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


Monday, March 31, 2014

Subramaniam Swamy; is he good for India's long term social cohesion? A video response

We are planning on producing a YouTube response to Subramaniam  Swamy's opinions and assertions, are they good for India or not?

Does he make sense and how?  Does he have fascist leanings, does he understand democracy?
Should we give him a free ride?

Share what is on your mind, I will be selecting at least three individuals representing diversity of opinions, you can come to my office studio in Dallas or we can skype it.

Who should be India's role model? Should India aspire to be a free country like the USA, where  you can breathe, drink, eat, wear or believe whatever the hell you want to believe or like Saudi Arabia's where you are forced to believe what the bullies want?

What kind of India do we want? 

References:

Unite hindus, divide muslims- BJP leader S. Swamy Strategy for 


You can respond at the following links:

  1. http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/03/subramaniam-swamy-is-he-good-for-indias.html
  2. www.facebook.com/IndiaPluralism
  3. dallasindians@yahoogroups.com 
  4. MikeGhouse@gmail.com 

Mike Ghouse,
Pluralism Center | Education, Research and Activism
Pluralism is "Respecting the otherness of others"
Studies in social, religious, cultural and political pluralism
www.Foundationforpluralism.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hindu Temple burned to ground in Pakistan - the Muslim response

URL - http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/03/muslim-response-to-hindu-temple-torched.html

The World Muslim Congress is joined by the Institute of Quranic knowledge and Intrafaith Religious Acceptance of Quran, and Pakistan American Association of Texas in condemning the violent act of burning the Hindu Temple in Larkana, Sindh, by an aggressive mob, unfortunately in the name of peace; Islam.


Reuters reported, “Hundreds of angry Pakistanis attacked a Hindu temple and set it on fire in southern Pakistan overnight following a rumour that a member of the Hindu community had desecrated the Koran, police and community leaders said on Sunday.”

As Muslims, we are embarrassed with the acts of these men who acted on their own, and we condemn these acts unequivocally, commented Mike Ghouse who heads the World Muslim Congress, a think tank in Dallas, Texas.

We do however, appreciate one small ray of hope, “The Pakistani Muslim scholars have denounced attacks on a Hindu temple in Sindh's Larkana district, calling for urgent probe into the incident in which protests against Qur'an desecration turned into violent clashes.”

The Muslim majority is deeply concerned about it, and we urge Muslims around the world in general and Pakistani Muslims in particular to create a fund to rebuild the temple that is the least one can do to fellow countrymen. Every society has a responsibility to guard the safety of its minorities, women, seniors and the children; no one should feel fearful of the majorities that is the hallmark of civil societies.

Dr. Basheer Ahmed of IQRA and Dr. Amer Suleman of PAAT felt the responsibility to take that first step in building a cohesive Pakistan where every Pakistani feels safe. The least we can do is to contribute towards restoring the Temple. The Pakistan American Association of Texas is celebrating the Pakistan day on March 23rd in Dallas, and has generously donated a booth at the Mela to raise the funds.  All proceeds will go towards restoration of the temple.

We have ways to go; a few among us feel insecure in our faith. God is not going anywhere, Quran will not disappear if someone desecrates or burns it, nor Prophet will be affected by any acts, they have been around, and Alhamdu Lillah they will be there forever.

It is odd that Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, the Chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC), told The News on Monday, March 17, “Our religion, Islam, preaches peace, love and forbearance,” Then he goes on to justify the violence. “However, it is also necessary that the followers of other religions should respect the sentiments of the Muslims.” This is disrespectful to Islam’s principles of peace.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prayed for those who threw rocks at him on his way to Taif, even Arch angel Gabriel offered to crush the miscreants, but prophet did not extract a pound of flesh, nor did he blame the miscreants, he forgave them and prayed for them unconditionally. That is the religion of peace, and that is the model we need to follow.

While Law and order brings the situation under control; it does not put off the fires completely, the dying sparks grow and explode again unless they are addressed.

Muslims at large are at fault for allowing the abuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which is anathema to the Character of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), regarded as mercy to the mankind. It is time for us Muslims to mean it, that we the followers of Prophet Muhammad follow the principles of peace he taught us; indeed he was Rahmatul Aalameen - a mercy to mankind. No human should fear us, instead they should feel safe and secure and say it out of their hearts that Muslims are peace loving people and follow the principles of their prophet.

Do Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Quran and God need our protection? If we believe that they need our protection, then we are dead wrong. As Muslims, we need to believe in the prophet, he is not going anywhere nor will he be hurt or harmed with any insults.

Islam stands on its own; it does not need our defense, and it is silly to protect God or the Prophet, they are not weaklings or our property to protect, they belong to the whole universe, don't they?

 If they curse the prophet, prophet is not going to be cursed, let us have the strength in our faith and return badness with Good, as he guided us to do; we know all the examples of his work, can we not be Rahmatul Aalameen to the people of the Alam?

Contact information

1.    Mike Ghouse, President, WMC,  MikeGhouse@aol.com (214) 325-1916

2.    Dr. Basheer Ahmed, President, IQRA,  mbahmed05@yahoo.com 

3.    Dr. Amer Suleman, President, PAAT,  suleman.amer@gmail.com

Funds can be donated to PAAT or IQRA, and funds of over $100.00 can be donated online at America Together Foundation http://americatogetherfoundation.com/donate/ - 100% of the proceeds will go the restoration of the temple. All donations will be reported, and donations of over $100 will be listed at WorldMuslimCongress.com website.

...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Muslim vote Bank

URL - http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/03/muslim-vote-bank.html


I see positive things happening in India, and it is good. An increasing number of Muslims are contesting elections as Indians – and not as a Muslims. This is a positive movement of inclusiveness on the part of Muslims. This is a clear and rightful distinction, indeed, no one, be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or other should be voted in if he or she represents his or her own community – every elected representative represents his constituency and not religion.

My friend Dr. Javed Jamil wrote in response to Kejriwal comment that Muslims have lend themselves as a vote bank, he says, The truth on the other hand is that Muslims have failed to become “Vote Banks”. If they had succeeded in becoming vote banks, they would have by now got what they deserve.”

