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, January 31, 2018

Padmaavat: Where are Muslim protesters?

In the article appended below, Aijaz Zaka Syed wrote, "What really worries me — as it should every Indian who loves his/her country and desires its wellbeing is the hate and ill will all this is generating between the Hindus and Muslims. Being taught those textbooks and perpetually bombarded with hate in films and on television, even Muslim children would grow up hating their own ancestors."
This is a real concern, indeed, this is precisely the experience of Native Americans. In one of our Programs of Holocaust and Genocides, we focus on Native American Genocides, and one of the young men says similar words.  Watch this at 7th minute in the video https://youtu.be/uneRYgYfgWI

As Muslim Indians, we care about the state of our nation and will do everything to restore her back to our pluralistic traditions, where we respected the otherness of others and accepted the God-given the uniqueness of each one of us. If you cannot respect a fellow Indian, what will you respect then? Let everyone live his own life and you live yours. 

One of the comments that reflect the thoughts of many a Muslims came from Safia Faruqi of Lucknow, "We are uninterested in how Khilji is portrayed. We do not identify with any of these kings. We are neither proud of them nor apologetic about them. We should, in fact, stay away from such meaningless things. We would be playing into their hands and furthering the agenda of polarization." 

In a message to my fellow Indians, I had posted a question;  
"Should Muslims condemn the wrongdoers who happened to be Muslim Kings? After all, they did not do any good for Islam or Muslims except fulfilling their own greed like any other king of the time."

Another good response came from Tariq Farooqi, who wrote, "
So what should Indian Muslims do?  There is no need to defend these kings as they were defending their empires and not representing Islam or Islamic virtues.  Muslim masses suffered as poorly as their Hindu counterparts.  While they could point to historians in stating that the movie is a fictional account of love between a king and a fictional woman, the Bhakts have taken over and started burning theaters and damaging surrounding infrastructure.  We can stay away from this madness and condemn the cowardly and unbecoming violence of the mobs."

Indeed, I am working on pulling Indians of different hues together and develop a working program to build a cohesive India, where every Indian takes pride in who he or she is.
Mike Ghouse 
Padmaavat: Where are Muslim protesters?
Courtesy - Saudi Gazette
If anyone should be going ballistic over Padmavati — sorry, Padmaavat — the spectacular cinematic tribute to Rajput valor (obviously decent, virtuous Hindus) and crass demonization of Emperor Alauddin Khilji (the archetype of marauding, meat-gorging, horny invaders!), it is Muslims. Why’s Karni Sena, pray, going on the rampage, burning down multiplexes and malls and turning the whole country upside down?

This when bowing to the diktats of these defenders of Hindu pride, the filmmaker has already changed the title from ‘Padmavati’ to ‘Padmaavat’. It was only after the Supreme Court intervened that the film got released after repeated delays albeit it remains a ‘no show’ in many northern states.

Those who have watched the film found it so utterly reverential to the Rajputs and so demeaning to Khilji that it’s perplexing why the assorted nuts have been thirsting for Bhansali’s blood.

As Anjana Kashyap of India Today puts it, it is as if the Karni Sena whispered Padmaavat’s plot into Bhansali’s ear!

So what if Padmaavat is a deliberate distortion of history, just as many such period films, including Jodha Akbar, and television serials in the recent past have been?

In fact, the beautiful Rajput princess Padmavati never existed except in the imagination of Awadhi poet Malik Mohammed Jayasi.

And most of the valiant Rajput chieftains, except Rana Pratap Singh, never put up a fight against the Delhi sultans and Moguls. Many of them joined the ‘enemy’ against their own. Hindu Rajputs and Muslim Moguls even inter-married. Indeed, Mogul emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan had been the sons of proud Rajput mothers.

As for Khilji, he was anything but a savage barbarian and womanizer. Poet Amir Khusro, a contemporary, offers a detailed account of his reign. India’s first emperor, it was Khilji’s bravery that spared the country ruination at the hands of the Mongols.

Far from presenting historical facts accurately, Bhansali doesn’t even do justice to Jayasi’s romantic epic. Which is fine, I suppose. Filmmakers and storytellers enjoy a creative license. They hardly claim to be faithful chroniclers of history.

But should they degenerate into deliberate vilification of a whole community as bloodthirsty savages who live to kill, rape and eat, as Padmaavat and movies of this genre suggest?

It is not just cinema. Of late, there has been a deluge of such dramas on television too with everyone making the most of the hate fest roiling India these days.

