The Home Of Indian Muslims Has Always Been India, And Will Always Be India

HERE ARE THE “PAPERS”

By Promod Puri

As the thought of writing this piece cropped up, I was reminded of an old Hindi film song penned by Sahir Ludhianvi: “jayen toh jayen kahan, samje-ga kaun yahan, dard bare dil ki zuban, jayen toh jayen kahan…”.

Translation: “Where! Where shall we go, who would understand here, the cries from the minds full of pains.”

And that is precisely the plight of Muslims in India. “Go to Pakistan,” “send them to Pakistan,” are the xenophobic cracks that are often being hurled against them by the neo-nationalistic extreme Hindu fanatics. And most of the Hindu population is apathetic to these recurring taunts.

Jayen toh jayen kahan,” where shall the Indian Muslims go?

From generation to generation, the land of their birth, rooted in the soils of the nation, breathing its air and dust from coast to coast, from the Himalayas to the tip of Kanyakumari, the 138 million-community has been made to feel that they do not belong to India. The very land to which it has contributed immensely over the centuries in every walks of its life. Its feelings and emotions lie in the nation’s struggles and achievements.

“Prove your ancestry here,” and “show your papers” is the coming up legalities Muslims in India would be facing in the corrupt bureaucratic setup fired by the bigoted government of Bhartiya Janata Party. That has substantial backing from the rest of its extended family, aka as “Parivar.”

Yes, they have the “papers” scattered and entrenched all over the country.

Their ‘papers’ are in the words of Kabir, Ghalib, Alma Iqbal, and, more recently, in the poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi and Javed Akhtar. Their ‘papers’ are in the eternal voices of Mohammad Rafi, gazals of Begum Akhtar, and many more. Their papers are in the music of Naushad Ali, Khyamm, and A.R. Rehman, in the Shanai of Bismilla khan, in the classical voice of Bade Ghulam Ali khan, in the Tabla beats of Ustad Zakir Ali khan. They are in the talents and dialogues of Muhammed Yusuf Khan alias Dalip Kumar, Mehboob Khan’s “Mother India” Nargis Dutt, in the versatilities of Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan.

The papers reflect in the sword of Tipu Sultan, Param Vir Chakra martyr Havildar Abdul Hamid, flying in the fierce shots of Sania Mirza, and in the philanthropist industrialist Azim Premji.

“You’re asking for papers?” They are framed in the marble beauty of the Taj Mahal, in the sacred shrines of Ajmer Sharif, in the sprawling complex of Jama Masjid.

The ‘papers’ are in the patriotic and intellectual sentiments of ex-presidents of India: Zakir Husain, Fakhruddin Ali Ahamed, and APJ Abdul Kalam.

The certification papers government is demanding are being carried by the students and the faculty on the secular campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University. They are in the mammoth rallies all over the country, and in Shaheen Bagh, the epicenter of peaceful protests. This is where the national Tricolor of India is proudly hosted by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and others in the spirit of “Hum Hindusthani.”

 

MINDSET IS NOT A SETTLED BUT FLEXIBLE ATTITUDE

By Promod Puri

Distorted, false, or unrealistic information twist our thinking. As of result, our perceptions are flawed.

Endeavoring for the true nature of things helps brain circuits to function naturally in the evolution of a sound and conscientious or attentive mind.

Human brains are built for sophisticated and complex activity. It is in this role and treatment that logical and well-grounded thinking can be fostered.

In addition to that, our simple thinking processes play a significant role in invigorated and stimulating brain functioning. These simple functions involve self-discerning and grasping of ordinary tasks and their executions.

In the contemporary tech and virtual world, most of the very basic thinking processes can be taken over by gadgets. For example, Roomba, the cleaning robot, or Alexa, Amazon’s cyber info help. Or when we google to retrieve a word sitting at the tip of the tongue, instead of exercising the brain to do the recall.

With these gizmos and “hey google” help services, in our day-to-day activities, there is likely little left for our brains to do.

Keeping our brains active by doing easy tasks along with the gathering of authentic and honest information and knowledge can help in forming rational and sound opinions and judgments.

Conceived opinions and judgments influence our mindset viewpoint. And most of the time, our actions and reactions are based on retrieving the intellect from the installed position.

Mindset basically means pre-set assumptions or beliefs that are ready to be applied without or with the least entry of new inference or reasoning to a situation or issue. It is a predisposed state of mind, a psychological construct that can be rigid or subject to change.

