HOME | ABOUT US | www.MikeGhouse.net Google Profile | C.V. | Interfaith Speaker | Muslim Speaker |Motivational Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. I wish I could have them all, but will have to live with a few. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Should Christians (and other non-Hindus) beware of yoga?

Courtesy: Dallas Morning News, Texas faith Panel. The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, caused a stir with a recent column decrying the practice of yoga by Christians.

Mohler seems to be threatened with the popularity of Yoga, a beautiful practice to bring composure to oneself. He is obsessed with the idea that Yoga is a bait to lure his congregation away into “a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a `post-Christian, spiritually polyglot’ reality”, and then he asks, “Should any Christian willingly risk that?” How mistaken can one be? Yoga is not a mutually exclusive practice, nor is it a religion; it is indeed a catalyst in achieving the union of mind and body that is central to all spirituality.

Yoga is neither Christian nor Hindu; it is a beautiful gift that originated in India for the benefit of mankind to function cohesively.  All individuals and nations should give and receive the good without labeling it.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net  


Friday, October 15, 2010

Harvard donations | Story of gains and losses

Harvard University
 
It is one of the uplifting best stories of the month!
Following the story is another story of Harvard that is in circulation, where Harvard gives birth to Stanford. Good stories.
 
There is something about the minor minorities, they seem to become the biggest contributors in the growth of any nation, they have the drive to serve. That is certainly the case with the Zoroastrians (Parsees) in India, Jews in America.. need to think more to see if this is a valid statement.
 
Mike Ghouse
 
 
Harvard gets biggest international donation in 102 yrs, from Tata Group
 
BOSTON: India's Tata Group has given a whopping $50 million to the prestigious
Harvard Business School here to fund a new academic and residential building on
its campus, the largest gift received by the institute from an international
donor in its 102-year-old history.

The gift comes from Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata
Education and Development Trust, the philanthropic entities of the Group.

It comes days after Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of
Mahindra and Mahindra Group, gave USD 10 million to the Humanities Centre at
Harvard. A Harvard alumnus, Mahindra gave the gift, the "largest" in the
Centre's history, in honour of his mother Indira Mahindra.

Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, attended Harvard's Advanced Management
Programme -- one of three comprehensive leadership programmes offered by the
Harvard Business School's (HBS') Executive Education -- in 1975.

He had also received the School's highest honour, the Alumni Achievement Award,
in 1995.

The School said it will use the USD 50 million gift from the Tata Group to fund
a new academic and residential building on its campus for participants in its
broad portfolio of Executive Education programmes.

HBS hopes to break ground for the building, which will be named Tata Hall, next
spring. It is expected to be open for use by late 2013.

Calling it a privilege and a pleasure to "give back to Harvard a little bit of
what it gave to me," Tata said he hoped the new facility would encourage and
inspire future leaders to take advantage of the executive education offerings at
HBS.

"The Harvard Business School is the preeminent place to be exposed to the
world's best thinking on management and leadership and we are pleased that this
gift will support the School's educational mission to mold the next generation
of global business leaders," Tata said.

Expressing "deep appreciation" for Tata's "generosity," Harvard Business
School's Indian-origin Dean Nitin Nohria said the "historic" gift comes from an
organisation "revered" for its significant economic, civic and philanthropic
impact.

"The Tata Group is widely respected for integrity and innovation, not just in
India -- where it produced both the first indigenous car and the 2,000 dollar
Tata Nano automobile -- but in a variety of business lines across several
continents, from cars to hotels and from tea to information technology," Nohria
said. PTI, Oct 15, 2010, 10.06am IST

Read more: Harvard gets biggest international donation in 102 yrs, from Tata
Group - The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/6752185.cms?prtpage=1#ixzz12RbiIvN5

 
# # #

(Be sure to read to the end !)
 

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment in to the Harvard University President's outer office.
 
The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge .
 
'We'd like to see the president,' the man said softly.  'He'll be busy all day,' the secretary snapped. 'We'll wait,' the lady replied.
 
