Trudeau’s Advice To Muslim Canadians Can Be Tried In India Too

By Promod Puri
It was quite a politically mature and bold statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party urging Muslim Canadians that they should join the Opposition Conservative Party, volunteer themselves, donates to the party, and help its candidates in the upcoming federal election.
In a statesman-like spirited message, Trudeau made his remarks at an event marking Eid celebration in Toronto recently.
Why did he put advice like this to Muslim Canadians as such guidance only benefits the Conservative Party by increasing its membership and votes?
The answer lies in Liberal PM’s interpretation of his liberal concept.
He said, “I want you to make Muslim volunteers important to the Conservatives so that never again would any mainstream party in Canada think it’s a good idea to stoke fears and divisions against Muslims or any other group of Canadians.”
Trudeau’s intellect words justify attention in contemporary political thinking.
The directive seeks entry of Muslims and people of other faiths into the rank and file of a major political party where disregard and phobia of minorities are being exploited for political gains from the majority populace.
Nevertheless, the Muslim involvement, or for that matter, any other minority group, helps change mindset attitudes against those who are openly or covertly looked down upon on a prejudiced political platform.
Trudeau’s message may be unusual, but as far as South-Asian Canadian communities are concerned, the political participation in the mainstream parties has been happening for quite some time.
However, when the South-Asian involvement takes place in the Conservative Party of Canada, seeking a change of racist behavior is not the motive. It could be opportunism. The Right-leaning party traditionally remains embedded in an image of being bigoted and xenophobic in its leadership and the core membership.
For that reason, Trudeau’s plea to the Muslims, besides helpful to the Conservatives in getting their votes will clean its blighted image. And the party can then genuinely sense the freshness of the multicultural spirit of Canadian society. In that respect, Trudeau’s remarks rise above party politics.
Turning to the Liberal Party and New Democratic Party, both have an appeal of being anti-racist, along with their secular and sympathetic understanding of people of different race and religious backgrounds. These two Centre-left and Left parties do not need the sort of entry suggested by Trudeau.
Now let us move beyond Canada and transport Trudeau’s proposition into the present political reality of India. This is a country where its image has been radically changed in the last five years.
What the Conservatives think about the Muslims in Canada, the same perception of Islamophobia is ingrained in the ruling Right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party’s leadership, its cadre, MLAs, MPs, and its entire ‘parivar’ of political and non-political fronts.
The anti-Muslim sentiments in the BJP are not only its striking aspect, but it thrives on this agenda backed by the wave of state-encouraged Hindu radicalism.
Besides the anti-Muslim, anti-minority and even the cloaked anti-Dalit stand of the BJP, the saffron party has a deep disdain for the progressive and intellectual community as well.
Do the Muslims in India join the pro-Hindu Bhartiya Janata Party en-masse?
That would be an almost utopian move. But what is practically possible that the progressive and intellectual community can, without hesitation, join the BJP and make an effective review of its anti-minority and Hindu-nationalism stance.
After all, the BJP itself has almost hollow or little intellectual and educational credentials in its leadership as well as at the grassroots level.
It is in this intrusion into the BJP’s growing complex that the progressive and intellectual community can follow Trudeau’s political strategy. That very game plan would ensure changes in the BJP’s racist fundamentals. Otherwise, the party in its present avatar of committed engagement with the Hindutva agenda is posing a serious threat to the democratic structure of India.
If the progressive and intellectual community does not introduce itself into the BJP’s ideological cells, its critical assessment of the party just keeps circulating among its own Left-leaning membership without hitting the street.
(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions. Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, and promodpuri.blogspot.com)

 

Canada Needs To Help Millions Of Displaced Inside Their Own Countries

Megan Bradley, McGill University

Record-breaking years for refugee flows have become the norm. UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, just released its annual tally of displacement worldwide. Once again the numbers rose, with 70.8 million people displaced by conflict and violence — more than at any point since the Second World War.

In media coverage on refugees, we hear the most about the small fraction of refugees who manage to reach Europe or North America, yet well over half of the displaced — some 41.3 million —never make it out of their own countries.

This invisible majority is known by the uninspired acronym of IDPs, or “internally displaced persons.” In countries like Syria, South Sudan, Myanmar and Nigeria, IDPs face targeted violence and extreme poverty, but because they remain within their own borders, they receive little attention or effective international support.


Read more: Nigeria’s constitution holds the key to protecting internally displaced people


It’s time to change that, and Canada must help.