One the other hand I advocate against becoming vote banks, be it Muslim, Hindu, Dalit, Sikh, Christian or others. It is not good for India.

We need to break the stereotyping – that Muslims vote as a block, which is sheer non-sense. Muslims vote for the candidate who is inclusive and cares for them as much as he or she cares for fellow Indians.

The argument that several Members of BJP run on exclusive interests of Hindus is true, but it is not good for India –because they do it, we have to do it logic is wrong. We have to rise above, we have to be better than the exclusive people and show them the right path of inclusiveness.  It will take time, what have we done in the last six decades?

Let Muslims run against Advani, Joshi, Modi, Rahul, Kejriwal and others as Indians with a determination to represent every resident – reach them out, even if some Hindu is resentful, reach them, the power of justness and caring is far more powerful than the agenda of duping the public with promises to build temples or mosques.

A handful of Muslims will make a lot of noise, just like a handful of Hindus do, let them. One should be daring and say – I am running as an Indian from this constituency to represent all residents. I am not running as a Muslim. I will be fair and equitable to every citizen. If Muslims, Dalits, Brahmins or others are disadvantaged, I will give attention to their issue, but I will never represent any one community exclusively, as I am an Indian and my public service is for every Indian. From this day forward, if you find me cater to the interests of one community over the other, I will withdraw from public service.

We have lost six decades,  let’s take this approach and start getting ready for the next elections – start taking initiative and see how we cannot change an India that cares for every one’s development without tearing into its cohesiveness. We can do it, all of us Indians together.

Jai Hind.

Blogs– http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com and www.facebook.com/IndiaPluralism
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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Religion is beautiful

MY RELIGION IS BEAUTIFUL TO ME,
AS YOURS IS BEAUTIFUL TO YOU.

I dedicate this to Reshmi Inamdar as this was born out of a posting on her facebook, however this statement was made in 2009 when I was recognized as a religious communicator of the year by Religious communications Council of Dallas - http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2009/04/mike-ghouse-honored-by-rcc.html



MY RELIGION IS BEAUTIFUL

My religion is beautiful to me,
as yours is beautiful to you.

Religion is about humility,
that builds bridges.

Religion is not arrogance,
arrogance causes  conflicts.

You did not get your religion right,
if it makes you look down on others.

If religion causes you to hate the other,
then you did not get your religion right.

So, I declare today;
that my religion is NOT superior to any,
my religion makes me humble and caring,
and respecting the otherness of others.
 My religion is beautiful, so is yours!

 ...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Great News for India: Tata Group Plans $8 Billion Infrastructure Push

URL-http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/03/great-news-for-india-tata-group-plans-8.html

In my Economic Geography class in 1970, I learned that the road and rails are the lifeblood of the economy; it is so true. The US economic boom was triggered by the Interstate freeways*. It opens up people to commute freely, people will become more mobile and with that starts un-regionalization of a national India.

The Tata initiative needs to be lauded. A good infrastructure of roads and power grids will boost India's growth. The construction of Roads will create jobs; the economy builds on itself, once you set it in motion.

The timing of the announcement needs to be questioned, was this on their drawing boards for a while, or is this announced to give a political boost through May, and then shelve it? During elections, we need to guard ourselves from a variety of schemes and question everything; the essence of freedom.

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net
# # # #


 BLOOMBERG NEWS

Tata Group Plans $8 Billion Infrastructure Push: Corporate India

Cyrus Mistry, chairman of India's Tata group, is planning to spend at least $8 billion building roads, airports and housing, betting a stable administration after India's coming elections will lead to a new wave of infrastructure development.

Mistry, 45, who took over as the group's chairman in December 2012 after Ratan Tata's two decades at the helm, is expanding at least three unlisted infrastructure companies within the $100 billion conglomerate, according to two people familiar with his plans. The businesses will get more attention after Mistry has overhauled operations at bigger, listed Tata companies including the auto and steel units.


The initiative from Tata, which control assets including Jaguar Land Rover and New York's Pierre hotel, underscores the hope among Indian corporates that infrastructure project approvals and spending will pick up when a new government is formed after elections ending in mid-May.

"Mistry looks at this sector as a phenomenal opportunity," said U.R. Bhat, managing director of the India unit of U.K.-based Dalton Strategic Partnership LLP, which manages $2 billion globally. "It's a natural extension of their capabilities. Tata has the financial muscle to bid for the biggest of the projects and dominate," he said.
India needs to spend $2.2 trillion by 2030 on urban transportation, housing and office space to boost infrastructure ranked below that of Guatemala and Namibia by the World Economic Forum, McKinsey & Co. said in a 2010 study.

Triple Order Book

From 2012 through 2017, India is likely to spend 41 trillion rupees ($668 billion) on infrastructure with almost half of it being provided by the private sector, Siddhartha Roy, Tata Group's chief economic adviser, told reporters in June.

Tata Housing Development Ltd., Tata Projects Ltd. and Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd. or TRIL, which builds information technology parks, malls and residential complexes, are among the infrastructure units that are aiming to more than triple their order books to 700 billion rupees in five years, said Sarika Kapoor Chokshi, a Tata Sons Ltd. spokeswoman in Mumbai.

TRIL plans to spend 227 billion rupees in the next five years building highways, airports, hotels and urban transportation, according to a presentation made by Managing Director Sanjay Ubale last June. Tata Housing is developing 26 projects across 10 Indian states.

Looking Abroad

Mistry also is encouraging the units to seek contracts abroad, in particular in western Asia and southern and western Africa, according to one of the people familiar. Tata management expect infrastructure activity will expand in a year or two after a new Indian government spurs an economic rebound, the person said.
India's growth slowed to 4.7 percent in the final three months of 2013, idling below 5 percent for the seventh consecutive quarter and denting the Congress party's chances of extending its decade-long rule in national elections that start next month and conclude in mid-May.

Narendra Modi of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party will have the best chance of leading the next government, polls indicate. Modi has run on his record of stronger-than-average growth in the western Indian state of Gujarat, which he has led since 2001.

"Developers are either not investing in or exiting highways projects citing the government's inability to provide the required clearances in time," analysts at India Ratings and Research, the local unit of Fitch Ratings, said in a March 11 report. "Following the completion of upcoming parliamentary elections, the sector is likely to gain renewed attention from policy makers," they said.

