HOME | ABOUT US | Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com You can send an email to: MikeGhouseforIndia@gmail.com


Who are we?

Please refer to the notes on the left column - We hope to convert this to Indians Together site. Mike
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Saturday, June 23, 2018

What is a Good Life?

Note:  You’ll find an occasional sprinkling of Urdu/ Hindi/ Kannada languages in all my essays written at this particular site.. I let my Indianness ooze out of me with occasional references to things that are Indian. In all other writings, it is nothing but English, if you have a need to understand them, please shoot an email to MikeGhouseforIndia@gmail.com  

Is it about having what others have or living your own life? Until a decade ago I had a great materialistic life from the first point of view, but in the last several years, I’ve chosen to live a minimalist’s life, that is living with bare necessities, only what is needed. Indeed, happiness and desire for things are inversely proportional to each other.
If we focus on living our own lives, we’ll live happily. The problems begin when we want to have what others have, there is no end to having things, and there is nothing wrong with wanting and having stuff if that is what you want.
I am hoping, each one of us can find a new mirror to see ourselves, and purposefully determine what we want out of life.
Tum bhi ek din mar ja o’gay, hum bhi ek din mar’jayeingay
Ana ki Takraron ko mita kay, sukoon hum kab payeiengay?
One day, your life will come to an end, and mine too. If we keep arguing with our egos, when will we find peace?  When will we stop and smell the roses?
IT IS GOOD TO BE FREE
Whether it is new or an age-old tension between you and your sister, brother, parents, spouse or kids, and friends, customers or clients, how long will you carry the burden?
Tum bhi ek din marja o’gay, o bhi ek din mar’jayeingay
Death will end the complaints anyway, then why do we need to carry the burden through death? Why not end them now and enjoy the rest of the life? It is good to be free, free from anxieties and tensions.
Whether it is hatred for an individual, a group, or their faith, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture or other uniqueness, it is our burden, they quietly come and go, they may not even know about our hate, but we’d be still carrying the burden, anger, and pain.  As a corollary, you or your friends may have loved someone intensely during your teen years without the other person even knowing about it. Pyaar huwa chup ke se, huwa tha na?
LET YOUR LOVED ONES BE FREE 
All the stuff I have accumulated over the years would be useless whenever I croak.  It would be a hassle for my kids to get rid of that crap (good stuff to me) should something happen to me, and my kids have zero interest in anything I own except the family pictures.
Why should my kids spend time in disposing of the stuff they don’t need?   Should I burden them with a sense of guilt to get rid of that stuff?   Should I worry what they will do to my stuff after I am gone?  They have their own stuff they have accumulated like I did, and I should set them free to live their own lives.
Should I become a watchdog guarding my ego, my way of doing things, controlling and seeking perfection in others? To be tense and give tension to others?  It’s a choice we make, to enjoy life with or without things we need, and do things that give us peace of mind.
I came from a 5000 Square foot home with lots of great furniture, paintings, silverware, expensive knick knacks etc… you name it, I had it. Three years ago, I gave away everything I had and chose to live in an apartment with bare necessities. The 4th copy of one of the Russian paintings that I gave away sold for 45,000 to a Bible Museum in Dallas. I did not flinch losing it. I am glad, I did not feel the blood rushing either. I had some extraordinary sandalwood carvings – I am happy I don’t have any of that and when I die, I will go with freedom. I am free now. “Ab shaad hoon main, azaad hoon main, kuch kaam nahin hai aahon say.”
I FOUND MY MIRROR 
With a few exceptions that I regret, I have not maligned anyone in my life, or gone around telling bad things about others.  I have no grudges in my heart either.
What is the gain with hatred and malice or backbiting? It’s actually a loss, it keeps you bonded with the dislike of others.
Asking others to forgive you for your shortcomings is not giving away control of your life, but giving an expression tof how you feel. If they act up, you forgive them and move on.  Let it not be you who gives up on hope.
Let’s tie the loose ends of life, every day and live a full life!  My mother tied the loose ends, and I was able to facilitate Najma, my late wife to do the same, and here I am, making the efforts.
Michami Dukadam friends. Let’s start our life afresh with a clean slate, now, from today!
I went to Dallas to attend celebrating a friend’s life who had passed away a week ago, he was a great soul. It was time to reflect on life. While there, I went around in Plano with my son and his family. The Quality of life is undoubtedly far better here than most places to raise a family, and the amenities and facilities were incredible. Plano and Richardson are beautiful cities with God’s diversity of creation, people of different races, faiths, and ethnicities were all there. I went to watch my Grandson play soccer indoors, and it was a joy to see all of God’s creation there.
On the way back home to DC, I was sitting on the plane next to a friendly sociable woman, and we had a good healthy conversation over a period of four hours. She had so many experiences to share, and occasionally my mind wandered at the possibility of taking this conversation further, and each time, I dropped the idea. Thanks to the problem in the plane, it was delayed by an hour and I was secretly humming the song, “Aye abr-e Karam, aaj itna baras…”
As we landed at Reagan Airport and walked towards the baggage, another song helped me preserve these beautiful moments.  “Chalte Chalte, younhi koi mil gaya tha.” In the journey of life, I ran into someone,  those few moments were pleasant, and let them remain so, and let them remain a dream. We parted, I did not ask for her phone number nor she did.
For a few moments the desire to live that life again surfaced, but am glad, I quickly came out of it and woke up reminding myself of what I’ve chosen. My commitment is to Pluralism, and I should stick to it until the Center of Pluralism is doing everything I wanted it to do. I have to live a purposeful life and leave behind ideas and practices that may benefit one soul or the other. This is not a noble thing or a great thing, it is simply what I want to contribute to my planet.
Tying the loose ends of life – the real story of my late wife Najma
http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2008/06/celebration-of-spirit-of-volunteerism.html
Mike Ghouse

