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Saturday, January 30, 2016

A tribute to Mahatma Gandhi's on the 68th death anniversary.

A tribute to Gandhi | www.TheGhousediary.com
Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead 68 years ago on this day, January 30, 1948.

Mahatma Gandhi is one of my nine favorite personalities. I call them my mentors, meaning I think about them regularly and that they are; Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammad, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Pope Frances, and President Barack Obama. Of course, my father and mother top the list, I am who I am today because of them opening the windows of knowledge to me.

These are the men and women I have come to adore; their passion was to create cohesive societies where everyone can live without fear of the other.

By the time I croak my list may grow to be 10, as there is one more individual I am studying and he may become the 10th favorite Pluralists, i.e., those who respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us.

Every year, for the last 25 years, I have been writing a note about him on his death and birth anniversaries, this is my way of paying tribute and expressing the gratitude to a man who gave so much to India and the world.
By the way, I have seen Gandhi in my dream twice, way back in early 70’s and in the early 2000 – both the times he pats on my back and says, Son you have a lot of work to do, and that has remained my inspiration to do the work I do.

Gandhi’s Clothing

Why did he wear the loin cloth and not the suits? Indeed, he was a Law graduate of University College of London, a successful Lawyer in South Africa and he wore the three piece suits like all the Englishmen did during the period.

Do you remember one of his thousands of quotes – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” What does it mean? One of the major social reforms he brought to India was ‘acceptability’ of the ‘untouchables’, it is a shameful part of history of civilizations where humans were dehumanized, including here in the United States.  He wanted the downtrodden and the poor masses to relate with him and he wanted to be one of them and not the elites who look down upon them.  Prophet Muhammad did similar thing – he gave Bilal, the slave whom he freed, the highest spiritual status among his followers, it was a jolt to the society, but it knocked their prejudices down. My father did the same, which I have written separately, you see the same trend with Jesus, Mother Teresa, Pope Frances and others – they had zero prejudice towards fellow beings. God bless them all.
Given what Gandhi stood for, two things are going severely wrong in India, a handful of extremists have taken over and mistreating the Dalits (Untouchables) and the shameful celebration of the man who shot Gandhi. They are building temples to Godify this man Godse who killed Gandhi. I hope the Indian Government on this day makes a commitment to follow the law, to treat all humans equally and to value the freedom of speech. It is a shame, if we don’t speak up against injustice and let the seeds of discrimination grow in a nation that is beacon of hope to many nations.
 Season of Non-Violence  

Season of Non-Violence begins today, January 30th, on the day of Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated and concludes on April 4th the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It is a “64 Days of Daily Messages for Social Media

The site  http://www.agnt.org/season-for-nonviolence has beautiful graphics and daily messages in web format to inspire, create discussion, and hold in our thoughts each day during the 64 Days of the Season. Consider having your SNV campaign be to share these on Facebook or Twitter. Then, be sure to check back in with us to let us know how your social network is growing by sharing these graphics.”  I cannot forget my friend Len Ellis of Dallas for his dedication to this season and the messages he shares.

This year like the last few years, we talk about the peace makers of the world, in the beginning it was Gandhi and MLK, now Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela are added, and I have added Prophet Muhammad to the season.

Watch out for the day, I will be giving a talk about what these men did to build a cohesive society, where humanity can live in peace and harmony.

This is not complete, I will be adding more to this at TheGhouseDiary.com

Thank you,

Mike Ghouse, 
(214) 325-1916
Washington, DC 

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, newsmaker and a professional speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslam,  politicshuman rights, and foreign policy.  Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com 


Friday, January 29, 2016

Jews and Interfaith Sensitivity

Interfaith sensitivity about Jews | www.InterfaithSpeaker.com   

The story I am about to share is the very reason I write, speak and broadcast the knowledge about interfaith, in particular “Festivals and commemorations of the world”

In 2011, one of my Christian friends Kristen was on my team to invite people to attend the “Holocaust and Genocides” event – I am blessed to be first Muslim in the world who regularly commemorates the event to develop understanding between people of different faiths, races and ethnicities. More at www.HolocaustandGenocides.com

Kristen lived in a Jewish neighborhood and grew up with many Jewish friends. When I called her up for updates, she was disappointed with the response she was getting, but I encouraged her to continue, as it is a difficult event to attend.