Construction Background


Infrastructure interests Mistry the way designing cars fascinated his predecessor Ratan Tata, said one of the people familiar, pointing to his family's 150 year experience in the construction sector. Mistry's billionaire father and elder brother control the $2.5 billion Shapoorji Pallonji Group, a construction conglomerate that was started by Mistry's great grandfather with an Englishman in 1865.

The infrastructure initiative is a component of Mistry's strategy since becoming the Tata group chief. He also has sold assets, written down overvalued ones and restructured units.

"Ratan Tata had an aggressive strategy of leaving a global footprint," said Shishir Bajpai, a Mumbai-based director at IIFL Wealth Management Ltd. with $1.7 billion under management and advisory. "A few worked and a few didn't. It makes sense to relook and redefine it. We have been buying shares of Tata companies over the past few months."

As for infrastructure, Dalton Strategic's Bhat said: "They are trying to find the next big opportunity and capture that."

To contact the reporters on this story: Bhuma Shrivastava in Mumbai at bshrivastav1@bloomberg.net; Rajhkumar K Shaaw in Mumbai at rshaaw@bloomberg.net
 

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Arijit Ghosh at aghosh@bloomberg.net Dick Schumacher, Suresh Seshadri


* "The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, Interstate Freeway System, Interstate System, or simply the Interstate) is a network of freeways that forms a part of the National Highway System of the United States. The system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who championed its formation. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and the original portion was completed 35 years later. The network has since been extended, and as of 2012, it had a total length of 47,714 miles (76,788 km),  making it the world's second longest after China's. As of 2011, about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use the Interstate system. The cost of construction has been estimated at $425 billion (in 2006 dollars)." Wikipedia.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rahul Gandhi takes on Narendra Modi

Excerpts:
 

He contended that the Congress represented an idea which "respects the liberty and dignity of every one of our countrymen by upholding the ideals of humanity and inclusion", whereas the BJP wanted an India "in which there is no place for the poor, no place for those with a different religion or ideology."

The Congress leader said that the BJP seeks to "suppress large numbers of India's ideas" and wanted "an India in which power is centralised in the hands of individuals.  It is a clash between these two ideas of India."

The Congress vice president added, "The ideas that Mr Modi represents are dangerous for India."

To a question that people appeared to be disappointed with the lacklustre performance of the UPA government and favoured a strong leader like Mr Modi, he said, "yes, I believe that India needs a 'strong' leader but we must have a deeper understanding of what 'strength' means.

"Strength to me, is not brute force or the ability to bulldoze your way through decision making in an autocratic manner....I do believe that an autocratic mindset that believes in dispensing with whatever is inconvenient to its notions is dangerous because such people tend to disregard what is right for what is expedient."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

India's journey into the future on a level playing field

INDIA'S JOURNEY INTO THE FUTURE

The prosperity of India can be compared to a bus journey. If the driver ensures the air pressure is even in all its tires, the journey would become safe for its passengers. Similarly, if all the communities in a nation are on a level playing field, the prosperity of the nation becomes secure and sustainable.

It would be dumb to tell one of the six tires of the bus, " hey look, we the five tires (prosperous communities) have worked hard to be effective and have the right amount of air in us, we have prospered, and you are low in the gutters, and you need to work hard and rise up and be on par with us, we are not going to give you a hand, no one gave us."

Would it make sense to give a hand to the ones in ditches and bring them up on a level playing field - then the bus journey is safe and sure, we all can ride safely. It is in our shameless selfish interest to bring every one on par, and let them compete from there, when all of us have the ability to stand on our own, on a base, then all of us can prosper.

Unfortunately, the majoritarian attitudes of "a few" harm India's harmony and adversely affect her prosperity. They harass, threaten and use violence to teach the minorities, women and the weak how to behave, and put them in their place. It is like letting the air out of one of the tires, hurting all of us in the end.

The 1984 Sikh Genocide, the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, burning of Hindu Passengers in Godhra and Massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, the rapes of Nuns, mistreatment and injustice to Dalits and destruction of Churches are among the ugly cruelties we have witnessed since independence. It is a shameful blot on the civility of our Mother; India.

Then the blood bath of Partition, cruelties of Aurangzeb, raids on Samnath. and we can prepare a long list of incomplete transactions that needs to be courageously acknowledged, forgiven and brought to a closure, so we can move on!

The anguish, suffering, apprehension and non-restoration of justice to the victims will continue to hurt the cohesiveness of India. As Indians, we need to set aside our pettiness and pull every Indian onto a level playing field, the more people we pull up, the greater the prosperity for all.

Deep down, all humans seek justice and a balance in life, and without it, they are lost in sectarian warfare. As a member of the civilized nations, we need to collectively work towards building a cohesive India, where no Indian has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other -- an India where everyone is free to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever suits him/her.

Thank you
mike
Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Apartheid in 'New' India - Gender and Caste Discrimination

This is unacceptable!
It would be a greater shame if we deny this inhuman treatment of humans.
Mike Ghouse

# # #



Gender and Caste Discrimination 
Graham Peebles
http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/37941-apartheid-in-new-india.html

A suffocating patriarchal shadow hangs over the lives of women throughout India. From all sections, castes and classes of society, women are victim of its repressive, controlling effects.

Those subjected to the heaviest burden of discrimination are from the Dalit or Scheduled Castes, known in less liberal democratic times as the ’untouchables’. The name may have been banned but pervasive negative attitudes of mind remain, as do the extreme levels of abuse and servitude experienced by Dalit women. They experience multiple levels of discrimination and exploitation, much of which is barbaric, degrading, appallingly violent, and totally inhumane.

The divisive caste system – in operation throughout India – Old and ‘New’, together with inequitable gender attitudes, sits at the heart of the wide-ranging human rights abuses experienced by Dalit or ‘outcaste’ women. “Discriminatory and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of over 165 million people in India has been justified on the basis of caste” [Human Rights Watch (HRW)]: Caste refers to a traditional (Hindu) model of social stratification, which defines people by descent and occupation, it is “a system of graded inequality in which castes are arranged according to an ascending scale of reverence, and a descending scale of contempt ... i.e. as you go up the caste system, the power and status of a caste group increases and as you go down the scale the degree of contempt for the caste increases, as these castes have no power, are of low status, and are regarded as dirty and polluting,” [United Nations (UN) Special rapporteur on violence against women – India visit 2013] – hence ‘untouchable’.