No coherent strategy

While Canada prides itself for its history of leadership in support of refugees, we lack a coherent, ambitious strategy to strengthen protection and assistance for the majority of displaced people who remain inside their own countries.

Our efforts have focused on comparatively small numbers of refugees by considering the asylum claims of those who arrive at our borders, and resettling refugee families from camps and over-strapped host communities in developing countries.

As UNHCR reported, Canada is now the top resettlement country, resettling 28,100 refugees in 2018 —but that’s only 0.0004 per cent of those displaced worldwide. We reach larger numbers by funding groups such as UNHCR. However, these agencies primarily assist refugees who have crossed international borders, doing little for the majority who are uprooted within their own states.

An improved Canadian response to the challenge of internal displacement could be based on three key pillars: leadership, resources and solutions.

Leadership

Theoretically, leadership in responding to IDPs’ needs and protecting their rights should come from their own governments. In places like Syria and Myanmar, however, IDPs are more hunted than helped by their governments. This means that international officials must step in to address unmet needs.

We need a high-level flagbearer for IDPs, who can work at the international level to advocate for IDPs’ rights, encourage improved government policies and promote effective, co-ordinated responses to IDPs from UN agencies, NGOs and donors.

UNHCR plays this role for refugees who have sought shelter outside the countries, but for IDPs, the UN has only a solitary volunteer expert —an arrangement farcically unsuited to the scale of the challenge. Canada should push for the prompt appointment of a new, prominent, full-time representative of the UN Secretary-General on IDPs, with a fully staffed office dedicated to strengthening responses to internal displacement in cooperation with agencies like the UNHCR.

Systematic & strategic resource distribution

Inequitably distributed resources are also a major barrier to effective responses to IDPs. As a major humanitarian and development donor, Canada should review its aid for IDPs, and prepare a policy to ensure more systematic, strategic support for IDPs, bridging emergency humanitarian relief and longer-term development interventions.

It should also spearhead a broader effort with other donor countries to improve responses to internal displacement.

At a time when aid budgets are already stretched tight, it is hard to hear that more funding is needed. But the reality is that IDP situations are chronically underfunded, with dramatically less spent in support of IDPs compared to refugees facing similar challenges.

This lack of support means that many who would prefer to remain closer to home to tend their crops, safeguard their businesses or care for sick family members have little choice but to make dangerous journeys to seek shelter abroad. It also means that those without the money or physical ability to flee their countries are left high and dry.

To be clear, there is no substitute for refugees’ right to seek asylum. Increased aid for IDPs does not mean that borders can be closed or refugees turned away.

Rather, this is about better responding to the complexity of massive displacement situations in which some people will need shelter outside their countries as refugees, while others may be unable to leave. IDPs should not be sidelined simply because they remain inside their own countries.

Resolving displacement

Finally, we need to refocus on solutions to internal displacement. Canada must co-operate with other donors, governments and UN agencies to promote more comprehensive and systematic support for all those who are struggling to find a solution to their displacement.

From Colombia to the Congo, displacement — internal and cross-border — drags on for longer and longer periods as those forced to flee are unable to safely return or find acceptance elsewhere.

Yet in 2017, over six million IDPs attempted to return to their homes, despite ongoing instability. Many received no support from aid agencies or governments, undermining their ability to return and rebuild. At the same time, thousands of refugees who have repatriated to countries such as Afghanistan have subsequently been internally displaced because they’ve been unable to reclaim their lost homes and re-establish their livelihoods, or have faced violence in their communities.

We must do more to increase the odds that these movements are safe and sustainable.

Forced migration can seem like an insurmountable challenge as displacement rates keep climbing and words of welcome are drowned out by calls to seal up borders and slash aid budgets.

Building on our track record of support for refugee resettlement, we can make progress by standing up for those uprooted within their own countries, creating a broader and stronger response for the millions of refugees and IDPs unable to reach our shores.

TRUDEAU URGEs MUSLIMS TO JOIN CONSERVATIVE PARTY:

justin-trudeauIn a statesman-like speech at an Eid dinner in Toronto June 21, Liberal Party leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadian Muslims to join the Conservative Party, help the Conservative Candidates, volunteer and donate to the party for the upcoming federal election.

In his spirited speech, attended by the mostly Muslims audience, Trudeau said: “I want you to make Muslim volunteers important to the Conservatives, So that never again would any mainstream party in Canada think it’s a good idea to stoke fears and divisions against Muslims or any other group of Canadians.”

Trudeau said The Canadian-Muslim Vote had reached 2.5 million people in the past four years.

