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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Nupur Sharma on Indian Pluralism

delineates Patriotism from Jingoism in the Indian and South Asian context. What constitutes a benign and progressive love for the land of one's birth that can inspire a person to be part of nation-building? As opposed to that, what makes for a regressive and obscurantist approach to nationality?'

Video: https://www.facebook.com/TheWireUrdu/videos/2011589545760971/

Here are 1.1 Billion Indian opinions;

- Patriotism is uplifting the nation, making the lives of her inhabitants better.  It is about Improving the lifestyle from pure potable water to sanitation to providing education, jobs, and experience.

- Patriotism is respecting and honoring every fellow national, in our case fellow Indian, regardless of their color, caste, religion or economic status.

- The old concept of Patriotism is based on killing and getting killed, which is idiotic, we need to be thinking of living and letting others live their lives.  There is a paradigm shift in the making, the guys who want to take their nation on the brink of war are not patriotic, as they put a lot of lives in jeopardy.

- Patriotism disguised in building disgust for others is slavery to one's own negative emotions. They are indeed very binding, makes one's blood pressure go up, one's bile starts flowing with anger and hate. This is not patriotism.

- Most humans love their mother, the source of their creation. Mother is your physical mother; the mother is the land that nourished you and gave the air to breathe and water to drink.

- Most humans honor their mother, it is a personal relationship, yet there are a few Hindus, Muslims, Christian and others who do not treat their mothers well. It is neither their religion nor their stock; it is just the individuals with occasional badness.

- Muslims are as loyal and patriotic as Hindus are. Muslims honor their mothers just as much as Hindus or anyone - Muslims love their motherland only as anyone. Each love is manifested in different expressions. No one has to fall into other's dye.

- The day we stop labeling criminals with religion, would be the day we will find solutions to terrorism of all ranges. Blasting the bus to burning the wives to declining access to someone... Criminals are Criminals because they are... and not because of the religion they wear or the language they speak.

- If I am not at peace with myself, if my thoughts are not peace, if my actions are not peace, and my words are not peace giving, then I cannot expect others to be.

- A peacemaker continually seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. His or Her words and actions do not make things worse but bring some sense and understanding to the situation. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; indeed that is the purpose religion. – Mike Ghouse

Jai Hind

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Jharkhand Hate Monger

It is embarrassing to hear this man. He probably does not have any friends among Christians, Muslims, and Dalits, so whatever he is told by his parents, teachers, gurus and the media,  he believes it.

Poor soul, I hope a few Muslims make an effort to invite him to a dinner and make friends with him, it is not going to be easy, but ultimately, if he sees that no Muslim or Christian wants to harm him, he will gradually remove this venom in his heart.

God bless him.

Mike Ghouse

Hate monger Indian Swami

He amazes me, someday we need to make an effort to study men like him who have so much hate for others.

He wears the costume like Swami Vivekananda, a respected scholar, and under that guise of a holy man, he is spewing full of lies and hatred. 

Next time, I will make an effort to meet him and want to learn the sources of such hatred and false information.

If only he knows that his speech creates tensions and hatred between Muslims and Hindus, and does a lot of harm, he may actually quit it.

When extremists are exposed to goodness, they have known to change

At this time, I pray that he reflects on his statements, is he hurting India? 

Mike Ghouse

India - Nationality Certification

India - Nationality Certification

This is the fear of many, and to an extent, it happens. 

The people need to stop the negative patriotism.

More about Patriotism at https://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2018/05/nupur-sharma-on-indian-pluralism.html

Mike Ghouse

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Congratulations to Kannadigas and Indians

Congratulations to all the 62 Million Kannadigas and 1.25 Billion Indians! Thank God for restoring Dharma through the institution of Supreme Court of India. Congratulations also go out to the BJP Leader, Mr. Yedyurappa for his decency and respecting people's choice.

Let's make sure the ones who lost the elections are not looked down, made fun of or ridiculed. If we do that, there will be a Trump around who is ready to capitalize the situation and will earn their loyalty and sympathy, and possibly flip the situation. Let's look for sustainable governance and have programs for making friends with those who are opposed. The more we include, the greater the sustainability.

Mother Teresa had said, if you want to make peace with your enemies (or perceived enemies), go talk with them. Talking among friends will not change the equation. Bhagavad Gita has expressed similar wisdom, and of course, Quran says, if you treat your enemies with respect and dignity, there is a chance of them becoming your allies in building harmony and peace.

It is the most critical time to build relationships, to reign in on the temptations to celebrate the loss of BJP, we should befriend them, in the end, and we all have to work together.

I am politically independent.

Mike Ghouse  

Friday, May 18, 2018

Free and Fair Elections in India

Mike Ghouse

The US India Policy Institute has organized seminars and workshops to address the question of fair and free elections in India. The US India Policy Institute is a community supported Non-Profit Policy Think Tank based in Washington. They specialize in Human Development Research and empowerment of India’s vulnerable communities.

The talks in Washington were co-sponsored by the Federations of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, and the Center for Pluralism, both Washington based institutions. The other events are taking place in Minneola, San Jose, Phoenix and New York.