The following weekend, there was an art exhibit by a Russian artist and about 150 people came to the event, Kristen was there and was excited to call on her Jewish friends to attend the event, she came back disappointed for the silent stares she was getting.  She asked me to join her to invite another couple down in the corner sipping wine.

So here it goes, Kristen introduces me, “Rosie, this is Mike, and we are here to invite you to a celebration of the Jewish Holocaust event…” Literally, I fell off my chair, I had to cut her in, sorry Rosie, it is a Holocaust Memorial event, and it is a reflection on the cruelties within each one of us and how to put it off and learn to say Never again.  It is a somber event….’ There was a relief on the face of Rosie and her husband.  We carried the conversation forward and they did join us along with a few other friends.

Like Kristen most of us make the mistake, whenever there is a gathering of people, we associate it with celebration.  To understand this, it is like inviting a friend, “Please join me at the funeral home, and they are celebrating the death of our friend Mike, who passed away yesterday,” Personally, that is what I would want to happen upon my death, but most people including my wife, my kids and grand kids may not appreciate it.

There are three public events that I know, mind you, these are not celebrations – Holocaust commemoration (Jewish), Ashura /Muharram (Muslims) and the big one, Memorial Day, end of May. Please do not wish a happy…….. You can probably say I am sorry to hear the _____ Memorial event is coming up, I am with you, or my prayers are with you… or some such thing to show support.  I suggest you to visit the Holocaust Museum or attend our event in 2017 to learn about these.
As time permits, I will share different stories.

This is the first time in 10 years that I have not organized the Holocaust and Genocides commemoration event, it’s a difficult event for many to attend, yet an average of 300 brave souls have made it each time.  As a Muslim, why do I commemorate? The answer is in this article at Huffington Post called Holocaust and the Muslim Guy. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html )

Why is it important to know about our neighbors and people of other faiths, races and traditions?  I let you imagine it and urge you to think about it, and if you are tempted write, please share it. I will publish it atwww.interfaithspeaker.com andhttp://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com - 

"Festivals of the World" is an educational series published by Mike Ghouse since 1993. When we live in the same communities as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or at least understand each other's' joys and sorrows. Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively.  This is too elementary for the followers of the faith, but informational to those who are not aware of the tradition.

Since 1994, I am blessed to have published essence of many, but not all festivals, as the time has permitted.  You are welcome to plug the name of the festival with my name in the Google search, more than likely, you will find information on major festivals and commemorations.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics,terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What is Islam?

Islam is a beautiful system, like all other faiths devised to restore sanity and common sense in a given society through simple basics like building trust, being truthful, be a security to fellow beings, stand up for justice, practice non-judgementalism,  jettison arrogance and adopt humility, and kindness. 

These are the seven principles of building cohesive societies
where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other,  indeed that is the foundation of Islam and a few Muslim have forgotten it. We have to restore it now for building a cohesive world, where people live their lives and let others live theirs. 

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) laid that foundation, and those seven principles made him an Amin, an individual who lives his life per those principles.  Unfortunately, a 
few have made Islam to be a political system, which it is not. Indeed, sadly all religions have become political systems of you or me, rather than spiritual system of we are in this together.

Preparing a talk on the subject.

Mike Ghouse

Moderate Muslim Speaker

Moderate Muslim Speaker
email to: SpeakerMikeGhouse@gmail.com or text to (214) 325-1916

Monday, January 25, 2016

The World is full of Goodness

THE WORLD IS FULL OF GOODNESS | www.TheGhouseDiary.com 

There is a lot of good around us, than the bad. I would venture to say 99% of your time witnesses good, but you take it as normal which you may take it for granted,  but when 1% of your time goes bad, it un-nerves you.  Look around you, seriously, you have 365 days in a year, you go to work 50 some weeks… how many bad encounters did you have? 