For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.. They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.
 
'Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave,' she said to him!
 
He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested Gingham dresses and Homespun suits cluttering up his outer  office.
 
The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted to ward the couple.  The lady told him, 'We had a son who attended Harvard for one year.
He loved Harvard.. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.'
 
The president wasn't touched.. He was shocked. 'Madam,' he said, gruffly, 'we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died.  If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.'
 
'Oh, no,' the lady explained quickly. 'We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.'
 
The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, 'A building! Do you have any earthly
idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.'
 
For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, 'Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?'
 
Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away,traveling to Palo Alto , California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University , a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.
 
You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.
 
THIS IS A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes about the founders of the now world renowned STANFORD UNIVERSITY !!
 
People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel.
 

Life is too short for drama & petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, Love truly and forgive quickly.
 


---
Mike Ghouse is a frequent guest at the media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. He is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam and India. He His work is reflected at three websites and 22 Blogs at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quran (Koran) Conference in Dallas, an American effort to build cohesive societies

The Conference puts a Quraan in the hands of panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, lay persons, elected officers and the public. It is to demystify the myths about Quraan and Islam. An American effort to build cohesive societies.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct 10, 2010 - DALLAS, TEXAS - The Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress have announced a conference on Quraan in Dallas to be held between 3:00 PM and 6 PM on Sunday, December 5, 2010 at the Unity Church of Dallas.  

Representing the organizations, Mike Ghouse adds, "As members of diverse family of faiths, we seek to demystify the myths and falsification of our respective faiths. It is time for all of us to gather and understand the Qur'aan, the holy book of Muslims, which has been the subject of attack by a few among us. Indeed, the conference is a positive response to negative sermons delivered from a few pulpits of America this year."

The uniqueness of the event is highlighted by facing the "terrifying passages" of Quraan.  For the first time in history, the actual verses from Quraan will be read directly and explained by non-Muslim panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, Clergy, lay persons and elected officials who have a deep interest in bringing Americans together on common grounds.  The Muslim scholars either affirm their reading or refer to the Quraan for further understanding. It would be indeed a first hand educational experience.

It is time now to replace the ill-will with goodwill; no American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. The purpose of this conference is to remove such myths in an open forum in the public and restore the cohesiveness of our society and work towards building a safe and secure America.  

Bring your children to experience the multi-cultural costumes in a designated room for them.

Refreshments will be served after the event.

THE EVENT IS FREE

Please R.S.V.P. to confirmattendance@gmail.com  
Direct your inquiries to QuraanConference@gmail.com .

For details visit website http://www.quraanconference.com/


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

 

Why do our faiths shape some political views, but not others?

Why do our faiths shape some political views, but not others?
10 Members of the Texas Faith Panel respond to the question.

"An element of hypocrisy is embedded in what is conveyed from the pulpit. An excessive emphasis is placed on homosexuality which the scriptures do not "appear" to favor, but that is not the only item that is disfavored. An equally strong punishment is prescribed for adultery and incest which are down played by the clergy as though they don't exist." Mike Ghouse, Foundation for Pluralism.

Full Story at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/10/texas-faith-why-do-our-faiths.html 

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Monday, October 4, 2010

SFG on Protests Against (Mahatma) Gandhi

This is one of the biggest surprises of my life, Gandhi stood up for every human without regards to race, religion or any other compartmentalization.
 
I can understand some of the members of the RSS and other Brigades, who hate Gandhi and will denigrate every opportunity they get in privacy, but in public they act like noble men.  I am appalled but open to learn what they have against Gandhi, what statements they are mis-interpreting, it surprised me. He always spoke the truth, some of the statements he made about Conversions and Palestine may not go well with a few, but that is the truth he spoke firmly.
 
In Dallas, the Indo American Friendship Council is spearheading the effort to install Gandhi Statue in Downtown Dallas, and Prasad Thotakura has involved just about every India based organization. It is a participative effort.
 
