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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Aurangzeb, Sikhs and Hindus

Aurangzeb, Sikhs and Hindus | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Personally, I have repeatedly condemned Aurangzeb’s forcible conversions of Hindus.  Even though he was famous for his justice, but he fell short on it, when he forced conversions on his subjects.

The author writes about the conflict between Sikhs and Aurangzeb as political, indeed it is so similar to the deeply embedded hatred of Jews– as Christ Killers, which is dumb, Jesus did not preach Christianity when he was persecuted, he taught reformed version of the old testament which was not liked by the establishment and thus punished him as a rebellious heretic Jew, and not as a Christian. 

Dr. Harbans Lal also has talked about  the conflict between Aurangzeb and Guru Gobind Singh as political and not religious, he is planning to write an article about it.

There is a lot of gossip material out there on every one; hence I am seeking the source of this information. I don’t have anything but the name of the author on it.

I know one thing for sure, with a few exception, a majority of the Kings were greedy men focused on taking over the next door kingdom, looting their wealth, collecting lagan etc etc.  Kings from all religions were the same. If there was a Muslim ass, you will find a Hindu, Christian and Buddhist ass.  Men were bad and not their religions.

The acts were their own.

Mike Ghouse


The truth about Sultan Aurangzeb
Abid Mohammed

The Emperor Aurangzeb, who rose to the throne in the 17th Century as the sixth Mughal ruler over “India”, is often painted as a vicious, religiously intolerant, minority-suppressing fanatic, whose only job was to demolish temples in favour of mosques, antagonise his father and brothers, and single-handedly bring down the once magnificent Mughal Empire. And yet, the reality of the situation is that this could not be further from the truth.  Aurangzeb would often say about himself, “This weak old man, this shrunken helpless creature, is afflicted with a hundred maladies besides anxiety, but he has made patience his habit”. Once, when one of Aurangzeb’s servants stumbled against him and knocked him down accidentally, the servant collapsed in fright for fear of retribution. The Mughal emperor spoke to him kindly, however, saying “Why do you fear a created being, one like myself? […] Rise and do not be afraid.”

Even the Italian historian Manucci who was present during Aurangzeb’s rule, despite loathing him and preferring his far less religious brother Dara Shikoh (many question whether he was a Muslim at all due to the fact that he tried to create a hybrid religion between Hinduism and Islam), said that Aurangzeb

“…assumes always great humility of attitude”. Even when one of his officers disobeys him, he betrays no anger. All he says is, (and that in the softest voice) that he is only a miserable sinner, that there is no reason for astonishment if his orders are disregarded, since every day those of God Himself are neglected and repudiated. He does not forget, however, to repeat his orders and adopt every exact means of getting them executed.”

In one of his letters, Aurangzeb said, We must put up with every class of people, what is to be done with them? They are also people and Do you know who a brave man is? A brave man is he who puts up with his enemies.

Writing to his father, Shah Jahan of the famous Taj Mahal (incidentally the name “Taj Mahal” is a corruption of the “Mumtaz Mahal” – the name of Shah Jahan’s beloved wife, and for whom the tomb was built for) Aurangzeb insightfully said, "I wish you to recollect that the greatest conquerors are not always the greatest Kings. The nations of the earth have often been subjugated by mere uncivilised barbarians, and the most extensive conquests have, in a few short years, crumbled to pieces. He is the truly great King who makes it the chief business of his life to govern his subjects with equity."

To his son, Prince Azam, Aurangzeb wrote,

I have heard that in your heart Jagir districts oppression is practiced openly […] Fear the sighs of the oppressed.

Modern historians love to paint Aurangzeb as a villain. And yet, even they admit their double standards towards him. Abraham Early writes,

Later historians saw Aurangzeb in an altogether different light. As the passage of time faded the memory of his innumerable small acts of everyday kindness, but magnified his few notable misdeeds, such as his religious intolerance, his ruthlessness as a conqueror, his use of tactics to get the better of others, and more than anything else, his harsh treatment of his father, brothers and sons. But his predecessors too were guilty of similar acts – Jahangir and Shah Jahan had rebelled against their fathers; Jahangir had imprisoned and blinded and even thought of executing one of his sons; Shah Jahan was guilty of liquidating his brothers and nephews, and had also swerved from Akbar’s liberal religious policy; as aggressors, none of them, not even Akbar was much different from Aurangzeb.

Of course the religious intolerance being pointed to here is in comparison to Akbar’s “religious tolerance” – the latter’s included the banning of facial hair for Muslims, declaring it unlawful to believe in Angels, banning the slaughter of cows for Muslims, persecution of scholars and so on. Aurangzeb merely enabled Muslims to practice their religion freely. Any persecution of minorities that did take place was not general, but specific, nor was it religious in nature, but rather political in aim. There are many claims of Aurangzeb “oppressing the Sikhs and their Gurus” when history shows us that there were some Sikh communities who rebelled against Aurangzeb and so, as a ruler, he dealt with them as a ruler deals with his people, not as a Muslim seeking to oppress non-Muslims. Even the Wikipedia page on Aurangzeb states the well-known fact that just as he demolished some (maximum 80 in a country 20 times the size of the UK) temples, which served as political centres for rebellion, he also financed the building of many temples and Gurdwaras which posed no threat to the Mughal rule.

