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


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Judge Srinivisan at Louisville Airport

Judge Sri Srinvisan | MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 


If you are keeping up with politics, you may know him. He is Sri Srinivasan, a Judge in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and was one of the most considered Judges for the Supreme Court bench.



This is one hell of happy news for the Indian Americans. It’s an expression of integration, that Indians are fully participating and contributing members of the society at large. Despite the flaws in our democracies (American and Indian), we are the most inclusive societies, however both the societies have developed a streak of intolerance and bigotry, and as Indian Americans, and Americans we have to mitigate this growing intolerance before it consumes us.  Those who deny are welcome to live in their fantasy world. 

One of the nicest things of traveling is meeting people!  A few months ago, I ran into Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General of the United States in Phoenix Airport, a humble, affable man from my state; Karnataka, India.

This morning at the Louisville Airport, sitting across in front me was Judge Srinivasan. I thought the face was familiar, but he looked a lot younger in his T-Shirt than he looks in the professional picture. I was not sure if it was him, but could not resist walking up to him. The great man stood up to shake hands, and I asked him if he was related to Judge Srinivasan, he laughed and said it’s him.

I am not sure about other Indians, but I read up on almost all Indians who are contributors to the society and have written about them – Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal (he is not to be proud of, he has betrayed his own heritage and does not want to be called Indian American), Dr. Vivek Murthy and others.  All are humble folks.
 
We had a little conversation and we agreed to do an interview in the next few weeks. It will be videotaping the interview, what would you like to ask him?  Send me your questions.

About Sri Srinivasan
http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2016/02/obama-will-nominate-sri-srinivasan-to.html

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bangalore Map dated March 22, 1791

220 years old map of Bangalore!!

Prepared on 22nd March 1791, by Lord Cornwallis during the Third Anglo-Mysore War, with a plan to attack Bangalore. At that time, the town just comprised of today’s Avenue road, Chikpet & surrounding areas (Which is also popularly called petta by British and Pete, pronounced as “pay-tay” by locals).


The town was enclosed by thick hedges/bushes and a strong fort adjoining it at the south part.

During the third Anglo-Mysore War, Since Tipu was the ruler, Srirangapatna was the capital of Mysore Kingdom. While approaching Srirangapatna from North, Bangalore is on the way. So, Lord Cornwallis chalked out the strategy to attack Bangalore and successfully captured the town and its fort, and established his base. Next step was to strike Srirangapatna. But the British army was taken aback due to a flurry of Rockets launched by Tipu during the fight. Tipu had experimented with rocket science in that era and is now considered to be the father of rocket. NASA also acknowledges it
 — in Bangalore, India.


Mike Ghouse
A Banglaorean


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Barkha Dutt, tujhe pluralism ka Salaam.

What makes me proud of India?  It is individuals like Barkha Dutt, who boldly speak out when our nation is led on the wrong path. It is not easy to speak the truth when the voices of division and hate are louder and bark in unison.

I am proud of Burkha and may India produce more of her.

Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 


# # # 
Watch this video - http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/video-capitalist-free-thinker-barkha-dutt%E2%80%99s-response-nationalist-anupam-kher-39954





On Saturday, Kolkata saw a fierce war of the words between popular public figures at The Telegraph National Debate, on whether ‘tolerance is the new intolerance’. On Sunday morning, what took the internet by storm was Anupam Kher’s blistering speech roasting the Congress and the ‘intolerance brigade’.
Barkha Dutt’s response to Anupam Kher, who she said was a “hard act to follow”, was no less of a speech. Barkha’s main point was this – let’s step back from the histrionics and politics, shed the hypocrisy and get back to conversations. “Have we as Indians forgotten the art of conversation?" she asks.
Stating that she was not there to talk about the BJP or the Congress, and taking a dig at her prime-time rival Arnab Goswami, Barkha says that our narratives have become reductionist and are dumbing us down.
“We are proud Indians, and we don’t need anyone to certify us,” she says.
Barkha’s self-characterization is interesting too. She says she is a capitalist, a free-thinker and loves the Army. She disagrees with Kanhaiya on many issues, but that does not stop her from saying that the government messed up in JNU.
She also points out how Jayalalithaa, Prakash Badal and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed – two of who are allies of BJP – have openly supported the release of convicted terrorists or hailed them.
Watch the full video here.

- See more at: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/video-capitalist-free-thinker-barkha-dutt%E2%80%99s-response-nationalist-anupam-kher-39954#sthash.I9fnjcBx.dpuf 

Monday, March 14, 2016

No country for Islamophobia

Response to No country for Islamophobia | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

This article counters ‘establishing’ a narrative that Islamophobia is alive in India, let’s review its validity. 

