Sunday, September 17, 2017

Halima Yacob becomes first women president of Singapore: Malay Muslim woman, daughter of Indian man at the helm

The daughter of an Indian father and a Malay mother, has become the President of Singapore.

Halimah Yacob, who is a a Malay Muslim minority and was the parliament speaker till recently, had quit the position last month.

On Thursday, she took over as the republic’s first woman president and the second Malay ever in the island republic to hold office as head of state.

 Her father was an Indian Muslim. He was a watchman. She was just eight when her father died. Halimah, 63, was born in Singapore. Her mother was a Malay.

A lawyer, Halimah practiced in the Singapore bar. Her husband Abdullah Alhabshee is a Malay. They have five children. Halimah was associated with People's Action Party.

There has been opposition to Halimah's election from certain quarters and it was termed that this was not a voter's election. Also, her race and her father's Indian link, was made an issue.

The last Malay president was Yusof Ishak. He held the office from 1965 till 1970, when he died. Though a ceremonial post, it has immense significance attached to it.

The premier, Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong, said that in the Chinese-majority, multiracial city state of 5.6 million people, it was “important that minorities have a chance to be elected president, and that this happens regularly”.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Six golden examples of Sikh-Muslim brotherhood: Centuries of common culture, close relations and coexistence

Just like Hindus-Sikhs or Hindus-Muslims, who have lived together for centuries and have shared heritage, Muslims and Sikhs too have a shared history.

There are glorious examples of love, togetherness and sacrifice for the other.

In Punjab, all the three religious communities lived together and hence there was bound to be common culture.

Unfortunately, many people tend to create an impression that Sikhs and Muslims had a sort of fight, hate or enmity, but this is completely wrong.

A king or emperor's unjust acts or oppression, just because he happened to be a Muslim, doesn't mean that those acts were sanctioned by Islam. Similarly, a Sikh guru's fight against the oppressor doesn't mean that it was a fight against Islam, it was a fight against injustice, a fight for values.

A Muslim emperor was an emperor, a despot, not a role model for Muslims. In fact, on the ground, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, lived in amity for ages. However, there is propaganda that terms communities having enmity.

Just a few examples:

1. The closest companion of Guru Nanak was Bhai Mardana, a Muslim.

2. Miyan Mir, a Muslim saint, had laid down the foundation of Shri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple)

3. The works of Muslims like Baba Farid and Sheikh  Bhika, apart from Kabir, are part of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy text of Sikhs.

4. Once, Sikh Guru Hargobind Sahib found that local Muslims in an area had no place to pray, he got a mosque built for them. It still exists.

5. Many Muslims were part of the army of Guru Gobind Singh, when he was fighting Aurangzeb. Badruddin Shah alias Pir Buddhu was executed for supporting Guru Gobind Singh.

6.When there was order to kill the Guru's sons, the Nawab of Malerkotla opposed it and protested. As a result, Sikh guru blessed him. During partition, entire Punjab was in bloodshed but not a drop of blood fell on Malerkotla's land.

[Harmony exists all around us but is often ignored. Instead, stories of hate, discord and communalism get spread easily.

There are a million examples in our daily lives across India but they don't get promoted, hence, news of hate and discord gets heard more. Let's change it, now.

This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]

For reading similar reports on this blog, Click the link HERE and also find out more about Communal Harmony Project]

#Communalharmony #Communalharmonyproject #India

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Will AAP, Arvind Kejriwal pay attention towards the plight of Urdu medium schools in Delhi?

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had come to power, promising that it will work for the common man, all sections of society.

In its manifesto, the party had said that it would address issues of Muslim community too and would earnestly work to redress the grievances.

On educational front, AAP government has lately been quite active and seems to have done its bit--from construction of school buildings to reining in private schools that charge excessive fee.

But when it comes to the Urdu medium schools, AAP hasn't shown much interest. The Urdu medium schools are crumbling, grapple with lack of teachers, non-availability of the most basic facilities.

Besides, there are fears about attempts to merge Urdu schools--just another way to bring their number down, before closing them.

If AAP is serious about education, then it should pay equal attention to Urdu schools in Delhi, which is not a huge state. Things can be sorted out faster in national capital.

Firstly, there is need to improve infrastructure--construction and repair of the dilapidated school buildings, upgrading the existing schools and opening new ones.

The demands include appointment of Urdu teachers, ensuring that the posts are filled (not kept vacant or surrendered) and premises are freed from encroachments.