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Questions for Aruna Miller, running for US Congress from 6th District MD

Who is a good candidate?

Each person may have a different perspective, but I believe, anyone who subscribes to the  American values of fairness, justice, and equality, and supports everyone's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is a good candidate. If you can wish for others, what you want others to wish for you will work.  

What happens when a politician does not measure up to those values? Then we have a responsiblity to find the candidates position and the context.




There are emails floating in the cyberspace about Aruna Miller. She seems to be defensive about it and 
I understand her anguish.  She apparently has made statements cheering and supporting India's Prime Minister Modi, a controversial figure like President Trump.

Mr. Modi, just like Mr. Trump believes that a few among us are more privileged than others. Neither of them has any qualms about sowing the seeds of discord and creating division and chaos within the society.  They really don't care about anyone other than the minimum number of supporters to remain in power. They latch onto the minimum and do everything to appease them at the cost of all others.

His party members do not believe that Indians should have the freedom to believe whatever they want or even eat what they want. Nearly 50 people have been lynched and killed in the open for eating beef. 

Mr. Modi's 'tacit approval' or 'chosen silence' is causing lynching of Muslims for the doubt of possessing beef in their refrigerators, and harassing of Christians goes on an unprecedented level since he came to power.  Beating up a Dalit groom for riding on a horse, or the Dalit woman gets raped as the upper-caste men are entitled to her is a regular occurrence. Sikhs were kicked out of their farms, and Atheists are being killed for criticizing the government. This is Modi's India. 

The Ambassador for religious freedom Hon. Sam Brownback, said something to this effect, “It the leaders can speak up against such ugliness instantly, most of the lynching, harassing and killing will stop.” Will Modi ever do that? Religious liberty is thrown under the bus under Modi's Raj.

The majority of white folks in America live their daily lives in peace and are oblivious to the apprehensions and tensions the minorities endure. It is very painful. It is the same case with Hindu majority in India, they mind their own business and live their lives in peace, and are simply horrified to learn what goes on in name of their religion right under their noses.  Thanks to many white folks in America, and many Hindus in India for speaking up and holding the nations together. 

No one has a problem if Aruna Miller supports Modi, he is head the of government, and nearly 25% of Indians pledge their allegiance to him, as is the case with Mr. Trump.  We all have dealt with such heads in the past including Kim Jong-un and we must continue to do that.  Mother Teresa had said once, "If you want to make peace with your enemies, go talk with them, talking with your friends won't change a thing." She was right. 

Defending the rights of those who were denied their rights is an American value.  Aruna Miller is a member of minority community herself in the US, and I hope she wishes for Indian minorities what she wants for herself.  That is freedom to eat, believe and live her life in the pursuit of her happiness with equal access to everything available to all others.

