Teaching Harmony, Practicing Disharmony

This was presented as a paper at a symposium on Peace Education organised as part of National Conference on Indian Psychology, on 6 February 2011 at the India International Centre.

This piece seeks to underscore the cleavages that exist in our society, explore the foundations upon which the edifice of intolerance has risen and to look at the tools, like education for peace and harmony, with which we try to dismantle this citadel of intolerance.

Peace education, you would agree, cannot be confined merely to teaching the message of Love and brotherhood, our text books have been teaching this message for as long as I remember and my memories of our text books go back, at least to my senior school days in the mid sixties, almost 45 years ago.

If telling students in their classes that we should all love each other because we are all Indians and that we are all equal was enough then we would not have many of the problems that we are confronting today.

Can any of us say with any measure of certainty that those who have been teaching these texts are free of these social biases or that those who have grown up reading these texts are completely purged of the discriminatory ideas that are so much a part of our daily existence? Don’t you remember the teachers who questioned the intelligence of students and suggested that since no one in their family had ever been to a school they too should follow their family traditions, or the teachers who constantly referred to the feeble intelligence of their girl students?

If class lessons were all that was needed to turn us into loving, understanding, peaceful and caring citizens, then all that the secular state had to do was to ensure that every child gets into schools, give them a secular, scientific and modern education and hey presto, all our troubles will be over.

Life unfortunately is not as simple; we live and grow up in a society that thrives on discrimination and hate. How do you explain the role played by educated young people, in their thousands, in the arson and killing of the Sikhs in 1984, or in the demolition of the Babri Masjid, or in 2002 genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. Do you recall the images, flashed on television screens across the nation, a plush sedan, driven by a woman halts in front of a store being looted in Ahmedabad, the woman gets off the car, walks in, grab all she can, deposits the loot in her car and drives off nonchalantly.

Are these youth a product of our Secular Education System or the progeny of the various parallel streams of sectarian, anti-secular, denominational educational networks mushrooming and thriving all over the country. The world view that this parallel system of education propagates has been documented by serious academics for years and we know of the interventions made by this anti-secular, anti modernist world view to remove as much of the secular content from NCERT text books as possible.

I am arguing that this anti-secular, anti modern world view is deeply entrenched in the discourse of a perfect and glorious past that informs the self image that we have created for ourselves, and regardless of what we write in our NCERT text books, eventually it is this self image that is communicated to students, through moral education classes, through parents and other elders’ remarks and through our own conduct.

In our day-to-day conduct we constantly betray our strong casteist, communal, narrow nationalist and jingoist biases. To quote one instance, since we are nowhere in football world rankings, our children support cult teams from Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, etc., and no questions are asked, but catch someone supporting the Pakistani cricket team she or he immediately becomes an agent of an enemy nation. How can you support the Pakistani team, aren’t you an Indian? Since when has supporting a player or a team become a test of one’s patriotism, what happened to the constant declarations that sports are a celebration of the human spirit and that they help us rise above narrow loyalties?

And just by the way shouldn’t the millions of UK citizen NRIs supporting the Indian teams in England be charged for extra-territorial loyalties?

I am pointing to a malaise, a malaise so deeply rooted in our psyche, in our social discourse, in our self image, in the very idea of India that we have created that no amount of democratic, secular, humanist, pacifist, messaging is going to overcome our inherent biases.

Unless of course we are ready to lift the carpet and expose every bit of dirt that we have kept hidden for years, for generations. It is what we do not talk about that is the problem.

Do we seriously think about or discuss the values that we are communicating to our children, the mythologies that we have built about the great tolerant traditions of India and the intolerance of all those who we have chosen to identify as the “other” the outsider, the aggressor. We do not discuss these issues because we have created a world of make-believe about who we are and have stopped looking inwards, we do not introspect and do not try to confront the cleavages that are everyday tearing apart our society.

I will give you a few examples as illustrations of what I am driving at.

