2015
On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Celebrations of Easter, Mahavir Jayanti and Hanuman Jayanti

ELEBRATIONS | Easter, Mahavir Jayanthi, Hanuman Jayanti
Every human and every religious group celebrates some thing or the other in their own way, each one is different, but the essence is same; celebrations. Details in the links.
GOOD FRIDAY|  HAPPY EASTER | MUSLIM OBSERVANCE
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/03/what-made-me-go-to-catholic-church.html

MAHAVIR JAYANTHI - BIRTH CELEBRATIONS OF  MAHAVIR, FOUNDER OF JAINISM
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2012/04/mahavir-jayanthi-birthday-celebrations.html

HANUMAN JAYANTI - CELEBRATION OF LORD HANUMAN, HINDU ICON
http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2012/04/happy-hanuman-jayanthi-hindu-festival.html




Thank you

Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
(214) 325-1916 text/talk

............................................................................................................................... 

Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism,IslamIndiaIsrael-PalestinePolitics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Aurangzeb, Sikhs and Hindus

Aurangzeb, Sikhs and Hindus | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Personally, I have repeatedly condemned Aurangzeb’s forcible conversions of Hindus.  Even though he was famous for his justice, but he fell short on it, when he forced conversions on his subjects.

The author writes about the conflict between Sikhs and Aurangzeb as political, indeed it is so similar to the deeply embedded hatred of Jews– as Christ Killers, which is dumb, Jesus did not preach Christianity when he was persecuted, he taught reformed version of the old testament which was not liked by the establishment and thus punished him as a rebellious heretic Jew, and not as a Christian. 

Dr. Harbans Lal also has talked about  the conflict between Aurangzeb and Guru Gobind Singh as political and not religious, he is planning to write an article about it.

There is a lot of gossip material out there on every one; hence I am seeking the source of this information. I don’t have anything but the name of the author on it.

I know one thing for sure, with a few exception, a majority of the Kings were greedy men focused on taking over the next door kingdom, looting their wealth, collecting lagan etc etc.  Kings from all religions were the same. If there was a Muslim ass, you will find a Hindu, Christian and Buddhist ass.  Men were bad and not their religions.

The acts were their own.

Mike Ghouse

http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com


The truth about Sultan Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb
by: 
Abid Mohammed

The Emperor Aurangzeb, who rose to the throne in the 17th Century as the sixth Mughal ruler over “India”, is often painted as a vicious, religiously intolerant, minority-suppressing fanatic, whose only job was to demolish temples in favour of mosques, antagonise his father and brothers, and single-handedly bring down the once magnificent Mughal Empire. And yet, the reality of the situation is that this could not be further from the truth.  Aurangzeb would often say about himself, “This weak old man, this shrunken helpless creature, is afflicted with a hundred maladies besides anxiety, but he has made patience his habit”. Once, when one of Aurangzeb’s servants stumbled against him and knocked him down accidentally, the servant collapsed in fright for fear of retribution. The Mughal emperor spoke to him kindly, however, saying “Why do you fear a created being, one like myself? […] Rise and do not be afraid.”

Even the Italian historian Manucci who was present during Aurangzeb’s rule, despite loathing him and preferring his far less religious brother Dara Shikoh (many question whether he was a Muslim at all due to the fact that he tried to create a hybrid religion between Hinduism and Islam), said that Aurangzeb

“…assumes always great humility of attitude”. Even when one of his officers disobeys him, he betrays no anger. All he says is, (and that in the softest voice) that he is only a miserable sinner, that there is no reason for astonishment if his orders are disregarded, since every day those of God Himself are neglected and repudiated. He does not forget, however, to repeat his orders and adopt every exact means of getting them executed.”

In one of his letters, Aurangzeb said, We must put up with every class of people, what is to be done with them? They are also people and Do you know who a brave man is? A brave man is he who puts up with his enemies.

Writing to his father, Shah Jahan of the famous Taj Mahal (incidentally the name “Taj Mahal” is a corruption of the “Mumtaz Mahal” – the name of Shah Jahan’s beloved wife, and for whom the tomb was built for) Aurangzeb insightfully said, "I wish you to recollect that the greatest conquerors are not always the greatest Kings. The nations of the earth have often been subjugated by mere uncivilised barbarians, and the most extensive conquests have, in a few short years, crumbled to pieces. He is the truly great King who makes it the chief business of his life to govern his subjects with equity."