Thank God for the 99% of goodness in people, if it was more, life would be difficult.  Imagine if bad people were 99%? How difficult it would have been for you to go to work, travel, eat in a restaurant, and go to a movie….how many rapes, domestic violence, homicide, theft or vandalism would happen in any given day.

This morning, I could not move my car, it was covered up with snow and the ground had 2’ snow all around it.  The guys who were plowing the snow, stopped and helped me clear the snow from the front and back of the car…another gentleman saw me push the snow off the car with my bare hands… obviously I am not prepared to deal with this weather, he lend me his shovel… then the car would not move… two guys walked up and pushed the vehicle into a drivable spot. – why did they do it? There is an inherent goodness in all of us, and I could not resist bringing them coffee in this cold, we have to express gratitude to complete life transactions.

So, what good did you do today, or someone else did to you or someone else? It is good to share and remind ourselves, goodness dominates in life.  

Mike Ghouse
Motivational Speaker

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Interfaith Language (Shouting v Chanting)

Interfaith Language | http://FoundationforPluralism.blogspot.com
As a Pluralist (i.e., respecting the otherness of others) my ears are trained to be sensitive. In one of hte discussion we had going, a Professor wrote, “Thousands of them (Hindus) are "roaming" along the banks of the Ganges in Kashi/Gaya (India) shouting "Hare-Ram! Hare Ram!"

My response?
Dear Professor, I would prefer, “Chanting Hare Ram, Hare Ram” to the phrase “shouting Hare-Ram! Hare Ram!" Likewise, I would prefer Chanting Allahu Akbar rather than shouting Allahu Akbar.

We have do the best we can in choosing the words that would not hurt others. Words can change one’s attitude towards you.
Mike Ghouse

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Composition of a given society.

There is a dire need for us to understand the social structures, how the societies put together, it will help us cut down the prejudices and stereotyping of the others.  Pluralism is respecting the otherness of others and accepting each other's God-given uniqueness.

This template is merely a guideline, and you can impose this on any religion, social group, racial group, ethnic group... and it seems to work.

Let me define one items at a time.

Moderates - Those who have the least problems with others, they mind their own business, and they are busy with living their life and letting others live theirs and they are the majority.

Kill or get Killed conservatives - These are the terrorists and conservatives. The strongly believe in exclusions, it is their way or no way, they may resort of violence like a lion or act like Hyenas.

More next week. 


Friday, January 22, 2016

An Indian Pluralist’s Republic Day Message To Indian Americans

 I am proud of the pluralistic ethos of my motherland, India and my homeland,
America. It is a pleasure to call both the nations, “God’s own countries.” Let me explain why, and make a few suggestions that you can act upon as an individual to sustain the pluralistic ethos of India. Let’s do our bit in restoring dharma, the righteous living.