Can we count on Aruna Miller to defend the rights of minorities in India, if not assertively support them? Would she sign a petition for getting a visa to the Commissioners of United States Commission on the International Religious Freedom to investigate the truth about the Gujarat Massacre, Kashmir conflict, and the plight of Kashmiri Pandits,  Sikh Genocides, harassment of Dalits and Christians? Currently, the commissioners are denied the visa to India. We have to find the truth. If it is a clean chit, we can celebrate, if is not, we need to work on it. 


As Indian-Americans, we should fight for the rights of all Indians to have the same freedoms that we have. Everyone should have the freedom to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever the hell they want to believe.  Would Aruna Miller support this? 

Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to live in fear of the other. 

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Reflections on Ramadan Celebrations, Eid Mubarak

A few questions are answered here; why do we celebrate on different days? What is it with the Moon? How do you greet Muslims on this day? What kind of culinary delights are out there? How do Muslims celebrate in different parts of the world?  Ramadan TV Commercials? A bit of politics too.
I urge Muslims around the world to take a minute to stop and appreciate the men and women who serve our nation, police, firefighters and others who are out there for the safety of individuals and families.  I have done this time and again, and I always remember the Louisville experience, where the police officer asked me to forward the email to him, asking Muslims to appreciate them, and after the Eid prayers, he had forwarded it to many police officers.  I urge Muslim organizations to issue a press release to this effect, and this is our appeal from the World Muslim Congress, a think tank committed to building a cohesive America.
Pluralism is alive and kicking in Islam – i.e., respecting the otherness of others! Indeed, there are many schools of thought, and the good clergymen always point out the different traditions, Dr. Imam Kavakci, one of the leading Muslim Scholars, always advised on that basis.  It is up to the individual to follow what he or she is conditioned or comfortable with.  The non-pluralistic Muslims resort to name calling the others who take a different path. But all of them celebrate the festival.
A month-long fasting should clean up our bodies, hearts, and souls, it means you are no biased towards anyone, you have no wall between you and another human and that you are committed to peace and harmony.  What others do to you does not matter, but how you behave towards others is all that matters in making America great again. By the way, I am an independent, and not a Republican or a Democrat and I am a Pluralist Muslim, like a majority of Muslims – i.e., respecting the otherness of others, and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of his beautiful creation.
Mike Ghouse
When is the Eid? Ramadan Celebrations?  Is it Friday, Saturday or even Sunday? For some, it will depend on when the moon (first day) is sighted.
Pluralism is alive and kicking in Islam – i.e, respecting the otherness of others! Indeed, there are many schools of thought, and the good clergymen always point out the different traditions, Dr. Imam Kavakci always advised on that basis.  It is up to the individual to follow what he or she is conditioned or comfortable with.  The non-pluralistic Muslims resort to name calling the others who take a different path. But all of them celebrate the festival.
Since the beginning of Islam, there have been debates as to what constitutes moon sighting. Some interpret that there has got to be a minion to declare that they have seen it themselves with their own eyes, while others do not accept it unless they have seen it themselves. It is also acceptable if the moon is sighted elsewhere, but now, each group has to have their own moon sighting. In the United States, there is an organization that monitors moon sighting and announces it in advance. Over the millennium we learned to accept and respect the otherness of other.
Politics plays a crucial role in our Temples, Synagogues or Churches, Mosques are no different. A few scientifically-inclined-Muslims have adopted NASA’s calculations believed to be precise. However, four different traditions are operating concurrently; i) Strictly Calendar, ii) NASA  iii) Sighting with bare eyes and iv) sighting by others in the community.
The NASA-oriented and the Calendar-group miss out the fun, joy, and exhilaration of waiting and watching the needle thin moon on the horizon. The whole family gets out on the rooftops, or higher grounds, some even climb electric poles, and a few will drive out where they can see the sky without obstacles, kids would climb on parent’s shoulders, and a few go from place to place shouting in excitement, did you see it? It is like the belief in Santa Claus, Angels, and other myths, each tradition fulfills one’s emotional needs and every one becomes sentimental. After all, if celebration does not have the excitement, it is not a celebration.
America’s spirit of freedom touches every soul, no matter what religion or tradition they follow. American Muslims are no different, they prefer to have a pre-set date to start fasting and the celebration called “Eid” pronounced as Eeed as in Eeel. The idea is for them to take a day off from work or get an optional day off for their children from the schools. Always, the joy multiplies when the family and friends celebrate it together. They prefer to start on a pre-set date and trust the calculations.
The conflicts are the same everywhere on the earth. Each group subscribes to one of the four systems mentioned above. America is no different; you will find celebrations on one or three different days in any given city, the Sunnis, being the largest group has the greater division within, while the Sufis, Shias, Ismailis, WD Mohammad, Bohra and Ahmadiyya follow the pre-determined dates.
The consensus may be attributable to having central spiritual leadership in all groups except the Sunni. However like the American Public wishes to see the Republicans and Democrats drop the party lines and focus on what is good for America, the Muslims also wish they could celebrate the Eid on one single day. It ain’t going to happen, it is human to differ. It is against the spirit of Ramadan to denigrate, diminish and devalue other practices.
The essence of Ramadan is to become humble, simple and free from ill-will, anger, meanness, and hate. Let’s fill our hearts with goodwill and honor Ramadan by saying “Eid Mubarak” or Happy Eid to everyone who celebrates on a different day in the same town. The essence of Ramadan is joy and let’s not prick the bubble; God has not signed a pact with anyone behind other’s back to favor one and disfavor the other.  Let’s allow God to be an honest God who is just, kind, merciful and loving as Quran says. Let’s rejoice the differences of interpretations. If you want to celebrate every day, go to every celebration.
In the spirit of Ramadan, I pray that Ramadan gets into our hearts and minds and make us embrace all factions of Muslims without undermining their tradition and further pray that we treat every human on the earth with dignity, respect, and care.
The Shia-Sunni conflict we see in Iraq is new to both groups of Muslims, conflicts have always been there but the violence in conflict took birth after we (The Americans) invaded Iraq and sowed the seeds of division. Shamefully, the Shia and Sunni played it out. Our short-sighted foreign policy is pitting Saudi Arabia against Iran. Iran is not a threat to anyone, it is the false propaganda by Netanyahu, and salesmanship of defense contractors to sell Arms to Saudi, and the stupid Saudi monarchs have bought the idea, I wish we can sell peace and democratic education that will benefit us all in the long haul. I wish, the leadership of these two nations make a bold move and meet in Singapore and hash out the differences.  I also wish in the spirit of Ramadan, the Pakistani people will wake up and correct the ugliness in their constitution that shamelessly discriminate Ahmadiyya Muslims. Above all, I wish Muslims chose to follow the foundation of Islam; Amin, that is caring for every human being and seeking peace and harmony by respecting the otherness of others.
That is indeed the wisdom expressed in Qur’an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: “O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware of everything you do.”