While some have given currency to the idea that ‘Islamophobia’ is what is causing the turmoil and a wave of intolerance in India, a majority of Indians and Indian Muslims find themselves aghast when they hear Islamophobia in India, what's that? 


The Islamophobia narrative is American in nature and its aggressive organized avatar is traced to the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979.  Indeed, there was not much talk about terrorism ascribed to Islam prior to that date.

Opportunists have always found ways to make money; there was money in turning the ugly Iran hostage situation into a broader issue, and they cultivated that it into Islam against the West.  Instead of mitigating conflicts between Iran and United States, they aggravated it, and Iran certainly piqued it further with their short-sighted rhetoric.  It was a major foreign policy blunder of America, and one of the shameful outcomes was painting Islam as a villain of the West.

No matter what the conflict was, hijacking a plane or pushing a senior citizen off a cruise liner into the ocean, or the Israel-Palestine conflict, the opportunists sold it as Islamic terrorism to substantiate their line of thinking.

When you start hearing the problems of the day slapped onto Islam and repeated again and again, you develop a phobia for Islam or anything associated with it, and this is an American narrative.

That is not an acceptable narrative in India. Islam is not a new entrant to India for Hindus and others to 'develop' fear of it; it’s assimilated well enough to be a part of the norm of the society which the article has articulated well.

Men like Subramanian Swamy, whose claims have been challenged time and again, learn the Islamophobia narrative from American opportunists, and make aggressive attempts to slap it on India.  Should we give validity to their claims?    

Not Islamophobia, but ‘Communalism’ is the Indian narrative, a word that describes tensions between two communities, in particular the Hindus and Muslims, and between Hindus and Christians and it is two way street at times. The brunt of those riots is usually borne largely by the minorities, that is the case with minorities in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, America or Brazil.  

The good news is that an overwhelming majority of Indians, regardless of their faith or caste will continue to be moderates who care about fellow beings, and focus on taking care of their families.  They (Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others) do not hate others who differ from them, they don't have the bloody time for that,  and as such Islamophobia narrative will not take root in India, unless some opportunists push for it.

Mohammad Imran writes, “
Islamophobia defines Muslims as the "Other" and to be feared. This portrays Hindus as peaceful and Muslims as violent.” We are all peaceful with a few among us who are not, so, “ we should give currency to the word "Communal" which reflects the situation, and is understood by all in India.” Islamophobia is not the word applicable in Indian context and we must not use it.  

Indian Muslims have done exceptionally well to ward off the Al-Aqaeda and reject the ISIS; it has given a big sense of relief to all Indians that “Our Muslims are with us.” Some two Lakh Imams have condemned terrorism and condemned ISIS.  Good leaders of India brag about Indian Muslims for taking a stand against the extremists from abroad.

While some rejoice (a % from all groups) tearing India apart, let's focus on putting India together, but never ever deny the problems we face. 

The Hindus, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and others must be equally concerned when a few among us try to disturb the social equilibrium of the country. Instead of pointing fingers at the other, we must learn to take the responsibility to fix the problems, while sincerely acknowledging them and getting out of the denial mode.  If you and I can show the courage to use the words “We Indians” and not “them Muslims’ or “them Hindus” or “they are the problem” we would have taken the right step to restore India's pluralistic ethos. 

Should we give currency to the word “Islamophobia” in India? I think not, it is not a wise thing to do, and I appreciate the article for boldly challenging the attempts to establish Islamophobia in India.

The article, "No country for Islamophobia" was published in the Indian Express at http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/no-country-for-islamophobia/




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Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on 
PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. www.MuslimSpeaker.com | www.Interfaithspeaker.com

