Three points are made in this essay – freedom; relating to the movie clip from Rishi Kapoor’s film and my late wife; the current chaotic situation in India and the impending economic disaster.
India lost three legendary individuals; Irfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, and Chuni Goswami in that order. I have seen two movies of Irfan- Life of Pi and Jurassic Park; Bobby and Duniya by Rishi, and have heard of the first-class cricketer Chuni Goswami, but not seen his play. Never the less three great individuals.
Their deaths have brought back a lot of discussions on the internet, they are relevant from what is going on in India today, unchecked, it will lead to chaos and instability, which will lead to political instability followed by a major economic disaster – every Indian will lose out at the end. India may become Afghanistan like for two or three decades before it recovers. You and I as Indian Americans may fear to go to India, we have to correct the course.
We need to honor these souls and come together as a nation and look to each other as Indians. We are Indians, and if there were an accident, we never know whose blood will save our lives. India is losing its tradition of respecting and accepting the otherness of the others, and intolerance is growing. All we have to do to stop is speak up against divisive attitudes, and speak for re-building a cohesive India.
The video clip at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MikeGhouse/videos/2484341321665355/?t=6
The essence of the video clip from the movie Mulk is freedom. Sadly, there are idiots in India and America who do not distinguish between Osama bin Laden’s beard and the beards of ordinary Muslims and Sikhs who go about living their daily life caring for their families and communities around them. In the clip, Rishi Kapoor challenges those who question the patriotism of individuals – who the hell are they anyway? No one should have that right. Then he speaks about his beard, who has the right to tell what one does with his face?
The clip offers a great lesson to those who are biased against beard or burka, tilak, or saree. Let people be free to wear, drink, eat, or believe whatever the hell they want in the pursuit of their life, liberty, and happiness.
That dialogue will become a part of the teaching in cultural pluralism. I will have to express that in English. I have not seen the Rishi Kapoor movie but will make an effort to see it and understand what else is there in the film about the first amendment.
If you are familiar with any such clips in any language, please forward it. We are developing a curriculum to teach pluralism in politics, traditions, religion, dining, society, and the workplace.
I just watched the Launch of the movie from 10 years ago – it is so relevant to today’s India.
I have become a fan of this producer Anubhav Sinha, we speak the same language of Inclusiveness. There are three people in my life that I have an intense urge to meet and they are Anubhav Sinha, Pope Francis, and Amir Khan for their pluralistic attitudes.
There are two statements in the above interview about Sikhs, and we both have uttered it in a similar fashion.
1. Anubhav Sinha says governments come and go, but we have to live together. Here is what I have written umpteen times, “Our enduring relationship is with the people of India and not the rulers. Leaders come and go but leave behind a trail of destruction. We have made a few foreign policy blunders in the past supporting the tyrant Shah of Iran instead of the people of Iran. Thanks to President Obama for saving the relationship with the people of Egypt by asking Mubarak to step down.”
2. Anubhav Praised the Sikh community for bearing the brunt of tragedies but moved on. However the spark is not dead, we have to reconcile. Here is what I said,
“In recognition of your work in reaffirming the right values when tragedy befalls the community, and indeed, your response to the Wisconsin Gurudwara massacre was exemplary and reflects the teachings of the Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and every one of the spiritual masters from Zarathustra, Confucius, Moses, Krishna, Mahavira, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Baha’u’llah, and other great spiritual masters. Your leadership in building a cohesive America is greatly appreciated by all. Six Gurdwaras of Dallas were honored for their work a the Unity Day event, the pictures, story and the plaque at http://911unitydayusa.blogspot.com/2012_09_01_archive.html
Around 2005, my late wife, Najma’s family, was having Eid breakfast at our home. Najma announced that she was going to wear the burqa and looked at me as if I am going to fall off the chair. Everyone was watching for my reaction.
My first response was “hell no, you are not going to wear the Burqa.” but I choked, I choked for real, thank God for that. It gave me time to gather up and say, “Najma, it’s your choice, who am I to tell you what to wear or not.” She started laughing, and her family joined her in laughter. Then she walked and gave me a big hug (No public kissing in Indian culture) and said, thanks for your belief in freedom, you passed the test. The clip is a similar dialogue about the beard.
I urge each one of you to take a course in the first amendment, Indian-Americans need that lesson badly, particularly the elected officials. You are an exception because you have read to this point.
At the center for pluralism, we have done three sets of three-hour workshops on 13 different religions for people to understand the ‘essence’ of every faith. We also did 780 hours of a radio talk show on all religions first hand from the moderate practitioners of each religion. The more we know firsthand about each other, the fewer the conflicts would be and open to each other and live with joy.
The prejudice of any kind chokes people’s happiness. Get rid of it and see how happy you feel about life.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is deeply committed to Religious Freedom, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace, and to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. Book information is at www.AmericanMuslimAgenda.com and his info at www.TheGhousediary.com
Mike frequently speaks to a full range of audiences in international, faith and interfaith, civic, educational, and community life. He would welcome the opportunity to speak to you and your communities, as well as to invite you to events and programs that he and the Center for Pluralism offer. He also welcomes your thoughts, comments, and inquiries.