MUSLIMS MUST DO THIS

I urge Muslims around the world to take a minute to stop and appreciate the men and women who serve our nation, police, firefighters and others who are out there for the safety of individuals and families.  I have done this time and again, and I always remember the Louisville experience, where the police officer asked me to forward the email to him, asking Muslims to appreciate them, and after the Eid prayers, he had forwarded it to many police officers.

WHAT ELSE? 

Everything you always wanted to know about Ramadan is here at www.RamadanNews.com
Ramadan Commercials by McDonald at http://ramadannews.com/ramadan-commercials/
What does God want? http://ramadannews.com/happy-ramadan-what-does-god-really-want/
You can also read “The Rituals of Ramadan” followed by the “Spirit of Ramadan”.
Usually, Arabic Speaking people call it Ramadan, all others call is Ramzan, both are acceptable terms.
There should be at least 100 ways of wishing the festivities:
Ramadan Mubarak!
Salamat Hari Raya
Eid Mubarak
İyi Ramazanlar
Ramadan Kareem
Hayırlı Ramazanlar
Hoşgeldin Ramazan,
Happy Eid-ul-Fitr
If you know the greetings in any other language, please send an email to MuslimVision2020@gmail.com to be included for the next Eid.
      
                     
Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day through the Center for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and its affiliate sites including www.RamadanNews.com and www.MuslimSpeaker.com and www.InterfaithSpeaker.com
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Monday, June 11, 2018

Will RSS consider Pranab Da’s Inclusive Indian Nationalism?