“Our government will always stand with you and all Muslim Canadians in condemning Islamophobia and all forms of hate at home and abroad,” Trudeau said.

-Promod Puri

POORS DON’T DO MEDITATION & YOGA

Yoga and meditation are mostly practiced by the middle/upper class. The impoverished and deprived members of society in the daily grind cannot spare their frail health and meager income to indulge in these physical and tranquil activities.

Paldi: South-Asian Canadian Heritage Village

By Promod Puri

Paldi, named after a small town in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab, is located about seven miles south-west of Duncan, off the road to Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island in BC.

The village of Paldi was established in 1917 by an enterprising Punjabi by the name of Mayo Singh, who came to Canada in 1906 when he was 17-year-old.

The place is now quite and sleepy. But in its glorious past, it was bursting with over 1500 inhabitants, who were mostly from Punjab working in the sawmill and as loggers.

Besides, the “Hindoo” population, as they were all called during that time, Paldi was a multicultural community of Japanese, Chinese and immigrants from various other nationalities as well.

The reminiscences of Paldi are reflected through its Indian-sounding street names. There are Ranjeet Street, Bishan Street, Jindo Street, and Kapoor Road covering the entire little village.

The first community-cum-religious center of Paldi was the Sikh temple established in 1919 which is now celebrating its 100th year.

With the Gurdwara in its center, the atmosphere in Paldi during its heydays was that of a typical Punjab village. The Punjabi community brought along its social and cultural traditions. Sports events and festivals were part of the life in Paldi. The big annual event was the “Jor Mella,” a festival of events like soccer, volleyball, and kabaddi.

For the people of South Asian origin in Canada, Paldi is a historical place.

In its dirt lie the memorable annals of the time which saw the glory amid hardships of the community. Paldi is a significant chapter of our struggles, accomplishment, and pride in the recent history of Canada.

(Promod Puri is the author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions. Websites: promodpuri.comprogressivehindudialogue.com, and promodpuri.blogspot.com)

MY BOOK ON HINDUISM

From rituals to murti-puja, mantra and metaphywhite-book-3d-cover-2-copysics, karma and moksha, to meditation and yoga, and all its recreational aspects like music, dance, and drama, Hinduism is a disciplinary as well as a comprehensive experience of spiritual development in the liberal and progressive regime.

Moving beyond its rituals, customs, and traditions, this study on Hinduism explores the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of the religion and succinctly perceives its entirety.

“Hinduism: beyond rituals, customs and traditions” covers history, rituals, idol worship, scriptures, dharma, karma and moksha, meditation and yoga, Manusmriti and Ambedkar, music, dance and drama in Hinduism.

The 122-page book is a comprehensive study on Hinduism but still concise in its presentation. Enjoy and get enriched in Hinduism, the dynamic and most ancient religion in the world.

Click here to buy: https://www.amazon.ca/Hinduism-Beyond-Rituals-…/…/151951252X

A Rationalist’s Open window

I’m Not A Leftist,

Rightist or Centerist,

But A Rationalist,

Open To All Of Them.

-Promod Puri

Rabba Hun Kee Kariye: A Powerful Documentary On ’47 Genocide

Why?thumbnail rabba

That is a big question mark Rabba Hun Kee Kariye does not answer. Nor does it intend to answer. But it does shake our morality when we are drawn on religious fronts of hate.

Rabba Hun Kee Kariye is a documentary on bloody mayhem following the partition of India in 1947. “It constitutes a vital link in the chain of Partition memories.” In doing so, the film creates a pictorial monument of genocidal killing, which cannot be blacked out either by time or by society.

Vancouver-based UBC scholar and documentary filmmaker Ajay Bhardwaj presents a powerful and compelling presentation about the horrors and dreadful count of mass killings inflicted through religious vengeance.

Earnestly crafted by Bhardwaj, the 65-minute documentary in Punjabi, with subtitles in English, is a captivating presentation of interviews scripting the brutal chapter of recent Punjab history after the partition.

Bhardwaj’s camera roams the fields and streets of the Indian side of Punjab, in its Ludhiana, Bathinda, Patiala, and Malerkotla districts. It instinctively captures the insanity of humankind in its indiscriminate but sudden eruption of hatred against fellow human beings.

The gripping narrations by aging witnesses in the documentary bring a vivid portrait of hate which the fanatic murderers of ‘47 often boasted with some pride in the slaughter of those who are different by their religion only.