Once I reached office rather early to finish a note that was urgently required. I had been in office for a while before the cleaning lady arrived, I asked her to do the other rooms first and as she was leaving I asked her to fetch me a glass of water. She froze. Assuming that she will turn around to tell me that it was not her job, I said forget it I will get it myself. Her response was totally along unexpected lines and it shocked me and that’s why I am sharing it with you. She said, ‘of course I’ll get you water, I have been here for 15 years, no one has ever asked me to get them water. This was in Delhi, in the heart of the Capital of a country that banned untouchability in 1950 and this happened in a government office, part of the Human Resource Development Ministry.

A friend of mine, my junior by a year, did his M.Phil and PhD in Adult education and was teaching at Pune University, he was visiting Delhi after many years and came to meet me when he heard that I was a consultant with the National Literacy Mission and this is what he told me.

While working for his M.Phil he used to visit the Directorate of Adult Education (DAE) regularly to collect all literacy material being published by the DAE, the publications officer was a JNU alumni and my friend would drop by, go to his office, collect the material, have a cup of tea with his senior and leave.

As he walked in to meet me years later, some of the senior officers who were sitting in one room and having tea saw him and invited him for tea, my friend was rather surprised because these people did not take any notice of him earlier. As he sat down with them, they said that they were sorry because they had treated him very shoddily in the past and had for all these years prevented his participation in all discussions and deliberations related to literacy, they said that this had prevented the literacy campaign from benefiting from his vast experience. My friend said that he knew nothing of this but wanted to know why they objected to his name and they said we thought you were a Scheduled Caste. My friend asked them but why did you think that? and he was told, you always met Mr. Jambulkar and he is an SC, so we assumed that you too must be one of them.

This in a central government office that has been set up to ensure that all adults in this country become literates and we all know that the bulk of the illiterates in this country are women, minorities Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. And here is this bunch of Literacy officers who prevent an expert in the field of literacy from contributing to the campaign because they think that he belongs to a scheduled caste. The year was 1994, 44 years after the listing of caste discrimination as a punishable crime.

I was shown two municipal taps in the late 80’s off Asif Ali Road, near Ajmeri Gate in Baghichi Tansukh Rai, the Jatavs drew water from one of the taps and were not permitted to use the other.

Every day young couples are killed for falling in love and ignoring the caste, gotra divide, hundreds gather and
pass orders of execution, the orders are carried out in front of the entire village and next day when the police arrives and the bodies are discovered there is not a single witness.

And we say there is no casteism in our society as if we do not exhibit the worst kind of casteist behaviour in our daily lives, we keep separate tea cups for our household maids and tell ourselves that it is for hygienic reasons. We insist that there is no caste discrimination in this land; in fact many have told me that they were not even aware of caste differences, till the Mandal commission. What utter nonsense, pick up any newspaper, go to the matrimonial pages and you would be assaulted by long lists of eligible Grooms or Brides Kashtriya, Kanyakubjh Brahmin, Saraswat Brahmin, Vaania, Agarwal, varshnay, Chitpawan, Iyer, Iyengar, Khatri, so on and so forth but how many ads are there that say caste no bar. I have met highly educated people defending the Gotra system as scientific and telling me, we don’t support these killings but why do people get into these relationships.

No matter how anti-caste discriminatory our school texts are, which child can escape from this nonstop onslaught of the casteist discourse?

Another illustration or two from another field, there was this recent report in many papers including Mail Today about this growing trend of young married girls travelling to Bangkok or Hong Kong, getting in-vitro fertilisation of several eggs through their husband’s sperm, letting the fertilised eggs grow in test tubes, putting the fertilised eggs through a sex determination test, selecting the one that is going to grow into a boy, getting it placed in the womb and travelling back after a 15 day vacation. The total cost Hong Kong $ 50,000 or thereabouts.

People from this class earlier travelled to Europe, to get a test done and if needed undergo an abortion and return after a so-called vacation. Incidentally the worst gender ratio in Delhi is in the posh south Delhi colonies and I am prepared to bet that the best gender ratios will be found among the poorest, the Minorities and the Dalits living in the slums.