And as for the harsh treatment of his father, brothers and sons – Shah Jahan wanted Aurangzeb’s elder brother, Dara Shikoh to be the next emperor even though Dara Shikoh was a terrible leader and someone who very much wanted to reinstate Akbar’s persecutory laws towards Muslims. Aurangzeb’s other brothers were less exciting – they simply wanted to be emperors. Aurangzeb was the only one who realised that power was a responsibility not an opportunity to exercise one’s desires, and so he was forced to battle his brothers and imprison his father who only wanted power for the sake of power, in a palace, with each and every one of his needs being seen to.

Aurangzeb, unlike many of his predecessors, viewed being a ruler as a sacred duty rather than something to enjoy. He therefore spent every waking moment striving to discharge his responsibilities, lest he be held culpable on the Day of Judgement for not having done so. Once, one of his well-intentioned advisers suggested that Aurangzeb should lighten his workload, but the Emperor would hear none of it.

He (the adviser) seems not to consider that, being born the son of a King, and placed on a throne, I was sent into the world by Providence to live and labour, not for myself, but for others; that it is my duty not to think of my own happiness except so far as it is inseparably connected with the happiness of my people. It is the repose and prosperity of my subjects that it behoves me to consult; nor are these to be sacrificed to anything besides the demands of justice, the maintenance of royal authority, and the security of the State.
This desire to serve God, something which was equally as manifest in his great, great, great grandfather Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, was apparent to all those around Him. The British Ambassador Norris reports that he used to see Aurangzeb, even during battle,
surrounded by greate numbers of Horse & vast numbers of people crowding to see Him […] he himselfe tho’ carryd openly saw nobody, having his eyes always affixed upon a Booke he carryd in his hands & reading all ye way he went without ever divertinge to any other object.

This book was the Qur’ān. Aurangzeb had memorised it completely. And he would constantly recite it. Abdul Aziz, the chief of the Uzbegs who had rebelled against Aurangzeb, famously noted that even during their famous battle, Aurangzeb would calmly spread his prayer mat on the field, kneeling down to say the evening prayers in the midst of the furore that was taking place around him. “To fight with such a man,” he said, “is to court one’s own destruction.” In fact, the Qur’ān was his sole means of finance. Though he presided over the richest empire in the world at the time (Shah Jahan’s famous peacock throne made from pure gold is in today’s terms worth more than $804 million), he refused to take any money from the treasury. Instead, he would earn his living by producing handwritten copies of the Qur’ān, using the beautiful calligraphy he had mastered as a child.
“His vest did not cost above 8 Rupees, and his outer garments, less. Whatever Aurangzeb needed for his own use he always paid for, never accepting presents from others,” continued Norris.

Even the shroud he was buried in was bought using this same source of revenue. Towards the end of his life, having taken the Mughal Empire to the peak of its existence (henceforth it would plummet into its abolition in 1857) the Alamgir (“Conqueror of the World” – a title he adopted in ascending to the throne) would often recite:

In a twinkle, in a minute, in a breath,
The condition of the world changes.
In a final letter to his sons, he said,

I brought nothing with me into this world and am carrying with me the fruits of my sins. I know not what punishment will fall on me […] Whatever the wind may be, I am launching my boat on the water.

And to his Vizier, Asad Khan, he wrote,
Praise be to God, that in whatever place and abode I have been, I have been passing through it, withdrawn my heart from all things connected with it, and made death easy for myself.

Aurangzeb, may God be pleased with him, passed away during the dawn prayers. Even as he lost consciousness, says Mustaid Khan,

the force of habit prevailed, and the fingers of the dying King continued mechanically to tell the beads of the Tasbih they held.

And what was his funeral like? In accordance with his will: “Three hundred and five rupees, from the wages of copying the Qur’ān, are in my purse for personal expenses. Distribute them to the poor and needy on the day of my death […] do not spend it on my shroud and other necessitates.” He stated elsewhere that this was “in case I had made a mistake in copying the Qur’ān, as I will be answerable to that” “Bury this wanderer […] with his head bare, because every ruined sinner who is conducted bare headed before the Grand Emperor (God), is sure to be an object of mercy [...]”

May God have mercy on you, Sultan Aurangzeb! He used you as a means of preserving His faith and His justice in the subcontinent, and as a result, I was able to be born into His faith. You are an example for all leaders to come, an inspiration for all those who believe in Him and a reminder for us all of the responsibilities we must discharge as believers in Him. May God forgive you and gift you with the companionship of your beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in the hereafter.

Originally, the grave of Sultan Aurangzeb only consisted of a wooden slab with an inscription in Farsi which said, “No marble sheets should shield me from the sky as I lie there one with the earth.” But it was later embellished and renovated with marble by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
[1] Nadwi, A. Saviours of the Islamic Spirit. India: Academy of Islamic Research.
[2] Early, A. The Mughal Throne: The Saga of India’s Great Emperors. London: Phoenix, 2004
[3] Eaton, R. Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States. Oxford: Journal of Islamic studies, 11:3 (2000) pp. 283 – 319.