Perhaps taking cue from the reigning order, these ‘historical’ storytellers claim to present the stories of Indian heroes. Almost always they are pitted against “fanatical Muslim invaders” with their regulation endless beards and violent tempers.

Even in a period drama like ‘Porus’ on Sony that tackles Alexander the Great’s attack, which happened centuries before Christ when the Muslims didn’t even exist, there are ubiquitous references to ‘foreign invaders’ who look and speak like you know who.

From willful and dangerous distortion of history in films and television to misrepresentation of historical facts in textbooks, there is a desperation to turn back the clock and rewrite the past, playing havoc with impressionable, young minds.

Medieval Muslim rulers are routinely panned as bloodthirsty barbarians who kill their subjects, destroy temples and are on an evangelical mission to convert all Hindus.

Although no shred of historical evidence exists to support these claims and fallacies, authored by orientalists, they have been wholeheartedly embraced and are routinely peddled by the Right.

If had been any truth in these claims, India would have been a Muslim country today. Instead of plundering and sucking it dry as the British did, Muslims made India their home, taking it to the heights of glory. India became the richest and largest economy in the world under the Moguls. You have to be blind to miss the Muslim imprint on every facet of Indian life.

Churchill said history is written by the victors. One wouldn’t lose sleep over it if this ‘Otherization’ of Muslims had been only limited to historical inaccuracies.

What really worries me — as it should every Indian who loves his/her country and desires its wellbeing — is the hate and ill will all this is generating between the Hindus and Muslims. Being taught those textbooks and perpetually bombarded with hate in films and on television, even Muslim children would grow up hating their own ancestors.

After all this vilification of a voiceless, dispossessed minority, coupled with the propaganda of love jihad and multiplying Muslims, who are loyal to Pakistan and forever lusting after the cow and fair Hindu women, would you be surprised if Muslims are increasingly being hunted like animals?

You reap as you sow. The Parivar’s persistent efforts over the past century have begun to bear results. The Muslims have become total strangers in their own country and driven to the margins of Indian society after more than 1200 years of existence in India.

What’s remarkable about this unprecedented phenomenon is the fact that the Muslims, who ruled India for nearly a thousand years, are at the bottom of the heap, according to every social and economic indicator.

As many government commissions and studies have acknowledged, the largest minority is easily the most deprived and disadvantaged in the country, even more backward than the low-caste Dalits. Still blamed for the Partition and reeling from tragedies like the Babri Masjid demolition, the community has learned to keep a low profile, curiously content in its abject poverty and ghettos.

For a community of nearly 200 million people, Muslims have little presence in parliament and state assemblies. The BJP takes pride in the fact that it did not field a single Muslim candidate in the recent assembly elections for Gujarat and Haryana. Again, not one Muslim was fielded in Uttar Pradesh, which boasts more than 20 percent Muslims in a population of 200 million.

There are around 2 percent Muslims in elite Indian Administrative Services. The same goes for the armed forces and police. On the other hand, they have highest representation in jails, far more than their 15 percent share in population.

Yet this pathetic minority is painted as the ‘clear and present danger’ to India and not just by the Parivar. The Indian media is obsessed with the ‘M’ factor, tapping into the inexplicable insecurities of the majority.

From Pakistan-trained terrorists to madrassas being used as terror nurseries to the specters of love jihad and triple talaq, apparently Indian society is perpetually threatened by its Muslims.

In the face of all this sweetness and light, Indian Muslim leadership appears curiously clueless. Let alone evolving a strategy to tackle the challenges facing the community, few of them appear aware of the world falling apart around them.

It is a depressing state of affairs, to say the least. Not very different from what the Muslims faced in Spain centuries ago after their 700-year long reign that enriched Europe and Western civilization. Today, there is not a single believer left in Spain; nor a mosque left standing. No wonder the Parivar often looks to Spain for inspiration.

— Aijaz Zaka Syed is an award winning journalist and former newspaper editor. Email: Aijaz.syed@hotmail.com 

Padmavat - Reduced to a Vagina

The following article in the letter format boldly takes on misogyny expressed in the film Padmavat. It is a good article questioning the misogyny, but the writer is not clear about the atrocities committed during the partition (of India and Pakistan), she sets out writing about Gender Pluralism, but left blanks and biases without clarifying the occurrences and reinforces prejudice against the people of other religion. If you see differently, please share your comment.