And how are we doing it in Rajasthan, Punjab, West UP and Haryana, the worst states in terms of gender ratios? They have been smothering the newborn girl child for so long that they are now buying tribal girls from MP and Bihar as brides, if they produce a male child; they are accepted in the family or pushed out of their temporary homes to fend for themselves.

What chance for boys growing in this environment to be respectful to women, to not demand dowry, to not use women as mere playthings. No matter how powerfully you put forward the ideas of gender equality in the school text-books, the world outside the school, tells them something totally opposite and reinforces it every day.

I could go on but I’ll stop here. I’ll not talk about the problems that I faced in finding a house on rent in this city. It took me eight months to find a shelter in an urban village, eight months of daily drudgery to find one man in this city of landlords, who could not be bothered about my faith or lack of it.

I have been voting since 1971, every time I shift home I take care to get my name transferred to the new area and then in late 1992 my name was struck off the rolls, mine and my wife’s. It took me three years to get it back on the rolls, All this while I was living in the same house, people who came after us were on the list, those who had not lived there for years were on the list, I and my wife were the only two names removed. The ration shop agent told my 12 years old daughter that he will not give rations to Pakistanis.

My daughters! Pakistanis! Granddaughters of a freedom fighter who spent two and a half years during the freedom struggle, great granddaughters of a man who opposed the formation of Pakistan and was stabbed by a deranged Muslim fanatic. But let us move away from my personal traumas and come to the end of this tirade.

What I have said is what I know to be true because I am witness to all this. I am privileged, I am fairly well known in this city, I am fairly well connected and I refuse to be ghettoised and that is why I refuse to live in the walled city and in the ghettoes for Muslims like Batla House, where I can be picked up and killed and no questions answered. But think of those who have no voice, do not have the wherewithal to be invited to such rarefied gatherings, think of the women who are raped and killed, the girls not allowed to be born, think of those not permitted to draw from your well, not allowed to sit in front of you, not allowed to be your neighbours and think of the self-image that we have created for ourselves the image of a peace loving, tolerant people. We kill because someone overtakes our car, because a girl does not like us, because someone professes a faith different from ours, because someone marries without our permission.

We are a society that lives a false life, what we profess and what we practice are mutually exclusive. Unless we are ready to confront this disconnect and do something about it, there is little that all our efforts at peace education will achieve. I am sorry if I sound like a pessimist, I find little to be optimist about.

33 thoughts on “Teaching Harmony, Practicing Disharmony”

  1. So you see nothing wrong in supporting a sporting team from a country that is sponsors terrorism in your country, kills people of your country, both soldiers and civilians, and has in the past been involved in many wars with your country ?

    1. When , Indian cricket fans supports the South African Team, or the team from West Indies, is he indulging in an anti national act? or is he supporting a team whose game he likes?

      if the above is not an anti national act, how does being a fan of the Pakistani team become one.

      Get Real, take off your blinkers.

      What is more, cricket and Pakistan was a passing reference, the burden of my argument is about untouchability and discriminations inherent in our society, obviously, these things do not bother you.

  2. The more educated an Indian these days, more he/she lives in the virtual world of India Shining and never thinks about the social issues pulling us down. Sohail Sir, you have depicted the problem where it is concentrated most, the center of all power holders. The educated, rich and power holders all are deeply bigoted in the nature and takes pride in this shams of culture.
    I am not optimist for India too but there is no point for giving up the hope…

  3. Totally Agree with you Sohail,changing mindsets needs new strategies and thinking.The culture of competition and consumerism leaves no time for our youth to think beyond themselves.They have not really learnt to examine thier prejudices and social conditioning.

  4. quick question – if israel had the best and most charismatic football team in the world, would you support them?

  5. @ Big Boss My reply is in two parts 1 refer to my response to Prashant

    2 If the Israelis were to become a good football team, and that is a big if. will I support them? I might, but if I did that, the mullahs will take me to the cleaners, just as you and Prashant are doing it now, because of the question that I have raised.

    The issue that you should be contemplating right now, Mr Big Boss, is about the similarity between what you are doing right now, and the mullahs will certainly do, if I was to act according to your wishes.

