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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Modi-fied Diwali - Questions and answers

Modi-fied Diwali

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Antara has written quite a few powerful paragraphs in the following article, but this one is a good summary, "The media needs to be more objective, and wise. For a culture of suspicion about Indian Muslims pushes us into the danger zone. The sharp polarisation between religious communities is almost complete, the alienation of the Indian Muslim is reaching perfection, there is a limit to what the Indian citizen can take. We have to stop eating away at the very pillar of pluralism that keeps our democracy safe from home-grown terror."

Recently, I answered two questions, here they are with my responses.

1." Muslim population un-proportionately increasing in the world (over population have negative effect on lives)."

It is, what can any we do?  Muslims have an average population growth rate of 1.8% per year (when weighted by percentage Muslim and population size. This compares with a world population growth rate of 1.12% per year.

There are many choices - there is a correlation between education and birth rate, higher the literacy, lower the birthrate. Look around you, Muslims who have similar education as you, have the same number of children. Wherever poverty wraps Dalits and Muslims, they have identical birthrates and high illiteracy among them.  As people of the world, we need to focus on education for all with patience, or just kill Muslims and reduce them in size if our belief supports it.

I know Hindu belief does not support killing even animals, but a few Hindus would like Muslims be banished from India and a few others need to clarify that it is not Hinduism that believes in extremism, but a few radical Hindus. The Hindu majority needs to speak out against the statements made by RSS chief, particularly the Hindu Americans - it’s like the evangelists telling us that Indian women should not wear Sarees, and if they don't bow to Jesus, then they are not Americans. That is the same stupid logic RSS guy’s use. If Muslims sing Vande Matram, then they are Indians. How stupid can one be?

My article on Vande Mataram is open to the intellectuals as well as the average Indians to search and read the article at http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com . No one should be forced to believe in anything, and no one should be denied or forced to eat a particular food item. People should live freely. RSS should not act like ISIS, Talibans or Saudis.

2. "Majority of Muslim parents send their children to Madrasas (these children become biased towards their religion and develop narrow mindedness). Do not confuse Madrasas with Christian Missionary or Hindu Missionary (Ramakrishna mission) schools. They provide real education and give proper respect to other religion unlike Madrasa schools."

The Sachar report has identified areas where there are no schools (yes, no schools despite the policy of government to make education compulsory - I hope unlike the Congress, Modi will order opening up schools) for parents to send their children  - they have no choice but to send to any place they can learn, learn anything. We can keep blaming endlessly without looking at the situation.

Most Madrasas teach basics of how to pray and do the ritual prayers, and there is nothing wrong with that. The American Indians be it Hindu, Christians, Jains, Sikhs or Muslims will send their children to temples, mosque, gurdwaras and churches to learn about their respective religion.  I went to a Madrasa about 5 hours a week, and every one I knew in Bangalore did it too, nothing radical was ever taught to us, and almost every Muslim I knew believes in inclustion and respect for every faith and tradition like me.

We have a choice to blame Muslims or take the steps to include every Indian on the bus. Reservations have helped Dalits come up in life,  without it they would have never made it, they simply did not have the tools or wherewithal's to even go to schools. Muslims need that help as well to catch up with the mainstream, they are far behind, and at a certain point where all communities have similar education levels,  reservations can be banned for each community that has reached a certain minimum level. The smart thing to do is to be just to all, when society follows dharma, adharma will not creep in as simple as that.

Like the Political Islam, the Political Hinduism in RSS is equally detrimental to the cohesiveness and prosperity of India. The RSS is a pool of non-smart people, almost identical to the hot headed Tea party folks in America. If they are any smart, they will talk about investing in education of those who have fallen behind the national average, and will invest to get them back up into productive force instead of blaming that they are not educated. India will benefit, and each Indian will benefit if we focus on uplifting everyone to a base level and then let them compete - smart businesses can increase their consumer base while dumb assess will spend their life time blaming Muslims.

No one will find mukti, unless they find the truth themselves. Sounds like I'm a better Hindu than many Hindus out there. I'm mukt from these prejudices, this is what Krishna had advised Arjuna to do, to do his jihad against bias, krodh, hate, littleness and other ills of life and conquer them. 

Mike Ghouse is committed to a cohesive United States and India. More about his at www.MikeGhouse.net and 62 links there in. # # #
Modi-fied Diwali
Courtesy of Deccan Chronicle

Antara Dev Sen | October 25, 2014, 01.10 am IST
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Siachen on the occasion of Diwali (Photo: PTI) 
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Siachen on the occasion of Diwali (Photo: PTI)

This Diwali was very special. The pollution levels in our cities shot up to unprecedented levels. It was expected to be about four to five times higher than normal. Instead pollution levels in Delhi were nine times higher. It defied the entreaties of sensible folk and environment-friendly slogans about celebrating the festival of lights with lights — not firecrackers that envelope us in poisonous smoke.

