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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mike Ghouse to Speak at Parliament of Worlds Religions

DALLAS – (November 28, 2009) – Mike Ghouse, board member of The Memnosyne Foundation, has been invited to speak at the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions in Melbourne, Australia. Co-Founder and President of The Memnosyne Foundation, Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk, made the announcement recently.

Continued - http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2009/11/mike-ghouse-to-speak-at-parliament-of.html


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vande Matram Controversy

Vande Mataram Controversy

Mike Ghouse

Vande Mataram is one of the many National songs of India, whereas, the National Anthem of India is: Jana Gana Mana Adhi Nayaka Jaya hai  

Thank God for our Democracy, where no one should be compelled to sing anything or coerced to do anything.

The divisive forces in India demand that Vande Mataram be made compulsory, this goes against the very essence of democracy; which is freedom to agree and freedom to dissent. Fascism on the other hand is forcing conformity.

These forces need to respect our democracy which has given them the freedom to speak. Had Indira Gandhi succeeded in her emergency rule, they all would have been shut out. They should be grateful that our democracy is a vibrant one and take pride in the values of freedom enshrined in our constitution.

Vande Mataram includes the following lines;

Mother I kiss thy feet,
Mother, to thee I bow.

To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!

When Prophet Muhammad was asked, who is the most important person in one’s life, that they need to care for and serve, he responds Mother and repeats it two more times. Such is the value placed on Mother in Islam. He goes on to say that your paradise lays under the feet of your mother.

Muslims believe in giving utmost respect to their mothers, but when it comes to worship, it is God alone they worship and that is their right. Muslims don’t even worship the Prophet, they don’t even seek help from him, they believe in asking the God who is eternal, all knowing, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

Islam requires one to respect the laws of their nation, and Muslims deeply respect that value. Of course you will always find violators in every community with no exception.

Singing Vande Mataram does not automatically make one a patriotic person but respecting every Indian who is a product of her soil does. Let every Indian be free to believe what s/he believes, as long as that person is not pushing you out of your space, rob the food off your plate or hurt your loved ones, let’s learn to live and let live.

Singing Vande Mataram does not guaranty prosperity to India or improve one’s health, job situation, education or well being of her people.

The need to push it on Muslims is clearly to create chaos and appeal the fanatics to line up with them for flaunting one’s love for thier mother. Mothers know best, she does not differentiate between a show-off son and a quite daughter; she loves the same in crises.

Positive patriotism is doing what is good for the nation without disturbing nations’ balance or creating chaos. Positive patriotism is respecting and honoring every citizen of the mother, without claiming bloody superiority or pushing others down in the gutter.

The opinion of the Imams against singing Vande Mataram is ridiculed by a few individuals who would like to see India bitterly divided for whatever political games they have on their minds, in essence, they are selling their mothers.

In this particular instance, Just as the Hindu Talibans have a right to condemn the fatwa against singing Vande Mataram, the Imams have the same darn right to give their opinion against it. Neither the Hindu Talibans represent all Hindus nor do the Imams represent all Muslims. A majority of Indians, be them Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains or other really don't care if one sings or not. They have better things to do than tease and create problems.

Personally, I have no problem with Vande Mataram, but as a person, who cherishes freedom, I would stand up against any one who forces others to yield to their whims, and I hope you’d stand up too. Standing up for the rights of others is the only act that ensures freedom for you, me and every one; that is standing up against Talibanic attitudes in India. If not, none of us will have the freedom to be who we are.

Would the Indians who live in America, Britain or other nations accept the idea of the Government forcing them to start their work, school or business with a Christian prayer? Are we saying it is ok if Malaysia, Pakistan or Bangladesh forces Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist and others to start their day with a Muslim prayer?

Is that the model we want to follow?
We have a great heritage of diversity and Pluralism.
Let’s lift up India with freedom and not downgrade it with fascism.

Lyrics of Vande Mataram

Vande maataraM
sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM
SasyashyaamalaaM maataram

Shubhrajyotsnaa pulakitayaaminiiM
pullakusumita drumadala shobhiniiM
suhaasiniiM sumadhura bhaashhiNiiM
sukhadaaM varadaaM maataraM

Koti koti kantha kalakalaninaada karaale
koti koti bhujai.rdhR^itakharakaravaale
abalaa keno maa eto bale
bahubaladhaariNiiM namaami taariNiiM
ripudalavaariNiiM maataraM

Tumi vidyaa tumi dharma
tumi hR^idi tumi marma
tvaM hi praaNaaH shariire

Baahute tumi maa shakti
hR^idaye tumi maa bhakti
tomaara i pratimaa gaDi
mandire mandire

TvaM hi durgaa dashapraharaNadhaariNii
kamalaa kamaladala vihaariNii
vaaNii vidyaadaayinii namaami tvaaM

Namaami kamalaaM amalaaM atulaaM
SujalaaM suphalaaM maataraM

ShyaamalaaM saralaaM susmitaaM bhuushhitaaM
DharaNiiM bharaNiiM maataraM "

वन्दे मातरम्
सुजलां सुफलां मलयजशीतलाम्
शस्यशामलां मातरम् ।
सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीं
सुखदां वरदां मातरम् ।। १ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
अबला केन मा एत बले ।
बहुबलधारिणीं नमामि तारिणीं
रिपुदलवारिणीं मातरम् ।। २ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
तुमि विद्या, तुमि धर्म
तुमि हृदि, तुमि मर्म
त्वं हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारई प्रतिमा गडि
मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे मातरम् ।। ३ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
त्वं हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
कमला कमलदलविहारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी, नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलां अमलां अतुलां
सुजलां सुफलां मातरम् ।। ४ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
श्यामलां सरलां सुस्मितां भूषितां
धरणीं भरणीं मातरम् ।। ५ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।।

Translation by Shree Aurobindo

Mother, I bow to thee!
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
bright with orchard gleams,
Cool with thy winds of delight,
Dark fields waving Mother of might,
Mother free.

