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By- Salil Gewali
If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
Religion without compassion might give way to hatred. Compassion with a "self-interest" motive is completely irreligious. But of late, some of the religions have departed from those basic human values. Love and compassion are for only those who follow their "specific" faith. Very sadly, the religions are up as trading commodities in the world of proselytization. Better preachers attract more followers. Of course, no issue if they are not vying for their religious "supremacy". But the ground reality is utterly different. The claim for exclusive supremacy has become the first commandment --- a real bone of contention among the existing religions. In the name of religion, we have polluted our minds. we have corrupted our souls. We have also gone so much astray that God must have now shut his gateway to heaven!
Are we not too foolish to believe in the twenty-first Century --- my God is different and your God different? If the Sun and the Moon are the same for Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, by that simple logic, why is the CREATOR of the infinite cosmos not ONE for all? Is the digestive system in the stomach of a Hindu and a Christian different? The body system secrets the same kind of digestive enzymes to digest the food eaten by people of any faith. One divine power is controlling each of us. It is too outrageous that we bear malice and hostility towards others for God. The paths are different but the destination is the same. One wonders in amazement, why we are so "unscientific" in our approach to the Almighty? Why is there so much bad blood among the different faiths? Truly, our fanaticism and belligerence have become the stumbling block in our understanding of the real teachings of the holy scriptures.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.The recent unprecedented brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us more anxious. It should also serve as a wake-up call for West Bengal and Assam. How could one's holy place of worship provoke godless hatred in others? If God-believing people nurture animosity for others, then that religion itself has been wrongly understood or misinterpreted. Who all are to blame? Is there any organisation of rectitude that will come up to address this glaring fault line?
Brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us anxiousFile
All should agree that "tolerance to inhumanity" begets more violence. The act of vandalizing the religious pandals of Hindus in Bangladesh is utterly unpardonable. This calls for serious soul-searching. Who has placed the Holy Koran near the sanctum sanctorum of Hanuman Idol? The investigating agency has found out that it was not by Hindu, but some Iqbal Hossain with wrong intent upon the minority Hindus.
Iqbal Hossain, a Muslim, deliberately placed a copy of the Quran at a Puja Pandal and gave hate speeches against HindusFile
Of course, this act is not at all sacrilegious as understood. One holy mandap and another holy book do not make anything unholy. But the "intention" must be good. It is my personal observation. But this incident, a pre-mediated plan with "wrong motive", has stoked the unprecedented communal violence in Bangladesh. And consequently, many places of worship were desecrated, sacred idols were destroyed, houses and business properties of the minority community were burnt down. Besides the United State, even UN officials condemned this diabolical cruelty against the minority Hindus. Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, retorted – "God is love, and his true servants embody and manifest that love in this world. It is time for the supposedly secular government of Bangladesh to protect that country's religious minorities from the jihadist forces of hate."
The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond descriptionFile
Hatred for Hindus is not confined to Bangladesh. Even in the home states, Hindus are not at all safe. Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala have become the hotbed of crime and violence against Hindus even then being the majority. The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond description. The silence of the unpatriotic media, and other sinister forces have given enough leverage to such extremist elements. It has been established that madrasas are factories where tender minds are radicalized – the fact is passionately reiterated by an eminent social activist Khalid Umar of Lahore, Pakistan. Just two days ago, one boy in Assam posted a photo in which he placed his foot on a Ganesh idol. Such shocking instances with photos and videos are regularly posted on social media. But such cases are suppressed too soon.
Well, one can't agree more than what Human Right Activist and a senior journalist of Bangladesh – Mr Saad Hammadi has said --- "Such repeated attacks against individuals, and destruction of the homes and places of worship of minorities in Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities. Targeting religious sensitivities to stoke communal tension is a serious human rights violation and requires immediate and decisive action from the government to address the situation of minorities in the country."
Here one wishes that all people would stand with Mr Saad Hammadi. The hatred and violence should always be vociferously condemned by one and all. No one has the right to hold humanity to ransom. As believers of GOD, all should shake off narrow dogmatism and malice. All need to follow the path that takes us from darkness to light and ignorance to knowledge. The practice of expressing LOVE and COMPASSION for "all" ---- irrespective of caste, creed, and colour, always ensures communal harmony and peace. Not just that, it is the pathway to DIVINITY. If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
An India-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled 'Great Minds on India' that has earned worldwide appreciation. Translated into Twelve languages, his book has been edited by a former NASA scientist – Dr AV Murali of Houston, USA.
Way back in 2014-15, when an engineer was lynched by a mob in Pune, it got author Chandan Pandey thinking. While one hears of road rage and murders almost every day, Pandey says the fact that when a crowd is created -- with sometimes through calls given over the loudspeakers of different religious places -- facts and fiction mixed, and killings executed coldly, it demands more than a newspaper headline.