[4] Siddiqui, H. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History? (http://www.albalagh.net/general/0093.shtml)

[5] Sarkar, J. A life of Aurangzib and Historical notes: An English translation of Ahkam-i- Alamgiri ascribed to Hamid-ud-din Khan Bahadur. Calcutta: Sarkar and Sons, 1925. (https://archive.org/stream/AnecdotesOfAurangzeb/AnecdotesOfAurangzib_djvu.txt)

[6] Currim, M., Mitchell, G. Dargahs – Abodes of the Saints. Mumbai: Marg Publications, 2004.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Out of my mind: Being a Hindu

Indeed, "Hindu religion may be tolerant, but Hindu society is intolerant and inegalitarian." the same goes with Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism,   a few bad men make the good religions look bad. Let me repeat for every Hindu ass, there is a Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Buddhist ass. I am a big admirer of Bhagvad Gita, and Mr. Desai's reference about those two verses bothered me, and I have to verify the verses Mr. Desai has quoted and read it in full, as I do with Quran or the Bible - read at least three verses before and after to get the contextual meaning.

Mike Ghouse

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OPINION: "No one should be surprised that many Dalits left Hinduism. Indeed the puzzle is that so many remained," says Lord Meghnad Desai.

Out of my mind: Being a Hindu

Written by Meghnad Desai | Published on:March 29, 2015 12:30 am
There is joy in heaven when even one sinner repents. So goes the Christian prayer. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad may not be best placed to be greeted as a Christian sinner, but the good news is that it has repented. It has finally discovered that the curse of untouchability may have been the reason Dalits preferred to abandon the Sanatana Dharma and migrate to other more egalitarian religions. Who needs ‘ghar wapsi’ if the ghar you are being invited back to treats you like dirt?
No one should be surprised that many Dalits left Hinduism. Indeed the puzzle is that so many remained. There is a fundamental misunderstanding among the champions of Hindu nationalism. We are constantly told that Hindu religion is so tolerant that secularism is in its very spirit. You don’t need to contrast a secular India with a Hindu India. This tolerance is something of a myth, but not too far from the truth.
Hindu religion may be tolerant, but Hindu society is intolerant and inegalitarian. One may admire the contemplation of Advaita, but then how can one reconcile the contempt for the Shudra and the ati-Shudra with the assertion of a universal abstract Brahman? Hindu society mistreats the majority of its people. Even the Bhagavad Gita displays this prejudice when it contrasts the “virtues” of the two upper Varnas with the “mundane character” of Vaishyas and Shudras (Adhyaya 18, shloka 41-48). For all the spirituality and loftiness of the Vedas and Upanishads, the unassailable facts were of inhuman treatment of Dalit men and even more so of their women, who were treated as sex objects. Shudras did not do better. The Bahujan, the majority, were the losers in Hindu society.
Much of Hindutva ideology is propagated by the upper castes, particularly Brahmins. There is no discussion about how the lowly jatis felt about the mythologies and philosophies of Brahmanism. Jyotiba Phule was the first modern writer to articulate a trenchant anti-Brahminical message. Dr Balasaheb Ambedkar wrote tirelessly in a critical manner against the pretensions of Brahminical spirituality. Read his critique of the Bhagavad Gita and you will realise how different that great text of Brahmanism looks to the lower castes. He fought tirelessly against caste and Brahmanism. At the end of his life, he gave up his efforts at making fellow Hindus aware of the defect in their society and took his followers to Buddhism.
Mahatma Gandhi tried his best to convince Hindu society of the evils of untouchability. He did not want to break up the Hindu mass support for independence by dividing it on the untouchability issue as Ambedkar wanted to. Yet he failed to persuade Varna Hindus to abandon untouchability. They all paid lip service to his Harijan Seva programme, but the exploitation and contempt remained. India still needs SC/ST reservations even after 67 years because Hindu society is unreformed and unrepentant.
Hindu society was lucky that the Muslim rulers of India, through the six centuries that they ruled in North India, left the jati system undisturbed. They converted the untouchables but, throughout Muslim rule, Hindu society survived intact. Then the British did something much worse than conversion. They gave free access, regardless of caste, to modern education. This was revolutionary in a society where education was the monopoly of the top two jatis. A Shyamji Krishna Varma could never have been a Sanskrit scholar nor a Mohandas Gandhi a barrister if the British had not brought modern ideas and education to India. It was education more than Christianity which challenged Hindu society.
South India gained the most from this revolution. The anti-Brahmin movement, which the Justice Party launched, followed by the Dravida movement of the Periyar, has made South India very different from the North. It is the North which is still stuck in the past. It is the BIMARU states which are the strongholds of the Hindutva movement. South India has scores higher on the Human Development Index than North India.
The jati system fragments Hindu society. The VHP may dream of a Hindu nation, but to be a Hindu is to be divided and fragmented. That is what will save India from the VHP.

Happy Ramnvami, birth celebrations of Lord Rama

By Mike Ghouse | http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/

Ramnvami is birth celebration of Lord Rama, the Hindu king who set the high standards of morality in governance, of accountability, truth and integrity- his rule was called Ram Rajya.  In the Hindu tradition, he is an avatar (representation) of Vishnu, the energy that sustains the world, the other two energies are Shiva that destroys (brings closure) and Brahma, who originates life.