Our nations, Democratic Republic of India and the United States of America are microcosmic representations of the universe we inhabit. We are blessed geographically with a range of topography from deserts to fertile lands, from mountains to the shining sea and the flat lands to valleys. Seasons wise, we enjoy all the four full seasons – winter, spring, summer and the fall. Indeed, we are blessed to be represented by every race, ethnicity and religion.
My interest as a social scientist is in sustaining the pluralistic ethos of India and America, which are threatened by a few short-sighted, but powerful rabble rousers among us.
Pluralistic ethos simply means, living our life and letting others live theirs. It is accepting the God given uniqueness to each one of us. No matter what language we speak, how we look, what we eat, drink, wear, or how we worship the creator, we will accept each other’s uniqueness as legitimate, and then respect the otherness of others. You are who you are, and I am who I am.
Hinduism talks about Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum, an idea that we are all part of one family despite our differences. Islam, Judaism and Christianity talk about having a common father and mother; Adam and Eve and we are an extended family. Sikhism blends us all under Wahe Guru and the Baha’i faith wraps all of us as many paths but one source, similarly Jainism, Buddhism, Tribalism and other traditions have richly contributed to the idea of cohesive societies.
Cohesive Societies are communities where people mind their own business, live their own lives and let others live theirs, but yet, work together as one composite unit.
Every Indian and American has a need to feel that he or she is a part of the society, rejection will certainly create problems.As an example of cohesiveness, look at our own bodies, we are made up of several items like heart, brain, kidneys, lungs, liver, anus, mouth, nose, ears etc. No part can claim that his role is the most important one. Indeed, there was a battle once when the organs were arguing about their role in normal functioning of human body. The Anus claimed that he was the most important organ in the body, the other organs laughed and ridiculed him, and to show them, he decided to assert his claim and shuts down for two days causing unbelievable misery and havoc! Frustrated with the pain, the other organs acknowledged his importance, and rightfully called him an ass hole but begged him to start functioning, so others can function normally. A cohesive society is when all of us function together for common good.
Prime Minister Modi had surprised the nation with his inclusionary statement made on November 1, 2014. As a Pluralist, I whole heartedly welcomed that statement and congratulated him for taking that step. He said, “The BJP should be like a bouquet so that every Indian felt there was a flower in it that he or she could identify with. “And, “A poor and illiterate person living in a slum should think, ‘Yes, there is a flower for me in this bouquet’.
At this precise juncture in our history, the Dalits do not feel like a flower in the bouquet. I do invoke the Prime Minister to act on his talk, and create an environment of inclusion. Unless he gets his party men to believe in what he has said, his leadership will remain a mere talk. A few rogue elements from his party are hell bent on throwing his bouquet into gutter; and his legacy is on the line.
Modi can finish his term as another promiser and talker, or become the doer. The choice is clearly his, and he alone is the driver of his legacy. All he has to do is give a 3-minute speech on each major incident like Rape, farmers Suicide, Dalit Suicide, homicide of writers, and witch-hunting for beef and murder of Akhlaq, to assure the people that he does believe in the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbukum, and that he will not tolerate any Indian making the life of another Indian miserable. That is all it takes for Ram’s sake. We are losing the ideal of live and let live, and PM Modi can restore it far more effectively than any one in India at this time.
As Indian Americans, most of us have cherished the values of America and have become Americanized. Being American is respecting and believing in the rights of others, and being American is to value others life liberty and pursuit of their happiness; being American is letting each faith member practice his or her faith, and build his or her place of worship; and being American is NOT drawing sadistic pleasure by denying others rights. Unfortunately, we have a few in both nations who have not imbued the great values of these nations, and it is our duty, and responsibility of each one of us to the be pracharaks of American values.
The idea of Liberty is I don’t agree with you, but I’ll fight for your rights. Yes, if we the Indian Americans can truly call ourselves Americans, we have to speak up.
Suggested actions for the organizations and individuals
We have to have the following actions in building a cohesive India, where no Indian has to live in apprehension or fear of the other, and feel included in every sphere of life.
1. Today, on this Republic Day, let India’s flag be hoisted together with fellow Indians who are Adivasis, Atheists, Bahá’ís, Bos, Buddhists, Christians, Dalits, Hindus, Jains, Jewish, Muslim, Sikhs, Tribal, Zoroastrians and every Indian representation. Let no Indian representation be left out. Reach out and bring them together at the Red Fort, and let them all proudly hoist our Tiranga, then go ahead and give them a hug, it will speak million words of our good intentions. It will generate the spirit of sab ka saath on a social basis.
2. The Indian American Organizations can do the same, invite Indians of all hues to come together, and celebrate the Republic Day in the spirit of India. If your heart is dirty and a sewer runs through it, the people can see through you, and not come, clean it up, they will come. I will be happy to make the calls to those who are unwilling for the sake of India.
3. Acknowledge that we see God as one, none and many; and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names, and as Indians, we should not be biased towards any one.
4. Today, proclaim that India is God’s own country, and is represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. Announce that we are Adivasis, Native Americans, Atheists, Baha’is, Bos, Buddhists, Christians, Dalits, Hindus, and Jains, Jewish, Muslim, Pagans, Shinto, Sikhs, , Wicca, Zoroastrians and every possible grouping out there on God’s earth. We are Brown, Black, White, and Yellow and come in all the colors nature has produced us.
5. Aspire for an India that the world can emulate; and not the other way around. India is a pluralistic democracy where everyone can eat, drink, wear or believe whatever he or she wants to in his or her pursuit of happiness.
6. Announce that from this day forward, every Indian will have equal access to education, employment, housing, business loans, and entrepreneurial opportunities and if anyone is denied that opportunity, you will step up and stand up against the violators.
7. Every Indian wants justice and demands a fair treatment of every one of the 1.31 billion Indians; rich or poor, connected or not, we must come to grips with the social and community life to create an exemplary India that will become a model nation in the world. Create an Equal Opportunity Commission based on US Model. Ask not what others will do, ask yourselves, are you capable of being a good Samaritan?
You can institute a pledge that every public office holder from the Peon to the President of India and everyone in between must take and live by it. Violation should disqualify him or her from holding the public office. Let it be monitored publicly.
As Indians we can that pledge to both India and America on the Republic Day:
1. I pledge allegiance to India, one nation that stands for liberty and justice for all.
2. I pledge that I honor and treat every Indian with “full” dignity.
3. I pledge that all individuals would be treated on par.
4. I pledge that I will treat all religions with equal respect, equal access and equal treatment.
5. I pledge that I will oppose any act that treats any Indian less than me.
6. I Pledge that I will work for an India, where every individual can live with security and aspire for prosperity.
7. I pledge that I will protect, preserve and value every inch of India and every human soul in India

