HOME | ABOUT US | Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | www.CenterforPluralism.com | 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


Saturday, February 16, 2019

The CFP condemns the discrimination of a Hindu Student.


“We all have to stand up do the right thing. Discrimination against one amount to discrimination against all, today it is you and tomorrow it will be someone else and one day it will be me. To build a secure society, every one of us has to work for common good, any good to one group at the cost of the other will not sustain." Mike Ghouse, Center for Pluralism.  

By the way, nose piercing is not a Hindu thing, it is the thing of the subcontinent, everyone from Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, and others pierce their noses in India.

Hindu student kicked out of school for a nose piercing

A Hindu girl has been barred from her Catholic school after she had her nose pierced for cultural and religious reasons.

On Tuesday, the first day of school at Aranmore Catholic College, Sanya Singhal, 15, was ordered to remove the tiny new stud in her left nostril or go home.

The Year 10 pupil showed teachers a note from her mother and tried to explain the stud could not be removed for 12 months for religious reasons but was told she could not attend class until she took it out.



15-year-old Hindu girl Sanya Singhal got the nose piercing for religious reasons.
Picture: The West Australian

Sanya’s mother, Kalyani, said it was a spiritually significant custom in northern India for young girls to have a nose pin inserted to mark their transition to womanhood.

She said she asked Aranmore principal Declan Tanham if her daughter could cover the pin with a bandaid, but was told Sanya would have to change schools if she refused to remove it.

“They have exceptions for the Islamic girls by allowing them to wear their headscarf, but we were told our cultural needs are not relevant,” Ms Singhal said.

Hindu girl Sanya Singhal had her nose pierced for cultural reasons. She acknowledged the college rules stipulate no face piercings, but said they also allowed for discretion.

Sanya, who has been at Aranmore since Year 3, said the pin’s spiritual significance meant it was similar to wearing a crucifix on a necklace.

Mr Tanham confirmed Sanya could not go to school unless she removed the stud.
“If she takes it out she’s welcome,” he said. “She’s a good student.”

He said Aranmore was the most multi-cultural school in Perth and had many Hindu students, but none with a nose piercing.

“She’s welcome at the school — she just has to abide by the uniform policy agreed to at the point of enrolment,” he said.

“They knew this previously, they’re just choosing to be selective about it. If I let one student do it, the other students will say, ‘Why can’t I?’”

Indian Society of WA assistant secretary Papori Barua said wearing a nose pin was a religious custom for women in some parts of India.


Solidarity with India Army

February 15, 2019 --44 Indian Soldiers were martyred in India by a suicide bomber, what a shame! We stand by them and send our condolences to the families of our Shaheed, the martyrs. We urge the government of India to hold a conference and invite the extremists from all hues to have a dialogue, and the government needs to guarantee the safety of the participants. Let everyone put all their grievances on the table and let’s find solutions. Killing increases the revenge bile in each other. As a civilized society, our goal is to bring the uncivilized into civility, and it requires us to shed the attitudes that aggravate the conflicts. I urge all people who really want harmony and peaceful societies to take the first step and drop their ill-will and hatred towards each other. If you hate them, then their hate towards you is justified. I am glad the Muslim voices are focused on conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturance, a practice of Prophet Muhammad (full information in the book American Muslim Agenda available at Amazon).



Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tulsi or Kamala: The choice before us

Tulsi or Kamala: The choice before us

I urge the Hindu Americans to look for candidates who will build bridges between fellow Americans