Mike Ghouse

Courtesy: The Wire, India 

‘At The End of Your Magnum Opus… I Felt Reduced to a Vagina – Only’

Dear Mr. Bhansali,
At the outset Sir, congratulations on finally being able to release your magnum opus ‘Padmaavat’ – minus the ‘i’, minus the gorgeous Deepika Padukone’s uncovered slender waist, minus 70 shots you apparently had to cut out.. but heyyyy! You managed to have it released with everyone’s heads still on their shoulders and noses still intact. And in this ‘tolerant’ India of today, where people are being murdered over meat, and school children are targets for avenging some archaic notion of male pride, that your film even managed a release – that is I guess commendable, and so again, congratulations.
Congratulations also on the stunning performances all around by your entire cast — primary and supporting.  And, of course, the film was a stunning visual treat. But then all of this is to be expected from a brilliant auteur like yourself, a man who leaves his stamp on everything he touches.
By the way Sir, we know each other, after a fashion. I don’t know if you remember, but I played a tiny role in your film Guzaarish. A two-scene -long role, to be precise.  I remember having a brief chat with you about my lines, and you asking me what I thought about the lines. I remember feeling proud for a whole month that Sanjay Leela Bhansali had asked me my opinion. I watched you agitatedly explaining to junior artists in one scene, and to the jimmy jib operator in the second scene; some minutiae of the particular shot you were taking. And I remember thinking to myself, “Wow! This man really cares about every little detail in his film.” I was impressed with you Sir.
An avid watcher of your films, I marveled at how you pushed boundaries with every film you made and how stars turned into fierce and deep performers under your able direction. You moulded my idea of what epic love must be like and I fantasised about the day I will be directed by you in a protagonist part. I was and remain a fan.
And I want you to know, I really fought for your film when it was still called Padmavati. I grant you, I fought on Twitter timelines –not on the battlefield, and I sparred with trolls not raving manic Muslims; but still I fought for you. I said to TV cameras the things I thought you were not being able to say because your Rs 185 crore were on the line.
Here’s proof:
And I genuinely believed what I said. I genuinely believed and still believe that you and every other person in this country has the right to say the story they want to say, the way they want to say it, showing how much ever stomach of the protagonist they want to show; without having their sets burnt, their selves assaulted, their limbs severed or their lives lost.
Also, in general, people should be able to make and release films and children should be able to get to school safely.  And I want you to know that I really wished that your film turn out to be a stupendous success, a blockbuster breaking box office records, whose collections itself would be a slap in the faces of the Karni Sena terrorists and their ilk. And so it was with great excitement and the zeal of a believer that I booked first day, first show tickets for Padmaavat, and took my whole family and our cook to watch the film.
Perhaps it is because of this attachment and concern that I had for the film that I am SO stunned having watched it. And perhaps that is why I take the liberty and have the temerity to write to you. I will try and be concise and direct though there is much to say.
  • Women have the right to live, despite being raped sir.
  • Women have the right to live, despite the death of their husbands, male ‘protectors’, ‘owners’, ‘controllers of their sexuality’.. whatever you understand the men to be.
  • Women have the right to live — independent of whether men are living or not.
  • Women have the right to live. Period.
It’s actually pretty basic.
Some more basic points:
  • Women are not only walking talking vaginas.
  • Yes, women have vaginas, but they have more to them as well. So their whole life need not be focused on the vagina, and controlling it, protecting it, maintaining it’s purity. (Maybe in the 13th century that was the case, but in the 21st century we do not need to subscribe to these limiting ideas. We certainly do not need to glorify them. )
  • It would be nice if the vaginas are respected; but in the unfortunate case that they are not, a woman can continue to live. She need not be punished with death, because another person disrespected her vagina without her consent.
  • There is life outside the vagina, and so there can be life after rape. (I know I repeat, but this point can never be stressed enough.)
  • In general there is more to life than the vagina.
You may be wondering why the hell I am going on and on thus about vaginas. Because Sir, that’s what I felt like at the end of your magnum opus. I felt like a vagina. I felt reduced to a vagina–only. I felt like all the ‘minor’ achievements that women and women’s movements have made over the years– like the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to education, equal pay for equal work, maternity leave, the Vishakha judgement, the right to adopt children…… all of it was pointless; because we were back to basics.
We were back to the basic question — of right to life. Your film, it felt, had brought us back to that question from the Dark Ages – do women – widowed, raped, young, old, pregnant, pre-pubescent… do they have the right to live?
I understand that Jauhar and Sati are a part of our social history. These happened. I understand that they are sensational, shocking dramatic occurrences that lend themselves to splendid, stark and stunning visual representation; especially in the hands of a consummate maker like yourself — but then so were the lynchings of blacks by murderous white mobs in the 19th century in the US – sensational, shocking dramatic social occurrences. Does that mean one should make a film about it with no perspective on racism? Or, without a comment on racial hatred? Worse, should one make a film glorifying lynchings as a sign of some warped notion of hot-bloodedness, purity, bravery – I don’t know, I have no idea how possibly one could glorify such a heinous hate crime.
Surely Sir, you agree that Sati, and Jauhar are not practices to be glorified. Surely, you agree that notwithstanding whatever archaic idea of honour, sacrifice, purity propels women and men to participate in and condone such practices; that basically Sati and Jauhar, like the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Honour Killings, are steeped in deeply patriarchal, misogynist and problematic ideas.  A mentality that believes that the worth of women lies in their vaginas, that female lives are worthless if the women are no longer controlled by male owners or if their bodies have been ‘desecrated’ by the touch of ; or even the gaze of a male who doesn’t by social sanction ‘own’ or ‘control’ the female.
Practices like Sati, Jauhar, FGM, Honour Killings should not be glorified because they don’t merely deny women equality, they deny women personhood. They deny women humanity. They deny women the right to life. And that is wrong. One would have assumed that in 2018, this is not a point that even needs to be made; but apparently, it does. Surely, you wouldn’t consider making a film glorifying FGM or Honour Killings!