This would be the first step towards ensuring a just, peaceful and prosperous India that can sustain its progress and peace. If you can do it, then you can expect others to do it.
I love my India.
Jai Hind.

Mike Ghouse

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Genuine Interfaith Dialogue

Genuine Interfaith Dialogue | TheGhouseDiary.com

In a Genuine interfaith dialogue, we respect the otherness of others and never claim our faith to be superior to the other as it amounts to arrogance. Religion is about humility that builds bridges between peoples and the communities, and not about arrogance which kills relationships and breeds conflicts.

One of the key things about genuine interfaith dialogue is to develop the ability to see the beauty in other faiths, without having the anxiety to flaunt yours as the best. If we were selling religion like used cars, we have to put others down to make ours look better.

But religion is not a business, it is a system to help an individual achieve his or her own peace within, and peace with what surrounds; life and matter.

When my daughter was going to the Baptist Church, I mentioned to her that if the Pastor decides to denigrate other faiths in his sermons, don't be gullible to buy it. She came back with a powerful response, "Dad, if the Pastor tells all religions are equal or beautiful, why would people go to his congregation?" He has to tell the people that others are not worthy.

Is religion a business? Is one's income tied to the number of congregants? Ultimately what difference does it make if you believe in God the Christian way, Muslim, Hindu or any other way?  God loves his creation, all of his creation, and if he does not, then why do we need a God like that?

Over the years, I have heard different versions of the following sentences uttered by Imams, Rabbis, Pastors, Pundits and clergy from other faiths. "No other faith offers this connection with God" - "Only _______ offers salvation" - "Our faith is based on science", " _____ is a very logical faith", "No other faith gives a purpose in life like our _______ faith, "  Every time I hear that, I cringe. Why are they duping their congregants?   I make quick notes and invariably ask the clergy, if they were aware that other faiths also offer the same ideals, here they are....  they walk away, or double down on it. 

A few have said to me, look, if people want to believe in my claims, let them. I reminded them that it borders on dishonesty,  as a religious person, doesn't he owe the truth to his congregants?  

I hope a day will come when more of us can speak about other religions honestly and sincerely.  That is, for a Jew to speak about Christianity as a Christian would speak and vice-versa, a Hindu to speak about Islam as a Muslim would speak and vice versa, and for a Sunni Muslim to speak about Shia, as a Shia would speak about his tradition.  We should have the integrity to articulate other people’s faith honestly, or have the common sense to believe that others faiths must be equally good for them to follow.    