I am pleased to share the following article from Ram Punyani, one of the pluralists that I respect.

Excellent piece indeed. Mother Teresa had said, if you want to make peace with your enemy (or perceived enemy), go talk with them. Talking among friends will not change anything.

I have chosen this formula, and have gone and dealt with extreme right-wingers, and have been able to receive concessions on their extreme rhetoric.

I agree with your last paragraph and what his daughter has said. Now the burden is on Congress to highlight the pluralism aspect of his speech, flood the internet to counter-narratives that you have rightly predicted will float.

With your permission, I will publish this piece at www.CenterforPluralims.com and http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Thank you

What do we do at the Center for Pluralism

Mike Ghouse
Center for Pluralism
Washington, DC
(214) 325-1916
Mike@CenterforPluralism.com
www.CenterforPluralism.com

Will RSS consider Pranab Da’s Inclusive Indian Nationalism?
Ram Puniyani
Dialogue is the core part of democratic process. The question comes; can there be dialogue between two opposite ideologies on Indian horizon, the one of Indian nationalism and the other of Hindu nationalism? We witnessed a strange spectacle when the Pranab Mukherjee, the lifelong congressman and believer in plural, inclusive Indian nationalism accepted to speak on the platform of RSS, the apex organization promoting narrow, divisive, exclusive Hindu nationalism. The visit of Ex-President to address RSS event was strongly opposed by large section of Congress leaders and many others, on the ground that RSS is adept at gaining legitimacy from such visits while at the same time working at cross purpose to the message of the invited guests.
Mahatma Gandhi was one such visitor to RSS, who was killed due to the ideology of hate propagated by RSS “All their (RSS) leaders’ speeches were full of communal poison.  As a final result the poisonous atmosphere was created in which such a ghastly tragedy (Gandhi’s murder) became possible. RSS men expressed their joy and distributed sweets after Gandhi’s death.” (Sardar Patel’s letter). Whether there can be a dialogue with RSS has been a question on the minds of many.
What happened in Nagpur event when Pranab Mukherjee paid visit to Nagpur (June 7th 2108)? To begin with Mukherjee visited RSS founder K B Hedgewar’s birth place and wrote, “Today I came here to pay my respects & homage to a great son of Mother India KB Hedgewar ji.” Whether out of courtesy for the host one should write in such a manner is a matter of debate again as Hedgewar guided by his Hindu nationalism called Muslims a Yavan snakes. Hedgewar-RSS also kept aloof from the freedom movement, which gave us Independence and later Indian Constitution.
Mukherjee to his credit did talk of pluralism and inclusive nature of Indian Constitution, India being a meeting ground of different people, “It is our composite culture which makes us into a nation. India’s nationhood is not one language, one religion, one entity.” He advised the RSS swayamsevaks, “You are young, disciplined, well trained and athletic. Please wish for peace, harmony and happiness. Our motherland is asking for that, our motherland deserves that”, and also that “any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogmas and identities of religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our national identity.” The highlight of his speech was his recalling Surendranath Bannerjee for his phrase “Nation in the making” as this phrase aptly defines the emergence of Indian nationalism during freedom movement, in contrast to RSS assertion that we are a Hindu nation from times immemorial.
He also remembered the values of Gandhi and Nehru in trying to understand India’s past and Sardar Patel’s contribution in merging the princely states into India. Mukherjee toed the line of Indian culture as a synthesis of different streams, “It is our composite culture which makes us into a nation. India’s nationhood is not one language, one religion, one entity.” And more significantly he pointed out that secularism and pluralism are the soul of India which is constituted by "It is Perennial Universalism of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1600 dialects, practice seven major religions and belong to three major ethnic groups, who live under one system, one flag and one identity of being Bharatiya,” He proceeded to reflect on the vast pluralism enshrined in the Indian society. “India's nationhood is not one language, one enemy and one religion,”
In a way, despite slipping on the point of praising Hedgewar, he did speak about the values enshrined in Indian constitution. Mostly what one does not speak on such occasions also matters a lot. The present scenario created due to RSS Hindu nationalism, where hate has been created around emotive issues like Ram Temple, Cow-beef, love jihad needed to be underlined. The direct connection of the present atmosphere of narrowness and intolerance needed to be drawn out. He did not mention the important fact that the current intimidating, sectarian atmosphere which is building up in the country is due to Hindu nationalist agenda. While he correctly articulated the pluralism and diversity of the country, he failed to mention the political fallout of RSS agenda and left an open space where vague homilies, ‘we respect different opinions’ are put forward by the RSS ideologues without at all registering the differences which are too deep for such ‘respecting others opinions’. The contrast between agenda of two nationalisms, Hindu nationalism and Indian nationalism needed to be drawn out.
True, RSS has grown into huge organizations, and the discourse emanating from its stable is dominating the social scene. Today undoubtedly values of pluralism, which Mukherjee talked about, need to be underlined more than before. In the aftermath his speech what is more likely to happen is the attempt to show that what RSS says and what Mukherjee said are complimentary. It will be an exercise in creating further legitimacy for RSS. For RSS, building Ram Temple (demolishing Babri mosque) is part of nation building, for RSS taking up the issue of cow-beef is nation building. While for the stream of Gandhi-Nehru-Patel-Indian nationalism such issues have no place on political horizon. What matters for this stream is what Mukherjee pointed out apty “People are at the centre of all activities of the State and nothing should be done to divide them. The aim of the State should be to galvanize them to fight a concerted war against poverty, disease and deprivation. Only then can we create a nation where Nationalism flows automatically,”
Surely despite good articulation of Indian nationalism by ex-President, the likely outcome of the visit has been well described by his daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee, who said, ‘the speech will be forgotten and pictures will remain’. The pictures will be circulated with different content, enhancing legitimacy to the divisive agenda of RSS.   

