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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anna Hazare - Rooting out corruption is good

Rooting-out Corruption is Good, but
Parallel Government is Injurious to Democracy

Mirza A. Beg
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of the Indian body politic. His clarion-call to end the exponentially growing, endemic corruption in India has been reverberating and gathering supporters with each passing day. The news media in India has become his megaphone.

The corruption has been increasing over the decades in magnitude as well as pervasiveness. The developing economy, increasing disposable income of the middle class and much larger workforce provide more opportunities for bribes. At the top levels of the government the bribes have grown from thousands to tens of millions of Rupees.
On my visits to India, I enjoy asking probing social and political questions in conversations with a wide spectrum of very friendly and talkative fellow travelers. Everyone is against corruption as a simple nebulous principle. But the answers get clouded and muddled when it benefits their lives.

The Indian Government finally realized that the evil of corruption has reached the tipping point and drafted a legislation to create an independent office of Lokpal (ombudsmen) to watch over various agencies with independent, but limited authority. It would have the power to investigate. Based on evidence, it would recommend and direct the judicial system to take action. Obviously it would take time for such a system to mature and work. Unfortunately the judicial system is not beyond corruption either.

The office of Lokpal would be similar to the office of the Election Commissioner, which has worked rather well, notwithstanding all the ills of the society. Indian elections are by and large fair and have successfully changed the government many times.

Yet the corruption at all levels including the legislature has grown, because the most important driving force for voting for a candidate is not honesty, but sectarianism – a substantial majority votes based on religion, cast and regional advantages. Political parties put up candidates based on these considerations. Once elected, they distribute economic largess as well as jobs and contracts to their most important supporters and casts in their constituency. Ironically, it is not considered corruption by a large majority of the populace.

Anna Hazare and his companions proposed a much stronger and aggressive office of the Lokpal (ombudsman). They insist that all the branches of the government would be under its authority including the Prime Minister. It would have independent police and judicial powers. In effect, it would be akin to a parallel unelected government, and would have minimal check on its authority.

When aroused, people like simple and fast remedies. It appealing that and Anna Hazare proposes to cut the Gordian knot in one strike. To force his ideas on the government, he first threatened and then took up a fast unto death. It sounds enticing, especially coming from a person who has put his life on the line and has a long record of service to the poor and personal honesty.

Taking advantage of the situation, all sorts of people have jumped on his band wagon for their own purposes, while many opposed to him have unearthed records, where he appears to have supported unsavory ideas and people. Many in the minority community want to join him but are weary of some of the Anna’s unsavory backers. No one is perfect, and he may have some explaining to do.

I applaud his taking a stand and galvanizing the placid electorate to demand reform. One needs to look at it not from sectarian perspective, but a long range national perspective. Means and ends should be carefully considered. Democracy is not easy to nurture. A system that changes with the changing wind of public opinion does not last very long. An unaccountable parallel government is an idea fraught with danger. Impetuously designed laws with the best of intentions have unintended consequences. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

That is why most stable democracies have a bicameral legislature, so that a part of the legislature, called the upper house or senate --is protected from the immediacy of the impetuous public emotions.

Democracy by its very nature is inefficient. The system of checks and balances is an impediment to quick solutions of long festering social problems. Simplistic and draconian solutions against an evil are easy to understand and support. Anna Hazare has projected himself as a leader in the Gandhian tradition. But there is a difference.

Gandhi Ji agitated and fasted to give voice to the people, against an unelected imperial colonial government. Hazare is holding hostage, a legitimately elected government of the people. With his popularity growing by the day, the government is being held on ransom with a false choice of Hazare’s bill or widespread chaos.

In a democracy, the government is only as good as the people vote for. If the electorate really wanted honesty and integrity, they could have voted for them as beacons. But they did not, they vote for personal aggrandizement on the basis of cast etc. Impetuous quick solutions often bring unintended consequences. Thoughtful people should take time to bring in change without injuring the constitution and the essence of democracy. The start has been made to check corruption. Anna Hazare should compromise to get a good bill instead of throwing the country in to chaos.

Mirza A. beg can be contacted at mab64@yahoo.com or mirzasmusings.blogspot.com

Saturday, August 13, 2011

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.


Indian Pledge of Allegiance

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.

Click and enjoy:

Jai Hind
Mike Ghouse
Committed to cohesive societies


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, IslamIsrael,Indiainterfaith, 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 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A moment of humanity after 46 years of war.

It is an extraordinary story of a pilot Qais Hussain who was courageous to reflect on an act he did that bothered him and after a period of 46 years, he was able to get it out and hope with it came relief to him. He shot down a civilian airplane that strayed in to his national territory, the humanity in him made him hesitant because it was a civilian plane, but he hit because he got the confirmation that it might me a reconnaissance plane. On the other side, I felt very emotional that the people who lost their families did not have rancor towards the pilot who shot their parents. It is an emotional story and brings the humanity out of you.

Barkha Dutt the anchor woman rightly pointed out that the soldiers make the best peace makers, as they have seen the futilities of war first hand.

A lot of this has happened during the Vietnam War, where our veterans have gone back and visited the families who were their targets.


It is a powerful story....

Mr. Hussain was not able to express his feelings well, and I really feel for him. It was simply beautiful to hear the three ladies who had lost their loved ones but did not have any acrimony or ill will.

This story needs to be explored further.

Barkha and Beena I salute you.


It was a similar emotion that inspired me to write a note about the loss of our soldiers in Afghanistan and I prayed for them after Iftaar in Ramadan, the month of Mercy.

HONORING OUR SOLDIERS | A MINUTE OF SILENCE PLEASEhttp://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2011/08/honoring-our-soldiers-in-aghanistan.html

In memory of our soldiers and Navy Seals who died on Saturday, please observe a minute of silence honoring them. May God bless them and give patience to their families. May God give us the wisdom to end Wars and find solutions through mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. Amen

I urge fellow Muslim Americans to pray for their well beings, Insha Allah I will pray special prayers for them after Iftaar and Maghrib prayers this evening.

Our soldiers are the defenders of our freedom, they gave up their lives for us, and we have to express our gratitude and pray for them.

Mike Ghouse is committed to working towards cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. All his work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net.