Sir, you will say to me that I am over-reacting and that I must see the film in its context. That it’s a story about people in the 13th Century. And in the 13th century that’s what life was– polygamy was accepted,  Muslims were beasts who devoured meat and women alike, and honourable Hindu women happily jumped into their husbands funeral pyre, and if they couldn’t make it to the funeral, they built a pyre and rushed into it — in fact, they liked the idea of collective suicide so much that they gleefully discussed it over their daily beautification rituals. “Verisimilitude” you will say to me.
No Sir; Rajasthan in the 13th century with its cruel practices is merely the historical setting of the ballad you have adapted into the film Padmaavat. The context of your film is India in the 21st century; where five years ago, a girl was gang-raped brutally in the country’s capital inside a moving bus. She didn’t commit suicide because her honour had been desecrated, Sir. She fought her six rapists. She fought them so hard that one of those monsters shoved an iron rod up her vagina. She was found on the road with her intestines spilling out. Apologies for the graphic details, Sir, but this is the real ‘context’ of your film.
A week before your film released, a 15-year-old Dalit girl was brutally gang-raped in Jind in Haryana; a crime bearing sinister similarities to the rape of Nirbhaya.
You do know that acts like Sati and raping women are two sides of the same mindset. A rapist attempts to violate and attack a woman in her genital area, penetrate it forcibly, mutilate it in an effort to control the woman, dominate her or annihilate her. A Sati- Jauhar apologist or supporter attempts to annihilate  the woman altogether if the genitals have been violated or if her genitals are no longer in the control of a ‘rightful’ male owner. In both cases the attempt and idea is to reduce women to a sum total of their genitals.
The context of art, any art is the time and place when it was created and consumed. And that’s why this gang-rape infested India, this rape condoning mindset, this victim blaming society is the actual context of your film, Sir. Surely in this context, you could have offered some sort of a critique of Sati and Jauhar in your film?
You will say that you put out a disclaimer at the beginning of the film claiming that the film did not support Sati orJauhar. Sure Sir, but you followed that up with a two-hour-45-minute-long paean on Rajput honour, and the bravery of honourable Rajput women who chose happily to sacrifice their lives in raging flames, than to be touched by enemy men who were not their husbands but were incidentally Muslim.
Swara Bhasker. Courtesy: Swara Bhasker
Swara Bhasker. Courtesy: Swara Bhasker
There were more than three instances of the ‘good’ characters of your story speaking of Sati/Jauhar as the honourable choice, your female protagonist – epitome of both beauty, brains and virtue sought permission from her husband to commit Jauhar, because she could not even die without his permission; soon after she delivered a long speech about the war between Satya and Asatya, Dharm and Adharm and presented collective Sati to be the path of Truth and Dharm.
 Then in the climax, breathtakingly shot of course – hundreds of women bedecked in red like Goddess Durga as bride rushed into the Jauhar fire while a raving Muslim psychopathic villain loomed over them and a pulsating musical track – that had the power of an anthem; seduced the audience into being awestruck and admiring of this act. Sir, if this is not glorification and support of Sati andJauhar, I really do not know what is.
I felt very uncomfortable watching your climax, watching that pregnant woman and little girl walk into the fire. I felt my existence was illegitimate because God forbid anything untoward happened to me, I would do everything in my power to sneak out of that fiery pit– even if that meant being enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever. I felt in that moment that it was wrong of me to choose life over death. It was wrong to have the desire to live. This Sir, is the power of cinema.
Your cinema particularly is inspiring, evocative and powerful. It can move audiences to emotional highs and lows. It can influence thinking and that, Sir, is why you must be responsible as to what it is you are doing and saying in your film.
It was with great difficulty that a group of reform-minded Indians, and the provincial British Colonial governments and Princely States in India abolished and criminalised Sati in a series of judgments between 1829 and 1861. In independent India, The Indian Sati Prevention Act (1988) further criminalised any type of aiding, abetting, and glorifying of Sati. Your act of thoughtlessly glorifying this misogynistic criminal practice is something you ought to answer for, Sir. As your ticket- buying audience, I have the right to ask you how and why you did this.
You must be aware that modern Indian history has recorded some more recent Jauhar– like acts. During India and Pakistan’s bloody Partition some 75,000 women were raped, kidnapped, abducted, forcibly impregnated by men of the ‘other’ religion. There were numerous instances of voluntary and assisted suicides by women, in some cases husbands and fathers themselves beheaded their wives and daughters before men of the ‘other’ religion could touch them.
Bir Bahadur Singh, survivor of the riots in Thoa Khalsa in Punjab, described a scene of women jumping into the village well to commit suicide. In about half an hour, he recalled, the well was full. The women on top survived. His mother was a survivor. Singh, recalls author Urvashi Butalia in her 1998 book The Other Side Of Silence, was ashamed of his mother for living for the remainder of her life. This is among the darkest periods of Indian history and ought to be remembered with shame, horror, sadness, reflection, empathy, nuance; not with thoughtless sensational glorification. These sad tales of the Partition, too, are a less obvious context of your film Padmaavat.
Mr. Bhansali, I will end in peace; wishing that you make many more films the way you want to, and are allowed to shoot and release them in peace; that you, your actors, your producers, your studio and your audiences remain safe from threats and vandalism. I promise to fight trolls and television commentators for your freedom to express; but I also promise to ask you questions about the art you make for public consumption. Meanwhile, let’s hope that no zealot member of any Karni Sena or some Marni Sena gets the idea to demand decriminalisation of the practice of Sati!
Swara Bhasker
Desirous of Life
Swara Bhasker is an award winning actress in the Hindi film industry whose filmography includes the critically acclaimed Anaarkali Of Aarah (2017), the critical-commercial success Nil Battey Sannata (2016);  superhit blockbuster films Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo (2015),  Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015), Raanjhanaa (2013) and Tanu Weds Manu (2011).