# # #

No country for Islamophobia

Courtesy - Indian Express
Written by Abdul Shaban , Abusaleh Shariff | Updated: March 15, 2016 12:24 am
The Indian ethos is one of assimilation of Islam or Islamophilia, and love and respect for the other’s religion. (Source: AP)
A leisurely walk on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and interactions with the Indian diaspora were experiences to remember. One could feel palpable apprehensions about Islam and rising Islamophobia in the West. But who had a relatively higher fear factor — the people on the street or Muslims dreading a backlash due to terrorist incidents?
Notwithstanding the deepening of communal politics in India in recent years, particularly since the ascent of the BJP, questions arise on Islamophobia and communal violence in India, especially comparisons between the situation in India and the West. Such questions are difficult to answer. Some articulate that the presence of Islam has impacted Indian Hindus, which is reflected in rising communal incidents and exclusionary and discriminatory practices against Muslims, especially in public spaces, including government jobs and positions of national importance. For academics and analysts, the situation is complex, embedded in the socio-economic history and syncretic culture of India. Our clearheaded response: Islamophobia has no relevance to India.
Is Islamophobia — “a fear of Islam” — emerging from contemporary politics or is it the manifestation of a sociological and cultural game plan? If the “fear of the unknown” or “unknown power” defines a phobia, then how can this fear be present in India, where Islam has been an integral part of society, politics and everyday life for at least a millennium? Although the crusadic encounters are well-documented, the presence of Islam in the West is recent and based on selective migration. The dominant Western culture and politics is mixed up with selective and sporadic suspicions that bubble up due to some rare but spectacular violent episodes.
The Indian ethos is one of assimilation of Islam or Islamophilia, and love and respect for the other’s religion. Indeed, religious assimilation is so conspicuous across India that it is easy to miss it altogether. It would be appropriate to highlight that the Sufi saints of the subcontinent are revered both by Muslims and Hindus. Assimilation is so strong that Hindu parents let imams at local mosques serve as traditional healers for their children, with dua or Islamic prayer. In many parts of India, Muslim marriages are solemnised by the groom tying an amulet to his bride that is known as a tali among Hindus.
One could find it surprising that Mirji of Lahore, a Muslim, laid the foundation of the Golden Temple. Shirdi Sai Baba, a Muslim by birth, is one of the most popular deities in the Hindu middle class. Premchand wrote about how on hearing the cry of a distraught woman, Syed Salar Masud Ghazi got up from his wedding to save cows. Similarly, at the Cheluvanarayana temple, devotees worship Bibi Nachiyar, the Muslim consort of Lord Vishnu. There are countless such examples across India, even in Gujarat and Maharashtra, notorious for communalism in the recent past.
If, therefore, one finds no Islamophobia, how can one explain the rising violence and discrimination against Muslims in India? The answer requires an understanding of India’s social structure and postcolonial politics. Brahminical ideology is not rooted in phobias but pollution and purity. Historically, in India, Dalits have been discriminated against not due to phobias but “pollution”. One is allowed to live at the periphery of the caste system and religious order in peace as long as one accepts the hegemony of the core. Contemporary violence against Muslims in India can be explained through the purity-pollution framework.
Muslim interests were sidelined in postcolonial caste and communal politics. In fact, they were compromised by some upper caste Muslims who denied the presence of caste among Muslims during the Constituent Assembly debates and important policy-design negotiations, when affirmative action and constitutional protections were being based on caste. The best example of this is the exclusion of Muslims from Article 341 and the presidential order of 1950.
With rising political competition, some parties employ hate — rather than fear — narratives as tools to mobilise votes. We subsume the attempt to generate demographic fears about Muslims in this category. It would be fair to point out that what we find in India is Hindutva-phobia.
However, to say that there is no attempt to create a fear of Islam in India would not be correct. One sees such attempts everyday. They employ political technologies and terminologies from the West. However, this is still largely confined to some TV channels, newspapers and social media. The Islamophilia of India constructed through syncretic practices has kept the Islamophobic narrative at bay from the masses. For Indians, it is not Islam that is scary but militant Muslims, as are militant Hindutva ideologues and practitioners.
Shaban is deputy director, TISS, Tuljapur, and honorary fellow, US-India Policy Institute, Washington, DC. Shariff is executive director, US-India Policy Institute.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

What would a Hindu justice mean for the Supreme Court?


This is my fourth posting about Justice Srinivasan since April 2013,  he makes India proud. Srinivasan will make a great justice and we need to call our Republican Senators to confirm him, please start making the calls tomorrow.   That will place two Indians in the highest position in federal government, the other is Dr. Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General. 


A lot is being discussed about the religious baggage of people from different faiths, and generally it is true. Since he was raised here in the United States, he is more than likely to be free from prejudices, unless his parents have made attempts to bias him against people of other faiths, races and nationalities,  which a lot of Indian parents do, and their kids reject it when they grow up, ask the new adults!

Srinivasan is a model Indian, that we should celebrate, and hope, he will be a role model for the future generation of Indians. 

All religions are beautiful; it’s a few who tarnish the image of the faith. If we want to consciously nurture our kids to hold the highest offices, we have to stop poisoning them, and of course they have a choice to come out of it.  We do have a few prominent members of our community in the U.S., who have written biased pieces against Muslims as they were trained by RSS or went to their training camps. Poor guys are helpless with such poisoning. Some of these guys should never hold a public office, until they have genuinely repented, and have come out of it. 

The Washington post has reported no baggage towards gays and lesbian community; they have not studied the Supreme Court rulings in India. Here is an article I wrote in December 2013, that continues to be one of the most read piece at op-ed news. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Same-Sex-marriage-criminal-by-Mike-Ghouse-Court-Challenge_Decision-making_GLBT_GLBT-131227-613.html


If you want your boy or girl to aspire to be the president of the United States, raise him or her to be a prejudice free individual. It's like grades it will earn them a hassle free ascendance to the highest office. I am grateful for my parents, I have passed on their teachings to my kids - both my children have visited Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other places of worship growing up, and they have no prejudice towards anyone, I am in peace.  If they chose to run for public office, they will have no stains on them.

