Friday, January 12, 2018
India's Pluralistic Ethos
My Dear Fellow Indians,
We are Indians and nothing but Indian.
An Indian is an Indian is an Indian, period.
As a nation, collectively we are Adivasis, Atheists, Bahais, Bos, Buddhists, Christians, Dalits, Hindus, Jains, Jewish, Muslim, Sikhs, Tribals, Zoroastrians and every possible grouping. We are Brown, Black, White, Yellow and green with envy, magar phir bhi dil hai Hindustani.
Our Motherland is represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture, and religion. We see God as one, none and many; and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names.
We are proud of our heritage - a multi-faith, multicultural, multi-regional and multi-linguistic society, where we have come to accept and respect every which way people have lived their lives. For over 5000 years, India has been a beacon of pluralism - it has embraced Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Baha’i and Zoroastrianism to include in the array of the indigenous religions; Hinduism, Tribal traditions, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
We may want to consciously start thinking and acting as one people, one people within a nation and a community and one people globally. It’s like home when we are conflict free. I do hope each one of us purges any bias towards the other, there is joy in being free from ill-will. Try to be free from this day forward… free from anything that prevents you from being a part of the whole.
Our combined philosophies believe in one world ; Hinduism describes the world as Vasudaiva Kutumbukum, the whole world is one family, the idea of Ek Onkar(one) in Sikhism, you are all created from the same couple as Quraan puts it and Jesus embraced every one regardless of who anyone is... similar philosophies are grounded in all our religions.
A few don't follow their own heritage and resort to thievery, loot, murder, terrorism, rioting, rapes, infanticide and other evils that destroy the fabric of the society, but a majority of every group goes about their own way, living their life with struggles and ease and don't even bother others. We should build upon the 99% of the population and not on the less than 1% that does not follow any principles.
On this day, and every day from here forward, make a pledge to yourselves to talk about in terms of "I am an Indian" - and not Malayalee, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi.... or Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaee. Don't expect others to jump and say the same, give them the time and if you are consistent for at least a year, you will see others emulating you.
India led the way to the freedom movement, since 1947 every country has been liberated from colonialism. Indian democracy is a shining example to the world, where the people have peacefully transferred the powers.
We are inherently secular and economically capitalistic. We believe in "live-and-let-live" lifestyle, which is the essence of capitalism. We respect everyone's right to eat, drink, wear or believe in whatever they want after all God created each one of to be a unique being with our own thumbprint, eye print, taste buds, religious buds, and DNA.
Through the years we have expressed the highest degree of maturity on handling extreme situations; the more divergent opinions we hear, the larger our heart grows, the bigger our embrace would be and we can cushion more differences. Let’s continue to honor the concept that there is always another side to the story, as finding the truth is our own responsibility. I am proud of my heritage and am proud to be an Indian-American.
With a belief that every Indian wants justice and demands a fair treatment of every one of the 1.1 billion Indians; rich or poor, connected or not, we must come to grips with the social and community life to create an exemplary India, that will become a model nation in the world.
We have to figure out how to co-exist with least frictions. It is in your interests, my interest, and everyone's interest to have justice, which gives birth to sustainable peace and prosperity
We have to find solutions for people who go to the extremes; be them be Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian or other, hoping they would recognize the God-given space to each one of us and eventually see the benefits of co-existence.
I propose that the parliament of India introduce a bill for every political, cultural and religious organization in India to register with the Home Ministry, state their purpose, list their assets for public scrutiny, list the membership roster to be updated annually. Include a modified version of the 7 items into Indian Penal Code, and make it into the law to punish the violators of the law.
Patriotism should be defined in terms of what you do to uplift the hopes of people, in terms of education to all, jobs to as many as we can in each successive year, home for every human, and a better lifestyle to every Indian.
Every public office holder from the Peon to the President of India and everyone in between must take this pledge and live by it. Violation should disqualify him or her from holding the public office. Let it be monitored publicly.
1. I pledge allegiance to India, indivisible nation that stands for liberty and justice for all.
2. I pledge that I honor and treat every Indian with "full" dignity.
3. I pledge that all individuals would be treated on par.
4. I pledge that I will treat all religions with equal respect, equal access, and equal treatment.
5. I pledge that I will oppose any act that treats any Indian less than myself.
6. I Pledge that I will work for an India, where every individual can live with security and aspire for prosperity.
7. I pledge that I will protect, preserve and value every inch of India and every human soul in India
This would be the first step towards ensuring a Just, peaceful and prosperous India, that can sustain its progress and peace.
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Committed to cohesive societies
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel,India, interfaith, and cohesion at workplace and society. He is committed to building aCohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links. Most of his work is at www.CenterforPluralism.com