His novel 'Legal Fiction' (originally Vaidhanik Galp), translated by Bharatbhooshan Tiwari and published by HarperCollins India, which recently hit the stands reflects on several realities faced by contemporary India including the controversial CAA, 'Love Jihad', hate-mongering, and mob lynchings. In fact, the author took back the original manuscript written long back from the Hindi publisher to add different elements. "Yes. I had submitted a long novel in 2015. However, to ascertain that the message was not lost, I amended the story and made three novels. This one is the first in the series."
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Pandey also wanted to go into the history of mob-lynchings and find out if they had been happening across the world in the past. "American history is rife with this. In every generation of American history, such incidents have occurred. For example, when the non-white Americans were granted franchises. I wanted to explore that in the Indian mentality."
Adding that the powers-to-be tend to claim that the mob and its actions are spontaneous, the author stresses that in most cases, the reverse is true. "It is mostly premeditated. After the violence has subsided and the names of people present there to come out in public domain, one wonders what were they doing there in the first place?"
His novel 'Legal Fiction' (originally Vaidhanik Galp), translated by Bharatbhooshan Tiwari and published by HarperCollins India, which recently hit the stands reflects on several realities faced by contemporary India.Twitter
Talk to him about the liberals' chair-borne analysis of extreme right-wing, and how their dismissive attitude had led to a completely wrong reading of different organizations, the author admits that it is foolish to think that the right-wing does not understand psychology or lacks organizational skills, not to mention immense swaying power. "I read somewhere that they just pretend to be foolish. They might initially try to present their ideas as jokes, but later become steadfast. Instead of dismissing them, we should be trained to see how they function."
As he talks about 'Love Jihad' in his book, Pandey, whose father worked in Government Railway Police, feels that the Indian police establishment needs a complete overhaul. "Sadly, they always side on the side of the powerful. In the police barracks, you might find an individual devouring a brilliant piece of literature. However, the moment they don the uniform, there is complete metamorphosis."
Smiling that he does not really have the kind of a dream life that a writer imagines, Pandey, who works with the TATA group says, "So many authors spend a major part of their morning's writing. Well, I have to be ready for the office cab every day. There is no method to my writing process as I need to travel a lot for work. But yes, nowadays, I wake up at 3 am to sit on the writing desk."
Lamenting that Hindi writers mostly get a raw deal -- lack of scholarships and grants, not to mention unprofessionalism of many from Hindi language publishing houses, he says, "All my friends warn me --don't even think about leaving your job. When we talk about Hindi, there are two types of people. The establishment and people who love it. There was a time when many Hindi publishers would not even release the paperback edition of books for years. Of course, things are slowly changing with new-age ones coming up. Also, one tends to compare things with English ones. The kind of effort put in by the latter -- agents, editors, marketing, payments, etc," says the writer whose first story was published in 2004. (IANS/KB)
Areas which produce a lot of misogynistic tweets are more likely to have higher incidences of domestic and family violence against women, finds a study.
Tracking such tweets using Big Data can help determine where violence against women is likely to occur, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Science.
“That information could be useful for not only law enforcement, but also for public health interventions which may intervene to counteract norms of misogynistic violence,” said Siobhan O’Dea, a doctoral researcher at the School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, in Australia.
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The researchers noted that even if the person posting a misogynistic hate speech is not violent, it can create an atmosphere where violence towards women may be more likely.
“We found that misogynistic social media may not be harmless,” said Tom Denson, a professor in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales.
“It contributes to norms of violence towards women and a hostile worldview that may slip into real-world violence,” Denson added.
The study, published in Psychological Science, not only found this connection with domestic and family violence getting carried over from one year to the next but also occurred despite the ‘usual suspects’ of domestic violence, such as alcohol and inequality.
The team used Big Data to predict domestic violence from misogynistic tweets across a two-year period. And then it compiled all of the data reported by the local law enforcement agencies in the US to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on arrests for domestic and family violence. (IANS/KB)
The Pakistan Navy hosted ‘Aman-2021’ from February 11-16. The exercise was the seventh edition of the ‘AMAN series’ of exercises, which started in 2007, and is held by Pakistan Navy biennially. This year’s edition was conducted off Karachi and the participants included Chinese, Turkish, and Russian warships, among others.
This exercise was touted by some Pak media as Pakistan’s “opportunity to project a positive image as a key player in regional peace and stability”. Further, the six-day long exercise was said to “affirm Pakistan’s resolve of cooperation against terrorism” — a rather rich statement coming from a country that is in itself a major contributor to terrorism, violence, illegal activities, and instability in the region.