In a world where our social, political, and religious preferences become our mindset views, this outlook must be created only by logical and judicious approaches. With that rational infusion, the mindset discernment resides well in our intellectual senses that are not compromised by false information.

POLITICAL MINDSET

In politics, mindset views are often generated thru an efficient propaganda assembly line. For example, the mindset impression is that Cubans are well taken care of, happy, and enjoy the fundamental freedoms under the Communist regime. But the ground realities are different. Over 50 years of being in power, Fidel Castro was successful in converting false information and claims to be accurate within Cuba and the world. A period of half-century is enough to impact the genetics of mindset behavior as repeated lies appear honest.

The situation in Venezuela under the dictatorial rules of late Hugo Chavez and now Nicoles Maduro is no different. Appalling living conditions in the country have forced many poor Venezuelans fleeing to neighboring nations like Columbia. But the Leftist minds don’t accept a breakdown of the system reported even thru the eye of the independent media.

What exactly is going on in Putin’s Russia or Xi Jinping’s China is not transparent. In the coverup, what comes out is the processed news that feeds the mindset views globally. In the authoritarian and autocrat regimes, propagated indoctrination is a crucial part of the regulated strategies.

The myth of overall happiness and contentment not only prevails in the Left or Communist domains involved in brainwashing their own peoples, and the rest of the world. Established democracies also indulge in forming mindset thinking in public thru disinformation, hype, and publicity. In a democratic setup, the Left and Right political commitments are quite conspicuous as “Red and Blue” mindsets.

We can recognize no political system is perfect for producing the results the public wants for its peace and welfare. And even if the systems are ideal in principle, their execution is subject to the manner these are manipulated by the leaderships and received by the societies.  Still, the mindset convictions are groomed in both the socialist and capitalist structures. The implantation is manifested in all the political ideologies and their running systems.

The political Left-Right binaries seem to be eternal.  These binaries reside well in the ideological mindset status quo of socialism and capitalism while the world is getting more integrated through the development of the internet and social media.

In the contemporary world, production and reproduction of fact-based information and knowledge should impact our mindset political views. But this is not happening. Rather extremes of Left-Right scenario we often observed across the globe give a fair assessment of how templated attitude stagnates political thinking.

Left and Right commitments have become our political deadends. We’re not taking the humanistic pathway either where we can set our minds nourished in ethical convictions.

FAITH-BASED MINDSET

In the realm of religion, most people do not read the fundamentals of scriptures. They gather their religious knowledge or information, not from the revered books. Preferably that is delivered thru the third party, mostly the priest class. The education or learning we receive can be biased or prejudice. But this is where the mindset views are embedded that often stay lifelong or even passed on to the next generation.

In the mindset commitments, both theists and atheists are firm on their radical views if god exists or does not. Over the centuries, both have struck themselves with the myth or non-myth of god. In this approach, separate isms have emerged as atheism and theism. And where the former has a more committed mindset in denouncing the latter rather than putting forward its own non-theist agenda.

Nonetheless, atheism and theism have not gone much further in creating a logical understanding of the natural-world or God.

We often debate that God was self-created, or He is just an imaginative creation of man. But that should not be an issue either. The rational non-set contemporary mind would welcome re-inventing the institution of God.

In this exercise, seeking the practicality of God in its moral-based messages is more acceptable rather than a non-visible physical image residing up there, somewhere.

But we do not want to disturb the status quo of mind struck more in His physical existence rather than seeking His active involvement in our lives.

SOCIAL MINDSET

In social behavior, too, people with mindset attitudes related to race, class, or caste do not think outside the box. The discriminatory behavior toward fellow human beings constitutes the worst kind of mindset attitude practiced all over the world.

The centuries-old caste system in the Indian sub-continent is a humiliating mindset practice by the upper caste against the lower caste members of the society. As a result, prejudices are formed that remain firm as a usual way of life.

Sufi poet-philosopher Baba Bulleh Shah touched on the subject of a social mindset. He stressed for a diligent read and review the mindset behavior that impacts the individual and the society one belongs to.

He says: Parh parh Alam te faazil hoya
Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na.

Translation: one reads a lot to become a scholar and all knowledgeable, yet fails to ever read oneself.

MINDSET ATTITUDE IN MOTIVATIONAL MESSAGES

Another aspect of mindset attitude lies in the popular motivational messages we often come across in social media like Facebook.

For example, the catchy phrase we often hear these days is “be positive.” Precisely, we’re advised to have a positive mindset. But a rational mindset can have a negative or positive outlook as well. It depends upon the outside factors that can be controlled, or maybe not.