I am working on starting an internship program here in Washington DC to free our kids from any kind of prejudice and prepare them to embrace every bit of America without any prejudice. 

Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.Blogspot.com 


# # # 


What would a Hindu justice mean for the Supreme Court?
   
President Obama has narrowed his list of potential Supreme Court nominees to about six names, our colleagues on The Post politics staff report.
One jurist in the running, whose name has been floated for the Supreme Court starting almost immediately after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, would make history: Sri Srinivasan would be the first Hindu justice ever to serve on the Supreme Court.
On a judicial body whose members’ faiths have often been discussed by observers trying to understand their rulings, Srinivasan would bring a different experience.
He was sworn in on the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu holy book, when he started his current job on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “Hindus Laud Judge Srinivasan for Taking Oath on Gita,” the Hindu American Foundation’s news release read at the time.
In what way would a hypothetical Justice Srinivasan bring Hindu tradition to bear when making decisions about religiously charged issues like abortion and gay rights? What do Hindus believe about contraception or the death penalty?
Srinivasan did not respond to a request for comment about his own religious beliefs, and his prior judicial record gives few clues.
Hinduism, the faith of less than 1 percent of the American public, includes many gods and a belief in reincarnation. While it is distinctly different from the Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths of prior Supreme Court justices, several religious leaders and academic experts say that the religion might be well-suited to the high court — because it is a highly pluralistic faith, with no dogmatic guidelines that every Hindu community agrees on.
“There is no such thing as a Hindu belief about, say, abortion or stem cell research right now which would influence any particular case. Any Hindu who occupies a judicial position will interpret the law as it is, rather than through his or her religious viewpoint,” said Vasudha Narayanan, an expert on Hinduism in America who teaches at the University of Florida. “There is no Hindu baggage, as such, at all.”
Yes, Hindu holy texts offer judgments about topics like homosexual relationships and capital punishment.
But there is no central figure, like the Catholic pope, who offers interpretation of those texts for all Hindus. And across the vast spectrum of sects among the world’s 1 billion Hindus, even the texts themselves vary.
“There isn’t a Hindu Bible. There are multiple texts, depending on the tradition,” said Shana Sippy, a Carleton College instructor who wrote her dissertation on Hindus outside of India. “There isn’t one text. There isn’t one book that every single Hindu goes to. There isn’t one story that every single Hindu knows.”
In a Pew poll, only 12 percent of American Hindus said that their scriptures should be taken literally, and 60 percent said scripture is not the word of God.
“It’s hard to generalize about Hindus, because Hindus are as diverse or perhaps more diverse in their religious and political views than any other tradition that I’m aware of,” said Raymond Williams, a religion professor at Wabash College.
That’s not to say that the religion’s 2,000-year-old texts don’t address modern-day issues. But for every scholar that says Hinduism condemns abortion or homosexuality, there are gurus who find the opposite in a different verse. “You can find almost anything in the wide variety of Hindu text,” Williams said.
Christian judges in America — including Scalia, whose son praised the justice in his eulogy for bringing his deep Catholic faith to bear on his decisions — have frequently discussed their beliefs.
Narayanan said that in India — where about 80 percent of the population is Hindu, and where a relative of hers served as a Supreme Court justice — Hindu precepts come up more rarely in debates about secular law.
“It’s very different from, say, appointing someone from one of the more Christian backgrounds, perhaps, in which people may have – may have – specific viewpoints,” Narayanan said.
Hindus in America — 91 percent of whom are Asian, mostly of Indian descent, and 87 percent of whom are immigrants, according to a 2014 Pew research study — do have distinct political beliefs. They tend to be wealthier and more highly educated than most religious groups, and more than 60 percent lean Democrat while just 13 percent lean Republican. In the same poll, significant majorities said they favored gay marriage and legal abortion.
Vikkan Chopra, the president of the Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington, said that most members of his community in the D.C. area embrace Hindu holidays, food and other customs, but rarely see their faith as linked to their politics.
“Yes, they are Hindus. They do maintain those cultures with their family, their Hindu friends. Otherwise, they’re so Americanized,” Chopra said.
As for Srinivasan — it’s impossible to say where he falls. And that might be just what Obama is looking for. With Republicans in the Senate vowing not to approve anybody, Obama’s strategy seems to be to pick a nominee with a moderate, unobjectionable record, whom the White House can pressure Republicans to say yes to.
Srinivasan, like most of the others on the shortlist, has not staked out any positions on the hot-button issues the Supreme Court is likely to take up.
When he was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “I do not have an overarching, grand, unified judicial philosophy that I would bring with me to the bench if I were lucky enough to be confirmed.” He said he had written only two published pieces in the past 20 years.
The Senate approved Srinivasan’s appointment to the prominent D.C. appeals court in 2013 by a vote of 97 to 0, so senators may be hard-pressed to say why they would vote against him this time around.
Srinivasan, who was born in India and immigrated to Kansas with his family as a child, would be not only the first Hindu but also the first Asian American on the court.
“We’re all so excited about that possibility,” Narayanan said. “That kind of recognition kind of paints the Hindu Indian American into the fabric of the United States. It’s really a whole different level of having arrived in the States.”
Sippy compared a potential nomination for Srinivasan to the appointments of Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish justice, in 1916 and of Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice, in 1967.
She envisioned the pride the Indian community in the United States might share if Srinivasan is nominated. “If he becomes a Supreme Court justice, there will be Indian American cultural celebrations where kids will dress up as him, just as they do as Indira Gandhi and famous scientists. He will become among those figures who are held up as what it means to be an immigrant.”
And while his religion might not influence his jurisprudence, she said, his judicial role would inspire fellow practitioners of his religion.
“You can be American — a sense of seeing yourself in a position of power and prestige and respectability,” she said. “To think about that is profound.”
Want more stories about faith? Follow Acts of Faith on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter.


Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Indian-American dean of UC Berkeley law on 'indefinite leave' over sexual harassment suit

You meet one Indian, and if he is good, your ratio is 100% of good Indians. Now, you meet two, one of them turns to be an asshole, your ratio drops to 50%,  and finally if you meet a 1000, and the bad ones are 3 or 4, your ratio goes down to .003%  and they will start making the news. 

As we (Indians) increase in numbers, the bad guys will start popping up, we will start seeing Indian gangs, Indian thugs and Indian in bad things. We have seen plenty of men in banking scandals, stealing millions and getting caught, we have seen Doctors robbing the patients, and now we will be appearing in day to day life.

Last year 355 mass murders took place for a population of 318 Millions, that is roughly 1.2%, compare that to Muslims, there was one mass murderer in San Bernandino out of 6 Million - that is less than 0.12%  - ten times less than the their proportionate share.

Now, Indians will be popping in bad news and are going to Jails.

Should we be ashamed of these men? Hell no, you did not do it, I did not do it, even if he were our son, it is his heine that will be hauled off to jail, not yours or mine.

This guy Sujit Chowdhry is a dumb ass, and ruined it all to please his prick. It is annoying, we could have been proud of him.... ah well.

Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com
 


Courtesy - Times of India
 | TNN | 

WASHINGTON: The Indian-American dean of the prestigious University of California, Berkeley, law school - the first ever PIO to head a law school in America - has been felled by a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Sujit Chowdhry, a highly-regarded constitutional scholar, will be stepping down and taking an "indefinite leave of absence" after the university reportedly found some merit in the charges against him by his executive assistant, who said he made inappropriate advances at her over a period of months.

"A thorough investigation of this case found that Dean Choudhry's behaviour in this situation violated policy and that he demonstrated a failure to understand the power dynamic and the effect of his actions on the plaintiff personally and in her employment," University executive vice chancellor and provost Claude Steele said in a statement on Wednesday night, disclosing that Choudhry will be "stepping down to his faculty position and salary."

"Based on the findings of the investigation I believed that a combination of disciplinary actions, monitoring of his behavior and formal training would be an appropriate and effective response, and would produce the necessary changes in his behavior," Steele added.

In a complaint filed on Tuesday against Choudhry and the University of California Board of Regents, Tyann Sorell, the former executive assistant, said Choudhry sexually harassed her — rubbing her shoulders and arms, kissing her cheeks and giving her bear hugs that pressed her body against him. When she brought this to the notice of supervisors, they first failed to stop Chowdhry and then tried to retaliate against her.

"The hugs became tighter and more lingering and the kissing more intimate in that over time Choudhry's kisses began to land closer and closer" to her mouth, according to the court documents cited in the local media.

Chowdhry had not commented on the charges or against the university action at the time of writing.
Choudhry, 46, moved to California from New York University (NYU), where he founded, and helmed, the Center for Constitutional Transitions. The New Delhi-born academic has received rave reviews for his scholarship in the area, including for work in the sub-continent (he is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Indian Constitutional Law), before he came to head the UC Berkeley Law School, whose alumni include former Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and Silicon Valley legal eagle Larry Sonsini, among others.

Law is not among the favored subject of Indian students in the United States that has brought some 100,000 collegiates stateside. According to the Open Doors report that monitors foreign student inflow to the US, some 75 per cent of students from India go into engineering, math, and science streams, and close to 15 per cent study at business schools. The report does not tabulate law school entrants, but social sciences and humanities account for less than 5 per cent.