She is also an occasional writer and columnist and her short stories and articles have appeared in The Little Magazine, Seminar, The Himal Southasian, The Hindu and the Indian Express.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Modi and your responsibility to India


Republic Day 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 have seen. It could have been a tinpot dictatorship 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 right 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 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


·                     Vande Mataram - AR Rahman
·                     Vande Mataram
·                     Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna ab
·                     Saray jahan say achha -1
·                     Saray Jahan say achha - lata
·                     Mere Desh Ki Dharti
·                     Mera rangde basanti chola
·                     Kar chalay hum fida,
·                     Jahan Daal Daal par sone
·                     Hum laye hain toofan say kishti
·                     Hai preet jahan ki reet sada
·                     Ganga Meri Maa ka Naam
·                     Apni azadi ku hum hargiz
·                     Apni Azaadi ko hargiz hum
·                     ai watan ai watan, tujh ko
·                     Ai mere pyaare watan,
·                     Aao bachcho tumheien sire
·                     A jo des hai tera - Shahrukh
·                     A desh hai veer jawanon ka


Jai Hind
* The song, hum laye hain toofan say kishti nikal kehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddrx8288qwA

* Responsible capitalism is based on economic and social justice and is sustainable, where as abusive capitalism takes advantage of the weak and will collapse one day or the other cause a loss to everyone- Rich getting richer is not bad, but if they become rich beating up on the disadvantaged, it is bound to shatter causing every one severe pain.

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 a Cohesive 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