“Be positive” is quite a motivational message. But its acceptance and preservation are to be based on realistic recognition of the facts.

The expected positive results from the “be-positive” attitude, in most cases, do not come automatically. For that outcome, the “be-positive” sentiment needs to be fed by willpower. And the latter is attained through strong character built over time with moral commitments.

The “be-positive” stay requires patience. That wait can turn out to be negative too. Of course, we can’t be advised: “be negative.” But this advisory relates to caution or apprehension about things we face or undertake.

A positive or negative attitude is subject to change as nothing is permanent in this world. Realities are a changing phenomenon. Their adjustments are a reality too.

And if the mindset is not exposed to the existing or developing realities, with our cemented views, we soon face a concrete dead end.

FIXED AND FLEXIBLE MINDSET

People, who are adamant with fixed mindset views of issues facing them personally or the society they live in, are trapped in their sealed intelligence. While the world out there is changing. Moreover, Political, religious, and social or cultural fanaticism are the results of mindset biases.

A fixed mindset tends to be wired, plugged in, and acts in default mode.

But in principle, mindset is not a settled term. Instead, it is flexible. It can be allowed as a growth mechanism in our cognitive senses. Pope Francis is one example of a changing mindset towards a more rational and contemporary approach towards issues facing the Roman Catholic Church.

Our set views based on beliefs or assumptions, self-introduced or by others, need to be reviewed for their acceptability and pragmatics. That way, mindset creates a powerful incentive based on rational factors in the changing real world.

 

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TOGETHER:

In the company of two
An ambiance of
Warm serenity.

Joys and thrills
In its rains and shines,
Hikes and walks.

Afternoon coffee at McDonald,
And across the street
Sharing a bowl of congee.

Blissful, simple pleasures
In rapt passions of
Charms and cheers.

In this concert
Life is a celebration,
Together.

Promod & Rita
(In celebration of our anniversary)

Satnam Waheguru: Both A Prayer And Mantra

By Promod Puri

“Satnam Waheguru,” two simple words of profound spiritual significance.

A companion in solitude, Satnam Waheguru, where the universal truth of His wonders is accepted with utmost reverence. And that adoration becomes a prayer, Satnam Waheguru, Satnam Waheguru….

‘Sat’ stands for Truth, ‘Nam’ identifies that Truth.

‘Wahe’ is a feel of ‘wow’ moment, an exclamation of the divine Wonder.

Guru is interpreted here as the path that leads us from darkness to light. It is the journey towards truth and enlightenment.

Satnam Waheguru is a pragmatic or logical approach towards the understanding of God, rather than worshipping Him as a divine image.

Satnam Waheguru is meditative in its spirit installing harmony in our conscious mind.

For that reason, Satnam Waheguru is a repetitive mantra that flows well with our inhaling and exhaling breathing. Here the mantra breaks down into four steps: Sat-Nam-Wahe-Guru; repeat: Sat-Nam-Wahe-Guru….

There is no healing, a therapeutic or miracle value in the Satnam Waheguru mantra, but it does initiate a conscientious mind of spiritual significance.

Satnam Waheguru, in all its elements, is a mantra, a prayer, and a divine companion in solitary moments.

INDIA TODAY

While the Lathi-raj, enforced by the police and goons, is in full swing, the BJP bhagats are kept ignorant and brainwashed that everything is normal, India is progressing, and going to the moon.
For most of the Hindu population, especially in urban middle or upper-middle-class, there is insensitivity towards the seriousness of the new anti-minority Citizenship Act, that deprives the citizenship to “undocumented citizens.” Their consciousness can’t hear the nationwide protests against the discriminatory law. They are not sitting on the fence. Instead, they have boxed themselves in fear and apathy.
That is the sorry state of India today.
-By Promod Puri

Radical Changes In India’s Secularism Thru New Citizenship Act


Protests have engulfed Assam since the National Register of Citizens was published in August 2019. They have intensified since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by the parliament. Central security forces, pictured here, have been sent in to repress the spontaneous protests by different citizens groups. (Arunabh Saikia),

Author provided Sara Shneiderman, University of British Columbia and Sahana Ghosh, Brown University

Nearly two million residents of India’s eastern state of Assam are at risk of losing citizenship. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) published by the state government in August 2019 declares people who cannot prove they came to the state before March 1971, the day before neighbouring Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan, to be foreigners.

According to Fernand de Varennes, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, this is potentially “the biggest exercise in statelessness since the Second World War.” Those excluded are primarily poor and marginalized people who can not adequately prove their citizenship.