Monday, June 4, 2018

India's Constitution

The short-sightedness of Modi Government will ruin India. If they turn India into a Hindu Taliban state, the world will have more problems again as we had in Afghanistan.  No Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or other will have peace of mind; fear mongering will reach its zenith that will lead to investors pulling out of India, which will collapse the economy in a domino effect. In trying to hurt, harass, lynch Muslims, Dalits, and Christians, the BJP will hurt every Hindu.  His friends will take the money and go elsewhere, to hell with the average Indian. I hope people wake up now than later.

The good news is, it will not happen, the 2019 elections will bring strong opposition and the BJP and the others will fight like cats and dogs and the public will be spared from their rotten bills they are planning to introduce.

Here is Shashi Tharoor. 




Sunday, June 3, 2018

Modi, what to do with Gas prices

Criticizing the government is the most patriotic thing to do, it keeps them on their toes and prevents them free fall and take careful steps and nations are thus saved.  On the other hand, if you do chamchagiri, they become fascists and dictators, we had one, once before in Indira Gandhi, we don't want another one. 
It is Government of the people by the people for the people, and let us take the responsiblity to tell the politicians, whom we elect to obey us and not the other way around

Enjoy this clip about rising gas prices



Modi achievements, a funny video clip # 1

The purpose of the collection is to monitor politicians who promise a lot of things. Criticizing the government is the most patriotic thing to do, it keeps them on their toes and prevents them free fall and take careful steps. On the other hand, if you do chamchagiri, they become fascists and dictators, we had one, once before in Indira Gandhi, we don't want another one.

Enjoy this Video 


Ankit Saxena’s father to host iftar for communal Harmony

DNA Web Team | Updated: May 29, 2018, 10:05 PM IST
iftar file
Photo for representational purpose only.
In February, Yashpal Saxena’s world came crashing down when he got the news that his son was brutally murdered in broad daylight.
In February, Yashpal Saxena’s world came crashing down when he got the news that his son was brutally murdered in broad daylight.
Ankit Saxena, the 23-year-old photographer, was mercilessly thrashed and murdered in a market of west Delhi’s Khayala area on February 3.
The young man was killed by his Muslim girlfriend’s family who were against the inter-faith relationship.
Nevertheless, despite the hostility and drama, Yashpal Saxena always made sure that his son’s murder was not communalised.
Months later, Saxena is planning to host an iftar party on June 3 for promoting communal harmony.
‘This is just an attempt to further our cause of communal harmony…We want our son’s name to be synonymous with this cause,’ Saxena was quoted as saying by The Print.
The local police station and all the officials investigating the ase have also been invited by the family. The Saxenas are also planning to form a trust in their son’s name. They want to reach out and help couples who want to or already have married people outside their faith.
The fateful day 
Saxena was on his way to meet his girlfriend when her family caught sight of him in Raghubir Nagar and a verbal spat followed. “He was then attacked with a knife. Since the two belong to different communities, police force has been deployed in the area,” a senior police officer was quoted as saying.
Saxena’s mother was also beaten up when she rushed to the location, and it was her who took him to the hospital in an auto-rickshaw. “There were dozens of people watching my son get beaten up, but none of them dared to save him. My son was a body builder himself, but he was helpless when the killers caught and killed him. The sight of the woman’s father wielding a big kukri knife must have scared others,” the mother said at the time of the incident.
Yashpal Saxena is our Hero of the year, more about him at: http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2018/02/india-owes-ankit-saxenas-father-debt-of.html