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While it is heartening to see Pakistan take requisite measures to position itself as a harbinger of peace and stability in the region, given Pakistan’s long-standing struggle with its own internal demons, some of which has spilled over to its neighborhood over the years, it is doubtful such an Exercise will accrue any tangible results in the long run.
For instance, the exercise was hosted in Karachi which has been rife with sectarian violence. The Pak National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had issued a terror alert in January this year, warning of terror incidents in Karachi. This was followed by another news report dated 3rd February from Samaa TV, a Pakistani Urdu language news television network, which has quoted NACTA and warned that terrorists are planning a VBIED attack on an ‘unspecified important government department’ in the near future. Adding on to the security woes, numerous reports highlighting Karachi’s notoriety as a hub for narcotics trade in Pakistan wouldn’t provide much comfort to the participating nations either!
Further, two recent developments cogently foreground Pakistan’s hypocritical, and somewhat questionable commitment to peace and stability. Recently, the Pakistani Supreme Court acquitted Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the abductor and murderer of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl to the international opprobrium. Secondly, according to reports, on January 8, 2021, the Anti-Terrorism Court at Gujranwala ordered the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar on charges of terror financing. Experts indicate that the Pakistani court’s actions are clearly linked to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) beginning the process to review Islamabad’s efforts to counter terror financing and money laundering in recent weeks. In light of these developments, Pakistan hosting an exercise called, ‘Aman’, meaning ‘peace’ seems morally fraught at the least.
One should recall that the terrorists who used the sea route to orchestrate the 26/11 attack on the Indian city of Mumbai came from Pakistan. It would be interesting to also note that in November 2020, Pakistan’s top investigating body, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had admitted that 11 terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were Pakistanis. In addition, it still figures in the FATF Grey List for terror financing. Internally, the media has been rife with reports of Pakistan’s castigation of places of worship belonging to non-Islamic denominations. Recently, on December 30, 2020, more than 1,000 Pakistani citizens led by a local cleric belonging to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) attacked, looted valuables, and demolished the Krishna Dwara temple, despite the Pakistan Hindu Council having alerted local authorities. Given these on-ground facts, one wonders whether Aman-21 is nothing more than an exercise in self-deception.
Apples and Oranges
The relentless ‘India- obsession’ that most Pakistani thinkers and journalists suffer from includes even the Pakistani PM Imran Khan. Given the Pakistan PM’s recent outburst at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, it can safely be surmised that reason and logic become the first casualties of such obsession. Comparisons between Aman-21 and Ex-Malabar compromise logic for rhetoric, and choosing jingoism over substance.
Ex-Malabar started as a bilateral exercise, established in 1992, between the Indian Navy and the US Navy. Over the years, given the commitment of the two navies towards freedom of navigation and good order at sea, the exercise has today grown to include other like-minded naval powers such as Japan and Australia which share the common belief of rules-based international order. Here, like-minded means ‘democracies’. Thus, positioning Ex-Malabar as a symbol of ‘Indian hegemony’ in the IOR is not only misinformed but also betrays a dysfunctional understanding of modern-day geopolitics.
With regard to Aman-21, what Pakistan needs to understand is that by conducting an exercise to merely “project a positive image”, with little on-ground capital to back its initiatives, rings hollow. For instance, Ex-Malabar is only a part of the larger narrative that India and the Indian Navy fulfill in the IOR. These are augmented by sincere efforts towards genuinely fostering peace and stability in the region. For instance, earlier in 2020, as part of PM Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) and Indian Navy’s reputation as the Preferred Security Partner, India undertook three Covid-related outreach Missions to provide food and medical aid; SAGAR-I to five IOR nations, SAGAR-II to four East African nations and SAGAR-III to two South-East Asian nations. The SAGAR-IV mission to Comoros and Madagascar is presently being undertaken by the Indian Navy’s largest amphibious platform INS Jalashwa. The Navy also deployed a warship in the conflicted waters off Somalia to escort food-aid vessels of UNWFP, the 2020 Nobel Peace Laureate.
Likewise, Exercise Samudra Setu entailed evacuation of 3,992 Indian citizens by Indian Naval ships in the aftermath of the outbreak of Covid-19, while the Indian Navy has been an integral part of the ongoing ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, which has already supplied the two indigenously manufactured vaccines to over 15 countries including Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. In an unsurprising gesture of goodwill, India has also offered its vaccine to locally-posted Chinese and Pakistan navy diplomats.
Modern-day geopolitics is more than a matter of who has a bigger gun. It entails fostering genuine goodwill through sincere efforts. Perhaps, Pakistan navy should bear this in mind the next time it organizes an orgy of photo ops for the world, while a pitched-existential battle in the form of terrorism, hunger, and poverty rages on within. (IANS/SP)