We just walked the 2nd annual Gandhi Peace Walk on October 2, 2010
 
Thanks for sharing this.
 
Mike Ghouse
 
 
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/10/02/BAMM1FN429.DTL

Group says Gandhi racist, plans to protest statue
John Coté

San Francisco Chronicle October 2, 2010

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/10/02/BAMM1FN429.DTL#ixzz11OjXY14L

It doesn't take much to whip up a protest in San Francisco - two
people and a bad idea will do - but Gandhi? Really?

A group billing itself as the Organization for Minorities of India
plans to protest today to demand the removal of the bronze statue of
Mohandas Gandhi that has sat in the plaza behind the Ferry Building
since 1988.

Up until this point, about the only adversity the statue has faced has
been people swiping the trademark circle-rimmed eyeglasses (at least
four times) and the indignity of a roosting seagull or pigeon.

But the group - which says it was formed four years ago to publicize
the oppression of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs and
other Indian minorities considered to be on the lowest rungs of the
Hindu caste system - says Gandhi was a racist who harbored violent
urges.

"The popular image of Gandhi as an egalitarian pacifist is a myth,"
Bhajan Singh, one of the organizers, said in a statement. "We plan to
challenge that myth by disseminating Gandhi's own words to expose his
racism and sham nonviolence."

The group plans to present Ferry Building management with a demand to
remove the statue and ask for it to be replaced with one of either
Martin Luther King Jr. or low-caste Dalit leader B.R. Ambedkar.

The statue is on port property but is actually under the purview of
the Arts Commission.

"I suppose Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela must have their
critics as well," Arts Commission President P.J. Johnston said. "These
folks are free to lodge their protest, but I doubt that our commission
will move to take down the statue."

Johnston, whose day job is crisis management, added: "I would just say
that in my professional career, I've had no greater honor than having
to defend Gandhi."

- John Coté

Sunday, October 3, 2010

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mahatma Gandhi's birthday today

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the five humans on the planet who has impacted my life profoundly. He was a messenger of peace; his language nourished reconciliation, and his actions encouraged co-existence. Whether it is the conflict between Hindus or Muslims or with the British Raj, his words mitigated conflicts and directed one's thoughts and actions towards solutions.

He was one of the most powerful leaders we have had in the last two centuries. He did not want anything for himself, nor did he want to control anything or lead any one. All he wanted to do was create a society of mutual respect and co-existence. Every one always wonders how did he get to make people listen to his message of non-violence?

The answer is simple; People knew, he gained nothing from what he did, but instead they gained from his effort. Indeed, those who are un-selfish have invincible moral strength. Nothing frightens them or cows them down. You will find the same commitment and moral strength in Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Confucius, Nanak, Baha'u'llah, Mother Teresa and so many other great souls.

Muhammad is my other mentor who had all the power on the earth during his life time but lived a simple life, and told his own daughter that she ain't going to get a free pass to God, she has to earn it by doing good deeds, i.e., doing things for other's good. Every one of the above teacher's strength lie in one simple thing: Their sense of justice was strong as a mountain and they were absolutely un-selfish.

Mahatma Gandhi's non-Violence movement is a model that will last for centuries to come. Every great teacher listed above has taught the same message over and over again. The idea is that there is a balance of energy in every human, doing bad things deflates that energy and doing good things recoups it. You may have experienced the elated feeling of having a great day, when you helped someone in dire need. Non-Violence is a belief that the tyrant is blessed with the same energy, but is not aware of it and we have to help him realize it after enduring the suffering. Fighting out may bear the result for short run, but in the long run, the fighting and the avenging continues. Whereas the non-violence method of achieving the objective is sustainable, justice ultimately brings lasting peace, and non-violence sustains it, violence disturbs the balance.

I have a special connection with the Mahatma, and am making this disclosure. I have met the Mahatma twice in my dreams; first time was way back in 1971 when the Mahatma, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University Dr. Narsimaiah and I were talking over a meal and he gave a pat on my back and told me that I have a lot of work to do. Then again in 2005, I saw him smiling at me encouraging me to continue with the work of Pluralism.