Voters Now Know Modi-Shah

Thanks to Harbans Mukhia and the Wire for presenting one of the most hopeful articles based on reality. 
Voters Now Know Modi-Shah Aren't the Masters of Statecraft They Claimed to Be

In the closed-door meetings, Modi and Shah 'may' have laughed their guts out,  " Dekho hum ne en Hinduoon ko kaisay chootiya banaya, Daliton, easaw-iyoon aur Musalmanon ko kaise dara ke rakha hai? Salon ko ladao, aur apna ullu theek karo." Look, how we made assesses out of Hindus and frightened the crap out of Dalits, Christians, and Muslims. Let's make fools out of them and get us what we want.

George Bush had famously said, you can fool someone, once or twice but not all the times. Indians have finally risen, they will not be fooled in 2019 so that these two bigots can have a laugh at them.

"
The BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine had worked out an invincible formula: wild promises in the name of Vikas (development) at the macro level; and keeping alive innumerable micro-level communal fires on the ground."

I hope the majority of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and others carry ready to film mobile phones and instantly report to the news agencies, not Modi news, but Indian news agencies who are not sold outs.  I urge the media to open up their resources to showcase what people see on the ground.

If BJP wants to win, let them win fair and square and not by intimidating or communalizing. Let the Election Commission put a stop to this nonsense. 


Get your camera ready, show to the world, we the people, care about genuine Vikas, that is food on the table, education, housing and jobs.... not a temple, gurdwara, mosque or a church, that won't give us a better life.  Let every Indian has an opportunity to achieve his or her dream without hindrance. 

Mike Ghouse is committed to cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

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Voters Now Know Modi-Shah Aren't the Masters of Statecraft They Claimed to Be


Courtesy: The Wire


For the nth time, both the ruling party and the opposition are being reminded that Indian voters are not to be taken for granted.

A striking change in the country’s political discourse seems to have been evolving over the past few weeks; now, with the by-election results out, it is writ large on the wall for everyone to see. The change is from “Can the opposition parties survive the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah onslaught in 2019?” to “Can the Bharatiya Janata Party survive the challenge to it from a single or united opposition platform?” In some ways, this is a great compliment to the vibrancy of Indian democracy, which has forever let it out not to take the Indian voter for granted. The message is there once again, for the nth time, for both the BJP and the opposition.

The BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine had worked out an invincible formula: wild promises in the name of vikas (development) at the macro level; and keeping alive innumerable micro-level communal fires on the ground. The formula was seen to be working for about three of the four years of the Modi-Shah regime, reinforcing the duo’s self-belief in the mastery of statecraft. Their lampooning of the past 70 years, “Kuchh nahin hua (Nothing has happened)”, was meant to impress on everyone this new departure in statecraft. A new era had dawned for Indian politics, which was unlike any other since independence.

The ‘vikas’ jumla 

The flaws in this strategy are now coming home to roost. Wild promises always boomerang on the promise maker. All the absurd assurances handed out in strident voice accompanying second-rate theatrics by Modi during the election campaign in 2013-14 are now being played out on social media in video clips to the BJP leaders as reminders; the joke is now on them. What if these get played on impromptu screens by opposition parties in their election campaigns for 2019? No repetition of their words by their opponents has the same impact as the audio-visual original clip has. Shah has also greatly aided the opposition by announcing that the promise of Rs 15 lakhs to every Indian citizen’s account was a jumla; consequently, ‘jumla baaz sarkar‘ has become the sticker on every new promise that Modi is throwing at the crowd. The second sticker is on incessant lying: jhuth ki sarkar.