The epic Ramayana is said to be 8000 years old or beyond, staged in most of the towns in India, if not all. I grew up watching the Ramayana played out on stage on my street in Yelahanka, the town that gave birth to Bangalore.  It was a long show – from 10 PM through 5 Am in the morning. One of my cousin’s husband use to play the role of Hanuman in the play in another town and my brother in law's friend played Laxman in the show.  There are great story tellers of Ramayana who go around this season and share the stories, and here in Dallas there was a Morari Bapu, and I have listened to him at the Ekta Mandir as well as the Caribbean Hindu Temple in Dallas.I have done a few talks and storytelling myself about Dussehra celebrations, a story where the good wins over the evil by burning the effigy of Ravan. Indeed in a mixed gathering of people, after my story telling, most of the non-Hindus were able to answer the questions about Rama and Sita, Ravan, Bharat and Laxman, as a teacher of Pluralism, it was a satisfying experience to hear the positive feedback.

It’s a dream of many Hindus for the return of Ram Rajya, the governance of justice, fairness and truth. As a Muslim, I revere Rama and what he stood for. When you hear the story of Moses, Buddha, Rama, Krishna, Prophet Muhammad, Nanak, Mahavira… I see the commonalities in the life of all the great spiritual masters – they lived for creating common good in the society, they worked where justice prevailed for every human being and everyone was treated with dignity. The story is same, the greatness is same and I honor all of them.

Happy Ramnvami – Ram just does not belong to Hindus, his message belongs to all of the humanity.

Jai Shree Ram.

Published at  http://FoundationforPluralism.blogspot.com 


Thank you


Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
(Foundation for Pluralism)
Dallas | Washington
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film ” Sacred” to be released on 9/11 and a documentary “Americans together” for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com – Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Modi teams up with Twitter to launch new service

This is good, however we have to remain focused on building a cohesive India, where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

Mike Ghouse

Modi teams up with Twitter to launch new service
Ansuya Harjani | @Ansuya_H |  http://www.cnbc.com/id/102532443

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has teamed up with Twitter to launch a new service that allows government officials to send tweets via SMS in a move to boost e-governance in the world's largest democracy.

The service called Twitter Samvad – which means dialogue in Hindi – was unveiled by CEO Dick Costolo and Modi late Tuesday in New Delhi and is part of the government's Digital India program to transform the nation into a digitally empowered society.

A social media aficionado, Modi is known for his active presence on Twitter, amassing 10.9 million followers since joining the microblogging site in 2009. He is the second most followed politician behind U.S. President Barack Obama.

By enabling tweets to be sent out as an SMS, any Indian with a mobile device, with or without a data plan, is able to receive messages from political leaders and government bodies. Mobile users can activate the service through a missed call to an assigned phone number.

"People who sign up will receive a set of curated Tweets based on the highest engagement throughout the day to stay up-to-date with real-time information about government-related news, policies and activities," Twitter said.

Read MoreCramer: Twitter flies higher for the long haul

"And you can use Twitter Samvad during emergency situations to receive live updates from government bodies, such as time-sensitive information and details about rescue efforts," it said.
So far, a total of 16 political leaders and ministries are linked up to Twitter Samvad. Modi was the first leader to kick off the service.

Twitter Samvad is built on the technology of ZipDial, a Bangalore-based mobile marketing and analytics company that Twitter acquired in January.

Political parties including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and theIndian National Congress partnered with Twitter and ZipDial to offer a similar service during 2014's general election to make their Twitter accounts accessible to all mobile users in India.

More recently, some local news outlets offered SMS tweets during the presentation of the government's annual budget on February 28.

Twitter's service of SMS tweets activated by a missed call is currently only available in India although the company is looking to roll out the service in other emerging markets.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Will Go to Any Extent For Protection of Minority: Home Minister Rajnath Singh

This is a welcome talk from the Home Minister and I hope he reiterates this addressing the nation. The whole nation needs to listen to him and subscribe to it, and hold him accountable for it as well.

Many  of the lines are pretty much my lines written heretofore, that is how you build safe, secure and cohesive societies where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

This is one of the best statements he has made, ""I want to tell the whole country, even through law and order is a state subject, I will do everything for the protection of minority. I will go to any extent for this. I say this in the name of god," and hope he means business.

Mike Ghouse

Pledging full protection to minorities, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today questioned the practice of conversions and advocated a debate on the need for an anti-conversion law.

He also wanted to know whether people cannot be served without indulging in conversions.

"There are sometimes rumours and controversies about 'Ghar Wapsi' and conversions. Why should there by any conversion at all?

"In other countries it is the minorities which ask for anti-conversion law. Here, we are only saying that there should be an anti-conversion law. There should be debate over it. We must think on bringing anti-conversion law. I humbly request all of you to think over it," Singh said.

He was addressing a conference of state minority commissions which was attended by representatives of various minority communities.

The Home Minister's remarks on conversions assume significance in the midst of controversy over anti-conversion campaign undertaken by Hindutva organisations and comments by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat regarding Mother Teresa.

"Why can't we serve the people without doing conversion. Those who want to serve the people should do so without engaged with conversion. Can't we find a solution to the problem.

"The issue was even raised in Parliament. Many people said government should do something about it. But I think society also has a role. Society too has responsibility. Can't we live without respecting each other's faith. What is the necessity of conversion. Can't a religion survive without involving in conversion," he said.

The Home Minister said he would like to request all state governments to take strongest possible action for the protection of minorities.