Despite, as Navi Pillay United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states, India’s “far-reaching constitutional guarantees and laws which prohibit caste-based discrimination”, Dalit women are the victims of a collision of deep-rooted gender and caste discrimination, resulting in wide ranging exploitation. They are “oppressed by the broader Indian society, men from their own community and also their own husbands and male members in the family” [UN]. Practices like the Devadasi system (where girls as young as 12 years of age are dedicated to the Hindu goddess Yellamma and sold into prostitution); honour killings; sexual abuse including rape; appalling working conditions; and limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation and employment are commonplace.

All women in India face discrimination and sexual intimidation, however the “human rights of Dalit women are violated in peculiar and extreme forms. Stripping, naked parading, caste abuses, pulling out nails and hair, sexual slavery & bondage are a few forms peculiar to Dalit women.” These women are living under a form of apartheid: discrimination and social exclusion is a major factor, denying access ”to common property resources like land, water and livelihood sources, [causing] exclusion from schools, places of worship, common dining, inter-caste marriages” [UN].

The lower castes are segregated from other members of the community, prohibited from eating with ‘higher’ castes, from using village wells and ponds, entering village temples and higher caste houses, wearing sandals or even holding umbrellas in front of higher castes; they are forced to sit alone and use different crockery in restaurants, prohibited from cycling a bicycle inside their village and are made to bury their dead in a separate burial ground. They frequently face eviction from their land by higher ‘dominant’ castes, forcing them to live on the outskirts of villages often on barren land.

This plethora of prejudice amounts to apartheid, and it is time – long overdue – that the ‘democratic’ government of India enforced existing legislation and purged the country of the criminality of caste- and gender-based discrimination and exploitation.

Exploitation and Patriarchal Power

The power play of patriarchy saturates every area of Indian society and gives rise to a variety of discriminatory practices, from female infanticide, discrimination against girls and dowry related deaths. It is a major cause of exploitation and abuse of women, with a great deal of sexual violence being perpetrated by men in positions of power. These range from higher caste men violating lower caste women, specifically Dalits; policemen mistreating women from poor households; and military men abusing Dalit and Adivasi women in insurgency States, such as Kashmir, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Manipur. Security personnel are protected by the widely criticized Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which grants impunity to police and members of the military carrying out criminal acts of rape and indeed murder; it was promulgated by the British in 1942 as an emergency measure, to suppress the Quit India Movement. It is an unjust law, which needs abolishing.

In December 2012 the heinous gang rape and mutilation of a 23 year-old paramedical student in New Delhi, who subsequently died from her injuries, garnered worldwide media attention, throwing a momentary spotlight on the dangers, oppression and appalling treatment women in India face every day. Rape is endemic in the country: “according to India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), registered rape cases increased by almost 900 percent over the last 40 years, to 24,206 incidents in 2011” [Foreign Policy (FP)]. With most cases of rape going unreported and many being dismissed by police, the true figure could be ten times this. The women most at risk of abuse are Dalits: the NCRB estimates that “more than four Dalit-women are raped every day in India.” Excluded and largely ignored by Indian society a study from the United Nations (UN) reveals that “the majority of Dalit women report having faced one or more incidents of verbal abuse (62.4%), physical assault (54.8%), sexual harassment and assault (46.8%), domestic violence (43.0%) and rape (23.2%).” They are subjected to “rape, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, homicide physical and mental torture, immoral traffic and sexual abuse.”

The UN found that large numbers were obstructed from seeking justice: in 17% of instances of violence (including rape) victims were obstructed from reporting the crime by the police, in over 25% of cases the community stopped women filing complaints, and in over 40%, women “did not attempt to obtain legal or community remedies for the violence primarily out of fear of the perpetrators or social dishonour if (sexual) violence was revealed.” In only 1% of recorded cases were perpetrators convicted. What “follows incidents of violence,” the UN found, is “a resounding silence.” The effect when it comes to Dalit women specifically, but not exclusively, “is the creation and maintenance of a culture of violence, silence and impunity.”

The Indian constitution makes clear the “principle of non-discrimination on the basis or caste or gender,” it guarantees the “right to life and to security of life” and Article 46, specifically “protects Dalits from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.” Add to this the important Scheduled castes/tribes (Prevention of atrocities Act passed in 1989, and a well-armed legislative army is formed. However, because of “low levels of implementation” the UN states “the provisions that protect women’s rights have to be considered empty of meaning.” It is a familiar Indian story: judicial indifference (as well as cost, lack of access to legal representation, endless red-tape and obstructive staff), police corruption, and government collusion, plus media indifference causing (the) major obstacles to justice and the observation and enforcement of the law.

Unlike middle class girls, Dalit rape victims (whose numbers are growing) rarely receive the attention of the caste/class-conscious urban-centric media, whose primary concern is to promote a Bollywood shiny, open-for-business image of the country.
- See more at: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/37941-apartheid-in-new-india.html#sthash.l9QzRRpW.dpuf