My message on this day is watching what you say; does it conflagrate the dialogue, does it make the opposing parties dig in? or does it propel people to work towards solutions. You can apply this formula at your work, home or any situation and see the difference. Be a winner, by making the others a winner too.

Mahatma Gandhi probably would have endorsed my view that, if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness to each one of seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is the mission of the foundation for pluralism.

Today, October 2nd is Mahatma's birthday, may this day make our leaders think, and believe that there is a greater joy in creating peace. Today, also happens to be my late wife Najma's birthday. May she rest in peace.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net


From Last year’s Gandhi Walk in Dallas

Gandhi Peace Walk-2009 in Dallas. Mahatma Gandhi is one of my mentors; I look up to him for guidance when a conflict surfaces, I ponder over his solutions. He was a Pluralist, a man who believed every human has the same rights as the other; he respected the otherness of other and accepted different manifestations of religion. Not that it matters to any, but he has been in dream twice, way back in early 70’s and in about 2003. He just pats on my shoulder and says, son you have work to do. I am blessed to receive his blessings. (Next Para)

THIS PHOTO: Suri (Secretary, Niranjan (President elect), Dr. Sharma (India consulate General), Akram (President), Mike, Taiyab (former President) India Association of North Texas
The India Association of North Texas (Dallas) took the initiative and has begun the first of the peace walks and will continue for generations to come. (Next Para)

Here is a press release prior to the event. (Next Para)

For Immediate Release
Contact: Akram Syed, 214-395-3707 president@iant.org
Peace Walk to Mark Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday
 

In commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary week, the India Association of North Texas will hold a Gandhi Peace Walk on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at Spring Trail Park 5964 Riverside Dr Irving, 75039.
 

The walk starts at 10:00 AM, the event is free and you are invited to participate and encouraged to bring canned food to donate to local food banks.
 

Mahatma Gandhi is a global non-violence hero and a peace advocate. He witnessed injustices in the pre-independent British-ruled India and decided to liberate and free the people of the subcontinent from the clutches of the imperial rule. He launched the famous non-cooperation movement along with several marches inspiring millions of people which led the British to declare India’s independence and the creation of new states that form the present day South Asia. All this was carried out in a non-violent and peaceful manner. We are proud to remember and salute this legendary messiah of Peace and Non-violence.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid

 

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid Dispute in India 

Mirza A. Beg

 

Dear Mirza,

I am so pleased to read your musings (below) on the subject and compelled to write this, just want you to know that there is whole lot of Muslim who will see the wisdom in your write up and admire it.

 

Please be prepared for the onslaught from a few (just a few Sir) shortsighted Muslims among us,  they will jump at you and all we can do is pray that Allah give us the wisdom to have a vision devoid of emotions but concreted with a dignified space for future generation of Muslims.

 

It is easy to fan the emotions, but difficult to pause, ponder and bring the change we want.

 

Unlike the Cordoba House in New York, which I vigorously supported, for the values of co-existence it was planting in America, a Muslim contribution towards co-existence.  

 

Let me share a thought that is not popular but something we have to munch on.

 

We could not have yielded to the Radical forces of the Hindu right in the past, no one should, and there is no end to placating them.

 

The atmosphere at this moment is good, and I think Muslims should offer that piece of land to the Hindus to build Ram Temple; it will build a lot of goodwill. There are thousands of dilapidated and abandoned Mosques all over the country, particularly in UP where many of those Mosques are half sunk in dirty water with water buffaloes swimming around. We need to focus on them as well. 

 

We will have a moral upper hand for the first time in years by being generous, by giving and by showing the will power to give up… That is the Tyaag of our egos' we can submit and Insha Allah, it will up our psyche.

 

We need to rebuild our self-esteem by giving and by being good people, good humans, and charitable people. God has given us this opportunity we should seriously consider.