Anecdotal reports suggest that is starting to change, particularly among Indian-Americans, and in a 2014 interview with TOI, Choudhry concurred. "When I went to law school 20 years ago there weren't many Indian kids growing up in North America who considered law," he recalled. "The way in which legal education had been viewed relative to other opportunities at home (in India) had kind of carried over to North America."


In part, there were historical reasons for Indian students not looking to U.S for law studies. "If you look at Indian legal elite, Oxbridge and London were the central points of reference from the 1930s to 1980s," said Choudhry. Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and others trooped to the UK to burnish their legal credentials, and only Ambedkar among the Founding Fathers came to the US (to New York's Columbia University).

Choudhry maintains it is very different now, and top law schools in America are "full of Indians, whether they are from India or Indian kids who have grown up here." The perceived value of legal education has changed since liberalization, he says, and India has turned increasingly towards American institutions of higher education, because "work here is more interdisciplinary and increasingly global in its orientation."


Even more so in culturally and ethnically diverse California and Bay Area (where UC Berkeley Law goes head-to-head against Stanford Law School), which Choudhry said, is what drew him to the West Coast (in addition to the small matter of having an extensive family network there).

"Great law schools of the 21st century will be a global crossroads for people and ideas from around the world," Choudhry said in the interview. "Legal issues are not confined to single jurisdictions now. They may have state, federal, foreign, international and transnational dimensions."

Free Speech Ends Where Sedition Begins

Free Speech is a very difficult thing to understand, if you place restrictions or give the discretionary powers to a few to determine what is free speech, they will ruin it. Laws are made to go beyond the whimsical discretion of people in power. 

This is my response to M. J. Akbar's op-ed in New York Times, I was disappointed in him, as an intellectual, I expected him to defend free speech and JNU,  but he compromised his interests and turned the issue into sedition. I feel sorry for the loss of his freedom to express what is right, and instead, he carefully pandered to the raw sentiments of those who are insecure and want to control others. I guess that is what it takes to make it in the world for some. 

A year ago on Fox News show, Pamela Geller, Sean Hannity and I had a hell of an argument over free speech; they wanted to ban Professor Ghannouchi’s speech at Yale University Campus because he had made anti-American statements. I don't agree with Ghannouchi, but as a society we cannot stop, and we cannot change the character of our nation because of him, free speech is free speech and must be allowed. Indeed, I had defended Pamela Geller's right to free speech in UK, where she was banned at that time. We have to be consistent as much as we can. 

Each one of us has our own interests to protect, and as an institution that governs, no one in it should have that discretion. Free speech is an inalienable right of individuals - God gives that right, if it was not free, humans would not have had the ability to dialogue.

As they say, Satyameva Jayate, the truth ultimately triumphs, indeed free speech ultimately triumphs.  India has come a long way in becoming a democratic pluralist culture, it is a learned behavior, and it can also learn to respect free speech. Let no one be hindered from free speech.  You have better counter it with a better speech to put bad speech out of circulation that is the civil thing to do.

As a Muslim I stand for free speech, this is precisely what those guys have done to Islam in the past,  they have robbed Muslims’ God given right to free speech through Fatwa and excommunication threats. Of course, it is not just Muslims, the Hindus, Christians, Jewish and other societies have tight rules to shut people up through similar authoritative calls.  

India will not disappear just because someone shouts it so, her people make India, I urge the government not to feel threatened, let them do it. We should instead take pride in our freedom, we are secure enough to allow diversity of opinions, even if it sounds against the interest of the nation, and we are a secure nation to give room for differences.


I am against such slogans; but I will stand up for the rights of those who have something to vent, every one should have the right to dissent. I think we are capable of handling the anti-India slogans, in the end; after all they are our rebel children. If we don't consider them as our children, we need to grow up and develop the ability to deal with them on an equal footing and not brute force. 


Free speech, Zindabad!
Mike Ghouse for free speech
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 


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Free Speech Ends Where Sedition Begins
M. J. Akbar, New York Times

NEW DELHI - Last month, a flyer entitled "The Country Without a Post Office" was circulated on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (J.N.U.), here in Delhi, inviting students to a "cultural evening" on Feb. 9.
But "cultural" was a misnomer, and academic freedom would not be on the agenda. Some not-so-small print further down the page called on participants to "rage" against the Indian "occupation" of Muslim-majority Kashmir and protest the "judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat."
Afzal Guru, who is also known as Muhammad Afzal, and Mr. Bhat were both convicted terrorists, found guilty separately after their cases slowly went up the ladder of due process, all the way to the highest court in India. Mr. Bhat was hanged in 1984 for the murder of a police inspector in Kashmir; Mr. Afzal was hanged in 2013 for his role in the 2001 attack on India’s Parliament. In both 1984 and 2013, the Congress Party was in power.