    1. Interesting…so would it also have been okay to support apartheid-era south africa? no moral issues at all?

      1. Oh! how perceptive of you
        You have nothing to say about the caste atrocities in India
        you have nothing to say about the honour Killings and the killings of unborn girls, about the genocide of the Sikhs in Delhi in 84, or about the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat. You have nothing to say on any of this. Because for you none of this has any importance, what is important for you is the myth of Indian Muslims supporting the Pakistani cricket team,
        And then you have to bring in your friend Israel,
        and why did you do that?
        you did that because you have already slotted me
        and then you think you have pulled your vajrastr
        and you try to show the folly of my ways, and drag in apartheid
        How truly perceptive of you.
        How are the two comparable ?

        1. you don’t feel that there might be comparisons that stretch across the borders, from south africa, to israel, to pakistan and to india? and if there are, is sporting support really an uncomplicated thing? go on, do give us a couple more paragraphs….

          oh and incidentally, israel is not my friend. most of my friends are people – perhaps you have friends that are nation states?

    2. Sohail, supporting a nation that has as its fundamental policy “bleed India by a hundred cuts” says a lot about you and people like you.

      1. If all you have understood from my piece is that
        I am supporting
        a nation that has as its fundamental policy “bleed India by a hundred Cuts”
        and from that understanding you have come to gather great insights about
        Me and people like me
        then my dear Prashant you need to do two things post haste

        A) learn some English and
        B) consult a Shrink

  6. I think bigboss has a point. Let me try and answer bigboss from my own point of view, and Sohail can agree or disagree. I am anyway not speaking for him but on my own, because bigboss’ important question needs a response:

    If Israel had a very good football team, I would have admired the team, but wouldn’t have admired the nation because of the team. If apartheid SA was banned, whether an imaginary Israeli football team needs to be banned or not is a question of a different realm. I would support a move to ban that team. Lot of politically sensitive cricket lovers loved certain players of the SA team in their banned era. But they couldn’t and didn’t justify anything against their being rightfully kept out of the scene for reasons of racism. It is true that when a country follows a deliberate policy of rampant, large scale violence and prejudice, the political scene effects the country’s career even in sports.

    But let us come near home at this point: Pakistan, let us assume without any ifs and buts, is fanning cross-border terrorism. So there is a view to keep Pakistan away from sporting events, at least in India, which is supposedly at the mercy of Pakistan’s terror brigade. By saying “supposedly” I am not trying to say the threat or the reality of that threat doesn’t exist. I mean to simply question the extent of the fantasy of terror which rules people’s lives in India and how it then translates into not only a demonising of another country but of a community which lives side by side in one’s own country. So tomorrow the question can well be asked, why should Muslims players be a part of the Indian team? Maybe they should go through some agni-pariksha to prove they are pro-Indian, anti-Pakistani, anti-terrorism, etc?!

    Ah, I guess am going too far. But how far is too far? If Pakistan is doing cross-border terrorism, India is committing all kinds of atrocities on its own people. I can easily forward this logic that Pakistan being a small country, being anxious of its size, always enjoys terrorising a big country like India, and if you love the logic so far, please also agree with me, that India being a big country loves to prove its self-sufficiency by terrorising its own people and ensure they don’t go out of hand. Pakistan’s gaze is neighbourly and India’s gaze is home-centric – both bully-gazers – what say?!
    Let me come to the point now. From the point of view of dalits and other violently victimsed minorities, India surely needs to be banned from the World Cup as much as upper-caste Hindus think Pakistan needs to be banned from the same. But surely, dalits and these other, so-called victimsed minorities cannot go overboard and ask for such a ban from a country like India which is the most peaceful, tolerant, diversity-loving, emancipatory nation in the world. Am sure if you ask a Pakistani he would give other, perhaps more difficult and poignant reasons, for the greatness of his own nation. Indians don’t have to go equally overboard on what ails that country.

    On such argumentative occasions, a stern English phrase quite comes in handy: Mind your own business. And if you want to do better, resolve it.