As the 120 days granted to appeal for those excluded from the National Register of Citizens in Assam comes to an end, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have announced they will implement the NRC across the country. This catastrophic move is part of a broader state project to unravel the secular, inclusive basis of citizenship in India by targeting the country’s Muslim minority and other marginalized communities.

Included in their plan is the unilateral repeal of Kashmir’s constitutional self-determination in August 2019, and the Citizenship Amendment Act passed in December 2019, which omits Muslim migrants from obtaining naturalized citizenship.

Seeking out “illegal migrants” — which in India has become synonymous with “Bangladeshi Muslim” — the National Register of Citizens has torn apart families as some members find themselves excluded from the list. Reports indicate a gendered dimension to this exclusion, with women suffering most from this bureaucratic violence and in detention.

Militarized borders

When Dulal Paul, a man in a detention camp in Tezpur, Assam, died in October 2019, his kin in India refused to accept his body. Since Indian authorities had, they said, declared Paul to be a “foreigner” and “a Bangladeshi,” Paul’s family asked them to send his body to Bangladesh. They forced the authorities to acknowledge the fatal inconsistencies within their own system. Bangladesh, meanwhile, insists that it has no citizens living illegally in India.

Many excluded from the NRC have no claim to citizenship elsewhere. Our research shows that South Asia’s historically flexible borders mean that many who have lived their entire lives in India may not have the full complement of documentary evidence to prove it. The practice of recording births and marriages is relatively recent, and even those who have documents have been excluded because of minor inconsistencies in the spelling of names or dates of birth. Regardless of documentary proof, those people had no reason to think they would ever be required to produce evidence. They had established livelihoods and relationships in their Indian communities — and there was nowhere else they could call home.

Migration and the question of who belongs has been central to Assam’s politics since the very inception of postcolonial India’s citizenship acts. Militarized borders have become a focal point to unify and stoke disparate anxieties around minorities and majoritarian identity, just as they have with Brexit in the United Kingdom and the detention and separation of families at the United States-Mexico border.

The rise of Hindutva nationalism

The Assam Agitation of 1979-85 demanded the detection and deportation of all “foreigners” regardless of religion or ethnicity. The regional political history of Assam has dovetailed uneasily with the rise of Hindutva nationalism. Their leaders have pledged to detect and deport Muslim “illegal immigrants.”

The religious basis of the NRC becomes explicit with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) just approved by the parliament. That law ensures that Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis or Jains facing persecution in neighbouring countries will be eligible for citizenship in India and not treated as illegal migrants while Muslims will be excluded. This imminent constitutional change is a radical transformation of the secular principles of citizenship in India.

Political theorists have rightly suggested that the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act must be considered together to grasp the ramifications for India’s secular democracy. The ongoing siege in Kashmir is also a critical part of this equation.

States today deploy techniques of both forced inclusion (for example, the so-called “re-education centres” for Uighur Muslims in China) and forced exclusion (the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement deportation of undocumented immigrants, and EU processing centres in Turkey and Africa to keep migrants from reaching Europe) to address majoritarian demands around the perceived problems of mobility and difference. Both strategies are on show simultaneously in India.

Also, in August 2019, the Indian government unilaterally repealed constitutional provisions for autonomy in the state of Jammu and Kashmir — India’s only Muslim-majority state — amid a military siege and complete communication shutdown and curfew, much of which continues to date. Kashmiris have been forcibly included in the Indian polity through a downgrading of their self-governing federal state to a centrally governed Union Territory.

In contrast to Assam, where people are forcibly excluded when they cannot meet the high bar for verifiable documents that demonstrate their residence in the region before 1971, this forcible integration is in complete denial of Kashmiri demands for azadi, freedom.

Both actions reveal an Indian state intent on weaponizing the bureaucratic logic of citizenship as a strategy for securing its borders. The nation has been working to radically reshape its secular polity along Hindu nationalist lines by expelling or repressing Muslim minorities. Dissent against the CAA and the attack on secularism is being violently quelled by the government, particularly on university campuses across the country, including in Delhi.

Protesting against human rights violations in all of these locations — both already perpetrated and yet to come — is critical. But effective long-term political action, within India and elsewhere, must address shared structural concerns in Assam and Kashmir where profoundly exclusionary forms of Hindu nationalism seek to strip certain kinds of people of demographic and political power.

Those committed to justice and fighting fascism must recognize and reject the linked logics of weaponized citizenship in Kashmir and Assam. Experiences there are neither isolated nor exceptional; instead, these margins have long been subjected to the violent repression that has moved to India’s centres today.

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