The date chosen for the Feb. 9 event at J.N.U. was the anniversary of Mr. Afzal’s execution. Upon learning of this, the university authorities initially reacted by shrugging and looking away: Students will be students. But a video made the night of the gathering soon went viral, and it seemed to show shouting students and activists vowing to break up India into small pieces. It ended with the calls, “Inshallah! Inshallah!” “Allah Willing! Allah Willing!”

More footage of the protest soon appeared online — followed by allegations that some of it had been tampered with. The local Delhi government, which is headed by Arvind Kejriwal, a vitriolic critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sent seven videotapes to a laboratory for a forensic probe. On Tuesday, India’s leading news agency, PTI, reported the results: Two of the tapes had been doctored, five were authentic. (The Indian Express reports that three had been manipulated.)

I saw one of the tapes deemed to be authentic, and I heard those fever-pitch chants calling for India’s dismemberment. And so to my mind the issue isn’t what was or was not said that day; it is whether freedom of speech should be stretched to include the adulation of terrorists and calls for the destruction of India, or if it ends where sedition begins.

When free India’s first Constitution became the law of the land in 1950, it included an article treating freedom of speech and of expression as a basic right. The very first amendment to that text, passed by the republic’s founding fathers in 1951, added “reasonable restrictions” to the free-speech clause, partly in order to protect the “security of the state.”
This happened while India’s prime minister was Jawaharlal Nehru, a self-proclaimed socialist and a liberal icon, after whom J.N.U. was named. In 1963, while Mr. Nehru was still prime minister, Parliament passed another constitutional amendment clarifying that the security of the state meant “the sovereignty and integrity of India.”

Mr. Nehru had good cause for caution. During the volatile 1940s, during which India won its independence from Britain, he saw how Islamism posed an existential challenge to the nation’s unity, and Communism to its democracy. Pakistan was born in 1947, at the same time as India, becoming the first Islamic republic of the postcolonial era. A year after that, the Communist Party of India, instead of joining Mr. Nehru’s efforts to build up the fledging Indian nation, declared its independence a “fake” and began an armed struggle.

By 1951, that red revolution had mostly died out, partly because of limited popular support and because Moscow, which backed Indian Communists, was wary of alienating Mr. Nehru as the Cold War was picking up. Yet some Communist sympathies continued to smolder. In 1962, when India suffered a devastating defeat in a war against China, a powerful section of Indian Communist leaders backed China. They were imprisoned, briefly, and in 1963, the Nehru administration clarified the scope of free-speech laws.

"As Mr. Nehru himself well understood, freedom of speech is not a license to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of India."Free speech...
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Within a few years, India’s Communists had split three ways. Two parties joined the nationalist mainstream; the third, which identified itself as Maoist, started a violent revolution to overthrow the Indian government. Many of that group’s younger followers found sanctuary at universities, knowing that by longstanding tradition, the police were loath to enter campuses.

But as the violence grew more intense in the 1970s and thousands of people died throughout eastern and northern India, police forces began crossing university gates to arrest Maoist radicals. Then in the 1980s the old specter of religion returned to haunt India: In Punjab, demands for the creation of a separate Sikh state turned into a full-fledged insurrection, which encouraged Muslim separatists in Kashmir to rise up as well.

Many Indians today are still wary that religious separatists and Maoist extremists continue to threaten India’s unity, and that they have supporters among students. Some try to explain away such activism by pointing to anti-Vietnam War protests at U.S. universities in the 1960s and 1970s. But to do this is to overlook the scars that terrorism’s long and lacerating history in India has left on us here. Mr. Afzal, whose rights the J.N.U. students were rising to defend, was involved in the 2001 terrorist attack on India’s Parliament. I wonder how Americans, after 9/11, would react to a “cultural evening” celebrating Osama bin Laden.

Some reactions to the J.N.U. protest were ugly. A group of lawyers assaulted the students who came to court to face charges of sedition. A videotape of a speech made by the most prominent J.N.U. student leader reportedly was doctored in ways designed to incriminate him. Such things are unacceptable.

But many Indians are livid about one thing that is not in dispute: that some of that talk on Feb. 9 was aggressively secessionist. As Mr. Nehru himself well understood, freedom of speech is not a license to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of India.

M.J. Akbar is a member of India’s Parliament from Jharkhand for the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the author, most recently, of “Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan.”

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bhakt's and Nationalists - How social media birthed a strange new phenomenon in India

Here is a good piece to understand the new battle cry "Nationalist" as if, it did not exist before. We will continue to learn about  Modi and what is happening in India - a trend is developing to pit one Indian against the other, even though they are a few who are resorting to this, they worry most of us who can foresee where this is going to take us.  Sometimes that is all it takes, a drop of Poison to ruin the lake, we are concerned about it and we need to put in our effort to take everyone in the same direction - national reconciliation and integration on their own terms, no one needs to be pushed around to do things, such things won't last. Ultimately all of us want a safe, secure, peaceful and prosperous India, there is no disagreeing on that. 