"I want to tell the whole country, even through law and order is a state subject, I will do everything for the protection of minority. I will go to any extent for this. I say this in the name of god," he said.

The Home Minister also raised the issue of fear among certain sections about possible demographic change in the country and said the basic character of the country should not be allowed to change.

"If we go to the US and try to hurt the identity of that country, will they accept it? Why do we want to change their identity? There should not be any such attempt. How can a country like India allow changes in its demographic profile and character? Let India's character remain the same," he said.

Singh alleged that the sense of insecurity among the minorities prevailed during the rule of Congress-led UPA.

"If anyone can end the sense of insecurity among the minorities, it is the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. We have to turn the sense of insecurity into a sense of security. For a government or a Home Minister, ending insecurity of minorities is the biggest challenge," he said.

The Home Minister expressed concern over the conflict between communities and said the trend should be stopped and the tendency to establish supremacy by one community over another should come to an end.

"Why do we fight with each other? It is very unfortunate. A dog bites a dog but why cannot a human keep himself away from any fight. Is there any need to establish supremacy over someone else. I believe god is one and people call him by different names.

"While preaching our respective religion, can't we live with brotherhood. Why do we have to engage in conversion. What is the need. Conversion cannot be anyone's goal. Let all people preach respective religion and live peacefully. Many people may not agree with what I am saying. You may have a different opinion and I respect that," he said.

Singh said India is the only country where people of all religions are found. "The Parsi community had to leave their own land Iran. They are living in India with peace, prosperity and dignity for ages," he said.

A documentation on Jews has suggested that India is the only country where the community does not face any persecution. The oldest church in the world is in India. It is not in the US or in Europe, it is in Kerala, he said.

Singh said India is a country which respects all religions and believes in peaceful existence. Here all 72 sects of Islam live peacefully.

The Home Minister also said that no one can question the patriotism of minorities, even though some of them may feel alienated.

Singh said government is committed to give facilities to the minorities and to take up developmental projects for their welfare in the country.

"Some people may feel alienated. People may feel that proper development of the community is not taking place. For that we have to take appropriate action," he said.

Addressing the conference, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla said the Government is committed to address the issue of backwardness, both economic and educational, among the minorities.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said there is a need to change the mindset so as to remove the cause of distrust and fear among different communities.

Maintaining that secularism was too serious an issue to be left to the government alone, he said the civil society must take the initiative to build trust.

Minister of State for Minorities Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to the welfare of all minorities.

He said that security, prosperity and education of minorities are important issues before the Government.

Naqvi assured that there would be proper utilisation of funds earmarked for minorities' welfare and that any pilferage would be plugged.

Chairman of the National Minorities Commission Naseem Ahmed said it is the Commissions' endeavour to protect the constitutional, legal and civil rights of the notified minorities.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Service by India Consulate Houston and its affiliates.

This is an appeal to a sense of fairness in all of us.  We are too quick to complain when things don’t work out smoothly, that probably happens 2 or 3 times out of 100 good things that happen to us.

No matter who it is, whether it is you, me or the consulate, we do serve a majority of our constituents, customers or clients well, but rarely do people appreciate it, but they are too quick to gripe when a few things don't go well.

It’s time to change this imbalance in the equation, and let us start now.  Next time you get better than average service; appreciate the giver, that's the right thing to do, we are not doing a favor to them, but doing ourselves a favor; for every good we receive we get indebted, and until we give the good to others, the burden remains on us and gratitude brings release!  

Of the thousands of people that India Consulate in Houston and its affiliates serve, I'm sure there will be at least 2 to 3 who walk out unhappy, part of it could be the personalities but bulk of it is documentation. We have to handle it with the goal of solution and not frustration.  

It was such good experience visiting them today! 

It was good to see a reflection of Americanism in the The CKGS Team, the company that processes the visa applications. Their unstated attitude was, thank God you are here, because of serving customers like you, we have a job and serving you is a way of thanking you. What a positive attitude!

If you are not happy, please share it in the most polite manner, remember you and I don’t like people who gripe, but do like if they make that into a suggestion or a solution. Let’s do the same.

In behalf of Dallas Indians, and Aligarh Muslim University, I thank his Excellency Hon. Parvathaneni Harish for offering great leadership to his staff and the affiliates CKGS for the caring service.  I dealt with Monika, Prashant, Lewin and Leo and just could not thank them enough for the simple but pleasant attitude they dealt with. 

Consulate General of India in Houston - http://www.cgihouston.org/
Visa and other services provider
Information about India at : http://MikeGhouseforIndia.Blogspot.com

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Thank you


Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
(214) 325-1916 text/talk


Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Urdu Language Opportunities in Dallas

Urdu Language Opportunities | Website: www.UrduHindi.net 

There was a time when High School kids took German, French or Latin as an optional language to learn, then Spanish became popular, and with the amount of business we do in China, a lot of people went for Chinese. My own daughter took German, which is lost as it is not practiced by her in her daily life. I wish Urdu was an option then, she and my son could have talked with me  and my family in Urdu and enjoyed the Bollywood films without straining to read the text at the bottom.

Now there is a new option emerging for schools, colleges and business field; Urdu.