The day after Diwali, the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) in the very important capital’s very important air stood at an alarming 531 mg per cubic metre. Chennai and Bengaluru had pretty dreadful air quality too, with RSPM 320 and 239 mg per cubic metre respectively. Clearly, ostentatious display of Hindu festivities takes preference over health and environment issues in today’s increasingly Hinduised India.

Wise of our Prime Minister to skip the fumes and go breathe in Kashmir on Diwali. So what if the Hindu festival was not particularly important in Muslim-majority Kashmir? There were Hindus there too. Just because they were less than 2 per cent of Kashmir’s population did not make their festival irrelevant! Sure, more than 97 per cent of Kashmir’s people were Muslims, but they were Indian, were they not? And as Indians, were they not supposed to be delighted that the Indian Prime Minister had come all the way from Delhi to spend Diwali with them, however irrelevant the festival may be to the locals? Were they not happy that the PM remembered them even before the forthcoming state elections were announced?

After all, we pride ourselves on our pluralism. Why did the Prime Minister not send out Id greetings to Indian Muslims — even though Muslims comprise less than 14 per cent of our population? Did he not host grand Iftar parties during Ramzan?

Excuse me? You say he did not? Come on, of course he did! Every Prime Minister since Indira Gandhi — and perhaps all chief ministers, not to mention a plethora of Central ministers of all hues — has Iftar parties! That’s an old tradition — keeps Muslims happy while they are systematically deprived of education, healthcare, justice and such stuff. No, you insist. You are sure. Well.

Actually, stopping sarkari Iftar parties is a brilliant step towards national integration. Why waste money on lavish parties when it can be put to better use like in development schemes? You say Narendra Modi and practically all his ministers skipped President Pranab Mukherjee’s Iftar dinner too. You say the PM had never ever hosted an Iftar party in Gujarat in his 13 years as chief minister. Are you sure? Well, never mind. He did send out Id greetings. So what if he wears all kinds of topis but refuses to wear a Muslim skull cap. He loves and respects Indian Muslims.

Remember what the PM said in his CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria? When asked about the Al Qaeda’s announcement regarding creating a base in India, the PM declared: “If anyone thinks Indian Muslims will dance to their tune, they are delusional. Indian Muslims will live for India. They will die for India. They will not want anything bad for India.” What a proud moment — your chest instantly swells to 56 inches!

Sure enough, the remark ricocheted around the saffron power grid. “Muslims must accept this challenge,” said the RSS. “They must prove it…” Yes, that is a bit odd. This burden of responsibility is on the 180 million Muslims in India. Our earlier PM Manmohan Singh took pride in the fact that though India had one of the largest Muslim populations, not one Indian Muslim was a member of the Al Qaeda.

The Shiv Sena, still a partner of the BJP at the time, didn’t remember that. “By taking the guarantee of patriotism of Muslims, Mr Modi has initiated a new wave,” said an editorial in Saamna, the party organ. And went on to dream big. “All problems will be solved, once Indian Muslims accept India as their motherland. Vande Mataram will be the national song for them too and they can breathe easy under the Uniform Civil Code. All obstacles in building the Ram temple will be cleared and communal work from madrasas will be stopped.”

I know, there is a leap of logic there. But holding the PM responsible for it would be wrong. A lot of people blame him for the sins of Gujarat. That is so unfair! The PM is above all that. Judge him by what he does now. Not by what he may or may not have done in a past avatar.

Besides, the Indian Muslim is used to preferential treatment. Whenever there is a terror attack Muslims are picked up, tortured and branded a terrorist. They are routinely deprived of their rights. They are treated as outsiders — never mind that their roots are centuries deep in Indian soil. They are economically and socially disempowered. They have to constantly prove their allegiance to India — whether it is an India-Pakistan cricket match or a terror attack. If they fall in love with a Hindu, it is love jihad. If they run schools for Muslim girls and boys, they are suspected of training terrorists. Many such madrasas in Bengal are being forced to close down after the Bardhaman blasts that apparently unearthed a host of terror manufacturing hubs funded by Bangladeshi terrorists.

Muslims — like other disempowered Indians — do not always get a fair trial, and when it is necessary to soothe the masses, they may be quickly hanged in secret — like Afzal Guru was.
It is a wonder that even after all this, the Indian Muslim remains untouched by “Islamic terror”. But we are doing our best to change that. To stop the slide, we need to be more sensitive towards the Indian Muslim.

The media needs to be more objective, and wise. For a culture of suspicion about Indian Muslims pushes us into the danger zone. The sharp polarisation between religious communities is almost complete, the alienation of the Indian Muslim is reaching perfection, there is a limit to what the Indian citizen can take. We have to stop eating away at the very pillar of pluralism that keeps our democracy safe from home-grown terror.

The writer is editor of The Little Magazine.
She can be contacted at: sen@littlemag.com


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