Gender and Caste DiscriminationGender and Caste DiscriminationA suffocating patriarchal shadow hangs over the lives of women throughout India. From all sections, castes and classes of society, women are victim of its repressive, controlling effects.
Those subjected to the heaviest burden of discrimination are from the Dalit or Scheduled Castes, known in less liberal democratic times as the ’untouchables’. The name may have been banned but pervasive negative attitudes of mind remain, as do the extreme levels of abuse and servitude experienced by Dalit women. They experience multiple levels of discrimination and exploitation, much of which is barbaric, degrading, appallingly violent, and totally inhumane.
The divisive caste system – in operation throughout India – Old and ‘New’, together with inequitable gender attitudes, sits at the heart of the wide-ranging human rights abuses experienced by Dalit or ‘outcaste’ women. “Discriminatory and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of over 165 million people in India has been justified on the basis of caste” [Human Rights Watch (HRW)]: Caste refers to a traditional (Hindu) model of social stratification, which defines people by descent and occupation, it is “a system of graded inequality in which castes are arranged according to an ascending scale of reverence, and a descending scale of contempt ... i.e. as you go up the caste system, the power and status of a caste group increases and as you go down the scale the degree of contempt for the caste increases, as these castes have no power, are of low status, and are regarded as dirty and polluting,” [United Nations (UN) Special rapporteur on violence against women – India visit 2013] – hence ‘untouchable’.
Despite, as Navi Pillay United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states, India’s “far-reaching constitutional guarantees and laws which prohibit caste-based discrimination”, Dalit women are the victims of a collision of deep-rooted gender and caste discrimination, resulting in wide ranging exploitation. They are “oppressed by the broader Indian society, men from their own community and also their own husbands and male members in the family” [UN]. Practices like the Devadasi system (where girls as young as 12 years of age are dedicated to the Hindu goddess Yellamma and sold into prostitution); honour killings; sexual abuse including rape; appalling working conditions; and limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation and employment are commonplace.
All women in India face discrimination and sexual intimidation, however the “human rights of Dalit women are violated in peculiar and extreme forms. Stripping, naked parading, caste abuses, pulling out nails and hair, sexual slavery & bondage are a few forms peculiar to Dalit women.” These women are living under a form of apartheid: discrimination and social exclusion is a major factor, denying access ”to common property resources like land, water and livelihood sources, [causing] exclusion from schools, places of worship, common dining, inter-caste marriages” [UN].
The lower castes are segregated from other members of the community, prohibited from eating with ‘higher’ castes, from using village wells and ponds, entering village temples and higher caste houses, wearing sandals or even holding umbrellas in front of higher castes; they are forced to sit alone and use different crockery in restaurants, prohibited from cycling a bicycle inside their village and are made to bury their dead in a separate burial ground. They frequently face eviction from their land by higher ‘dominant’ castes, forcing them to live on the outskirts of villages often on barren land.
This plethora of prejudice amounts to apartheid, and it is time – long overdue – that the ‘democratic’ government of India enforced existing legislation and purged the country of the criminality of caste- and gender-based discrimination and exploitation.
Exploitation and Patriarchal Power
The power play of patriarchy saturates every area of Indian society and gives rise to a variety of discriminatory practices, from female infanticide, discrimination against girls and dowry related deaths. It is a major cause of exploitation and abuse of women, with a great deal of sexual violence being perpetrated by men in positions of power. These range from higher caste men violating lower caste women, specifically Dalits; policemen mistreating women from poor households; and military men abusing Dalit and Adivasi women in insurgency States, such as Kashmir, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Manipur. Security personnel are protected by the widely criticized Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which grants impunity to police and members of the military carrying out criminal acts of rape and indeed murder; it was promulgated by the British in 1942 as an emergency measure, to suppress the Quit India Movement. It is an unjust law, which needs abolishing.
In December 2012 the heinous gang rape and mutilation of a 23 year-old paramedical student in New Delhi, who subsequently died from her injuries, garnered worldwide media attention, throwing a momentary spotlight on the dangers, oppression and appalling treatment women in India face every day. Rape is endemic in the country: “according to India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), registered rape cases increased by almost 900 percent over the last 40 years, to 24,206 incidents in 2011” [Foreign Policy (FP)]. With most cases of rape going unreported and many being dismissed by police, the true figure could be ten times this. The women most at risk of abuse are Dalits: the NCRB estimates that “more than four Dalit-women are raped every day in India.” Excluded and largely ignored by Indian society a study from the United Nations (UN) reveals that “the majority of Dalit women report having faced one or more incidents of verbal abuse (62.4%), physical assault (54.8%), sexual harassment and assault (46.8%), domestic violence (43.0%) and rape (23.2%).” They are subjected to “rape, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, homicide physical and mental torture, immoral traffic and sexual abuse.”
The UN found that large numbers were obstructed from seeking justice: in 17% of instances of violence (including rape) victims were obstructed from reporting the crime by the police, in over 25% of cases the community stopped women filing complaints, and in over 40%, women “did not attempt to obtain legal or community remedies for the violence primarily out of fear of the perpetrators or social dishonour if (sexual) violence was revealed.” In only 1% of recorded cases were perpetrators convicted. What “follows incidents of violence,” the UN found, is “a resounding silence.” The effect when it comes to Dalit women specifically, but not exclusively, “is the creation and maintenance of a culture of violence, silence and impunity.”
The Indian constitution makes clear the “principle of non-discrimination on the basis or caste or gender,” it guarantees the “right to life and to security of life” and Article 46, specifically “protects Dalits from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.” Add to this the important Scheduled castes/tribes (Prevention of atrocities Act passed in 1989, and a well-armed legislative army is formed. However, because of “low levels of implementation” the UN states “the provisions that protect women’s rights have to be considered empty of meaning.” It is a familiar Indian story: judicial indifference (as well as cost, lack of access to legal representation, endless red-tape and obstructive staff), police corruption, and government collusion, plus media indifference causing (the) major obstacles to justice and the observation and enforcement of the law.
Unlike middle class girls, Dalit rape victims (whose numbers are growing) rarely receive the attention of the caste/class-conscious urban-centric media, whose primary concern is to promote a Bollywood shiny, open-for-business image of the country.
- See more at: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/37941-apartheid-in-new-india.html#sthash.l9QzRRpW.dpuf
