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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Modi's dream can come true, if he is is serious about a legacy in the likes of Nehru.

Modi can resurrect his dream, if he is serious.
A serious interview about the Intolerance in India

When I wrote, “Modi on track to cripple India,” as expected, a flood of emails roared in my inbox.  Most of them sounded like tantrum throwing toddlers, meaning, they did not even read what I wrote, but were eager to bark at me aimlessly, because someone else did it.  That is how the people on the right are made; facts don’t matter to them.

It is easy to ridicule them, but it is not our purpose. They are a part of every group and society with no exceptions, but they are my friends and neighbors and I respectfully deal with them on this particular issue. I believe, we should keep an open door to those who can be redeemed. God calls on us in Bhagvad Gita, Quran, Bible, Torah, Kalpa Sutra, Granth Sahib and other holy books to forgive and we have to make it easy for them to step out of their dug in position. 

I have nothing but love for my fellow beings, and want to nurture the ones who are lost.   I am blessed with a solid record of dealing with diverse people in different forums comprising people from many faiths, traditions, ethnicities and nationalities.  At least on my part, I don’t have enemies, my heart has no ill-will. 

There was a time on Hannity show, when I had received over 3000 emails within an hour after his show. Thanks to the experience of moderating forums, radio talk shows and live discussions that has allowed me to make an effort to reason with people, and most of them respond to reason and rationality.

My challenge to you (not the moderates, but the right leaning Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others) is to read before you comment, and whatever you comment on, please quote the words and reference and don’t pull things out of thin air.

Modi has a dream to go down in the history as India's prime Minister who changed India for better, it is a good dream to have, but he is on a self-destruct mode, and letting his party men destroy it for him. He can resurrect it, if he can reign in on his party men.  They have a right to free speech, as long as they are not a part of his government hell bent on destroying the social fabric of India.    

Sonali, a Social Scientist from India has asked twelve pointed sensible interview questions and I have answered them to the best of my ability.   

Dear Sonali,

Thanks for sending me these twelve questions; the more we can discuss and articulate an issue, the more sustainable solutions we can produce. 

 I am pleased to respond to your questions in the same sequence.

Sonali: As a concerned citizen, I am quite confused as to which quarter the intolerance is coming from. 

Mike: The source of intolerance is directly coming from the excited uncontrollable members of BJP.  Politically I am an Independent; however I have supported Modi from his election to a few months into his job. I understood, he was telling us what he believed; to build a cohesive India. Apparently that was not his intention, many of us wanted to give him the rope, including Modi worshippers like Tavleen Singh and Madhu Kishwar, but unfortunately he lives in a bubble believing that every thing is hunky dory. 

Now, a trend is evolving, more and more Indians don’t see the Modi's actions correspond with his rhetoric. His silence is leading us onto a disastrous path, and one by one, everyone who cares about the well being of India will start criticizing him for his silence, I am making the same call.  It’s him, he can change it.

Yogi Adityanath in his inflammatory speech calls on his party members to rape dead Muslim women – and it happened last week.  There is so much hatred coming out of BJP members, and Modi is silent, and that is not good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0vAzA1c8sM  Some where down in the article, I have clearly spelled out, what Indians want.

Sonali - 1. Why has there not been such protests in earlier regimes (or against other state governments) where riots/discrimination against Dalits have occurred?

Mike – Before Modi, Indians  reluctantly trusted the government to stop the mayhem or at least say something about it. The Modi Government did not say a word this time;  Aklhaq was lynched and murdered by the mob, the PM did not say a word;  Kalburgi was murdered for his stance on religion, the PM did not say a word; a dead woman was raped, the PM did not say a word,  and yet he has the time to spew subtle venom against Muslims in Bihar election campaign…that is underneath the office of the Prime Minister.  Indians can put up with injustice and hypocrisy for a limited time.  That’s what triggered this whole thing.

If  people did not react before, I hope you are not suggesting them to continue to remain silent.  This is precisely what happens in domestic violence cases, they ask the women to put up with it, and bear the violence against her and get doused in kerosene and burn alive.  This mindset has to change, we cannot blame the victims, we have hold the perpetrators and or their accessories responsible for causing the protests.