To his son, Prince Azam, Aurangzeb wrote,

I have heard that in your heart Jagir districts oppression is practiced openly […] Fear the sighs of the oppressed.

Modern historians love to paint Aurangzeb as a villain. And yet, even they admit their double standards towards him. Abraham Early writes,

Later historians saw Aurangzeb in an altogether different light. As the passage of time faded the memory of his innumerable small acts of everyday kindness, but magnified his few notable misdeeds, such as his religious intolerance, his ruthlessness as a conqueror, his use of tactics to get the better of others, and more than anything else, his harsh treatment of his father, brothers and sons. But his predecessors too were guilty of similar acts – Jahangir and Shah Jahan had rebelled against their fathers; Jahangir had imprisoned and blinded and even thought of executing one of his sons; Shah Jahan was guilty of liquidating his brothers and nephews, and had also swerved from Akbar’s liberal religious policy; as aggressors, none of them, not even Akbar was much different from Aurangzeb.

Of course the religious intolerance being pointed to here is in comparison to Akbar’s “religious tolerance” – the latter’s included the banning of facial hair for Muslims, declaring it unlawful to believe in Angels, banning the slaughter of cows for Muslims, persecution of scholars and so on. Aurangzeb merely enabled Muslims to practice their religion freely. Any persecution of minorities that did take place was not general, but specific, nor was it religious in nature, but rather political in aim. There are many claims of Aurangzeb “oppressing the Sikhs and their Gurus” when history shows us that there were some Sikh communities who rebelled against Aurangzeb and so, as a ruler, he dealt with them as a ruler deals with his people, not as a Muslim seeking to oppress non-Muslims. Even the Wikipedia page on Aurangzeb states the well-known fact that just as he demolished some (maximum 80 in a country 20 times the size of the UK) temples, which served as political centres for rebellion, he also financed the building of many temples and Gurdwaras which posed no threat to the Mughal rule.

And as for the harsh treatment of his father, brothers and sons – Shah Jahan wanted Aurangzeb’s elder brother, Dara Shikoh to be the next emperor even though Dara Shikoh was a terrible leader and someone who very much wanted to reinstate Akbar’s persecutory laws towards Muslims. Aurangzeb’s other brothers were less exciting – they simply wanted to be emperors. Aurangzeb was the only one who realised that power was a responsibility not an opportunity to exercise one’s desires, and so he was forced to battle his brothers and imprison his father who only wanted power for the sake of power, in a palace, with each and every one of his needs being seen to.

Aurangzeb, unlike many of his predecessors, viewed being a ruler as a sacred duty rather than something to enjoy. He therefore spent every waking moment striving to discharge his responsibilities, lest he be held culpable on the Day of Judgement for not having done so. Once, one of his well-intentioned advisers suggested that Aurangzeb should lighten his workload, but the Emperor would hear none of it.

He (the adviser) seems not to consider that, being born the son of a King, and placed on a throne, I was sent into the world by Providence to live and labour, not for myself, but for others; that it is my duty not to think of my own happiness except so far as it is inseparably connected with the happiness of my people. It is the repose and prosperity of my subjects that it behoves me to consult; nor are these to be sacrificed to anything besides the demands of justice, the maintenance of royal authority, and the security of the State.
This desire to serve God, something which was equally as manifest in his great, great, great grandfather Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, was apparent to all those around Him. The British Ambassador Norris reports that he used to see Aurangzeb, even during battle,
surrounded by greate numbers of Horse & vast numbers of people crowding to see Him […] he himselfe tho’ carryd openly saw nobody, having his eyes always affixed upon a Booke he carryd in his hands & reading all ye way he went without ever divertinge to any other object.