You are who you are, and I am who I am. 
I can never be like you, nor can you ever be like me,
Your faith is as dear to you, as my faith is dear to me.
I like my faith as you like yours, but...

 I will never claim my faith is superior, as it generates conflict, and religion is not about conflict, it is about removal of apprehension and bringing peace.

As I study the beauty of all faiths, I pick things here and there to share.  Here is a chapter from Quran,  called Kafirun,  which has the similar language as the above four lines, and I am hoping to hear from my fellow religionists to share something like this from their tradition. No religion is superior to the other, period! Here it is - http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html

You will find a handful of religious people, who are honest enough to acknowledge the beauty of other faiths, without worrying that their faiths will become less valuable, or others may criticize you.

Again, I am blessed to have written up about every faith tradition; you can Google search the following:

  1. Atheist Mike Ghouse
  2. Bahai Mike Ghouse
  3. Buddhist Mike Ghouse
  4. Christian Mike Ghouse
  5. Hindu Mike Ghouse
  6. Jain Mike Ghouse
  7. Jewish Mike Ghouse
  8. Native American Mike Ghouse
  9. Pagan Mike Ghouse
  10. Sikh Mike Ghouse
  11. Wicca Mike Ghouse
  12. Zoroastrian Mike Ghouse
You can also Google Search
  1. Name of (most major) a Festival Mike Ghouse

God has blessed me with the ability to stand up for every one, and I have to complete compiling the list, meanwhile, you can check these out.
  1. Standing up for Atheists - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/04/speaking-up-for-atheists.html
  2. Standing up for Christians - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/01/standing-with-christians.html
  3. Standing up for Hindus - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/04/standing-with-hindus.html
  4. Standing up for Jews - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/02/standing-up-with-jews.html
  5. Standing up for Sikhs - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/08/standing-up-for-sikhs.html
  6. Standing up GLBT - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/05/standing-up-for-gays-and-lesbians.html
  7. Standing up for Immigrants - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrjU0KULv-Y
  8. Standing up for others - to be completed. 
 Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Grandmother was a fiercely independent woman

My Grandmother | www.TheGhousediary.com 

My sister, mother, grandma, myself and my brother
This is the story of my Grandmother, one hundred years ago this year. Here is a note about her as a part of an interfaith story, the story of being an independent unbiased woman, and my tribute to her.

Dadima (as I called my Grandmother), my aunt, my mother, my sister and my daughter have been influential women in my life. One thing that stands out about them is they are free from bias and prejudice.

Dadima did not have a sense of barrier or difference between her and her fellow beings. The others were not Hindus or Dalits to her, but people by name. 

She became a widow when the influenza hit India around 1915-1917, much of my family was wiped out; indeed that was an international epidemic then. She used to tell us that you go bury one, and by the time they returned home they had another one to take to the cemetery.

She abandoned her agricultural land and moved from a tiny village called Irgampalli, where my Grandfather was a Patel (Chief).  She walked 12 miles placing my Dad in a basket over her head and carried my aunt on her side as no transportation was available then. Buses did not exist and the bullock carts ran once a week. In the Mid-Sixties, I lived in Irgampalli for about six months after high school; my Dad wanted me to be a farmer on the land of my Grandfather abandoned almost 50 years ago and convert it into an income producing property.

We did have a few acres dedicated to grow Moghra (Jasmine) flowers, I was not sure why, but I realized now, it may have been his sentiment to honor his mother.

She made it to Chintamani, and raised her two kids living in her brother’s house. She did not want any help, or become a ‘burden’ on others for her fate.  She took charge of her own life by making flower garlands and taking care of my father and my aunt with the money earned.

Then they moved to Yelahanka with the marriage of my aunt, and she continued her work, and her flower garlands decked the floats of Hindu deities on the Karga procession. 

She was a Muslim and had no qualms about decorating Hindu deities. By the way my Grandfather’s brother is a saint whom I do not subscribe to, but they conduct annual “Urs” all evening festivities by his mausoleum. 