In many schools, teachers who are not proficient in Urdu, are posted. Besides, there are no steps to ensure that Urdu is taught as third language in English and Hindi medium schools where students opt for the language but lack of teacher or management's disinterest has led to the situation that Urdu is not taught even as third language.

AAP had made promises to Urdu speakers. Its manifesto was in Urdu too. Hope the party takes action and shows sensitivity, else, it would be felt that AAP also played the 'Urdu card' at election time.

A delegation of All India Milli Council too called on Arvind Kejrwal a few days back, urging him to take steps in this regard.

 Urdu is an official language in Delhi government, however, the Urdu schools aren't given any priority. Link about delegation visit on TCN.

Dr Parvez Miyan led the delegation, which included Zaki Ahmad Beg, Hasina Hashim, Qari Asjad Qasmi, Sardar Darshan Singh, Mahmood  Husain, Victor Francis, M Imran, Devendra Bharti and S Ashraf Rizvi.

*Delhi government plan to merge Urdu schools

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Terror in Haryana: 38 killed in statewide violence after Dera chief's conviction in rape case

38 people were killed after Dera Sacha Sauda chief was held guilty of rape and sexual exploitation.

*Entire Haryana was on the boil, hundreds were injured. 38 persons killed in the violence.

*People killed, bodies lying on the streets, vehicles burnt in Panchkula, violence in many towns.

*Violence on the streets in Haryana, parts of Punjab, Delhi and UP.

*Army had to be called out, policemen were attacked at several places.

*High Court chided Centre as well as State government for failure.

*Other than Panchkula, violence in Hisar, Sirsa, many other towns in Haryana too.

*Railway stations burnt, train compartments, buses, set afire. Arson in Delhi also.

*Arson, attacks in Punjab too.

*AK 47 assault rifle, revolvers, rifles seized from Gurmeet Singh's vehicles.

*Cases registered against 30,000 persons

*Hotels, buildings, petrol pumps, burnt. In Delhi, at least ten DTC buses burnt.

Also, two bogeys of Rewa Express at Anand Vihar Terminus burnt.

*Violence in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh too.

If this is not terror, then what else is?

Dera Sacha Sauda is a cult led by self-styled spiritual guru or Godman Gurmeet Singh Ram Raheem.

The Dera chief has been accused of murders too. The journalist who wrote against Dera, was killed.

There have been allegations that Sadhvis were sexually exploited in Ashram. Also, men in the inner circle were made impotent.

The Dera chief lived a lavish life, dressed as Pop artiste, made movies and acted as hero. Political parties went to him to get his support as dera has a strong following.

It is a shame that despite such accusations, he remained influential and enjoyed excellent rapport with top politicians of the country.

PM, CM and senior BJP, Congress leaders either met him and had photographs with him or congratulated him for his 'social work'.

Of late, he had been close to BJP but this failed to get him any reprieve. He has been convicted and given 20 year sentence. After he was held guilty, entire Haryana was on boil.

[Photo courtesy: Jaipal Singh, Indian Express]

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Muslims serving Hindu devotees during annual Kanwar Yatra: Communal harmony project-37

The Kanwar Yatra is an annual event in North India.

Thousands of youths take the holy water to long distances and offer it on the deity--Lord Shiva.

The photograph on the left shows a Muslim man providing first-aid to a Hindu devotee, termed Kanwaria [Kanwariya]--youth taking the Kanwar.

The other photograph shows Muslim men offering sherbet to the devotees passing by the town. 

These photographs need to be published here because mainstream media doesn't provide space to them and ignores such examples of communal harmony.

During Muslim processions, Hindus offer sherbet at many places. And in case of Hindu processions, Muslim youths too offer their services. This is Indian culture.

Unfortunately, we live in an era when even such gestures, that are common in towns, need to be photographed and shared. 

It is because in big cities, where people have little time to interact and live in suburbs or gated communities, don't have any idea about this common culture and shared heritage.

Many just live on Twitter and Facebook [WhatsApp] now, not on streets or mohallas of the mixed townships in cities, qasbahs and villages. For them, it's a different world. Though it is the real India.

[Harmony exists all around us but is often ignored. Instead, stories of hate, discord and communalism get spread easily.

There are a million examples in our daily lives across India but they don't get promoted, hence, news of hate and discord gets heard more. Let's change it, now.

This is a small attempt to change it through Communal Harmony Project]

For reading similar reports on this blog, Click the link HERE and also find out more about Communal Harmony Project]

#Communalharmony #Communalharmonyproject #India