This book was the Qur’ān. Aurangzeb had memorised it completely. And he would constantly recite it. Abdul Aziz, the chief of the Uzbegs who had rebelled against Aurangzeb, famously noted that even during their famous battle, Aurangzeb would calmly spread his prayer mat on the field, kneeling down to say the evening prayers in the midst of the furore that was taking place around him. “To fight with such a man,” he said, “is to court one’s own destruction.” In fact, the Qur’ān was his sole means of finance. Though he presided over the richest empire in the world at the time (Shah Jahan’s famous peacock throne made from pure gold is in today’s terms worth more than $804 million), he refused to take any money from the treasury. Instead, he would earn his living by producing handwritten copies of the Qur’ān, using the beautiful calligraphy he had mastered as a child.
“His vest did not cost above 8 Rupees, and his outer garments, less. Whatever Aurangzeb needed for his own use he always paid for, never accepting presents from others,” continued Norris.

Even the shroud he was buried in was bought using this same source of revenue. Towards the end of his life, having taken the Mughal Empire to the peak of its existence (henceforth it would plummet into its abolition in 1857) the Alamgir (“Conqueror of the World” – a title he adopted in ascending to the throne) would often recite:

In a twinkle, in a minute, in a breath,
The condition of the world changes.
In a final letter to his sons, he said,

I brought nothing with me into this world and am carrying with me the fruits of my sins. I know not what punishment will fall on me […] Whatever the wind may be, I am launching my boat on the water.

And to his Vizier, Asad Khan, he wrote,
Praise be to God, that in whatever place and abode I have been, I have been passing through it, withdrawn my heart from all things connected with it, and made death easy for myself.

Aurangzeb, may God be pleased with him, passed away during the dawn prayers. Even as he lost consciousness, says Mustaid Khan,

the force of habit prevailed, and the fingers of the dying King continued mechanically to tell the beads of the Tasbih they held.

And what was his funeral like? In accordance with his will: “Three hundred and five rupees, from the wages of copying the Qur’ān, are in my purse for personal expenses. Distribute them to the poor and needy on the day of my death […] do not spend it on my shroud and other necessitates.” He stated elsewhere that this was “in case I had made a mistake in copying the Qur’ān, as I will be answerable to that” “Bury this wanderer […] with his head bare, because every ruined sinner who is conducted bare headed before the Grand Emperor (God), is sure to be an object of mercy [...]”

May God have mercy on you, Sultan Aurangzeb! He used you as a means of preserving His faith and His justice in the subcontinent, and as a result, I was able to be born into His faith. You are an example for all leaders to come, an inspiration for all those who believe in Him and a reminder for us all of the responsibilities we must discharge as believers in Him. May God forgive you and gift you with the companionship of your beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in the hereafter.

Originally, the grave of Sultan Aurangzeb only consisted of a wooden slab with an inscription in Farsi which said, “No marble sheets should shield me from the sky as I lie there one with the earth.” But it was later embellished and renovated with marble by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Notes:
[1] Nadwi, A. Saviours of the Islamic Spirit. India: Academy of Islamic Research.
[2] Early, A. The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India’s Great Emperors. London: Phoenix, 2004
[3] Eaton, R. Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States. Oxford: Journal of Islamic studies, 11:3 (2000) pp. 283 – 319.

[4] Siddiqui, H. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History? (http://www.albalagh.net/general/0093.shtml)

[5] Sarkar, J. A life of Aurangzib and Historical notes: An English translation of Ahkam-i- Alamgiri ascribed to Hamid-ud-din Khan Bahadur. Calcutta: Sarkar and Sons, 1925. (https://archive.org/stream/AnecdotesOfAurangzeb/AnecdotesOfAurangzib_djvu.txt)

[6] Currim, M., Mitchell, G. Dargahs – Abodes of the Saints. Mumbai: Marg Publications, 2004.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Out of my mind: Being a Hindu

Indeed, "Hindu religion may be tolerant, but Hindu society is intolerant and inegalitarian." the same goes with Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism,   a few bad men make the good religions look bad. Let me repeat for every Hindu ass, there is a Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist ass. I am a big admirer of Bhagvad Gita, and Mr. Desai's reference about those two verses bothered me, and I have to verify the verses Mr. Desai has quoted and read it in full, as I do with Quran or the Bible - read at least three verses before and after to get the contextual meaning.