Urdu-Hindi together is the 2nd most understood and spoken language in the world.  I would call it Urdu or Hindi to mean both, the entire Hindi or Urdu Vocabulary is embedded in each other’s dictionary. Many a poetry books carry a poem in 3 scripts; English (called Roman), Devanagari (Sanskrit) and Urdu (Farsi) to make it easy for those who don’t know the two indigenous scripts. Nearly a Billion people speak Urdu-Hindi. 


If you or your kids have to take an optional language, consider Urdu. Good efforts were made by communities and Hindi is being taught in many schools and colleges now. As India will become the 3rd largest economy, and still retains its 2nd spot in population, and in collaboration with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, it will become 2nd largest economy within a few decades. It is time to lay the foundation and get our kids and us ready to see a day when Urdu-Hindi will become a language of necessity to conduct business, a large amount of business and communications.

Thanks to the Bollywood films, many in South East Asia, Middle East, Europe and Africa are learning the words and phrases. The other day a Guatemalan Taxi driver surprised me on my way to Love Field, he was playing Fun Asia Radio, and was throwing many phrases at me, that was impressive. My late wife watched Lagaan in a hotel in Costa Rica, and one of my Algerian friends started humming  "Mera tujh se hai pehle ka naata koi" she said that the film ran for a full month and they had to stand in the line to get the ticket. 

The Chief Editor for Saudi Gazette writes quite a lot about India and Pakistan, he went to school in Karachi and speaks Urdu fluently. There is a Jewish business man in Fort Worth, he speaks broken Urdu.  The owner of a Thai Restaurant sings and explains the whole meaning of Baharo Phool Barsao, Mera Mehboob Aaya hai." We walked into New York Deli on Frankford, owned by a Russian, the moment he saw my wife in Sari, he started Raj Kapooring,  "mera Joota hai Japani and repeating Lal topi Roosi, Lal topi Roosi, Lal topi Roosi...". Some one from Ghana has seen Gunga Jumna 10 times! 

In Cancun a road side grill sells Tandoori Chicken as Tandoori Chicken, he was calling me, "Aao, Aao, Tandoori Chicken Khao"  Ah, get this, my daughter in laws father is Malaysian in oil business, he tell me he was in Siberia, the lonely deserted cold place - there was an Indian Restaurant among some five others, that's right, one in five people on the earth are Desi's. This language Urdu-Hindi has great potential for our kids and grand kids. If you have experienced some such things, please write in the comments section below. 

Additionally, if you learn the Urdu Script, it would be easy to learn Arabic Language with so much business we conduct, and will conduct,  this would be an asset to our kids or even ourselves.

There was yet another time, just some 30 years ago, we did not have a direct flight from Dallas to any one of the South Asian Nations, today we have plenty of airlines flying to those destinations everyday, and it will continue to increase. This language Urdu will take a prominent spot on the world stage, and it is time that we the Americans of Native and Desi heritage not miss the boat.

Indeed, almost all of the Bollywood films carry the common language understood by a vast majority of the people of Subcontinent. However politics creeps in and reduces the language’s reach. It particularly happens  when the news segment hits the airwaves, Hindi gets heavily Sanskritized or Urdu gets Farsi-ized reducing the number of people who can understand either in full. Even me, who has a good working knowledge (writing, reading and speaking) in both the scripts, find it difficult to watch the Sanskritized Hindi or Farsi-ized Urdu. News is not a big part of our lives, just skip the news part and you will be fine, and connect with anyone and any where in the subcontinent. 

You can go to India or Pakistan and even cities in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka and speak the generic language, the language of the Bollywood Films, and you will be able to communicate to a larger segment of the population anywhere in the world.

If you sing Hindi songs professionally you have to learn pronouncing the words properly and almost all of the singers and actors in Bollywood (world's largest film industry) learn the language of Urdu. 

If you have the option to choose a foreign language in the school, Urdu  is an attractive choice and a good business asset. Urdu will make a big come back.

The leaders who are taking this initiative forward are: Mr. Amin Tirmizi, Mrs. Talmeez Fatima Burni, Mr. Like Ali Khan, 
Dr. Akbar Haider and Dr. Amer Suleman.  I have taken the tiny responsibility of administrative support.     

I am developing this article as a survey to see how many kids and adults have an interest in joining the Urdu classes. A lot of benefits are offered right now as an incentive for kids.

I urge my Urdu-Hindi friends to write a sentence or a few words to be quoted in the article that we will publish in a News paper. Let it be no more than 50 words.

On my part, my tiny contribution to the vast Urdu-Hindi literature would be through a brand new stream of poetry that focuses on Pluralism, 
and we have already conducted several Mushaera-Sammelans on the topic and hope to continue them.

Last year, Dr. Amer Suleman of the Urdu Ghar fame experimented with his kids,  on Father's Day, he asked them to speak to him in Urdu and learn at least 25 words as his Father's Day gift, and they did, and my son did it too. We had sent that note to all the Desis' on my lists.

Through America Together Foundation, we are hoping to see the need for starting classes in Urdu language affiliated with established schools and colleges, and if we have enough members of the community wanting it, we can start soon.  Are you ready?

At America Together Foundation, our Mission is to educate, entertain and invoke critical thinking in creating a cohesive environment to work, socialize and function effectively.  