  7. What I can’t fail to notice is the barely-hidden sneering behind Bigboss’s seemingly disingenuous question. Of all the structural questions raised by Sohail’s post, whose main import was to bring to light the biases and prejudices that continually undermine the so-called progressive education system of our country, Bigboss chooses one tiny part, detaches it from the rest of the post and feels quite free to pick holes in it. Fine, if that’s the nature of your engagement with the entirety of a position, please go ahead, Bigboss. If you can’t perceive that nothing in Sohail’s carefully argued post supports simplistic or knee-jerk reactions (including on the thorny relationship between sports and nationalism), then please hang on to your views. But to me, they hardly deserve to be addressed with the seriousness undertaken by Manash above.

  8. I guess we all are at fault you, me. Simply because all that we have done is to condemn these acts. nothing else. We haven’t provided any solutions, incentives for people to change their behaviour or if we have provided any then the methods are clearly not working. By the way it is a very very tough job to change people, may be that’s because they don’t find any reason to change. We need someone who is be truly incorruptible, someone who can truly understand the Indian society, culture. unfortunately no one can. I think even Gandhiji might have failed in removing these violent, self-defeating elements of the society.

    May be people have forgotten that purpose of our lives is pursuit of happiness and not pursuit of power, money. Money, power are illusions. I think people should be made aware of this fact.

    By the way have you done a study on kids who go to boarding schools- u know students who stay in hostels for their education. these kids dont meet their families and societies that very frequently. I would like to know how they react when they are exposed such thoughts.

    I would like to quote Jimi Hendrix: When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

    P.S.:- I like your line about sports. I will keep that. And to all the comments i would like to state my observation- it is funny world we live in.

  9. 1. Things *are* changing. Unfortunately, not at the rate we would like. For a recent report (which very likely you know) see the article “Rethinking inequality: Dalits in Uttar Pradesh in the Market Era” in the 28/10/10 issue of Economic and Political Weekly by Devesh Kapur, Chandrabhan Prasad, Lant Pritchett and D. Shyam Babu.

    2. The issue about Pakistan is tangential to be sure. But is the behavior that you deplore that unusual? France and Germany are not at war and unlikely to go to war, but would one be surprised if a Frenchman says that he cannot bring himself to support Germany in a football game between Germany and some other country? Or for an Israeli to say the same? Conflicts seem to persist in the psyche long after the actual war has ended. In a different vein, Ashis Nandy, in an article, noted that until recently (perhaps even now), parents in Mithila would not accept a groom from Ayodhya for their daughters because of the way Rama had treated Sita!

    If this is the case in situations where the conflict has ended, is the the behaviour of the Indian Hindu — if you will, upper caste Hindu male — really surprising given that the conflict between India and Pakistan has still not ended? Note, by the way, that Pakistanis seem to behave similarly: that is, many of them regard Pakistani Hindus as Indians. See here for a description of this phenomenon.

    1. You are right such profiling continues much after the conflict that led to this profiling has ceased to exist. in fact such profiling is encouraged in states that thrive on fanning ethnic differences.

      for instance treating Pakistani Hindus as Indian Agents, in fact state agencies have been practicing this profiling for decade.

      would you expect any thing different in a theocratic state?

      The question is the holding of similar positions in India

      we must seriously look at such profiling of our largest minority, if we wish to be taken seriously as a Secular Democracy.

      The fact that this happens is widely accepted, I am of course not talking of Myopic Hindutvawadis, who are everyday becoming more like a spitting Image of what they claim most to detest.

      The issue is should we accept it because it happens?

      People accept the giving and taking of Dowry,
      refuse to buy steel goods or travel on Saturdays,
      kill girls before they are born,
      burn alive a dalit if he dares ride a horse through their locality on way to his wedding. Prevent Girls from wearing Jeans

      Is all this justified because it has been happening, it is our custom?

      I think not

      1. The issue with the supporting of the Pakistani Cricket Team by Indian Muslims is very different to people supporting Brazil or other countries in Football..