Sonali - 2. This cry of intolerance seems to me at odds with the number of protests against the govt and Modi in particular, including this mail of yours. If we were truly an intolerant people, and the govt was equally intolerant, wouldn't we see the kind of situation that we saw during the emergency? Wouldn't there be far more violence than there is now?

Mike - Precisely, Indira had tightened the noose around every one’s neck during emergency, despite that Goenka and several heroes protested and went to Jail. Please read the two paragraphs about it in my essay.  Now, people don’t want that to happen and are speaking up before Modi’s men tighten the noose around us. (if one is communal,  he/she will interpret the word “us” to mean the writers religion, where as if he or she is pluralistic /secular,  he will correctly understand to mean, “all of us  Indians” ) – The essay is at: 

Sonali - 3. If prosperity is the key to success for all, why are some of the intelligentsia and academics working against this, by hindering a govt that seems to be doing something?

Mike – People want prosperity, not rhetoric. Mr. Modi promised to build toilets and not temples – meaning jobs first then religion, also meaning getting your shit together before talking.  Do you know the divisive things he is saying in Bihar – and his eerie silence on bad things happening in India?  There is a saying, evil in the world continues because good men will do nothing about it, now the good men and women have woken up and speaking against the divisive talk.  It is the academics and intelligentsia that woke up first, and all others are seeing it through now.    Thanks to them for making an effort to save India.

Sonali - 4. In my view, the apparent chaos seems to have increased after their protests, rather than before. And the protests have increased because of the intolerance of the peoples mandate.

Mike – Absolutely not – these protests have been gradually increasing in their intensity.  First a few academics returned their awards, and then more joined them. When Modi continue to keep his silence, historians and film wallah’s joined… even then Modi did not speak, thenthe business icons like Narayan Murthy and RBI chief spoke…. And if he remains silent, the whole country will stand up.  Doesn’t Modi have any common sense to speak out and allay the fears of intolerance by checking on it? Why blame the victims? Blame the man who is doing nothing.

You’ll appreciate them all later, when we have our freedoms restored – freedom to eat, drink, speak, hear, see, wear and believe whatever we want without hurting others physically. In essence Mind your own faith.

Sonali - 5. If the intelligentsia and academics are better equipped to tackle the centuries old problem of caste / religion / gender discrimination, why aren't they addressing the problem with the general janta, who are the key players in perpetuating the discrimination? Why aren't they holding apolitical meetings with the janta, instead of presenting papers in seminars? As academics we know that the reach of seminar presentations are restricted to the attending members and to the proceedings of the conference if they are published. The next use of these are when another scholar sits to write his/her paper. At best, these help to increase the length of one's CV. 

Mike – Let me ask you this,  why aren’t you doing it?  Don’t  you want India to focus on prosperity and get out of the intolerance? Aren’ t you an Indian? Don’t you have the responsibility? Why do you always want others to do it for you? What have you done to speak up against intolerance? Yes, the Janta will stand up.

Sonali - 6. Doesn't social change come from within the citizen himself?

Mike – Indeed, these protests are the fodder to wake people up and bring that change in two forms- Get Modi to speak up and reign in on the radicals that are hell bent on tearing mother India apart,  and 2nd, if he does not fix it, protest enough for him to step down.

Sonali - 7. Why do we highlight those stray voices that talk utter nonsense, instead of highlighting those sensible voices?

Mike – In a democracy, all voices must be heard, we cannot suppress any voice. However, speeches that call on raping dead women must be stopped, if you think it is the Hindu thing to do, most Hindus would disagree with you.  Yogi can say, I am a loose cannon and I am saying this, but he cannot give the impression that Hinduism teaches him that.

Adiyanath is not a stray animal, he is a popular MP of BJP, and if he wants to remain a party member, the party should have the rules of conduct. Google him out.  BJP is allowing it, as it suits their divisive agenda.  Modi and Amit Shah ought to be ashamed of what they have said in Bihar. If you don’t know about it, please check the papers, watch NDTV and hear them yourselves… etc. You need to be an informed Indian.