The formula had a modicum of chance of working had Modi been able to fulfil any of even his not-so-wild promises – price control, help to farmers, some visible growth in jobs, controlling corruption, widening the circle and quality of education and health – most of which are within the realm of the possible, at least in part. But his performance on all of these scores is pitiful. Comparisons with the much-reviled UPA regime are now surfacing – to the detriment of Modi.

Divide and rule
It is understandable that Modi-Shah should avoid reference to vikas since last year, especially after the disastrous demonetisation. In the recent elections around the country, they have fallen back exclusively on the second string of their new statecraft: divide and rule. The dividend it paid them in Uttar Pradesh was overwhelming. It also follows, then, that the dividend that is now being withdrawn is also most dramatic in the recent UP by-polls, though this is largely true elsewhere as well. The message embedded in BJP’s defeats in the Hindutva heartland like Gorakhpur and Kairana (and not to forget Phulpur) could not have been delivered more vociferously.

The opposition parties have also taken care on two counts: the realisation that electoral arithmetic is dead set against any single party including the BJP (remember 31% vote share in 2014) and therefore combining votes is the only open option; and to focus their campaign not on the agenda set by the BJP but on the everyday problems of the people, especially farmers and the youth. In other words, the agenda should be set not by the leaders but by the people. And in the end, people’s problems consist of earning their livelihood and moving on with their lives; looking into their neighbours’ kitchens does not fill their bellies.

Like this, the agenda the BJP-RSS had set is being set aside. Life is resurfacing to assert its supremacy over divisive strategies. Interestingly, massive help from the electronic and print media, the mainstay of the new statecraft, so decisive in 2014, too has fallen prey to the inevitable rule of diminishing returns. It is fair to say that the media too has had some honourable exceptions. Once again, life asserting itself over fakery.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, BSP’s Mayawati, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, and others attend Karnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy’s swearing in. Credit: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak
Modi-Shah will now hold forth on how opportunistic and unprincipled the opposition is in seeking to form a joint front against the BJP and seeking to make the forthcoming battle entirely presidential with the powerful TINA slogan. That is, if in desperation it does not launch massive communal conflagration à la 2002 or pick a tiff with Pakistan to drown out all other agenda. While several leaders like Mayawati have been warning people on these counts for over a year now, it is interesting how the same fears were expressed by the most ordinary villagers of Kairana, to at least NDTV reporters on camera after the poll results on May 31.

However loudly the BJP debaters on TV channels might shout, the elections in India have mostly been non-presidential. That is, people go to the polling booth to elect an MP and not the prime minister. It took the presidential format once when Indira Gandhi swamped the opposition in 1971 and again when Modi did it in 2014. No other election was won in the name of one supreme leader. After that presidential form of election, Gandhi had to bite the dust in 1977; let us see what happens in 2019. But the TINA factor has never worked twice. Besides, 2004 is an outstanding example of TINA’s grossest failure.

After a very successful term, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had a media-hyped India Shining record, with a young and dynamic Pramod Mahajan organising an army of even younger computer wizards at his beck and call, with the caste, religious and economic break up of every single constituency available in the BJP election war room, with a ‘world statesman’ Vajpayee, assisted by ‘lauh purush’ Advani, visible on every TV screen day in and day out, with the opposition in a shambles, with Sonia Gandhi’s candidature compromised by her foreign origin because of which many stalwart Congressmen had parted company, India still did not vote for a prime minister but for MPs from whom to choose the prime minister. And one who emerged prime minister, Manmohan Singh, was the least like a “president”. He ruled for ten long years.

Therefore, much as the BJP will try to pitch its campaign on the TINA factor in the absence of any other, it would be a fraught campaign.

The second, communal option is becoming less and less dividend-paying, and this has been established several times over in the last four years. First Delhi and then Bihar were the early warning signs. Recent election results from across the country have reinforced those signs.

Of course, hearing BJP leaders condemning opposition alliances as unprincipled and opportunistic would be great fun. Some amusement is welcome in these times of great tension.

Harbans Mukhia was a teacher of history at JNU.