The film besides presenting the dreadful carnage through the eyes of the witnesses earnestly seeks the commonalities which bind the people together. In this exploration emerges a sense of “guilt and remorse.” It is a feeling of consciousness which “they expressed in a language that is distinctly their own, in their unique tradition/cultural specific ways — a language often ignored by the portals of academia. Yet this seems the most powerful organic response of Punjabi people against the genocide of 1947as also the silence of the state”, as Bhardwaj observed in filming the documentary.

Religions might be different in their names, but all of them have the same bottom-line of universal brotherhood. Poet-philosopher Mohammad Iqbal says Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna… (religion does not teach hatred among us).

Sharing the same culture, same language, same skin color and looks, same music, and the same literary heritage have been beautifully laced together by popular Punjab singer Puran Shahkoti in his explanations as well as musical presentations in Rabba Hun Kee Kariye.

Then why this sudden butchery by fellow neighbors living side by side for generations. And despite all that oneness, it happened.

Why?

Promod Puri (promodpuri.com)

(The above picture is of Prof. Karan Singh Chouhan, a retired linguistic scholar who was one of the interviewees, and who witnessed the 1947 communal riots). 

 

 

Seeking more knowledge about oneself is self-tracking.

What’s Hinduism

Ignoring its ritualistic aspects, Hinduism truly is a “union of reason & intuition.”

Nature of Possibility

Today’s problem can be a solution to tomorrow’s problem.

While today’s solution can generate a problem for tomorrow.

It is the uncertain, but logical nature of possibility.

-Promod Puri

NANAK DUKHIYA SABB SANSAR SO SUKHIYA JIS NAAM ADHAAR

NANAK DUKHIYA SABB SANSAR
SO SUKHIYA JIS NAAM ADHAAR
(Loosely translated: Nanak says life for everybody is suffering,
blissful is the one who has based his/her life on Him)

That is the universal truth. Agony, misery, pain, suffering, both physical and emotional, and in all degrees of intensity are the realities of life experienced by all beings without exception. And in the midst of bliss, peace, and pleasure, life means jitters of distress, grief, and worries as well.

There is hardly any escape from these taxing and unpleasant realities littered all the way toward life’s end. The sufferings could be innocently or naively self-inflicted, or by fellow beings. Elements of nature and the so-called fate also play their minor or major roles to accompany man’s lifelong journey thru calamity and disaster.

Stresses and strains in our lives for one reason or the other give enough jerks to create the turbulence as a smooth ride to cover life’s journey becomes a rarity.

So, who is at absolute peace. Certainly nobody.

Can we redefine peace to accommodate those tensions and sufferings which otherwise we cannot shake off, rather we have to live with them?

In this exploration to seek that serenity and tranquility in the midst of torments and troubles, woes and worries, adversities and afflictions let us re-evaluate and narrow down our understanding of that guiding force from whom in desperation we often seek answers to our whys.

And that guiding mover is the eternal spirit which in the first place buzz us for our acceptance of the adversity (Nanak calls it hukam razai ). And that prepares us to tackle a calamity with cool mind effectively and decisively, rather being agitative or in panic.

Miracles from that eternal spirit need not be expected, but what is expected is the courage and strength to tackle suffering from grace and dignity.

of course, this is not an easy exercise, but the utmost and unshaken faith in our resolve to accept, face and tackle unfortunate circumstances leads us to that sought-after perception of forming the solid base from where one can realize the supreme power.

Regarding perception or understanding of the solid base let us get more clear on that by setting aside for a moment the most popular assumption that God, he or she, is a person.

Rather bring in another individuality and nature of his or her as just a performing action. So when we seek or gather courage and strength to handle any calamity or suffering and use those forces as part of our actions that very activity itself is a God in live manifestation.

And once that foundation or base, meaning God in the image of action, is recognized as the platform from where to handle and abate distress and tribulation then certainly with conviction one can get inspired to comprehend that……………..

NANAK DUKHIYA SABB SANSAR
SO SUKHIYA JIS NAAM ADHAAR.

-By Promod Puri

FLEXIBILITY IN BELIEF

One believes that his or her religion or faith is right. Or for that matter, an atheist believing the same. It is all a matter of one’s vision of belief. And this is where some flexibility is needed for evolution in perception, so the belief does not become permanently fixed.
-Promod Puri

A 9-point Agenda For PM Modi To save India’s Democracy

1. Restore confidence in the judiciary
2. Restore confidence in the Election Commission
3. Restore the independence of media
4. Restore the independence of the Reserve Bank of India
5. Restore the supremacy of the country’s constitution
6. Restore the credibility of the department of statistics
7. Control fanatic bhagats lynching and terrorizing minorities,
killing and threatening dissidents, writers, and journalists.
8. Remove the atmosphere of fear and vengeance.
9. Keep Hinduism intact, being damaged by Hindutva zealots.