  • Updated 

  • As Indian Americans, we have a natural affinity for anyone that resonate with India and Indians. Discussions are taking place in Indian-American homes across the nation about whom to support in the Democratic presidential primary: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard or Sen. Kamala Harris.
    The ultimate goal for all of us is to live securely with our faith, ethnicity, race, and culture. The Indian American immigrants in particular and the non-white immigrants, in general, owe their gratitude to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. It was their effort and subsequent passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that opened the doors for all of us.
    Very few of us would have made it to America had it not been for the freedom that we take for granted now. Who would want to sit at the back of the bus, drink from a separate fountain and be humiliated?
    The United States Declaration of Independence laid the foundation for the principle of life, liberty, and justice for all. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
    The guarantor of such rights comes from the assurance of electing the right candidates to uphold that principle.
    No Indian American wants to mess up what has been good for us — a cohesive America where all of us can function together for common good, and elect the candidates who would uphold the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., to treat every human for his/her character and not his/her faith or color of the skin.
    Sen. Harris is progressive and inclusive. She will not buy into the prejudices that hold the nation back. Her intellectualism is a breath of fresh air, indeed it is worth our time to watch her grill Judge Bret Kavanaugh and attorney general nominee William Barr. We need to explore if Harris has faced exclusion from the Indian American community while growing up, as her father was black. Indian Americans are still struggling with their own racism and prejudices.
    Many Indians believe that the rise of Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley was due to their conversion to Christianity, which proved to be wrong. They made it by the dint of their own merit. Raja Krishnamoorthy, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna and others have also made it by being who they are.
    Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, on the other hand, needs to address her questionable attitudes. She seems to be prejudiced against fellow Americans who are Muslims and the LGBTQ community. And one wonders who else.
    She has an affinity for authoritarians like Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, and Donald Trump. Vox.com writes in an article about Tulsi, “Gabbard’s fall from grace in the Democratic Party came in a bizarre fashion: She picked a series of high-profile fights with the Obama administration over foreign policy.
    Gabbard was an exception. As early as January 2015, she started going on every cable channel that would have her — including Fox News — and bashing Obama’s policy on terrorism. She sounded indistinguishable from a Republican presidential candidate.”
    She was pushing Obama to acknowledge the oxymoron phrase, Radical Islam, without even understanding that religion and radicalism don't go together. Radicals are a part of every religious, political and social group.
    Islam has nothing to do with radicalism, if she does not get this, I would be happy to coach her or she can read the book “American Muslim Agenda.”
    In a tweet on Oct 1, 2015, she praised Putin, “Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did.” After visiting Assad, she came back and parroted the regime’s line that there was no difference between the mainstream anti-Assad rebels and ISIS.”
    A young Hindu Medical doctor doing his residency stayed with me for a month while attending a conference in Washington, D.C. We had terrific conversations on a daily basis. He wished his parents had the opportunity to know Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Sikhs, and blacks. He deplored their hatred towards them. He said, he has lived in the dorms, and everything they have said about others was wrong.
    Many a parent inadvertently poison their kids against fellow Americans, without realizing that when their kids grow up to be adults, they have to work with the very people they were told to keep away from. It must be painful for these men and women to form trustful relationships. Not sure how much of brainwashing her father has done to Tulsi Gabbard to hold negative views against LGBTQ and Muslim communities.
    I urge the Hindu Americans to look for candidates who will build bridges between fellow Americans. At the end of the day, we owe it our children, grandchildren and ourselves to have a cohesive America, where all of us can live in harmony and not in suspicion of each other.
    ---------
    Mike Ghouse is executive director of Center for Pluralism in Washington, D.C.

Republic Day Message from an Indian American


REPUBLIC DAY MESSAGE
Saturday, January 26, 2019
A message from.Mike Ghouse

Today is India's Republic Day, the day upon which India’s constitution was adopted. Thanks to Jawahar Lal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Sardar Patel, and Maulana Azad for laying a good foundation for our nation and nurturing a pluralistic democracy and placed a good stable sustainable nation in our hands. Had they not done the right thing, you and I would not have had the freedom and prosperity we witness today. It could have been a tinpot dictatorship or a banana republic, thank God they steered us in the right direction.


Now it is the duty of our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dutifully sail the ship in the same direction set by our founding fathers. This is what they would say to the Prime Minister in handing over the nation, "Manzil pay aaya mulk her bala ko taal ke, Hum laye hain toofan say kishti nikal ke, es desh ko rakhna mere bachcho sambhal ke.”