Mike Ghouse

MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com
# # # 


OPINION: "No one should be surprised that many Dalits left Hinduism. Indeed the puzzle is that so many remained," says Lord Meghnad Desai.

Out of my mind: Being a Hindu

Written by Meghnad Desai | Published on:March 29, 2015 12:30 am
There is joy in heaven when even one sinner repents. So goes the Christian prayer. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad may not be best placed to be greeted as a Christian sinner, but the good news is that it has repented. It has finally discovered that the curse of untouchability may have been the reason Dalits preferred to abandon the Sanatana Dharma and migrate to other more egalitarian religions. Who needs ‘ghar wapsi’ if the ghar you are being invited back to treats you like dirt?
No one should be surprised that many Dalits left Hinduism. Indeed the puzzle is that so many remained. There is a fundamental misunderstanding among the champions of Hindu nationalism. We are constantly told that Hindu religion is so tolerant that secularism is in its very spirit. You don’t need to contrast a secular India with a Hindu India. This tolerance is something of a myth, but not too far from the truth.
Hindu religion may be tolerant, but Hindu society is intolerant and inegalitarian. One may admire the contemplation of Advaita, but then how can one reconcile the contempt for the Shudra and the ati-Shudra with the assertion of a universal abstract Brahman? Hindu society mistreats the majority of its people. Even the Bhagavad Gita displays this prejudice when it contrasts the “virtues” of the two upper Varnas with the “mundane character” of Vaishyas and Shudras (Adhyaya 18, shloka 41-48). For all the spirituality and loftiness of the Vedas and Upanishads, the unassailable facts were of inhuman treatment of Dalit men and even more so of their women, who were treated as sex objects. Shudras did not do better. The Bahujan, the majority, were the losers in Hindu society.
Much of Hindutva ideology is propagated by the upper castes, particularly Brahmins. There is no discussion about how the lowly jatis felt about the mythologies and philosophies of Brahmanism. Jyotiba Phule was the first modern writer to articulate a trenchant anti-Brahminical message. Dr Balasaheb Ambedkar wrote tirelessly in a critical manner against the pretensions of Brahminical spirituality. Read his critique of the Bhagavad Gita and you will realise how different that great text of Brahmanism looks to the lower castes. He fought tirelessly against caste and Brahmanism. At the end of his life, he gave up his efforts at making fellow Hindus aware of the defect in their society and took his followers to Buddhism.
Mahatma Gandhi tried his best to convince Hindu society of the evils of untouchability. He did not want to break up the Hindu mass support for independence by dividing it on the untouchability issue as Ambedkar wanted to. Yet he failed to persuade Varna Hindus to abandon untouchability. They all paid lip service to his Harijan Seva programme, but the exploitation and contempt remained. India still needs SC/ST reservations even after 67 years because Hindu society is unreformed and unrepentant.
Hindu society was lucky that the Muslim rulers of India, through the six centuries that they ruled in North India, left the jati system undisturbed. They converted the untouchables but, throughout Muslim rule, Hindu society survived intact. Then the British did something much worse than conversion. They gave free access, regardless of caste, to modern education. This was revolutionary in a society where education was the monopoly of the top two jatis. A Shyamji Krishna Varma could never have been a Sanskrit scholar nor a Mohandas Gandhi a barrister if the British had not brought modern ideas and education to India. It was education more than Christianity which challenged Hindu society.
South India gained the most from this revolution. The anti-Brahmin movement, which the Justice Party launched, followed by the Dravida movement of the Periyar, has made South India very different from the North. It is the North which is still stuck in the past. It is the BIMARU states which are the strongholds of the Hindutva movement. South India has scores higher on the Human Development Index than North India.
The jati system fragments Hindu society. The VHP may dream of a Hindu nation, but to be a Hindu is to be divided and fragmented. That is what will save India from the VHP.

Happy Ramnvami, birth celebrations of Lord Rama

By Mike Ghouse | http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/

Ramnvami is birth celebration of Lord Rama, the Hindu king who set the high standards of morality in governance, of accountability, truth and integrity- his rule was called Ram Rajya.  In the Hindu tradition, he is an avatar (representation) of Vishnu, the energy that sustains the world, the other two energies are Shiva that destroys (brings closure) and Brahma, who originates life.



