Politics

Islam, Where are your Role Models?


Stage

Every now and then, a terror attack is reported, and newspapers flash names of organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko-Haram, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-dawaa and many more. After every Peshawar, Mumbai, 9/11, Charlie Hebdo etc., wherever and whenever Islam is discussed, I see only stories of despair and pessimism. Thanks to “Messiahs of Terrorism” like Laden, Kasab, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood etc. who are discussed with disgust every nook and corner of the world. Meanwhile, every philosophy which has villains must have heroes too. But here’s my question to every Muslim, where are your role models?

Muslims, followers of Islam as faith are going through internal conflicts and social turbulence. Amongst wide-spread fear and hatred, through killing humanity and dissent, these terrorists are defaming the religion by calling themselves Muslims (also architect of Sufism philosophy). An average Muslim ends up proving and convincing others, its loyalty to the country and commitment to non-violence! One commits a heinous crime and millions face the brunt by being tagged as terrorists too! But if an average Muslim kid wants to follow the paths of any living role model in your faith, who are they? I am sure Ladens of the world aren’t. Where are those heroes, who can inspire millions to be like them? Where are your living legends, whose action ignites optimism and hope? Where are your Mahatma Gandhis, Martin Luther Kings, Lincolns and Mandelas? Where are your Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sachins and Federers? If there are any, this is the time for them to be counted! If they aren’t any, it’s time to build one and many!

I believe that behind this dearth of modern Muslim heroes, is lack of education. More the education seeps into the each and every member of this faith, more and more success stories would emerge. On a global platform, I can see Malala in the making of a role model for Muslim young women! Another reason I believe, is minimal participation of Muslim Scholars in public and political space. It’s time for the educated Muslims to jump into the political foray and create name and fame. It’s time for them to step up and be the torch-bearers of Muslim faith. So that no more Hate-ranter Owasis, Fatwa-generators Imams and terrorist organizations of the world can claim to be your leaders.

Indian sub-continent is still lucky to have local role-models in the past and present, though very few! We had greats across the era like Maulana Azad, Ashfaqullah Khan, Azim Premji, Yusuf Hamied (Cipla) and Dr. APJ Kalam etc., whose stories still inspire many. From glitterati world, we have AR Rahman and Aamir Khan, who have been and can be change-agents, thanks to their body of work and popularity. At present, Indian political space is crying to have popular, good and statesman like leaders from Islam.

Finally, hope this message reaches especially to the Arab world! Remember, until new global role models don’t emerge from the shackles of conservatism; until new heroes don’t spread their reformist vision in the public space, sadly (and unjustifiably) till then, Islam would remain tagged as a fundamentalist and a terrorist-breeding religion!

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An Apology Letter to “Kailash Satyarthi” !


Kailash

Dear Kailash,

With great embarrassment and remorse, I must confess to you. I had never ever heard your name, until you were announced for 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai. Yes, never read your name in these 100-paged newspapers or in fancy magazines, neither via several 24X7 TV News Channels, nor via thousands of online posts and blogs. Although they all are now Ga-Ga over you, nevertheless I congratulate you on your latest recognition.

I have always considered myself, a fairly active news-chaser, reading across the categories through all modes. I know, almost every Tom-Dick-Harry in field of Politics, Sports and Entertainment. I follow all the news-makers and news-chasers on social media too. Yet, I missed knowing anything about you. I pity myself! But is it only me, or the fault also lies with the establishments too?

Kailash, you donated your whole life struggling to fight against Child Labor, primarily in India and across the world. Your efforts have helped rescue thousands of children from bondage, trafficking and exploitative labor. With the help of other NGOs and activists, you have organized hundreds of raids on factories and warehouses where children were being made to work. Although being an Engineer, you chose to work in interiors of India, for Children’s rights. You have received top-notch “Peace” awards for your selfless work from United Nations and countries like USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherland etc., with Nobel Peace Prize being the prime. Yet India, Indians and Indian media chose to ignore your marathon-work before Nobel.

You are yet to be appreciated by any of Indian or State Governments through any awards or help. Still, you chose to silently focus on your day-to-day efforts, and work towards the cause. Its high-time, our Governments start recognizing and supporting causes and efforts of social activists like you.