Sonali - 8. Why isn't there focus on the development issues? -- A focus on this might lead to a better atmosphere and hope in this country.

Mike – Good question, once again the PM has allowed diversion instead of development.  If he remains focused on development and not communalizing India, India will go forward.

8. Here is a link to a TedTalk by Setven Pinker, a leading cognitive scientist, that is well worth watch https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence?language=en . His book The Better Angels of Our Nature  is worth a read http://www.amazon.com/The-Better-Angels-Our-Nature/dp/1491518243. In his view "today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence." 
As academics and "intellectuals" we need to view the present situation in its entirety, rather than take, what appears to be, a calculated action in dealing with the present situation. 

Mike – it is not calculated action, it is a deliberate response to these ugly incidents;

·         Are you telling me that threat to behead Siddaramiah should be ignored?
·         Are you telling me raping a dead woman should be ignored?
·         Are you telling me burning Dalits is should be ignored?
·         Are you telling me lynching a guy in Dadri should be ignored?
·         Are you telling me hacking Kulbargi should be ignored?
·         Are you telling me messing with the face of Kulkarni should be ignored?

Sonali - 9. Social cohesion, gender justice, gender equality are all a matter of change in society, and change, as we know, is a generational process. If we look within our own families, we will see this change across generations.

Mike – Indeed the change is generational, and will take two or three to generations.  Protests are to stop the badness taking root in our society,  that is being enflamed by BJP.

Sonali - 10. In my view, the present approach of dealing with dissent is non-productive to the goals of a prospering India that benefits all. In my simple view, if I have money to invest and start an industry, I will think twice in the present scenario. And if I have to wait for the next govt, hoping it will another party, and waiting to see if it works well, I will lose at least 7-8 years to decide whether the atmosphere is good enough. In the process a decade will be lost. Translate my imagined plight  to the real investors from the world over. We stand to lose with the continued non-productive protests.

Mike – Yes, Modi’s silence is to be blamed – the entire nation including his ardent supporters likes Tavleen Singh and Madhu Kishwar are saying this. The entire world is asking Modi to speak up. He is not a goonga or behra, he can speak up. 

What conclusions will you draw, when the man gives communal color in his bhashans in Bihar, and remains silent on the critical issues?  Have you ever thought of asking the abuser in a domestic violence rather than condemning the victims? 

Sonali - 12. Let's assume the present central govt falls due to the pressure from the intellectuals and the true nationalists, what option do we have to take on the reins of this great nation and lead it on the path to prosperity for all? The answer to this question should help us decide whether we should be supportive of the present govt until the next general election or continue with this present approach. I would greatly appreciate an answer to this question as it will help me deal with my confusion over the present scenario.

Mike -  Most Indians want just one thing; Modi to speak up. No one wants chaos, sadly Congress party is not ready for a situation like this and we do not have an alternate party to run the government, BJP can run it, but run effectively and stop dividing the nation.

If the Grand alliance can stick together and come up with a plan, it would always be good – it will caution the  BJP members to get their act together,  if not there is someone else ready to contest early elections.


If there are any intellectuals representing BJP,  I ask them to quote me where have I said anything negative about Hindus and Hinduism,  on the other hand, I have stood up for the rights of all humanity including Hinduism.  Stick to the theme and not jump around and tell me what happened during the times of Alexander or Babar, deal with the current situation like an honest problem solver, if not I understand the paucity of intellectuals representing the party.  Here is the link and there is a lot more to be added to this since it was written.


Mr. Modi to speak up! That is it.  

He can address the nation this way; “I am the Prime Minister of all Indians. I will get blamed for the bad things that happen in India, and I am not going to put up with that.  From this moment, everyone who messes with their fellow Indians will be punished severely, and if they have staged acts like the one in Dadri, everyone involved will be punished severely.  This is my last warning and action will follow.” 

“Furthermore, I declare that no one will compel or tell other Indians what to read, write, eat, drink, wear or believe.”

This is all we want. 

Arise! Awake! and stop not till the goal is reached.

Swami Vivekananda must have meant this for Indians in 2015.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, human rights, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com 
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