Gender and Caste DiscriminationGender and Caste DiscriminationA suffocating patriarchal shadow hangs over the lives of women throughout India. From all sections, castes and classes of society, women are victim of its repressive, controlling effects.
Those subjected to the heaviest burden of discrimination are from the Dalit or Scheduled Castes, known in less liberal democratic times as the ’untouchables’. The name may have been banned but pervasive negative attitudes of mind remain, as do the extreme levels of abuse and servitude experienced by Dalit women. They experience multiple levels of discrimination and exploitation, much of which is barbaric, degrading, appallingly violent, and totally inhumane.
The divisive caste system – in operation throughout India – Old and ‘New’, together with inequitable gender attitudes, sits at the heart of the wide-ranging human rights abuses experienced by Dalit or ‘outcaste’ women. “Discriminatory and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of over 165 million people in India has been justified on the basis of caste” [Human Rights Watch (HRW)]: Caste refers to a traditional (Hindu) model of social stratification, which defines people by descent and occupation, it is “a system of graded inequality in which castes are arranged according to an ascending scale of reverence, and a descending scale of contempt ... i.e. as you go up the caste system, the power and status of a caste group increases and as you go down the scale the degree of contempt for the caste increases, as these castes have no power, are of low status, and are regarded as dirty and polluting,” [United Nations (UN) Special rapporteur on violence against women – India visit 2013] – hence ‘untouchable’.
Despite, as Navi Pillay United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states, India’s “far-reaching constitutional guarantees and laws which prohibit caste-based discrimination”, Dalit women are the victims of a collision of deep-rooted gender and caste discrimination, resulting in wide ranging exploitation. They are “oppressed by the broader Indian society, men from their own community and also their own husbands and male members in the family” [UN]. Practices like the Devadasi system (where girls as young as 12 years of age are dedicated to the Hindu goddess Yellamma and sold into prostitution); honour killings; sexual abuse including rape; appalling working conditions; and limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation and employment are commonplace.
All women in India face discrimination and sexual intimidation, however the “human rights of Dalit women are violated in peculiar and extreme forms. Stripping, naked parading, caste abuses, pulling out nails and hair, sexual slavery & bondage are a few forms peculiar to Dalit women.” These women are living under a form of apartheid: discrimination and social exclusion is a major factor, denying access ”to common property resources like land, water and livelihood sources, [causing] exclusion from schools, places of worship, common dining, inter-caste marriages” [UN].
The lower castes are segregated from other members of the community, prohibited from eating with ‘higher’ castes, from using village wells and ponds, entering village temples and higher caste houses, wearing sandals or even holding umbrellas in front of higher castes; they are forced to sit alone and use different crockery in restaurants, prohibited from cycling a bicycle inside their village and are made to bury their dead in a separate burial ground. They frequently face eviction from their land by higher ‘dominant’ castes, forcing them to live on the outskirts of villages often on barren land.
This plethora of prejudice amounts to apartheid, and it is time – long overdue – that the ‘democratic’ government of India enforced existing legislation and purged the country of the criminality of caste- and gender-based discrimination and exploitation.
Exploitation and Patriarchal Power
The power play of patriarchy saturates every area of Indian society and gives rise to a variety of discriminatory practices, from female infanticide, discrimination against girls and dowry related deaths. It is a major cause of exploitation and abuse of women, with a great deal of sexual violence being perpetrated by men in positions of power. These range from higher caste men violating lower caste women, specifically Dalits; policemen mistreating women from poor households; and military men abusing Dalit and Adivasi women in insurgency States, such as Kashmir, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Manipur. Security personnel are protected by the widely criticized Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which grants impunity to police and members of the military carrying out criminal acts of rape and indeed murder; it was promulgated by the British in 1942 as an emergency measure, to suppress the Quit India Movement. It is an unjust law, which needs abolishing.
In December 2012 the heinous gang rape and mutilation of a 23 year-old paramedical student in New Delhi, who subsequently died from her injuries, garnered worldwide media attention, throwing a momentary spotlight on the dangers, oppression and appalling treatment women in India face every day. Rape is endemic in the country: “according to India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), registered rape cases increased by almost 900 percent over the last 40 years, to 24,206 incidents in 2011” [Foreign Policy (FP)]. With most cases of rape going unreported and many being dismissed by police, the true figure could be ten times this. The women most at risk of abuse are Dalits: the NCRB estimates that “more than four Dalit-women are raped every day in India.” Excluded and largely ignored by Indian society a study from the United Nations (UN) reveals that “the majority of Dalit women report having faced one or more incidents of verbal abuse (62.4%), physical assault (54.8%), sexual harassment and assault (46.8%), domestic violence (43.0%) and rape (23.2%).” They are subjected to “rape, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, homicide physical and mental torture, immoral traffic and sexual abuse.”
The UN found that large numbers were obstructed from seeking justice: in 17% of instances of violence (including rape) victims were obstructed from reporting the crime by the police, in over 25% of cases the community stopped women filing complaints, and in over 40%, women “did not attempt to obtain legal or community remedies for the violence primarily out of fear of the perpetrators or social dishonour if (sexual) violence was revealed.” In only 1% of recorded cases were perpetrators convicted. What “follows incidents of violence,” the UN found, is “a resounding silence.” The effect when it comes to Dalit women specifically, but not exclusively, “is the creation and maintenance of a culture of violence, silence and impunity.”
The Indian constitution makes clear the “principle of non-discrimination on the basis or caste or gender,” it guarantees the “right to life and to security of life” and Article 46, specifically “protects Dalits from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.” Add to this the important Scheduled castes/tribes (Prevention of atrocities Act passed in 1989, and a well-armed legislative army is formed. However, because of “low levels of implementation” the UN states “the provisions that protect women’s rights have to be considered empty of meaning.” It is a familiar Indian story: judicial indifference (as well as cost, lack of access to legal representation, endless red-tape and obstructive staff), police corruption, and government collusion, plus media indifference causing (the) major obstacles to justice and the observation and enforcement of the law.
Unlike middle class girls, Dalit rape victims (whose numbers are growing) rarely receive the attention of the caste/class-conscious urban-centric media, whose primary concern is to promote a Bollywood shiny, open-for-business image of the country.
- See more at: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/37941-apartheid-in-new-india.html#sthash.l9QzRRpW.dpuf