I am proud of my mother country India and my homeland America and I will defend both nations with my last breath. We are inherently a democratic people with responsible capitalistic economies.* The strength of a nation lies on two solid feet to stand firmly – one is economic justice, i.e., sab ka Vikas and the other is social cohesion, i.e., sab ka Saath. It is how different groups function together for the common good without fighting among themselves.

At this time, India is struggling to stand on her feet – we do not have sab ka Saath neither Prime Minister Modi is doing anything to bring the communities together, let alone speaking out against the division. Sab Ka Vikas is a forlorn thing – when someone has seen 3000% increase in his wealth while the majority is going down, it is nothing but Kuch ka vikas.

Both my nations are working with the idea of democracy against temptations to rule people. You rule people when you don't believe they have the God-given intelligence to make fair decisions for themselves. That is what the British thought of us that we were incapable of ruling ourselves, which that SOB Churchill had verbalized and wanted to divide us and continue to rule, but failed... He laid the eggs that are hatching in the form of homegrown divisive Indian individuals. The only way to counter is to lay good eggs to overwhelm the bad eggs. Let each one of us do more good to one and all to reverse the fall.

Ask not what Modi can do for India; ask yourselves what you can to restore dharma (sab ka saath). And I ask each one of you to ask yourselves, what have you done to keep the nation together? What have you done to guard the freedom of fellow Indians? What have you done, to tell the truth? What have you done to develop harmony among Indians? What have you done to preserve the freedom of all? Remember, your freedom hinges on the freedom of others around you, if you bully others, you will always live in apprehension and fear of the other at the end no one will live in peace.

If you are a Muslim (or anyone from the minority communities), have you invited a Hindu to a dinner at your home and vice versa? Do you have at least 5 friends from other communities? If not, why not? Are you a contributor towards India's Vikas? If not, it is not too late to make a pledge to do the right thing – to respect every fellow Indian and let him or her live his life in the pursuit of his happiness. Live your life and let others live theirs. Let everyone have the God-given freedom to breath, eat, drink, wear or believe whatever the hell he or she wants. Be a contributor to the common good, it brings Mukti from ill-will.

India's culture has been around for 5000 years and every now and then it has faced temporary setbacks, and what we are going through now is a temporary face. Indians will wake up and restore India's glory of freedom, democracy, and pluralism.

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, being and none-being,. The only thing we need to do is to respect the otherness of the other and accept each other's uniqueness. True spirituality is not dressing up in colorful clothes and acting to be superior, but it is becoming one of the many and equal to all.

Mike Ghouse
https://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 18, 2019

Tulsi, Kamala, and Indian Americans


The Indian American Immigrants and perhaps all non-white immigrants owe their gratitude to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Without their effort and subsequent passage of the Civil Rights Act, very few of us would have made it to America. Who would want to sit in the back of the bus, drink from a separate fountain and be humiliated?

One of the reasons the earlier immigrants have come to America was the freedom to live their lives in the pursuit of liberty and happiness. You can be who you want to be in personal achievements and contribute to nation building. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Declaration of Independence.

The guarantor of such rights is assured through electing the right candidates to uphold that principle.  

As Indian Americans, we have a natural affinity towards anyone that resonates India and things Indian. The discussions are taking place in American Indian homes across the nation about whom to support between Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Kamala Harris.

No Indian American wants to mess up what has been good for us; a cohesive America where all of us can function together for common good, and want to elect the candidates who uphold the dream of Martin Luther King Jr., to treat every human for his/her character and not his/her faith or skin color.
Kamala is progressive and inclusive in her approach. She will not buy into the prejudices that hold the nation back.  We need to explore if she has faced exclusion from Indian Americans while growing up because her father was black. Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal have a reduced image among Indians because many of them believed their rise was due to conversion which proved to be wrong. Raja Krishnamoorthy, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna and others have made it. 