India media failed to cover your story, not because you are a real news-maker, but because you didn’t chose the make noise about it. Our media is enamored with glamorous people, events and controversies. Across all the platforms, Politics, Sports and Showbiz rule the majority news. In pursuit of headlines and business-profits, news-channels spread “nuisance”, and have turned itself into “Entertainment” channels. We news-chasers need real stories of men like you Kailash, much before the world acknowledges it.

Kailash, despite any media or government attention, do continue with your journey to make the world a place for our children to live in.

With much regret,

A Proud Indian!

“Modi – The Marketer” in USA – A Report Card !


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After noteworthy interactions with Bhutan, Nepal, Japan, China and Afghanistan, “Foreign Policy Champion” PM Modi recently concluded his all-important trip to USA. With the background of Visa-row by Obama Administration and enthusiastic support of NRIs for Modi, this trip was surely an important event, if not historic. Sycophantic Indian media celebrated this event with full-time live coverage of PM Modi’s trip. Rather reporting unbiased and important news from all across the world and India, they chose to be cheerleaders! Nevertheless, contemporary Indian media has been an “Epitome of Exaggeration”. Meanwhile, after keenly following his itinerary, it seems, he had 3 major agendas to push through.

Firstly and importantly, the major agenda was of marketing the “Brand India” to the US Business Community. He scored full marks by meeting the top brass of the world’s biggest corporations in US. Through this effort, he may have induced some optimism into these corporations to come and “Make in India”. Although, Mr. Modi has been trying to allay fears of these investors, he has still loads of work pending, in creating a comfortable business environment in India. I think, that all these corporations will have now huge expectations from the next budget session. They will look forward to important policy changes in India and till then, they will “Wait and Watch”.

Second Agenda, was to step up the “Brand Modi” into an important International Icon. Like Nehru, Indira, Atal and Manmohan, he wished to make a mark by being a change agent in world politics. He failed miserably with that, but he should be excused as this being his first attempt. His fluttering speech at UNGA went unheard in an empty hall. Although it was very unlike Modi, but it seems that the formal setup, global platform and a written speech format got better of him. He did come to his own midway and made some important points, but who doesn’t. Remember even Manmohan Singh recieved much adulation from its international counterparts, previously at UNGA. Funnily, Indian media lost it senses and sensationalized his speech by equating it with National pride. Indian PMs have been speaking at this forum since ages, had put better points with higher impact. PM Modi also unsuccessfully tried his hand in reaching out to US youth at “Global Citizen Festival” rock concert, but ended up boring them.

Third agenda was about International diplomacy and to revive relations with US Government which were turning sour in last couple of years. Mr. Modi averagely performed as we weren’t able to make any new breakthroughs in our relationship with USA. His dialogue with Obama was not even note-worthy by US media. But again, Mr. Modi can be excused as realists weren’t expecting anything from Obama-Modi meet. Breakthroughs like “The Nuclear deal” don’t happen every day as it requires heightened levels of diplomatic mutual trust. US is also on the verge of electing new government, and India may have to wait for their new government to up-rise the relationship.

And yes beyond all this, Mr. Modi, held a “Tamasha” at Madison Square for his supportive NRIs, who left India for greener pastures. He acted upon previous government’s recommendations and appreciably promised important benefits to them. In his traditional style, Mr. Modi ended up entertaining usual narcissistic Indian audiences across the world, through his influential speech.

To conclude, I would say, I am little vary of aggressive marketing of “Brand Modi” and “Brand India”. A overly-hyped brand with no real actions or performance, crashes faster into unrecoverable troughs. “Reel Intentions” are commendable but India need “Real Actions”!

अम़न खा़तिर…


Exasperation of a “Silenced Critique”…

“ताकि कमान से ना छूटे, उसका अहंकार,
अम़न-ए-वतन खा़तिर, त्याग दिये,
सर्वस्व अधिकार मैंने !

ताकि बना रहे उसका, कद कद्र बरकरार,
अम़न-ए-रिवायतों खा़तिर, परदा किये,
सर्वत्र सरोकार मैंने !