I understand the reservations, but I trust the Indian majority who has always followed the dharma of being just and righteous.  Should the RSS and BJP continue to harass Muslims, and if they pick on another issues, then the majority of Hindu population will speak up, as they have always done. I trust our ethos, and our heritage of goodness.

 

Thank you for appealing to the sanity.

 

Mike Ghouse

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

 

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid Dispute in India 

Mirza A. Beg

Friday, October 01, 2010

On Thursday September 30, 2010 India exhaled a collective sigh of relief.  With approximately 200,000, security forces deployed on high alert in north India, a three judge panel of High Court in the Northern Province of Utter Pradesh rendered its verdict on the intractable issue of Babri Masjid (Mosque). This issue has been festering since before the birth of the Indian Republic in,1947 and has claimed thousands of innocent lives in reoccurring riots.

 

The angst-ridden judgment is unsatisfactory to all parties, but it is a relief nevertheless. The court divided the land of the demolished Babri Masjid in the town of Ayodhya in three equal parts. A third to be given to the extremist Hindus who demolished the Masjid, claiming that very spot to be the birth place of the deity Lord Ram; a third to the Hindu sect that had set up a temple in the vicinity and a third to the Muslims who owned the demolished Masjid.   

The court is clear in its verdict, but nebulous in its dubious reasoning. That is its weakness, but it may be its strength as well. It can be seen as a reverse Solomon-like judgment, or a cowardly cop out – part of a loaf for all sides or defeat for all. Perhaps both are correct.

If one believes in the pristine ideal of justice being blind to all except the evidence, the judgment is terrible. But if one calculates the cost of the thousands of innocent lives already lost over the years that never got justice and is also aware of the possibility of many more lives being lost in the ensuing mayhem, one has to think, justice for whom?

Babri Masjid was built about the year 1528, after the first Mughal Emperor Babar conquered the north Indian plains. After three hundred years, in 1853 it was claimed to be the birth place of Lord Ram. About a hundred years later, in 1949 idols of Lord Ram were stealthily placed in the sanctuary of the Babri Masjid. Claims and counter claims were filed in the court. The courts have been loath to decide this intractable case, loaded with emotions and ever lurking danger of wide-spread sectarian strife. It has plagued the body politic of India for the last sixty years, resulting in many riots.

On December 6, 1992, orchestrated by the extremist Hindu political party BJP, a mob tore down the Babri Masjid brick by brick in about six long hours, while the government fidgeted impotently. In spite of being threatened, the press televised parts of the event all over the world. In the immediate aftermath, riots broke out at many places, the worst being in Mumbai. It claimed the lives of over 2,000 innocent people mostly from the minority Muslim community. The BJP succeeded in poisoning the minds of enough people to form a minority government in the next general election.  After more than a decade of many more engineered riots, the Indian electorate had had enough and the secular parties came back to power.

The judges were under pressure to dispose off this intractable cancer. They took a bold step to reach a verdict, albeit flawed.  

 

On purely legal grounds the judgment should have been easy. It is beyond the jurisdiction of a secular court to decide the divinity of Lord Ram or the impossible task of determining the exact spot of his birth more than three thousand years ago. After fifty years of evasion the court took it upon itself to determine if there existed an older temple devoted to Lord Ram before the Babri Masjid was built. The Archaeological Survey of India found no positive evidence. The evidence was unclear to put it mildly.

 

But the image of the deity Lord Ram is very real in the hearts, minds and lives of millions of devout Hindus, an overwhelming majority in India. Religion is a very potent force, easily exploited.  Ordinary decent Hindus do not realize, they have been manipulated, just as other religious communities fall victim to exploitation of their religions. Therefore, it was the political conundrum, an impossible task before the court to adjudicate.

India is a young secular democracy, with more rights for its minorities than many other countries. It is far from perfect. Even older more established democracies fall prey to emotional propaganda in difficult times of economic or political uncertainty. India has a long way to go and most thoughtful Indians from all communities know it.