Tulsi Gabbard, on the other hand, has a questionable record that she needs to address. She seems to be prejudiced against fellow Americans who are Muslims and perhaps LGBTQ community and not sure who else. You cannot build a peaceful and prosperous nation with such an attitude, in the end, everyone lives in apprehension.

She has an affinity for authoritarians like Hafez Assad, Putin, Modi, and Trump. She is in the wrong party; she belongs to the exclusive Republican Party rather than the all-inclusive Democratic party.

Vox.com writes in an article about Tulsi, “Gabbard’s fall from grace in the Democratic Party came in a bizarre fashion: She picked a series of high-profile fights with the Obama administration over foreign policy. Gabbard was an exception. As early as January 2015, she started going on every cable channel that would have her — including Fox News — and bashing Obama’s policy on terrorism. She sounded indistinguishable from a Republican presidential candidate.”

She was pushing Obama to acknowledge the oxymoron phrase, Radical Islam, without realizing that Radicals exists in every group of people and Islam has nothing to do with it, if she did not get this, I would be happy to coach her or she can read the book “American Muslim Agenda.”  Here is a video made in June 2016 about the issue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsnqLkRNI4U  

In a tweet on Oct 1, 2015, she praised Putin, “Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did.” After visiting Assad, she came back and parroted the regime’s line that there was no difference between the mainstream anti-Assad rebels and ISIS.” She could have asked Modi to apologize to fellow Indians for the massacre of nearly 2000 Indians particularly Muslims as a part of repentance.

Many a parent inadvertently poison their kids against fellow Americans, without realizing that when their kids grow up to be adults, they have to work with the very people they were told to keep away from, it must be painful for these men and women to form trustful relationships.  Not sure how much of brainwashing her father has done to her to hold such views against LGBTQ and Muslim communities.

I urge the Hindu Americans to look for candidates who will build a bridge between fellow Americans, at the end of the day, we owe it our children, grandchildren and ourselves to have a cohesive America, where all of us can live in harmony and not in suspicion of each other.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His new book, the “American Muslim Agenda” is about everything you wanted to know about Muslims. The book is available at Xlibris and Amazon. Mike is a public speaker, author, interfaith wedding officiant, and the executive director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. More about him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Celebrating India's Republic Day 2019

The National Council of Asian Indian Associations, Inc.
cordially invite you to celebrate

70th Republic Day of India with a Banquet Dinner & Cultural 
Program on Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm 
at  Martin’s Crosswinds 7400 Greenway Center Drive, Greenbelt MD 20770 

Early Bird Registration by 1/20/2019 with Donation of $ 50.00
After 1/20/2019 by Donation of $ 55.00. Limited Seats.
Check payable to National Council of Asian Indian Associations, Inc.,
and mail to Attention:

Arundhotee Goswami, 18918 Saint Albert Dr., Brookeville, MD 20833 
For sponsorship opportunities please contact Mr. Baljinder (Shammi) Singh
Devang Shah 240-606-8638 shah@shahandkishore.com
Arundhotee  Goswami 240-413-0400 arundhotee@yahoo.com
===============================

Republic Day is a defining day in the nationhood of India, collectively, the people of India decided that India will be a democratic republic fashioned after the American constitution with liberty and justice for all. Thus, the constitution of the people by the people for the people of India was adopted on 26th January 1950.
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.
Please join us in the celebrations.
Mike Ghouse

Friday, December 14, 2018

White Washing Religious Freedom in India



By Dr. Mike Ghouse
India has an impeccable history of welcoming the stranger and giving refuge to the oppressed, rejected and the evicted. She has welcomed Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and the Baha’is. Indeed the very first mosque built outside of Arabia was in India by a Hindu King in the state of Malabar. The Tibetan Buddhist refugees found a home in India; the Ahmadiyya Muslims felt secure, so were the displaced Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees.