The epic Ramayana is said to be 8000 years old or beyond, staged in most of the towns in India, if not all. I grew up watching the Ramayana played out on stage on my street in Yelahanka, the town that gave birth to Bangalore.  It was a long show – from 10 PM through 5 Am in the morning. One of my cousin’s husband use to play the role of Hanuman in the play in another town and my brother in law's friend played Laxman in the show.  There are great story tellers of Ramayana who go around this season and share the stories, and here in Dallas there was a Morari Bapu, and I have listened to him at the Ekta Mandir as well as the Caribbean Hindu Temple in Dallas.I have done a few talks and storytelling myself about Dussehra celebrations, a story where the good wins over the evil by burning the effigy of Ravan. Indeed in a mixed gathering of people, after my story telling, most of the non-Hindus were able to answer the questions about Rama and Sita, Ravan, Bharat and Laxman, as a teacher of Pluralism, it was a satisfying experience to hear the positive feedback.


It’s a dream of many Hindus for the return of Ram Rajya, the governance of justice, fairness and truth. As a Muslim, I revere Rama and what he stood for. When you hear the story of Moses, Buddha, Rama, Krishna, Prophet Muhammad, Nanak, Mahavira… I see the commonalities in the life of all the great spiritual masters – they lived for creating common good in the society, they worked where justice prevailed for every human being and everyone was treated with dignity. The story is same, the greatness is same and I honor all of them.

Happy Ramnvami – Ram just does not belong to Hindus, his message belongs to all of the humanity.




Jai Shree Ram.

Published at  http://FoundationforPluralism.blogspot.com 

 

Thank you

mike

Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
(Foundation for Pluralism)
Dallas | Washington
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film ” Sacred” to be released on 9/11 and a documentary “Americans together” for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com – Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Modi teams up with Twitter to launch new service

This is good, however we have to remain focused on building a cohesive India, where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Modi teams up with Twitter to launch new service
Ansuya Harjani | @Ansuya_H |  http://www.cnbc.com/id/102532443

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has teamed up with Twitter to launch a new service that allows government officials to send tweets via SMS in a move to boost e-governance in the world's largest democracy.

The service called Twitter Samvad – which means dialogue in Hindi – was unveiled by CEO Dick Costolo and Modi late Tuesday in New Delhi and is part of the government's Digital India program to transform the nation into a digitally empowered society.

A social media aficionado, Modi is known for his active presence on Twitter, amassing 10.9 million followers since joining the microblogging site in 2009. He is the second most followed politician behind U.S. President Barack Obama.

By enabling tweets to be sent out as an SMS, any Indian with a mobile device, with or without a data plan, is able to receive messages from political leaders and government bodies. Mobile users can activate the service through a missed call to an assigned phone number.

"People who sign up will receive a set of curated Tweets based on the highest engagement throughout the day to stay up-to-date with real-time information about government-related news, policies and activities," Twitter said.

Read MoreCramer: Twitter flies higher for the long haul

"And you can use Twitter Samvad during emergency situations to receive live updates from government bodies, such as time-sensitive information and details about rescue efforts," it said.
So far, a total of 16 political leaders and ministries are linked up to Twitter Samvad. Modi was the first leader to kick off the service.

Twitter Samvad is built on the technology of ZipDial, a Bangalore-based mobile marketing and analytics company that Twitter acquired in January.

Political parties including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and theIndian National Congress partnered with Twitter and ZipDial to offer a similar service during 2014's general election to make their Twitter accounts accessible to all mobile users in India.

More recently, some local news outlets offered SMS tweets during the presentation of the government's annual budget on February 28.

Twitter's service of SMS tweets activated by a missed call is currently only available in India although the company is looking to roll out the service in other emerging markets.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Will Go to Any Extent For Protection of Minority: Home Minister Rajnath Singh

This is a welcome talk from the Home Minister and I hope he reiterates this addressing the nation. The whole nation needs to listen to him and subscribe to it, and hold him accountable for it as well.

Many  of the lines are pretty much my lines written heretofore, that is how you build safe, secure and cohesive societies where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.