The flowers that sustained my Dadima were Jasmine, also known as Moghra, and that sentimentalism caused me to name my daughter "Jasmina" and she is very much a proud independent woman. I am proud of my Dadima, my aunt, my mother, my sister and my daughter; I am a blessed guy to be influenced by these fiercely independent women. These women have no bias towards fellow humans. My Grandmother was an independent woman nearly 100 years ago. She was a proud woman. 

To be added to next story about pluralism, this ran deep in my family.

My father went on to become the Mayor of the town of Yelahanka, and he also headed the Mosque leadership.  What is beautiful about that is the social integration that existed then. Yelahanka had about 10,000 people and the Muslims were about 50 families, but yet, he was one of them, there existed no discrimination! I was a darling baby to all his Hindu friends, they dressed me up as Krishna and we celebrated all the festivals. My Dadi ma prepared foods that people cooked during the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.  

Mike Ghouse

Monday, January 18, 2016

Thank you Martin Luther King Jr - 7 things about MLK

Gratitude to Martin Luther King, Jr | TheGhouseDiary.com

Firstly, we the people owe a great deal to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  A majority of us Americans were living with a sense of guilt, a sense of being rotten the way we treated our fellow men and women.    His struggle has liberated us from such pain,  and has brought freedom to the oppressed Black Men and women, we still have ways to go, but go we will.

MLK- changed the morality of America for better

Secondly, we the people appreciate the white majority to have stood up for what was right – and join MLK on the steps of Lincoln Memorial to let the administration know what was morally right needs to become the law of the land.

Thirdly, we appreciate the African American community for enduring the humility and non-violently appealing to the morality of the nation and bring about the change that was needed.

Fourthly, we the immigrant Americans, particularly the non-whites would not have made it to America, had it not been for the Civil rights acts that MLK caused to happen. All of us non-white Americans owe our success to MLK and we need to pray for his soul today.

 Fifthly, as Indian Americans, we appreciate MLK, who saw the value in Mahatma Gandhi’s’ non-violent methods to turn the oppressors around to see the futility in their approach. In MLK's own voice - https://www.facebook.com/cspanhistory/videos/880821915364690/

Sixthly, as Muslim Americans, we are deeply committed to building a cohesive America, where no American has to feel alienated, apprehensive or fearful of the fellow Americans. We are committed to the safety and security of America.

Seventhly, I invite my fellow Americans to take time to reflect on the bottom line work of all the great spiritual masters and civic leaders in creating such societies, and share your favorite quote of MLK.

Thanks for taking the time to read my heartfelt notes.

Our mission at America Together Foundation is to build a cohesive America, where we are all a part of the great web called America, and whatever we do to us or ourselves, will affect us all.

God bless Martin Luther King Jr., and God bless America

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Democratic Debate on Jan 17, 2016.

Democratic Debate | TheGhouseDiary.com

What a contrast it is with the Republican debates! It was a pleasure to hear the Democrats talk about keeping America great. This is one of the greatest nations on the earth for the values it stands and the values her majority supports. The Republicans on the other hand talk about making America great, but put her down every time they open their mouth.  

I have to ask my Republican friends, whose party was built on great principles, where are the mainstream representatives of the Republicans?  It is not what the guys like Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson and their likes say, it is the evil silence of the mainstream Republicans that bothers me… and after 30 years, I quit being a Republican for that very same reason.

The Democratic conversation is about uniting the country, where as the Republicans were about dividing the country.

The Democrats are about uplifting America, increasing the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work to men or women, and let Americans have their liberty and go after the pursuit of their happiness with liberty and justice for all. The Republicans are opposed to these values.

The Democrats were talking about integrated societies with fair treatment of the different components of the society – Blacks, Hispanic, Muslims and others.
The Democrats want to hold those police officers accountable who are racist or do not follow the law, whereas the Republicans want to back the blue blindly.

The Democrats believe in keeping America healthy, and the responsibility of the state, whereas the Republicans do not care. That is, if you leave it completely to private sector and market place to determine, we go back to the pre-civil rights era.  Not acceptable.