        As a state Pakistan has been and continues to be in active opposition to India.. They may well be justified in their antagonism, but we can’t pretend that the historic hostility does not exist and that support for a country seen as an ‘enemy’ is the same as support for one that is not. In a way I’m not sure why you brought this up at all as it does not really support the rest of your article.

        You rightly decry the prejudice that some hold in seeing muslims as “Pakistanis” but at the same time feel that there is nothing unusual if muslims do support Pakistan. Prejudice is also not just the preserve of ‘upper caste hindus’, as Muslims are as communalistic as Hindus..

  10. Hai
    I agree with you, but as teachers who would talk about these issues in school,bring awareness and they also believe in what the teachers are doing but my question is how can these children acceot when parents feel what ever is said is not to be followed. how to convince the parents that they are doing wrong. As a history teacher i appreciate the topic that you arised but how to bring in this awareness openly to the kids.

    1. There are no easy solutions to this, I guess the only thing one can do as a teacher is to inculcate . among the students, the habit of enqiry, teach them to question everything and to accept things only if they appeal to reason. It is npt only a question of what the parents tell their children, in many cases the teachers themselves make statements that cause great harm. Let us not forget that teachers too are a product of this society and unless they themselves inculcate the habit of questioning they too fall prey to the same biases

  11. It is truly amazing how people have become impervious to logic and any kind of criticism. it is kalyug and the rot will stop only when human life goes extinct a few generations from now.

  12. This is a good article. I wish more articles like this appeared in the mainstream media. We are too ready to sweep the ugly things in our society under the carpet. However raising this issue of Pakistan and cricket matches is an unnecessary distraction. British people may not mind(actually some of them do!) when Indian born British citizens support India during cricket- because terrorists sponsored by Britain haven’t killed thousands of people in India or the other way round. India fought three wars with Pakistan and at least in the Indian perception all of them were started by Pakistan. Your example on Pakistan and cricket does not fit in with the rest of your article. Of course, I find it silly to bother myself with who supports whom during a cricket match, but I think it is natural for many Indians to feel aggrieved if Indian citizens support Pakistan during cricket. It is not to be compared with caste discrimination and communal riots or pogroms.

  13. I have found this article and comments most interesting and as a foreigner living in India, have been glad of this article to enlighten me further as to how this fascinating and unfathomable country operates.

    I think engaging in superficial discussions whether it is patriotic or not to support one cricket team or another, is pointless and superficial and in my view deters from the more profound issues covered in the article, which I understand as asking whether India will ever be able to eradicate the conditioned cast prejudice which underpins its culture and society.

    Frankly, seeing it as an outsider, and with my limited knowledge, I’m equally pessimistic as the author of this article. If one wants to lean towards optimism, fair enough, on the surface things might change, as polarities are ironed out by a larger share of people having access to jobs and an education, but underneath all of this, there are (hundreds) of years of conditioning, which will hardly disappear over night.

    Education has to start at home, and whilst people’s mind sets continue to be rigid and intolerant, no harmony will possibly be able to exist be it between casts, religions, at home or beyond our frontiers, be it India, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa or anywhere else for that matter.

  14. I have problems with the tendency that questions the patriotism of all Indian Muslims on the basis of the alleged support by some Indian Muslims for the Pakistani cricket Team.

    my raising this question has led to varied responses, instead of going into each one of them I would like to draw some parallels

    When Mahatma Gandhi was Assassinated by Nathu Ram Godse, sweets were distributed by some elements in Pune and Nagpur and this led to attacks aimed at Brahmins, Pandit Nehru and others issued appeals to desist from these attacks and Pandit Nehru wrote a couple of days later that all the Brahmins could not be held responsible for the senseless acts of one individual.

    not too long ago, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated and motivated killings of Sikhs started, artists writers and intellectuals were the first to come into the streets to condemn the madness, the congress suffered heavily because of the thoughtless statement of Rajeev Gandhi about a Big Tree falling.

    now if all the Brahmins are not guilty of the assassination of the Mahatma, and they are not. and all the Sikhs are not guilty of the assassination of Indira Gandhi and they are not.
    how is it that all the Muslims are agents of Pakistan, even if a few of them support the Pakistani team.