Please write your notes and interest in the comment section or click this link to write your comment - http://urduhindinet.blogspot.com/2015/03/urdu-language-opportunities.html#comment-form

Thanks to Milton Roy for sharing this information

Urdu Couplets are elixir for brain, learning prevent dementia

You don't have to believe this, but it is research done by Doctor Uttam Kumar. Urdu Couplets are elixir for brain; learning the language helps prevent dementia.

A recent study by the Center for Bio-Medical Researches (CBMR), Lucknow, suggests that reading Urdu passages helps in brain development. Learning Urdu also has a role in delaying the onset of dementia, besides helping children with learning disabilities. The work, which has made it to the recent edition of international journal 'Neuroscience Letters'.

Urdu is the deepest language and therefore reading it involves more areas of the brain, which is good for mental health," said Kumar adding, "Urdu has two more advantages over others — visual complexity of letters and direction of writing."
Please read the business opportunities for Urdu - Mike Ghouse

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse
email: UrduHindinet@gmail.com  

A Gandhian Insight Into Muslim Mind – Aijaz Zaka Syed

Site: http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 
Llink: http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-gandhian-insight-into-muslim-mind.html

A good thoughtful piece. I am with the writer, when he concludes, "All said and done, the Partition is a reality. What really matters today is what India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can do to ensure that their future is better than their past." and "If the subcontinent’s tragedy can be summed up in one word, it’s this: Selfishness.

Our problem, meaning the the right wingers among us are stuck up with the past, they need to let it go. Here is a good story for them. Naked woman on the man's back.

Mike Ghouse

# # # 

Aijaz Zaka Syed is an award winning journalist and commentator on Middle East and South Asian affairs. For feedback, write to aijaz.syed@hotmail.com. Follow him on twitter.com/aijazzakasyed