The Historical Building At Main And 6th In Vancouver

By Promod Puri

The grey stucco building at the south-east corner of Main Street and 6th Avenue in Vancouver was once a hub of the Indo-Canadian community in the early ‘70s and part of ‘80s.

It was the Indo-Canadian media center along with small businesses owned by the community members having their offices in the building.Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Prominent among its occupants were veteran broadcaster and the voice of the community Sushma, and her business partner Nizar Dhamji. They had their recording studios for TV and radio broadcasting.

Much before Sushma and Nizar moved in, the building had the distinction of being the venue of first Indo-Canadian radio programming hosted by late Malkiat Parhar in the ‘60s.

Besides being a pioneer broadcaster, Mr. Parhar was an icon of the community involved in multiple interests. He was the source person to help anybody seeking his guidance and services.

In 1978, The Link newspaper moved its offices from Winnipeg, and the first and only choice for me as the publisher was Main and 6th for its convenient location as our apartment was a few blocks away from the building. A frequent visitor to our office was lawyer-turned-politician Ujjal Dosanjh to drop off his regular column for The Link.

Image may contain: 1 personAnd the legendary Indo-Canadian photographer, Chandra Bodalia, started his photo-journalism career from this building working for The Link.

Besides, the two prominent media, in electronics and print, there were several offices having businesses catering mostly to the Indo-Canadian community. Mr. Dhami had his drafting business, and later prominent clothing wholesaler, Mr. Ram Mahtani, set up his headquarters. He was the main supplier of fabrics from Japan to almost all the Indian stores in Vancouver’s Punjabi Market. There was a non-profit organization as well mostly staffed by Indo-Canadians to help the community. On the ground floor of the building was the office of Ace Accounting, owned by an Ismaili gentleman, a professional in his job, but an extremely humble person.

During the height of the Khalistan movement, a few gentlemen rented office space in the building to run a magazine promoting the separatist cause.

Advertising promotion product suppliers, Masal Graphics, owned by cordial couple Madanpal and Channi Salooja, had an office here too. Their son, a teen at that time, was a born salesman, selling promotional pens to whomsoever he came across.

The two-story Main and 6th building was a lively place all the time, full of traffic and activities all day. However, more than that the whole ambiance was extremely friendly. We were bumping into each other several times of the day. And it seemed like all of us were running a joint enterprise with different products and services. If I remember correctly, Sushma and Nizar held musical mehfils a few times on their premises. Nizar, himself was an ace singer who could sing both Hindi film songs and ghazals.

One of the best times working in the building was the lunchtime when there was always a smorgasbord of home cooked food happily shared by all of us. Paranthas and spiced dishes along with desi pickles had its aroma which spread and lingered on in almost all the offices.

While all of us were busy endeavoring in our individual fields, the building itself contributed to happy days of sweet memories.

Just wondering, can Main and 6th Street building and that corner be declared as a historical place from the Indo-Canadian perspective.

While taking pictures, an employee of the pub across the street told me that the owner has already submitted an application to demolish the “historic” building for the proposed high-rise condo apartment. Is it too late to save it?

(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions).

Websites: promodpuri.com,progressivehindudialogue.com, andprogressivehindudialogue.com

Remembering Komagata Maru

Statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, May 23, 2019

“One hundred and five years ago the Komagata Maru steamship arrived in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet. On board were 376 Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus of South Asian origin hoping to settle in Canada and build a better life for themselves and their families.

“Few of them ever set foot on Canadian soil. Immigration officials, enforcImage may contain: one or more peopleing discriminatory laws of the time, did not allow the ship to dock. For two months, passengers were confined to the ship and denied regular access to food and water. The Canadian government of the day eventually forced the Komagata Maru to return to India, where some were killed and many others imprisoned.

“Three years ago, I stood in the House of Commons to apologize on behalf of the Government of Canada to all those whose lives were changed by this tragic event. While we cannot erase their pain and suffering, we can learn from this dark chapter in our history – and instead, choose the path of compassion and open our arms to those in need.

“Today, as we remember the victims of the Komagata Maru tragedy and their descendants, let’s also honor the invaluable contributions the South Asian community has made, and continues to make, to Canada. Diversity is our greatest strength, and one of the building blocks of a better, more prosperous country for everyone.”

 

Q. Why Congress quiet over EVM? Answer: A lot of baggage in its closet. May face Modi’s rod