On the other side of the globe, each one of us is grappling with the Trump Phenomenon,  no one has a clue why so many Americans are rooting for him?  The following article is a study done by Matthew MacWilliams and it is worth reading to understand him. http://centerforamericanpolitics.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-rise-of-american-authoritarianism.html


Mike Ghouse
http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 


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Anatomy of an internet troll: How social media birthed a strange new phenomenon in India, the bhakts. 

Courtesy - Times of India


The rise of internet and social media has led to a strange new discovery in India. It is the strong and distinctive presence of a cyber species often referred to as ‘bhakts’. The term is used to refer to owners of right wing user accounts who tend to be aggressive fans of all things Hindu.
Politically they often lend their support to BJP, seen as a somewhat pro-Hindu organisation. They are extremely protective of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They also like old Hindu kings and conspiracy theories about how Hindus were shortchanged in the past – they often swap such stories online.
These true bhakts would have been an interesting anthropological phenomenon, had they not been causing distress from time to time on Twitter. A few years ago, Sagarika Ghose coined the term Internet Hindus when they attacked her. Just a couple of weeks back, members of the true bhakt species attacked outspoken women on Twitter who didn’t think much about the rather sweet and harmless ‘selfie with daughter’ campaign that was backed by the PM.
So who are these true bhakts? What drives them? And what can we – and more important, they – do to calm them down? For this, it is important to understand them.
One, these true bhakts are not just Hindu fanatics. They are not all VHP members. Some of them don’t even identify with the Hindu cause, they call themselves nationalists instead. Their stated aim, if you are to believe them, is nation building and winning back for India its lost glory.
In reality, they are neither Hindu warriors nor nationalists. Typically, and at the cost of stereotyping, true bhakts have the following four traits in common. First, they are almost all male. Second, they have weak communication skills, particularly in English. This in turn leads to a bit of an inferiority complex, of not being cool or sophisticated enough in a fast changing, globalising world.
Third, they are generally not good at talking to women. As a result they are unlikely to know how to behave with them or woo them. They do desire women, but can’t get them. In other words, if i may say so, they are sexually frustrated with no way of getting it.
Fourth, there is an over-riding sense of shame about being Hindu, Hindi speaking and/ or Indian. Deep down they know that Hindi-speaking Hindus are among India’s poorest. They also know that India is a third world country with third rate infrastructure and few achievements on the world stage in science, sports, defence or creativity.
To hide this shame, they over-compensate in terms of chest-beating nationalism. Also, to them, BJP leaders and Modi in particular represent the highest aspirational figures. Modi is unabashedly from the Hindi/ Hindu/ modest-means background and represents the best people like them can be.
Modi’s success gives true bhakts a genuine reason to rejoice and feel that they have a place at the top. Hence, protecting him is vital. Therefore, you have seen true bhakts defending Modi’s silence on various scams and vigorously attacking anyone questioning the PM. Objectivity is lost when the person they are trying to protect and worship is seen as an idealisation of their own kind.
Hence, an inferiority complex ridden Indian male who is sexually frustrated, ashamed of his background and has poor ability in English is vulnerable to transforming into a true bhakt. And that’s why confident, English-speaking women who oppose Modi hit a raw nerve on all counts and get the worst of the true bhakt treatment.
Since social media allows anonymity, their anger expresses itself as the worst personal abuse. Note that BJP never invited these true bhakts to worship them. In fact the PM had to tell them off, as even he seems to have had enough of their hyper-aggressive bhakti.
Of course, at the end of the day, easy votes are welcome and BJP doesn’t mind them. However, BJP must distance itself from this unrestrained testosterone. What seems like support starts to look unsavoury pretty soon and cements the hard line image of the party. Ultimately, the Indian voter will get scared and go back to its default party – Congress. There’s a reason Congress ruled for 60 years and BJP has just about crossed six.
Meanwhile what can we do? The best strategy is to not take true bhakts too seriously. Of course, it is difficult to ignore personal abuse. But try to understand their motivations. They are not Modi bhakts; they are simply Frustrated And Complex-ridden Indian Males (FACIMs, pronounced fai-kims, not to be confused with the curse word you may want to use on them). Of course FACIM doesn’t have the same ring to it as bhakt, but it is a more accurate descriptor.
To FACIMs themselves i would only like to say this. Smarten up, learn English and practise it. Make some female friends and ask their advice on how to talk to a girl. When confident, try to ask someone out and date her like a gentleman. Who knows, you may get lucky soon. Once you do, trust me, you will have better things to do than abuse on Twitter. Good luck!