    I raised the issue to underline the biases that are inbuilt into our responses, no matter how common and unconsciously articulated.

    Incidentally one is still waiting for a statement from a certain political tendency about the wrong committed against the Muslims all over Gujarat in the aftermath of Godhra

    1. I’m afraid you don’t seem to have understood the reasoning behind why the support for the Pakistan Team could be problematic..

      Your analogies to why we should not blame whole communities for the actions of a few don’t really work in this case.. In each of the examples cited , we all accept that those who actually committed those acts were guilty (Godse &Indira’s bodyguards) . We don’t really argue that Brahmins should not be held responsible for Gandhi’s death and that it was ok for a Brahmin to have caused it..

      However you seem to be arguing that it should not matter if some Muslims support Pakistan and we should not brush the whole community on that basis. Surely those particular muslims who do support Pakistan should not complain if their loyalty is held suspect on that basis, given the historical and current situation.

  15. “Are these youth a product of our Secular Education System or the progeny of the various parallel streams of sectarian, anti-secular, denominational educational networks mushrooming and thriving all over the country.”

    Exactly. All scriptures in all institutes shud be under scientific scrutinisation, and everything IRRATIONAL, and DEMOTIVE OF RATIONAL THOUGHT shud be banned.

    Religions are unscientifically classified as single units – like Islam / Hindu /Christians etc. These religions actually encompass mutually exclusive ideas. These are either based on different interpretations of same scripture, or differnt scriptures with same name, still unknown of its genuineness.

    Its better not to classify broadly. Let every single diminutive aspect be scrutinized and stated whether its Rational and not, and let everybody reach a conclusion whether it is Rational or not.

    There is no need to attribute ideas to religion or any other social institution.

    [Some examples :
    (1)The symbolism shud be uniform, regardless of climate, and local ecology, like availability of materials (2) The ultimate pilgrimage centre shud remain at only one place in earth, and ‘true’ followers shud reach there as culmination, amidst all sorts of problems it causes . I can give more ]
    This is possible, and I can bring out working examples.

    1. The ‘examples’ given are just some topics for a rational decision being made on it, not instructions. These are comparatively easy ones, unlike very spiritual ones.

  16. I don’t know about others but I wholeheartedly support the Pakistani cricket team for this world cup. I do so because:
    1) I care a damn about cricket, so I don’t care which team wins.
    2) Pakistan as a country is going through a bad phase and they could do with a sports win to cheer them up.
    3) Pakistani cricket is going through a bad phase and could do with a win, too.
    4) I don’t think my supporting the Pakistani team in any way undermines India’s security, integrity, sovereignty blah blah.
    5) I think nationalism can go wrong. It can kill. So I’m all for an online club of Indians who support the Pakistani team and vice-versa. We need less nationalism, not more.

  17. I think Shivam’s comment illustrates your point perfectly, Sohail. He can affirm his support for the Pakistani team and people may get angry with him and abuse him but they will not question his “Indianness,” so to say. An Indian Muslim doesn’t enjoy the same freedom.

    I wish there were a simple solution. I guess we just have to keep fighting such bigotry.

  18. very lengthy article, Please leave an Abstract, especially if you are going to spend paragraphs, elaborating experiences.

    Why do you protect the identity of the offenders ?
    Please make a public petition! Let us see what can be done .. .

  19. Sohail,

    A good exposition of issues, but mostly addressing those that increasingly belown to the last century..