Gender and Caste DiscriminationGender and Caste DiscriminationA suffocating patriarchal shadow hangs over the lives of women throughout India. From all sections, castes and classes of society, women are victim of its repressive, controlling effects.
Those subjected to the heaviest burden of discrimination are from the Dalit or Scheduled Castes, known in less liberal democratic times as the ’untouchables’. The name may have been banned but pervasive negative attitudes of mind remain, as do the extreme levels of abuse and servitude experienced by Dalit women. They experience multiple levels of discrimination and exploitation, much of which is barbaric, degrading, appallingly violent, and totally inhumane.
The divisive caste system – in operation throughout India – Old and ‘New’, together with inequitable gender attitudes, sits at the heart of the wide-ranging human rights abuses experienced by Dalit or ‘outcaste’ women. “Discriminatory and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of over 165 million people in India has been justified on the basis of caste” [Human Rights Watch (HRW)]: Caste refers to a traditional (Hindu) model of social stratification, which defines people by descent and occupation, it is “a system of graded inequality in which castes are arranged according to an ascending scale of reverence, and a descending scale of contempt ... i.e. as you go up the caste system, the power and status of a caste group increases and as you go down the scale the degree of contempt for the caste increases, as these castes have no power, are of low status, and are regarded as dirty and polluting,” [United Nations (UN) Special rapporteur on violence against women – India visit 2013] – hence ‘untouchable’.
Despite, as Navi Pillay United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights states, India’s “far-reaching constitutional guarantees and laws which prohibit caste-based discrimination”, Dalit women are the victims of a collision of deep-rooted gender and caste discrimination, resulting in wide ranging exploitation. They are “oppressed by the broader Indian society, men from their own community and also their own husbands and male members in the family” [UN]. Practices like the Devadasi system (where girls as young as 12 years of age are dedicated to the Hindu goddess Yellamma and sold into prostitution); honour killings; sexual abuse including rape; appalling working conditions; and limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation and employment are commonplace.
All women in India face discrimination and sexual intimidation, however the “human rights of Dalit women are violated in peculiar and extreme forms. Stripping, naked parading, caste abuses, pulling out nails and hair, sexual slavery & bondage are a few forms peculiar to Dalit women.” These women are living under a form of apartheid: discrimination and social exclusion is a major factor, denying access ”to common property resources like land, water and livelihood sources, [causing] exclusion from schools, places of worship, common dining, inter-caste marriages” [UN].
The lower castes are segregated from other members of the community, prohibited from eating with ‘higher’ castes, from using village wells and ponds, entering village temples and higher caste houses, wearing sandals or even holding umbrellas in front of higher castes; they are forced to sit alone and use different crockery in restaurants, prohibited from cycling a bicycle inside their village and are made to bury their dead in a separate burial ground. They frequently face eviction from their land by higher ‘dominant’ castes, forcing them to live on the outskirts of villages often on barren land.
This plethora of prejudice amounts to apartheid, and it is time – long overdue – that the ‘democratic’ government of India enforced existing legislation and purged the country of the criminality of caste- and gender-based discrimination and exploitation.
Exploitation and Patriarchal Power
The power play of patriarchy saturates every area of Indian society and gives rise to a variety of discriminatory practices, from female infanticide, discrimination against girls and dowry related deaths. It is a major cause of exploitation and abuse of women, with a great deal of sexual violence being perpetrated by men in positions of power. These range from higher caste men violating lower caste women, specifically Dalits; policemen mistreating women from poor households; and military men abusing Dalit and Adivasi women in insurgency States, such as Kashmir, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Manipur. Security personnel are protected by the widely criticized Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which grants impunity to police and members of the military carrying out criminal acts of rape and indeed murder; it was promulgated by the British in 1942 as an emergency measure, to suppress the Quit India Movement. It is an unjust law, which needs abolishing.
In December 2012 the heinous gang rape and mutilation of a 23 year-old paramedical student in New Delhi, who subsequently died from her injuries, garnered worldwide media attention, throwing a momentary spotlight on the dangers, oppression and appalling treatment women in India face every day. Rape is endemic in the country: “according to India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), registered rape cases increased by almost 900 percent over the last 40 years, to 24,206 incidents in 2011” [Foreign Policy (FP)]. With most cases of rape going unreported and many being dismissed by police, the true figure could be ten times this. The women most at risk of abuse are Dalits: the NCRB estimates that “more than four Dalit-women are raped every day in India.” Excluded and largely ignored by Indian society a study from the United Nations (UN) reveals that “the majority of Dalit women report having faced one or more incidents of verbal abuse (62.4%), physical assault (54.8%), sexual harassment and assault (46.8%), domestic violence (43.0%) and rape (23.2%).” They are subjected to “rape, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, homicide physical and mental torture, immoral traffic and sexual abuse.”
The UN found that large numbers were obstructed from seeking justice: in 17% of instances of violence (including rape) victims were obstructed from reporting the crime by the police, in over 25% of cases the community stopped women filing complaints, and in over 40%, women “did not attempt to obtain legal or community remedies for the violence primarily out of fear of the perpetrators or social dishonour if (sexual) violence was revealed.” In only 1% of recorded cases were perpetrators convicted. What “follows incidents of violence,” the UN found, is “a resounding silence.” The effect when it comes to Dalit women specifically, but not exclusively, “is the creation and maintenance of a culture of violence, silence and impunity.”
The Indian constitution makes clear the “principle of non-discrimination on the basis or caste or gender,” it guarantees the “right to life and to security of life” and Article 46, specifically “protects Dalits from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.” Add to this the important Scheduled castes/tribes (Prevention of atrocities Act passed in 1989, and a well-armed legislative army is formed. However, because of “low levels of implementation” the UN states “the provisions that protect women’s rights have to be considered empty of meaning.” It is a familiar Indian story: judicial indifference (as well as cost, lack of access to legal representation, endless red-tape and obstructive staff), police corruption, and government collusion, plus media indifference causing (the) major obstacles to justice and the observation and enforcement of the law.
Unlike middle class girls, Dalit rape victims (whose numbers are growing) rarely receive the attention of the caste/class-conscious urban-centric media, whose primary concern is to promote a Bollywood shiny, open-for-business image of the country.
- See more at: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/37941-apartheid-in-new-india.html#sthash.l9QzRRpW.dpuf