Glory of moonlight dreams,
Over thy branches and lordly streams,
Clad in thy blossoming trees,
Mother, giver of ease
Laughing low and sweet!
Mother I kiss thy feet,
Speaker sweet and low!
Mother, to thee I bow.

Who hath said thou art weak in thy lands
When the sword flesh out in the seventy million hands
And seventy million voices roar
Thy dreadful name from shore to shore?
With many strengths who art mighty and stored,
To thee I call Mother and Lord!
Though who savest, arise and save!
To her I cry who ever her foeman drove
Back from plain and Sea
And shook herself free.

Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou art heart, our soul, our breath
Though art love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nervs the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her
swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned,
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother lend thine ear,
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleems,
Dark of hue O candid-fair

In thy soul, with jewelled hair
And thy glorious smile divine,
Lovilest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee,
Mother great and free!

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Chavan hosts Sai Baba, sparks row

Democracy Chavan hosts Sai Baba at CM house, sparks row

The Maharashtra Chief Minister Elect Ashok Chavan, hosted Sri Satya Sai Baba at his official residence. Criticism rained on the issue for using the residence for hosting Sai Baba prior to being official CM. Although many of us Indians do not like this criticism, but we have some thing to rejoice, our democracy is vibrant and thus our freedom.

We are a model to the world that we disagree, agree and still carry on the business of governance in civil fashion.

Mike Ghouse

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THE PIONEER, November 2, 2009

Chavan hosts Satya Sai at CM house, sparks row
TN Raghunatha Mumbai

A head of his swearing into office for a second term, CM-designate Ashok Chavan courted a controversy by playing host to spiritual guru Satya Sai Baba from Puttaparthi, at his official residence here on Sunday.

Chavan — whose Government formation has been delayed owing to differences between the Congress and the NCP over the nature of power-sharing arrangement between them — took time out to seek the blessings of Satya Sai Baba for the third time in less than a month.

Along with his wife Ameeta and teenaged daughters Srijaya and Sujaya, Chavan received the spiritual guru at the gate of Varsha around 12.30 pm. The Chavan couple performed padyapuja of Satya Sai Baba. The spiritual guru, who spent more than an hour with Chavan and other VIP devotees, had lunch at Varsha, sources in the CM’s residence said.

This is perhaps for the first time that any Chief Minister of Maharashtra has played host to a spiritual leader at his official residence.

A large number of senior politicians and industrialists turned out at the CM’s residence to have darshan and seek blessings of Satya Sai Baba. These included former Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, senior NCP leader Praful Patel, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre, Mumbai Congress unit president Kripa Shankar Singh, State Legislative Council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh, industrialist Ashok Hinduja and leading builder Niranjan Hiranandani.

Held at the Chief Minister’s official residence, Satya Sai Baba’s visit was described by the Chavan camp as a “private affair”. Only select guests were present at Varsha on the occasion, while the media had deliberately been kept out.

Despite it having been a “private affair”, Varsha had come under siege from a large number of police personnel hours ahead of and during the visit of Satya Sai Baba.

Expectedly, Chavan’s move to host Satya Sai Baba evoked instant protests from various quarters, with people from different walks of life questioning him for “misusing” the Chief Minister’s residence — and that too before actually assuming the office.

While a regional television channel carried out an all-out campaign against Chavan for “misusing” his official residence and going against the progressive outlook of Maharashtra, renowned rationalist Narendra Dabholkar hit out at the Chief Minister-designate by saying that the latter’s act of doing padyapuja to a godman went against the concept of scientific temper “which is well enshrined in the Constitution”.

“By playing host the Satya Sai Baba, who is known more for his powers of magic than anything else, Chavan has insulted the rich social progressive traditions of Maharashtra. He has also gone against the very concept of scientific temper propagated in the Constitution by seeking the blessings of a godman who is known more for producing white ash and gold rings at the sleight of hand and presenting them to his devotees,” Dhabholkar told The Pioneer.

It was not just the Congress leader who was playing host to Satya Sai Baba. Senior NCP leader and outgoing State Home Minister Jayant Patil also performed a puja to the spiritual leader at his official residence “Royal Stone” later in the evening.

Earlier in the day, NCP’s Mumbai unit president Sachin Ahir performed puja to Satya Sai Baba at Jamboori Maidan at Worli in South-Central Mumbai, where the godman participated in a darshan-cum-bhajan programme.

A staunch follower of Satya Sai Baba, Ashok Chavan met the spiritual leader for the third time since the State Assembly poll. A day after the polling, Chavan Jr had rushed to Puttaparthi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh to seek the blessings of Satya Sai Baba.

Chavan Jr last met his spiritual guru along with his wife Ameeta at Hadshi, a village near Pune, on Friday. Sunday’s was Chavan’s third meeting with Satya Sai Baba since October 13, 2009.
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