    The Indo-Pak cricket equation is muddied by Indo-Pak history in general, and while “muslim phobia” might have some inputs to it, it surely isnt the only reason (not even the biggest one)…If it was, there would be similar reactions for cricket matches against Bangladesh – remember we crashed out of the World Cup last time because of a defeat against them? You might notie that the bile is reserved for the “Pakistan team”, ie, a unit that represents the Pakistani nation state (or ends up doing in some form)..It isnt for Pakistani individuals – from Ustad Ghulam Ali to Imran Khan! And even in cricket, many Indians have moved on – remember the standing ovation that the Paki team got in Chennai after that test match in 1999 (despite Sachin’s greatest innings)? By reducing the Indo-Pak equation to a simple “muslim phobia” you underestimate the deep antipathy that Indians have towards the most unnatural “nation state” in the world, one that ceaselessly promotes mayhem in India…

    Even on the treatment of dalits, you are in danger of being way behind the times…In my many years of working in Delhi and Mumbai, never saw a single case of a chap being “profiled” in the manner you have…Is it a function of simple utilitarian motivations? Maybe the experience of your friend in the govt office is determined by the general distatste most “general category” men (and women) have towards “reserved category”? I would think that the most obvious distinctions are largely absent in the private sector because of an absence of reservations…Suresh referenced a study by (among others) Chandrabhan Prasad…He has written extensively on the topic of Dalit performance in the new market economy – his conclusions should open a lot of eyes that cannot see beyond the obvious old views…

    You are right about the caste issue – in various shapes it still exists..But if you notice deep enough, its usage is graduating “downwards” into more and more of the “private” domain of the individual, and diminishing from his “public” persona…

  20. The disharmony is embed in because of not seeing straight by society conditioned to dislike just as other caste .Disharmony within among Majority is manageable but intra with respect to minority is trboulsome
    I live abroad and have a very different perspective .There is undercurrent of anger dislike and sense of being wronged by Muslims .Muslims of India if you take the subcontinent as whole has been through the roughest treatment of any group .The partition of 1947 for nonmuslimm affected in East Bengal & West Pakistan was equally devastating but that was one time .Whether Bengali or non Bengali al Muslims got mauled again In1971 Bengali Muslim and innocent nonburnable Muslims got killed . The point is Muslim has suffered unusually harsher treatment .One cannot as majority wash your hands off by blaming Jinnah Bhutoo and what have they got to do with responsibility towards welfare of Non Pakistani Muslims .India had big role in dividing the country There were demands on both sides .Ultimately due to Mt.Batten it was a botched surgery Proof of it is 1971 .One Congress leader wanted Assured Hindu majority far and above and gave that to his nemesis The nationalistic party for short term gain and blunder agreed to it .This responsibility is not taken by majority as there part in the whole misery

    Those who were Happy with Partition of 1947 do not entertain the idea that, that did not make India 100% Hindu obviously As the minority inches up there is greater and greater anger b/c they are facing competition This was not planned for nor expected A generation back the son of artisan clerks are now engineers and doctors in minority community whereas majority enjoyed buoyant supremacy of educational institutions power wealth and job

    .The Dalt have made leaps and bound upliftment( with favoured govt reservations ) but i think upper caste is not resent full only of jealousy of others achievement .For Muslim it is both .

    Question is what has Muslim done wrong the partion was not brought on by Muslims left india too dispersed The majority Muslim Area had no responsibility to wards Muslim as i don’t see majority feel responsible for other Hindus .If not seen as dumping partition on Indian the majority wil not overcome its vision problem .The resultant animosity with Pakistan used to be more cruel to wards Indian Muslims in the past than now .However its the vision of majority or diplopia myopia any thing but straight vision is affecting the attitude of majority to wards mu slim The education by majority is not fair if you consider other large DEMOCRACY SECULAR MODERN nation What happens in Pakistan is wrong bad despicable but why such low standard in country 4 times the size (population)of USA Equal to China in Asian Power Where is Pakistan in ranking .

    If we still teach to play in small fField with lesser players or diadvantaged players it is our fault .The education system and mindset of Indian has no comparable behaviour to wards minority of such magnitude .Pakistan is done with Hindus there and you have not many case files to wait for come as bad news .

    I would go to the extent of saying despite terrorism binladen Taliban India is single most crowded in one place with highest number of Islamophobes .There Islamophobes al over the world making headlines by Media for sensational news but they are not concentrated in one country to that extent nor grand total wlil be close equal to high number and (low percentage wise )islamo/muslim phobes in india with billion —

    au revoir

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