ताकि अन्ततः ज्वलंत रहे, उसकी ज़हरीली हुंकार,
अम़न-ए-जिरह़ ख़ातिर, मौन किये,
समझ, शिष्टाचार मैंने !

ताकि “झमूरीयत” कारोबार के वशीभूत रहे, उसकी जमहूरियत सरकार,
अम़न-ए-विषमता ख़ातिर, बिसरा दिये,
दरिद्रता के हाहाकार मैंने !”

ताकि कालचक्र स्वतः विध्वंस करे, उसकी खोखली दीवार,
अम़न-ए-रूह़ ख़ातिर, समर्पित किये,
ढाल, हथियार मैंने !

Breed of Online Political Activists !


Indian democracy was in shambles in the 1975 Emergency Era. Tsunamis of Indian, led by Jai Prakash Narayan, were on the streets protesting against the autocratic regime. The movement fought on streets against the darkest phase of independent India, led to the dawn of first breed of political activists post-independence. The long list included Atal, Advani, Modi, Nitish, Jaitely, Laalu, Mulayam, Sushma, Rajnath etc., who in future were the shining stars of Indian political spectrum.

India is yet again, echoing the history. New breeds of political activist are getting life, this time not on streets, but through social media. India was still the place where patience resided till 2009. Social media was distant tool and was best consumed in the form “Orkut”. The mutiny against the corrupt regime, was fought on “Facebook” and “Twitter”, and was led by Aam Aadmi Party and Narendra Modi led BJP. Facebook and Twitter gave a platform to urban India to voice their opinions. Facebook and Twitter allowed resentful Indians to protest anytime, anywhere, against anybody, without disconcerting their comforts or by shouting their throats off.

Emergence of social media hustled the emergence of newer breed of political activists. Not debunking it as a fad, but by considering it as accelerating activism, Indians would express their opinion more actively and prominently in days to come. Who knows, with continuous progression, 20 years ahead of today, you, me, he or she, may make mark in Indian political spectrum.

Mr. Kejriwal – Its High Time…


Dear Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,

This is to inform you, that we Indians are tired of your flip-flops and dramas, to keep yourself relevant in politics and media. Though I don’t doubt your intentions (say thanks to my generosity), but your methods have been ridiculous to the core. Believe me or not, but your over-the-top actions and reactions have the hurt the “Aam Aadmi Party” the most. You have been demoting yourself from “A Political Revolutionary” to “A Political Terrorist”.

Emergence of AAP is key to Indian electoral politics, and just for myopic success, don’t let the “Idea of AAP” get killed. Take my suggestion, resign from all party-posts in Aam Aadmi Party, and let statesman-like Yogendra Yadav take the rein.

From,

A “Saamanya” Aadmi

(Aam Aadmi being your patent)

बदलाव की आंधी !


आजकल बदलाव की आंधी है,
फै़ली अधीरता की माहामारी है !
सुना है कि अब लोग,
कपड़ों की तरह, किरदार बदल देते हैं!

आवा़म में बेमियादी बेसब्री का आलम है,
कि पाँच सालों में ही बोर होके,
हम अच्छी-बुरी सरकार बदल देते हैं!

ख़ूब सुहावने दिखते हैं, परदेस के ढोल,
कि अब तो उपलब्धि मान के,
देशभक्त भी, अपनी पहचान बदल देते हैं !

ऊँच-नीच के फ़ेर में पड़के,
बेमेल रुतबे के ख़ातिर,
हम सच्चे दोस्त, प्यार, परिवार बदल देते हैं!

इसी बदलाव की भीड़ में कुचल के,
कौड़ियों के दाम पर,
सुना है अब तो लोग, भगवान भी बदल देते हैं!

बस खु़दा की रहमत है,
जो नवाज़िश नहीं, हमें ये वरदान!
शुक्र है, जो नहीं मिला,
हमें मात्-पिता बदलने का अधिकार!

वरना तो…
आजकल बदलाव की आंधी है,
फै़ली अधीरता की माहामारी है !
सुना है कि अब लोग,
कपड़ों की तरह, किरदार बदल देते हैं!

Development, but at what Cost ?