It's time Modi shows the strength in softness

Barkha Dutt
March 15, 2014

The following piece by Barkha Dutt is the best advise Modi can ever get. Indeed, my advice was similar.  If Modi is smart, he can spend half of the time, energy and money on nurturing goodwill and restoring the lives of the riot victims, than spending on the PR machine.

Remember Dumb Bush blew America's budget and a trillion Dollars on war and destruction of lives,  where as smart Obama got Bin Laden without any damage and for pennies.  Modi could learn from Obama. His present attitude is not good for India, it may be good for Hindutva mind set, but not for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Dalits and others. 
We need a cohesive India, an India where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the fellow Indian. No one should be treated any less regardless of their faith, caste, region or language. Modi needs to learn the full meaning of Vasudhaiva Kutumubukum, besides history and geography of India.

Modi should wear every possible hat Indians offer, he has worn over 25 different hats-pagdis, but has refused to wear a Muslim cap? Shouldn't he apologize for this blatant anti-Vasudhaive Kutumbukum attitude? Is he a good Hindu?

No Indian wants a leader that is divisive and does not care about one Indian or the other, is that too much to ask?  Modi lacks humility, he is as it appears to be too arrogant to express regret over the loss of life in Gujarat. It is time he does, not in words, but in action.

Modi should listen to the sane advice given by Burkha and myself. Links provided below.


1. URL- http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2014/03/its-time-modi-shows-strength-in-softness.html

2. Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/IndiaPluralism

3. Yahoogroups : DallasIndians@yahoogroups.com

Mike Ghouse, committed to a cohesive India# # #

It's time Modi shows the strength in softness

Even if Narendra Modi believes he was needlessly vilified for the riots, as PM aspirant, he could make a visible attempt at reconciliation.

Unless there are major undetected cross-currents the Narendra Modi wave seems all set to hit the shore as forecast. For a country that lost its moorings over the past few years and felt adrift because of the sheer listlessness of the men and women steering its course, this election, more than any before, is being fought on leadership as a central issue.

The wishy-washy ineffectual style of Manmohan Singh, the reticence and erratic interventions of Sonia Gandhi and the mostly abstract, platitudinous approach of Rahul Gandhi have all added up to create a gigantic appetite for a tangible, measurable strength of personality. It is this void in leadership that the Gujarat chief minister’s definitely more muscular and aggressive campaign has been successfully able to fill. Of course the backdrop of this leadership debate is corruption, scandal, inefficiency and poor communication. But no matter which way you break down the statistics of the much-debated Gujarat model, people backing Modi aren’t actually responding to data; they are validating what they believe to be a decisive and tough persona.

In other words, Modi’s manly campaign, down to the boast of the 56-inch chest, is the robust and toned alternative to the anorexic and diminutive quality of the incumbents. The abdication of leadership by the UPA and the somewhat fumbling articulations of the Congress vice-president have created a psychological gap; one that Modi has seized and converted into a political opportunity.

But as we wind down to the fateful day in May, now that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has presented himself as the Tough Guy that a leaderless country has been waiting for, why isn’t he more willing to show a softer, gentler side? In its previous stint in power, the BJP was able to offer a dualism of leadership style in Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani. Whether you saw them as the Good-Cop, Bad-Cop combination that all smart management tricks fall back on or as the Vikas Purush (Development Man) and Loh Purush (Iron Man) characters that their party colleague Venkiah Naidu cast them as, there was a yin and yang balance of perceived strength and softness.

Read: After Kejriwal, Narendra Modi to attend fund-raising dinner in Delhi

With no Vajpayee to soften his angularities, it is imperative that if Narendra Modi wants to be seen as a more inclusive leader, he should now be willing to take his politics beyond the confrontational or the antagonistic. His acerbic and abrasive taunts at his principal rivals do make for better copy and a more interesting television watch than others but if he is the man to lead a country as diverse as India, sooner or later he will have to reach out to those who are wary of him — not just the large mass of Muslim voters, but also to fence-sitters across communities.

By focusing his speeches exclusively on issues of governance and economics, by declaring the Constitution as his sacred book, by studiously avoiding any mention of Mandir or Masjid — Modi has tried to keep his national campaign strictly non-controversial. But this is not enough. The weight of history combined with the lingering baggage of some ill-chosen, insensitive metaphors (the ‘burqa’ of secularism; the ‘puppy’ analogy for 2002) still make Modi seem unwilling to empathise fully. He must understand that the evolved modern man is expected to be both strong and sentimental without it being mutually exclusive.

If the 2002 debate is not to be endlessly bookended with 1984 or if it is not to be a self-defeating argument about a missing apology, there is a simpler way for Modi himself to take the national debate forward. Now that a local court has upheld the finding of the RK Raghavan-led Special Investigation Team (SIT) that there is no prosecutable evidence against Modi for 2002, instead of only brandishing the ‘clean chit’ as a vindication, the BJP’s prime ministerial campaign could go further and use this moment to reach out and meet with the riot victims.

As it is, many believe that had Modi simply done so earlier, the healing process could have started sooner. I remember, JS Bandukwala, the soft-spoken university professor in Vadodara, whose own house was ransacked by a mob in 2002 and whose daughter Umaima is married to a Gujarati Hindu, telling me this a few years after the riots.

“If the chief minister had just placed a gentle hand on the head of Bilqis Bano,” he said, referring to the young woman who was three months pregnant when she was repeatedly raped by a mob, “we would be able to build bridges faster.” Even if the Gujarat chief minister believes he was needlessly vilified for the riots by a hostile media, as prime ministerial aspirant who could soon be leading India, there’s nothing to stop him now from making a more visible attempt at reconciliation.

Similarly, it would only increase Modi’s stature if he were to distance himself vocally from the foul-mouthed misogyny of many of his online supporters whose statements can sometimes border on the violent. Many of these online diatribes are located within the larger culture of aggression that seems to be the dominant political style of the day, across party lines.

In the build-up of his campaign, Modi used a bellicose force very effectively to expose the weaknesses of the Congress. In the last lap, and especially as polls indicate that he may well be the next prime minister, this trademark combativeness could be tempered and moderated by some compassion. In any case, in the age of coalition politics Modi will have no choice but to be a consensus-builder. This may be a good moment to start that process and show that softness complements strength and doesn’t detract from it.

Barkha Dutt is Group Editor, NDTV

The views expressed by the author are personal
- See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/barkhadutt/it-s-time-modi-shows-the-strength-in-softness/article1-1195268.aspx#sthash.k4iWqEqS.dpuf


My Advise to Modi:

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


2.  Huffington Post: India's future and Narendra Modi -  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/indias-future-narendra-mo_b_4177079.html

3. Saudi Gazette - Modi's stars are not aligned - http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140227196984


...............................................................................................................................
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.