The Partition of the subcontinent saw history's biggest migration and marked unprecedented bloodshed and chaos on both sides.
The Partition of the subcontinent saw history’s biggest migration and marked unprecedented bloodshed and chaos on both sides.
If the subcontinent’s tragedy can be summed up in one word, it’s this: Selfishness. Almost every fabled giant is exposed to have the feet of clay. Tunnel vision defined those troubled times. A little magnanimity by leaders on either side would have perhaps averted the all-consuming madness that marked the eventual parting of ways after nearly a thousand year of co-existence.  What’s more, the violent split in 1947 continues to eclipse the region even today as the nuclear neighbors remain locked in a perpetual duel
Who was really responsible for the Partition? Jinnah and his Muslim League, the Congress led by Nehru and Patel or the retreating British? Could the catastrophic carnage that followed the violent separation have been averted if the leaders on both sides had demonstrated greater maturity and flexibility?
Did the Quaid-e-Azam, as he came to be known, really want a homeland for Muslims or was the demand merely a bargaining chip to protect the future of the ‘qaum’?
These are questions that have been visited and revisited ad infinitum by South Asian and international scholars and historians since 1947.
Yet the questions and the larger issues that they raise about the troubled legacy of the Partition and its continuing shadow over the present and future of the region remain as riveting as ever. And when they are raised and addressed by the grandson of Gandhi, the man who successfully steered the freedom movement and had been at the heart of all the action, they lead to a book as fascinating as ‘Understanding the Muslim Mind’. I cannot thank my friend enough who gifted this invaluable book by Rajmohan Gandhi, originally published in 1986 by Roli Books and later by Penguin and the State University of New York Press.
As the author puts it, this is a personal quest to understand the Hindu-Muslim question, “which has broken hopes, hearts and India’s unity”, and an exercise undertaken with the hope that it might “inform us of times when the other side too was large-hearted, and of other times when our side also was small-minded.”
He chooses an unusual approach to explore the psyche of the South Asian Muslim and the larger question of Hindu-Muslim relations. ‘Understanding the Muslim Mind’ examines the lives of eight Muslim leaders and intellectuals who did not merely leave an indelible imprint on their followers, they have been responsible for the way things have turned out for the region, at least for its nearly 600 million Muslims.
Gandhi aptly begins his pen sketches with Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan (1817-1898), perhaps the earliest and most influential of political and social reformers in India and the pioneer of the Aligarh movement. Although a firm believer in Hindu-Muslim amity, Sir Sayyid opposed the Congress in its nascent stage, fearing as Jinnah and others did later that it would lead to a majoritarian polity. No wonder many in the Pakistan movement identified with Sir Sayyid.
Next in the spotlight is the legacy of the incomparable Muhammad Iqbal (1876-1938), seen by many as the ideological architect of Pakistan although the poet philosopher did not believe in the concept of nation state or man-made borders. A passionate believer in pan-Islamism, he died long before the idea of Pakistan acquired a distinct, tangible shape.
However, the bard who sang the soul-stirring ‘Saare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara’ did in 1930 talk of a single Muslim state comprising the Punjab, Northwest Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan. Gandhi devotes considerable time and space to Iqbal and rightly so. The poet’s influence on Muslims of the subcontinent and beyond remains formidable.
Also judiciously handled are Muhammad Ali Jauhar (1878-1931), the champion of the Khilafat movement and Hindu-Muslim unity, Bengal tiger Fazlul Haq (1873-1962), Congress leader and India’s first education minister Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958), Pakistan’s first premier Liaqat Ali Khan (1895-1951) and the educationist responsible for the success of Jamia Millia Islamia and later Indian president Zakir Hussain (1877-1969).
However, it is Jinnah who remains at the center-stage throughout the book even when other dramatis personae are being profiled. The founder of Pakistan is dealt with in exhaustive detail offering interesting insight into his strong personality, leadership and existential struggle for the idea of Pakistan that eventually became a reality against great odds and at a colossal cost.
Interestingly, what is common among the eight luminaries is the fact that they had all been great believers in India’s syncretic heritage and diversity. At least, they began as such. Sir Sayyid, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, described by Sir Hamilton Gibb as the first modernist institution in the Islamic world, who would describe Hindus and Muslims as the two eyes of the beautiful bride that is India, had come to despair of their peaceful coexistence in his twilight years.
Mohammed Ali Jauhar, who had been among the first leaders to welcome and embrace Gandhi on his return from South Africa and who travelled the length and breadth of the country with the Mahatma as part of the freedom struggle and Khilafat movement that saw Hindu-Muslim amity at its peak, died a bitter man far away from India, in Jerusalem.
Even Jinnah, the man routinely panned as the architect of the Partition, had been, in the words of Sarojini Naidu, the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. Indeed, he had been the tallest leader of the Congress before Gandhi arrived on the scene. However, with the exception of Azad and Zakir Hussain, nearly all of them abandoned their hope and faith in the common destiny of Hindus and Muslims.
Poet philosopher Mohammed Iqbal (left) and Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Poet philosopher Mohammed Iqbal (left) and Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah
The question is why. The answer, not simple or straight by any means, stares you in the face throughout the eminently readable book. Rajmohan Gandhi blames the arrogance and partisanship of the Congress, over and covert exploitation of religion and the increasing insecurity of the Muslims in addition to personality clashes between leaders like Gandhi and Jinnah for the conflict and eventual rift.  He cites the “ungenerous” attitude of the Congress to accommodate and share power with Muslim League in provinces in 1937 and inflexibility of Jinnah as the defining turning point that paved the way for the Partition.
Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel
Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel
A liberal like Nehru, later the first prime minister of India, refused to accept even two Muslims in the coalition eventually forcing the League out and strengthening its demand for Pakistan.
To be fair to Gandhi, he does not shy away from shining the light on the failings of the Congress leadership, including his own grandfather, that drove Jinnah out of the Congress and alienated a significant population of Muslims, including their top leaders like Mohammad Ali.
“In May 1937, when it was plain that Congress had scored huge victories, Jinnah sent a private verbal message to Gandhi; the communication urged Gandhi to take the lead in forging ‘Hindu-Muslim unity,” writes the Mahatma’s grandson, suggesting that Jinnah  had in mind a Congress-League settlement involving, among other things, power-sharing. In response, the Mahatma wrote: “I wish I could do something but I am utterly helpless. My faith in unity is bright as ever; only I see no daylight…”
Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Rajmohan Gandhi and author of 'Understanding the Muslim Mind'
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi and author of ‘Understanding the Muslim Mind’
Understanding Muslim mind
The author goes on to note that “it is the view of many scholars and public figures alike that the Congress’s failure in 1937 to share power with the League turned the ‘qaum’ in the direction of Pakistan. Pyarelal, Gandhi’s secretary and biographer, calls it a ‘tactical error of the first magnitude.’”
He quotes veteran journalist Frank Moraes who noted that “had the Congress handled the League more tactfully after the 1937 elections, Pakistan might never have come into being.” Penderel Moon, a Briton who served the ICS before and after Independence, describes the Congress’s failure to cooperate with the League in 1937 as the ‘prime cause for the creation of Pakistan’.
He is equally forthright in assessing the Muslim leadership and its many flaws and narrowness of the vision. He notes with amusement how Muslim leaders remained obsessed with the Caliphate and Ottoman Empire when it was being rejected by Turkey’s new leadership like Mustafa Kemal.  Or how in demanding and settling for a ‘moth-eaten’ Pakistan, the League leadership which claimed to speak on behalf of the subcontinent’s Muslims ignored the fate of the vast population of Muslims left behind in India, accounting for more than 40 percent.
Indeed, as one has argued before, Indian Muslims have been the biggest losers in this battle of egos and game of one-upmanship between great men.
If the subcontinent’s tragedy can be summed up in one word, it’s this: Selfishness. Almost every fabled giant is exposed to have the feet of clay. Tunnel vision was the characteristic of the time. A little magnanimity by leaders on either side would have perhaps averted the all-consuming madness that marked the eventual parting of ways after nearly a thousand year of co-existence.  What’s more, the violent split in 1947 continues to eclipse the region even today as the nuclear neighbors remain locked in a perpetual duel.
All said and done, the Partition is a reality. What really matters today is what India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can do to ensure that their future is better than their past.
Citing the Congress-League tussle and the convenient use of religion and religious discourse that led to the split, Gandhi calls for a ‘national idiom’ to be developed in India, to tolerate the other man’s beliefs and convictions. The advice is indeed valid for both India and Pakistan, beset by rising intolerance.
The same should apply to the India-Pakistan equation as well. Today, more than ever, the neighbors need to listen to each other and be more tolerant of each other’s perspective. They need to learn from history, not remain handcuffed to it forever.