India has been voting on the issue of development since last decade. BJP’s “India Shining” bombed, as back then, India was shining only in Media houses. Atal Behari Vajpayee and his brilliant team (Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, Brijesh Mishra) failed into the hands of RSS and Hindutatva agenda. From 2004 to 2009, India grew well both economically and socially under Manmohan Singh, and India voted them back on the agenda of development, with higher mandate. Now, again in 2014, it seems India is again voting on the agenda of development. And the man chanting that word the most is Narendra Modi.

But, I have a question! India needs development, but at what cost? During Congress regime from 2004-2014, India developed, managed recession and brought in social reforms. But we Indians paid a heavy price for it through “Corruption”. India is looking forward to Narendra Modi’s BJP, as he promises to speed up the India’s growth engine and bring prosperity to the nation. Considering his promises to be true, it may heavily cost us Indians into Moral Policing, Conservatism, Non-pluralistic visions and Social Dissonance. And who can guarantee that the government under Narendra Modi wouldn’t indulge in corruption, crony capitalism and scams. In the haste of achieving high sensex figures, lets not lose our ethics and social harmony.

If you and fellow Indians are ready to pay that price for development, go and vote for Narendra Modi.

Also for those, who are voting on the basis of religion, caste and creed, please go find another country for yourself.

(If Narendra Modi becomes India’s Prime Minister, hope he proves me wrong !)

Proud of Your Religion! But Why?


I have always been keen to dwell into the mind-set of anyone, who says, I am a proud Hindu, Muslim or Christian etc.! Most of us haven’t chosen our religion and were just destined to born into one. Moreover, it’s our parents and people around us who train us to follow a particular faith, again not by choice but destiny.

The counter-argument I have received is, that one should be proud of our parents, country and by extending the logic, religion too. Yes, we were just destined to born into our families and country, like our religion. But, unlike one’s particular religion, our parents and country nurtured our childhood. Parents through sacrifices groomed us with values, and the country through governance facilitated us with infrastructure. Religion prospers nobody, as Parents and Country does!

Then, people would argue, that the religion helps us learn values through spirituality. But then, every religion does the same! Then why gratification towards a particular religion, and calling oneself a “Proud Hindu” or “Proud Muslim” etc.?

Also, if anyone considers his/her religion superior to others (basis mythology and history), then that’s sheer communalism. One cannot be both “Proud Hindu / Muslim” and “Secular”. Such non-pluralistic views can be scary for a secular democracy.

Every religion preaches similar morals and principals, and each one of us should respect all religions!

Thus, are you proud of religion? But Why?

Nationalism vs. Magnanimity ?


I have always believed in a concept “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” propagated in Hinduism. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is a Sanskrit phrase that means that the whole world is one single family. Everyone has their own worldview which is quite often different from person to person. It preaches us of respecting this difference.

In modern era, a popular theory, which conflicts this ideology, is “Nationalism”. Especially, when “Nationalism” is defined as a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country, often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries.

It is destiny that we are born to our nations or race. Though we should always be affectionate and obliged towards our country, but our values and views should not get immersed in the subjective truth of nationalism.

If we discover, that our Country (Run by Nationalistic leaders) is indulging in an act, which is nation-friendly, but is against the theory of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, shouldn’t it be confronted? And if confronted, then are we “Anti-Nationals”?

Remember, villages, cities, states and countries etc. mushroomed, so that regions can be well administered, to make the World, a better place to live. A World, which comprises several smaller subjective worlds! A World, which is peaceful, cordial and tolerant!

Thus, I am always wary of leaders and politicians, those who chant the term “Nationalism” to garner electoral votes. Nationalism has always been a constituent element of fascists, as Hitler and Mussolini were. Pseudo-nationalists use it as a tool to conquer supremacy. Nationalism is inherently divisive because it highlights perceived differences between people, emphasizing an individual’s identification with their own nation. The idea is also potentially oppressive because it submerges individual identity within a national whole, and gives elites or political-leaders potential opportunities to manipulate or control the masses.

The basic constituent of a great leader is “Magnanimity”. Magnanimity is greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects. Though magnanimity is a rare ingredient, but is surely the essential one!

I announce myself to be Anti-National, but being Magnanimous!

Do you?