The first event was held at Capitol Hill, SVC 215 in the US Capitol, Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, and the second event was held at the United Methodist building next to the US Supreme Court.

Thanks to Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana for facilitating the Conference room in the Senate side of the Capitol. Thanks to Greg Mitchell coordinator of International Religious freedom working group for moderating the event.

Dr. S.Y. Quraishi spoke at the event; he is a former Chief Election Commissioner of India. Who has introduced a number of innovative election reforms to ensure fair and free elections and every voter was included in the exercise. He was honored in the roster of 100 Most Powerful Indians in 2011 and 2012 by the Indian Express.  He authored a monumental book 'An Undocumented Wonder - the Making of the Great Indian Election' that got rave reviews internationally. Dr. Quraishi is well known in India and abroad as a development thinker and for his inclusive style of leadership.

Mrs. Ila Sharma also spoke at the event; she is current Election Commissioner of Nepal, she is committed to strengthen and sustain the newest Democracy. (need more write up)

Dr. Quraishi’s talk was full of hope. It is good to know that Indian Democracy continues to shine despite the challenges she faces. It was a joy to hear the practice of inclusiveness and the tamper-proof built-in checks and balances to ensure free and fair elections. 

Dr. Quraishi and has instituted systems to safeguard free and fair elections. He allayed many apprehensions that people had about tampering with the voting. The examples and anecdotes he shared make you admire the Democracy in India.

Indeed, there were accusations by both the political parties in India that EVM’s, i.e., Electronic Voting Machines were manipulated by the other when they lost. There is no way it could happen; there is nothing more substantial proof that after the Modi wave in 2014, AAP party won 67 out of the 70 assembly seats in New Delhi Assembly. This situation would not have happened if the elections tampered. Modi’s party lost several seats in Assembly Elections in Gujarat and by-elections’ in Rajasthan and the state of Bihar.  As long as men like Dr. Qureshi and others honest guys like him run the government agencies, we can count on free and fair elections.

For the first time in human history, an immortal declaration of independence was made in 1776, which read, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;”

The year 1776 was the birth of a new way of governance, where people chose who will govern them and also who will decide the areas they would rule. Liberty and Justice were strong values. Thanks to the United States for taking that bold step in 1776, and today more and more nations are developing that model, and tyrants, dictators, and monarchs will be a thing of the past in a few decades. Let people decide what works for them.

India has the distinct honor of being the largest democracy in the world. Indian Elections have never missed the deadline and credibility of the outcome were never challenged. Winston Churchill may have been a great man, but was a racist and had the arrogance to believe that Indians will not be able to manage their affairs.

Women have equal voting rights from Day #1, care is taken to facilitate the disabled, illiterate, and they created an open category to accommodate the Transgender Indians as others to the Male, Female category. Thus 3 million transgender voters were empowered.

It is hard to imagine the significant numbers, but try to absorb these numbers. India managed 834 Million voters – to understand the numbers, here are the stats Dr. Quraishi presented;

  • Entire Europe (50 Countries) -  731m people with 949 m voters
  • Whole Africa (54 Countries)  -  922 m people with 566 m voters  
  • The  Americas (56 Countries) -  910 m people with    560 m voters
  • India, just one nation  - 1.22 b people with 834 m voters
  •  India has more voters than every CONTINENT!
  • Preventing Intimidation and fraud
  • Vulnerability Mapping: a response to threat and intimidation of voters.
  •  86,782 villages / hamlets  identified as vulnerable.
  • 373,886 persons identified as potential troublemakers.
  • Preventive measures are taken.
  • Videographers (74,729) Digital cameras (40,599) deployed: a great deterrent
  • Hardly any complaint of threat and intimidation.
  • More than 1.8 million EVMs deployed. India was the first country
  • EVMs now used universally in all Elections.
  • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) introduced.

Voter Education

Instead of making the voting compulsory, the Election commission chose the education route; Democracy is not about compulsion.  Dr. Quraishi gives the results of such efforts.
Women turnout jumped from 55 to 66%, and the gender gap got reduced to 1.46 percentage points.
The independent, London reports;

India confirms its status as a democratic beacon. For this chaotic nation - with its almost unfathomable religious, linguistic and social diversity - not only to hold free and fair elections but also to deliver stable government is a remarkable achievement. 

The Next Day Mrs. Ila Sharma, current Elections commissioner of Nepal appraised of the situation in Nepal. Indeed, Nepal may be the first country in the world where women have equal rights, and those rights are enforced.  Every major office holders like President and VP, Mayor and Dy Mayor, are required to be a man and a woman team in varying combinations to fill in the positions, and 41% of their parliament members are women. She is a great spokesperson for Nepal. I think the United States will see a large number of gender representation this mid-term election.

The power

The Chief Elections commissioner has the powers vested in him/her to stop fraud and even can call on the Prime Minister of the country to back off if there is undue influence. 

Dr. Quraishi shared some fantastic anecdotes, here are a few;

The commission wanted to make sure that every voter has access to a polling booth.  They have trekked 22 miles once to reach a Himalayan outpost to capture 37 voters there.