They know that narrow views of history cast long shadows in many countries and societies, inciting violence and impeding development of civil societies. No place on Earth is occupied by its original inhabitants. Invasion and occupation by successive invaders has been the norm. It has given rise to contested histories by ethnic and religious groups that adhere to a subjective narrative of the beginning of the history to their advantage. India has a long very rich history of rise and fall of great civilizations and empires, going back to about 3,000 BCE. The early narratives of history rest on a plinth that is part myths and legends with sparse records.

In the last two hundred years, the world has come to realize that the domination of the weak by the strong is the root of all wars. The development of multi-ethnic, multi religious democracies is an antidote to an endemic cycle of wars. They have not quite succeeded yet, but they are poised to break that endemic cycle in favor of equality and guaranteed rights to all the inhabitants of a country under a secular constitution.

One hopes that this perceived flawed judgment of the court would lay the deadly conundrum of Babri Masjid to rest. It will give a breathing space and a chance to thoughtful Indians to build a better and more harmonious future and not fall prey to sectarian forces lurking in the shadows of our baser nature.

 

Mirza A. Beg can be reached at mab64@yahoo.com, or http://mirzasmusings.blogspot.com/

---
Mike Ghouse is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. He is a thinker, writer, speaker, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Co-existence, Peace, Islam and India. He His work is reflected at three websites and 22 Blogs at http://www.mikeghouse.net/


Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid Dispute in India 

Mirza A. Beg

 

Dear Mirza,

I am so pleased to read your musings (below) on the subject and compelled to write this, just want you to know that there is whole lot of Muslim who will see the wisdom in your write up and admire it.

 

Please be prepared for the onslaught from a few (just a few Sir) shortsighted Muslims among us,  they will jump at you and all we can do is pray that Allah give us the wisdom to have a vision devoid of emotions but concreted with a dignified space for future generation of Muslims.

 

It is easy to fan the emotions, but difficult to pause, ponder and bring the change we want.

 

Unlike the Cordoba House in New York, which I vigorously supported, for the values of co-existence it was planting in America, a Muslim contribution towards co-existence.  

 

Let me share a thought that is not popular but something we have to munch on.

 

We could not have yielded to the Radical forces of the Hindu right in the past, no one should, and there is no end to placating them.

 

The atmosphere at this moment is good, and I think Muslims should offer that piece of land to the Hindus to build Ram Temple; it will build a lot of goodwill. There are thousands of dilapidated and abandoned Mosques all over the country, particularly in UP where many of those Mosques are half sunk in dirty water with water buffaloes swimming around. We need to focus on them as well. 

 

We will have a moral upper hand for the first time in years by being generous, by giving and by showing the will power to give up… That is the Tyaag of our egos' we can submit and Insha Allah, it will up our psyche.

 

We need to rebuild our self-esteem by giving and by being good people, good humans, and charitable people. God has given us this opportunity we should seriously consider.

I understand the reservations, but I trust the Indian majority who has always followed the dharma of being just and righteous.  Should the RSS and BJP continue to harass Muslims, and if they pick on another issues, then the majority of Hindu population will speak up, as they have always done. I trust our ethos, and our heritage of goodness.

 

Thank you for appealing to the sanity.

 

Mike Ghouse

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

 

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid Dispute in India 

Mirza A. Beg

Friday, October 01, 2010

On Thursday September 30, 2010 India exhaled a collective sigh of relief.  With approximately 200,000, security forces deployed on high alert in north India, a three judge panel of High Court in the Northern Province of Utter Pradesh rendered its verdict on the intractable issue of Babri Masjid (Mosque). This issue has been festering since before the birth of the Indian Republic in,1947 and has claimed thousands of innocent lives in reoccurring riots.

 

The angst-ridden judgment is unsatisfactory to all parties, but it is a relief nevertheless. The court divided the land of the demolished Babri Masjid in the town of Ayodhya in three equal parts. A third to be given to the extremist Hindus who demolished the Masjid, claiming that very spot to be the birth place of the deity Lord Ram; a third to the Hindu sect that had set up a temple in the vicinity and a third to the Muslims who owned the demolished Masjid.   