This beautiful pluralistic 5000-year-old tradition of India is in peril now. BJP and its affiliates (The SanghParivar) that govern India “currently” are hell-bent on destroying that heritage. They want to force non-Hindus into obedience and tell them what they can eat or believe, and whom they can marry or live as 2nd class citizens. They want to free India from Christians and Muslims and plan to convert them by 2025 to Hinduism. Indeed, the ISIS had given similar options to the Christians and Yazidis.

Make no mistake about it; Hinduism is a religion of peace like all other religions. The problem is not between people of faith, but the radicals.

A few Indian American organizations linked to the SanghParivar want to whitewash the situation. They want to portray that everything is hunky dory in India.

Hunky dory it is not, the Congressmen and Senators are fully conversant of the harassment, lynching, raping and killing of Christians, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists and others in India.

It is time for the Indian Americans to save the honor of India and restore her pluralistic heritage that got derailed in the last four years.

The prosperity of a nation stands on her two firm legs; economic growth and social cohesion, one will not sustain without the other.

If the minorities continue to live in apprehension and fear, the whole nation gets engaged in useless battles and the prosperity will come to a grinding halt, and the country will limp until it reaches a new life or loses all that was achieved.

The confidence of foreign investments in a nation spurs the growth, India’s IT industry, call centers, and businesses have raised the standard of living for many. As long as the investors feel secure about their investments they will pump in more funds. However, when they see chaos emerging with the nations discriminative practices, harassment, lynching, rapes and killing of the minorities, they will pull out and everyone stands to lose.

It was embarrassing to note the missing presence of India at the religious freedom conference held by the Department of State in July 2018. If the violations continue, India may get stamped as a “Country of Particular Concern” for violations of religious freedom. It will hurt India, particularly the business community and the information technology sector.

The whitewash report produced by the Hindu America Foundation is understandable. No Indian wants India to lose, but neither should we compromise on the truth to look good. We hope to produce an accurate state of the union; after all, India’s emblem includes the phrase, SatyamevaJayate – Truth triumphs.

The majority of Indians of all faiths believe in Pluralism, i.e., respecting the otherness of other. It is not Hindus either, but the radicals among Hindus that are causing the problems with the subtle encouragement from the BJP government.
“The Indian government provides “unprecedented” religious accommodations to its religious minority population, says a report by a US-based Hindu advocacy group.”
The truth is far from it. It sounds like the majority is doing a favor to the minorities in ‘accommodating’ them. It is like saying “we give equal rights to women” who the hell are we to give them their rights, to begin with, the rights were theirs. Indeed, every Indian is guaranteed those rights; we are all equal citizens. No one has more privileges than the other.

“To bring greater stability to the region and prevent the growth of radical Islamist and Communist/Maoist terrorism.” This statement is too hypocritical and divisive to exclude radical Hindutva terrorism from the list. The issue is not with Hindus or Muslims; it is with radicals among them.

“Overall, it seeks to show the broader story of religious freedom and pluralism in India, which is often not, reflected in the media or US policy circles.” Indeed, India was a pluralist nation until the Hindutva brigade took over the country four years ago.

We need to come together and appeal to the Government of India, to issue visas to the commissioners of the USCIRF to investigate the Sikh Genocide, Massacre of Muslims in Gujarat, killing of Christians, Rapes, and lynching of Dalits, and harassment of Sikhs. If the commission gives a clean certificate, it will help boost the investor confidence in India; on the other hand, if India’s record is of particular concern, then it is time to fix it than pretending to be holier than thou.

I would appeal to the Hindu America Foundation to issue press releases condemning the lynching of Muslims, killing of Christians, harassment of Dalits and Atheists, by condemning each event, it will give them the credibility to be a legitimate pluralist organization for Human rights.

We will also write a letter urging Prime Minister Modi to speak out forcefully against harassment of any Indian and pledge that no Indian has more privileges than the other. Ambassador Sam Brownback says, if evil acts get condemned as they occur, they will be choked and will not see the light of the day.

(The writer is president of the Center for Pluralism and is committed to fostering cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other)
Published in several Indian Newspapers including https://www.thekashmirmonitor.net/whitewashing-religious-freedom/