This is one of the best statements he has made, ""I want to tell the whole country, even through law and order is a state subject, I will do everything for the protection of minority. I will go to any extent for this. I say this in the name of god," and hope he means business.


Mike Ghouse


FILE- PTI PHOTO
Pledging full protection to minorities, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today questioned the practice of conversions and advocated a debate on the need for an anti-conversion law.

He also wanted to know whether people cannot be served without indulging in conversions.

"There are sometimes rumours and controversies about 'Ghar Wapsi' and conversions. Why should there by any conversion at all?

"In other countries it is the minorities which ask for anti-conversion law. Here, we are only saying that there should be an anti-conversion law. There should be debate over it. We must think on bringing anti-conversion law. I humbly request all of you to think over it," Singh said.

He was addressing a conference of state minority commissions which was attended by representatives of various minority communities.

The Home Minister's remarks on conversions assume significance in the midst of controversy over anti-conversion campaign undertaken by Hindutva organisations and comments by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat regarding Mother Teresa.

"Why can't we serve the people without doing conversion. Those who want to serve the people should do so without engaged with conversion. Can't we find a solution to the problem.

"The issue was even raised in Parliament. Many people said government should do something about it. But I think society also has a role. Society too has responsibility. Can't we live without respecting each other's faith. What is the necessity of conversion. Can't a religion survive without involving in conversion," he said.

The Home Minister said he would like to request all state governments to take strongest possible action for the protection of minorities.

"I want to tell the whole country, even through law and order is a state subject, I will do everything for the protection of minority. I will go to any extent for this. I say this in the name of god," he said.

The Home Minister also raised the issue of fear among certain sections about possible demographic change in the country and said the basic character of the country should not be allowed to change.

"If we go to the US and try to hurt the identity of that country, will they accept it? Why do we want to change their identity? There should not be any such attempt. How can a country like India allow changes in its demographic profile and character? Let India's character remain the same," he said.

Singh alleged that the sense of insecurity among the minorities prevailed during the rule of Congress-led UPA.

"If anyone can end the sense of insecurity among the minorities, it is the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. We have to turn the sense of insecurity into a sense of security. For a government or a Home Minister, ending insecurity of minorities is the biggest challenge," he said.

The Home Minister expressed concern over the conflict between communities and said the trend should be stopped and the tendency to establish supremacy by one community over another should come to an end.

"Why do we fight with each other? It is very unfortunate. A dog bites a dog but why cannot a human keep himself away from any fight. Is there any need to establish supremacy over someone else. I believe god is one and people call him by different names.

"While preaching our respective religion, can't we live with brotherhood. Why do we have to engage in conversion. What is the need. Conversion cannot be anyone's goal. Let all people preach respective religion and live peacefully. Many people may not agree with what I am saying. You may have a different opinion and I respect that," he said.

Singh said India is the only country where people of all religions are found. "The Parsi community had to leave their own land Iran. They are living in India with peace, prosperity and dignity for ages," he said.

A documentation on Jews has suggested that India is the only country where the community does not face any persecution. The oldest church in the world is in India. It is not in the US or in Europe, it is in Kerala, he said.

Singh said India is a country which respects all religions and believes in peaceful existence. Here all 72 sects of Islam live peacefully.

The Home Minister also said that no one can question the patriotism of minorities, even though some of them may feel alienated.

Singh said government is committed to give facilities to the minorities and to take up developmental projects for their welfare in the country.

"Some people may feel alienated. People may feel that proper development of the community is not taking place. For that we have to take appropriate action," he said.

Addressing the conference, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said the Government is committed to address the issue of backwardness, both economic and educational, among the minorities.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said there is a need to change the mindset so as to remove the cause of distrust and fear among different communities.

Maintaining that secularism was too serious an issue to be left to the government alone, he said the civil society must take the initiative to build trust.

Minister of State for Minorities Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to the welfare of all minorities.

He said that security, prosperity and education of minorities are important issues before the Government.

Naqvi assured that there would be proper utilisation of funds earmarked for minorities' welfare and that any pilferage would be plugged.

Chairman of the National Minorities Commission Naseem Ahmed said it is the Commissions' endeavour to protect the constitutional, legal and civil rights of the notified minorities.