The court is clear in its verdict, but nebulous in its dubious reasoning. That is its weakness, but it may be its strength as well. It can be seen as a reverse Solomon-like judgment, or a cowardly cop out – part of a loaf for all sides or defeat for all. Perhaps both are correct.

If one believes in the pristine ideal of justice being blind to all except the evidence, the judgment is terrible. But if one calculates the cost of the thousands of innocent lives already lost over the years that never got justice and is also aware of the possibility of many more lives being lost in the ensuing mayhem, one has to think, justice for whom?

Babri Masjid was built about the year 1528, after the first Mughal Emperor Babar conquered the north Indian plains. After three hundred years, in 1853 it was claimed to be the birth place of Lord Ram. About a hundred years later, in 1949 idols of Lord Ram were stealthily placed in the sanctuary of the Babri Masjid. Claims and counter claims were filed in the court. The courts have been loath to decide this intractable case, loaded with emotions and ever lurking danger of wide-spread sectarian strife. It has plagued the body politic of India for the last sixty years, resulting in many riots.

On December 6, 1992, orchestrated by the extremist Hindu political party BJP, a mob tore down the Babri Masjid brick by brick in about six long hours, while the government fidgeted impotently. In spite of being threatened, the press televised parts of the event all over the world. In the immediate aftermath, riots broke out at many places, the worst being in Mumbai. It claimed the lives of over 2,000 innocent people mostly from the minority Muslim community. The BJP succeeded in poisoning the minds of enough people to form a minority government in the next general election.  After more than a decade of many more engineered riots, the Indian electorate had had enough and the secular parties came back to power.

The judges were under pressure to dispose off this intractable cancer. They took a bold step to reach a verdict, albeit flawed.  

 

On purely legal grounds the judgment should have been easy. It is beyond the jurisdiction of a secular court to decide the divinity of Lord Ram or the impossible task of determining the exact spot of his birth more than three thousand years ago. After fifty years of evasion the court took it upon itself to determine if there existed an older temple devoted to Lord Ram before the Babri Masjid was built. The Archaeological Survey of India found no positive evidence. The evidence was unclear to put it mildly.

 

But the image of the deity Lord Ram is very real in the hearts, minds and lives of millions of devout Hindus, an overwhelming majority in India. Religion is a very potent force, easily exploited.  Ordinary decent Hindus do not realize, they have been manipulated, just as other religious communities fall victim to exploitation of their religions. Therefore, it was the political conundrum, an impossible task before the court to adjudicate.

India is a young secular democracy, with more rights for its minorities than many other countries. It is far from perfect. Even older more established democracies fall prey to emotional propaganda in difficult times of economic or political uncertainty. India has a long way to go and most thoughtful Indians from all communities know it.

They know that narrow views of history cast long shadows in many countries and societies, inciting violence and impeding development of civil societies. No place on Earth is occupied by its original inhabitants. Invasion and occupation by successive invaders has been the norm. It has given rise to contested histories by ethnic and religious groups that adhere to a subjective narrative of the beginning of the history to their advantage. India has a long very rich history of rise and fall of great civilizations and empires, going back to about 3,000 BCE. The early narratives of history rest on a plinth that is part myths and legends with sparse records.

In the last two hundred years, the world has come to realize that the domination of the weak by the strong is the root of all wars. The development of multi-ethnic, multi religious democracies is an antidote to an endemic cycle of wars. They have not quite succeeded yet, but they are poised to break that endemic cycle in favor of equality and guaranteed rights to all the inhabitants of a country under a secular constitution.

One hopes that this perceived flawed judgment of the court would lay the deadly conundrum of Babri Masjid to rest. It will give a breathing space and a chance to thoughtful Indians to build a better and more harmonious future and not fall prey to sectarian forces lurking in the shadows of our baser nature.

 

Mirza A. Beg can be reached at mab64@yahoo.com, or http://mirzasmusings.blogspot.com/