The Democrats understand the climate change and its terrible consequences, the Republicans refuse to accept that the carbon emissions had polluted our air, and we had to fix that, so we can breathe.

The Democrats see the global warming and want to fix it, whereas the Republicans deny it. Not because they are not aware of it, but because they are bought out by the fossil fuel producers and owners.

I like Fox TV much better to watch the debates and sports; they keep their screens clean and active. NBC’s background music during the breaks was annoying to the point of me making the point. Fox Manages breaks much better.

We have to bust the power of Wall Street and the rich guys who buy the Senators Congressmen and Presidential Candidates to do what is in their interest.  Our Democracy is at risk, if we do not have our representative represent us and instead represent the men who throw bones at them.

Democrats support normalization of relations with Iran, one less tension to have, but Republicans don’t want that because, once again not because they don’t understand, but because Netanyahu and his lobby has bought them out.

No more boots on grounds, war is evil, where as Republicans are too eager to go destroy others and in the process destroy America.

What is needed is for the Good Republicans to speak up, and let their goodness prevail over the pettiness of the entire crew of Presidential candidates.

My notes about  the Republican Debate - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2016/01/pathetic-republican-debate-on-1142016.html

Mike Ghouse, an independent
My loyalty is to America and not the Party.

 Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Pathetic Republican Debate on 1.14.2016


Republicans need to earn support from the intelligent people also who would make at least half of the American voters; they need to offer reason and solutions to appeal to them and quit smoking and duping Americans.

1. The debate was not about what they can do, but what they can un-do
2. They talk about bombing and destroying others, they need to talk peace
3. The more virulently they attack Obama, the more claps they get, pathetic!
4. They put down America, and everything American - it’s embarrassing
5. Facts simply don't matter to them - they boldly say the most blatant lies
6. Trump looks better than those two creeps Rubio & Cruz who are sold outs
7. Where are the good Republicans? Their silence will ruin the GOP

Seriously, we need to limit the terms for Congress and Senate to two. So they can serve the nation, instead of being loyal to the guys who throw bones at them. You can buy these guys if you got millions, their souls are for sale.

I am Not a Republican or a Democrat, but an Independent voter. My loyalty is to America and American interests and not any party. My freedom allows me to choose the right candidate regardless of his or her party.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

America’s enduring value; freedom and Hijab.

America’s enduring value; freedom and Hijab | www.WorldMuslimCongress.com

One should have the freedom to wear, eat, drink or believe whatever the hell they want, as long as they are not taking anything away from you. 

The Taliban extremists force women to wear the full Burqa, where as the French extremists force the women not to wear.  These brutes do not represent civil society, as both of them want to tell a woman what she wears. Who the hell are they?

Wearing Hijab does not amount to oppression, forcing them not to wear amounts to oppression.  Hijab is a cultural expression,   a woman who is raised wearing full skirts will not be comfortable wearing mini-skirts; many a women are not comfortable showing cleavage, whereas others are comfortable with it. Neither is good or bad, it is what the individual is comfortable with.

Hijab is not a religious requirement, however modesty is. Modesty is not only religious and but the civilized thing to do. The men are first asked to lower their gaze and not look lustily at women, and then women are asked in equal terms to cover their bosoms.

On the other hand, Muslim men are not comfortable wearing shorts, or going shirtless even around their own kids and family members.  Men in other cultures have a range – but very few walk around naked in their homes.

I will stand with Muslim women who want to wear Hijab; it is their choice and will stand against men who force their women to wear the Hijab.

What is your problem? What is your loss? Why do you want to impose your ideas on others? The America I cherish is the America where people mind their own business, and not hell bent on imposing their ideas on others.

Everyone has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  One of the enduring American values is freedom, freedom to choose what one wears, eats, drinks or believes.

One has a right to be a Taliban or French extremists, but being pro-choice respects the God given inalienable rights of individuals.

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Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, terrorismhuman rightsIndiaIsrael-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net for his writings at TheGhousediary.com and several blogs listed there in.