The voting machines are certified for correctness by both the opposite parties and are tested and certified for accuracy.  The most important thing is they respond to fraud instantaneously with 3 Million (??) election administrators in nearly a million booths.

There are challenges to be met.  It is not an easy task to manage the world’s biggest election event.  Just like our President can appoint all conservative or liberal judges to tilt the Supreme Court decisions, the government of the time names the commissioners. If they give a tilt, there will be compromises in handling the conflicts.

In the upcoming Elections, 1.8 Million voters in one of the 29 states are not on the roster. Thanks to the efforts of USIPI and CRDDP, they approached the Election commission, and they extended the time to register to vote.

You can purchase a copy of his book, “An Undocumented Wonder – The making of Great Indian Election.”

 I am proud of India but very concerned with the trends of dictatorship emerging in the Indian democracy without sufficient opposition. I hope the Indians, in their long-term interests, will add a strong opposition in both the houses of the parliament to ensure responsible government.

Other nations matter to me, and I am concerned about the world in general, but my first obligation is to America, my homeland, and India, my motherland.

Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is president of the Center for Pluralism.  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Modi on Jinnah

Modi on Jinnah
Dr. Mike Ghouse

Prime Minister Modi has missed many opportunities to show his goodwill; he is yet to translate his ‘good’ intentions into ‘outcomes.’ The troublemakers from his party have presented him another opportunity to show his mettle and stop them from tearing the society apart. All he has to do is speak up about Jinnah’s picture at Aligarh Muslim University.

Whether it is good, bad or ugly, we have to have to preserve our history as a reference. Every society has portrayed evil and good simultaneously, and religious scriptures are full of such stories. Not a single religion has wiped the wicked men in their narration.

Ravan is a part of our story. Should the man who abducted Ma Sita be removed from Ramayana?
Hitler is one of the evilest men in human history for attempting to annihilate a whole race. How can such a man be a hero to Modi’s organization, the RSS? 

Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, and Godse’s picture adorns the sacred halls of the parliament; does it mean Modi would have approved Godse to kill Gandhi?  

No, we cannot change or alter history, it is what it is, and we have to live with it.

The rogues among us, the Indians are continually looking to brew trouble, while the Prime Minister remains silent or tacitly approves the agitation.

Sometimes I wonder, why didn’t we heed Sanjeev Bhatt? When the Gujarat riots broke out, Mr. Bhatt said, Modi chose to remain silent for three days and hinted to his men to go ahead and do all the damage they can until he is forced to stop it.

Do you see a pattern here? When Dalit girls were raped and hung on the tree, Modi did not say a word. When Kalburge, Gauri Lankesh, and others were killed in broad daylight, Modi did not say a word.  When Akhlaq was lynched and murdered, Modi did not say a word. The list is quite long, but the pinnacle of his silence came when the six-year-old Asifa and a four-year-old girl were raped, he did not say a word for two days until the entire nation came together to compel him to speak.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, in one of his books Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History clearly explains why raping of Muslim women is justifiable and not to do so when the occasion permits is not virtuous or chivalrous but cowardly. This idea is repulsive to the moderate majority of Hindus, but that is Modi’s indoctrination as a pracharak of the RSS. Is that the reason he chooses to remain silent when rapes tear up the nation?

If Modi were dumb, I would not complain, but he is not.  
If Modi were deaf, I would not complain, but he hears everything.

Some of his party members are raising hell over Jinnah’s photo at the Aligarh Muslim University. As head of the most important democracy in the world, his role is to build cohesive societies and not allow destruction and chaos. It will damage India in the long haul.

All Modi has to do is a tweet or hold a press conference immediately after the incident- and say that he will not tolerate anyone messing with law and order, even if it were his ministers. If this man has good intentions, it is time to prove it.  He should try this method at least five times and see how quickly things will stop from spreading.

No Indian should live in fear of the other; it is not good for the county, we should not be spending our time battling out on what you wear, eat, drink or believe. We should be spending time on how to save farmers, create jobs so fellow Indians can have three healthy meals. 

India’s prosperity is partially driven by foreign direct investment and trade.  If Modi does not control and puts a stop to harassment, lynching, rapes and chaotic situations, India may face what apartheid South Africa faced once. There is no incentive for the investors to feel safe with their investments in India. Modi’s friends will run away with money; the average Indian will lose. 

If Modi does not reign on these, he will sink India. https://www.theindianpanorama.news/featured/modi-will-sink-india-if-he-does-not-rein-in-the-rapists/

There are many Indians who have left India and gone on to become Citizens of other nations.  Let's say if America and India are at odds, the American Indians will stand with the US, they have to prove their loyalty to America and will go against India.  Should India strip all the civilian awards given to them because they are with the enemy now? I say no, what was done with good intentions should remain intact.

Jinnah was a part of our independence movement, together, we got the freedom. As Indians, we generally disagree with the partition, and Muslim Indians in particular, feel betrayed. That is a part of our history, and we have to live with it.

As a civilized nation, we cannot remove Jinnah’s picture. Jinnah is part of India’s history and will remain one. Will Modi speak up and put an end to the chaos or does it help him to play dirty and stay silent?

A few good videos worth watching:

The author is the president of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.