20 February 2020

Why are Muslims lagging behind?




Every society has some form of social stratification. In India this was originally done on the basis of one's knowledge, skills and merit, called 'Varna' Over the centuries it kept on degrading until it came to be based on birth rather than merit.
Thus powerful non meritorious groups cornered most of the rights and wealth and oppressed the weaker.

This lead to the easy conquest of India by foreign invaders initially Muslim and later European. The promise of Islam to the downtrodden was, that they would be released from their social bondage and be equal amongst all others. This hope was dashed for the people who converted from Hinduism to Islam still remain unfulfilled, and in fact have gotten worse.

Little known to most people is that Muslims of the Indian sub continent are still subject to exploitation, not by others, but by their fellow Muslims.

Since there is no acknowledgement of the caste system and distinct and fairly rigid social stratification in Muslim society, no solutions have been sought.

As a result Hindu Dalits receive greater opportunities for education and economic progress than the Muslim Dalits, who are held back by their faith and their society whose places little or no emphasis of education of Muslims.

While rest of India has progressed, it is indeed a sad state of affairs for the Muslim population who continue to be oppressed and discriminated by their fellow Muslims.

When things are unsatisfactory or bad, people usually can analyse their situation in two ways.
1. Why have we fallen behind,  and do we need to do to catch up and overtake others?
Those who take this approach, assume responsibility and make progress. Unfortunately they represent are a very small minority.

2. The second and dangerous is to ask, 'Who did this to us?'
Muslim clerics and the political leadership of the Muslims have convinced the vast majority of Muslims that they must seek revenge against one and all who are not Muslim for their own plight. So America and Europe, communists or Hindus and Buddhists are at blame.

Blaming others helps to stir up passions and demands for revenge and provides a convenient escape route to leaders of the Muslim community who have failed and continue to fail our Muslim brothers and sisters.

If the vast majority of Muslims are angry and frustrated they are probably justified. This anger is manifesting itself in many negative ways which rather than benefitting, is further harming the Muslims themselves.

Below is given the Caste System and its historical development along with relevant links for the interested reader.

____________________

Majority of the Muslims in the Indian sub-continent are treated with total disdain and disrespected not only by Arab Muslims but also by high caste Indian Muslims.

Though this goes against the teachings of Islam, in reality, almost all Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani people who got converted to Islam are considered lowly.

The High Castes of Muslims in India are called  'Ashraf' (noble)
All the descendants of Muslim invaders are Ashraf
In terms of hierarchy they are as follows.

1. Syed      (Those who trace their direct ancestry to the Prophet Muhammad)
2. Shaikh   (Those who are of direct Arab ancestry)
3. Mughal  (Those who trace their direct ancestry to Mongols, Turks, Uzbeki etc.)
4. Pashtun (Those who trace their direct ancestry to Iran and Afghanistan)
Then there are the high caste converts like Muslim Rajputs

Amongst Muslims, virtually all economic, social, cultural and political power is in the hands of the Ashraf who are a small minority amongst Muslims (approximately 15%)

Indians who got converted to Islam, and their descendants are considered lowly, by the Ashraf and called 'Ajlaf '(low born),  they are bracketed as the lower castes of Muslims in India

Discriminated and untouchable groups of Islam in the Indian subcontinent and include the  following;

Julaha (weaver),  Ansari, Kunjra, Dhobi, Halalkhor Qasai (butcher), Nai (barber),

Arzal (Dalit) which included sweepers, shoe-makers, etc. were considered even the lowest of the low born of the Ajlaf are the Dalit Muslims.


Education and geographical mobility has changed the profession of many Muslims, but they are still classified by their earlier family professions.  There is some mixing between the different categories, but the percentage is so small that its negligible. Thus the advent of Islam has not changed the social status of most Muslims particularly the lowest and poorest in Muslim society.

______________________

A master’s farewell Letter


"If God, for a second, forgave what I have become, and granted me a little bit more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability.

I wouldn't, possibly, say everything that is in my mind, but I would be more thoughtful of all I say. I would give merit to things not for what they are worth, but for what they mean to express.

I would sleep little, I would dream more, because I know that for every minute that we close our eyes, we waste 60 seconds of light.

I would walk while others stop; I would awake while others sleep.

If God would give me a little bit more of life, I would dress in a simple manner, I would place myself in front of the sun, leaving not only my body, but my soul naked at its mercy.

To all men, I would say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.

I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.

To old people I would say that death doesn't arrive when they grow old, but with forgetfulness.

I have learned so much with you all, I have learned that everybody wants to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken and the form used to reach the top of the hill.

I have learned that when a newborn baby holds, with its little hand, his father's finger, it has trapped him for the rest of his life.

I have learned that a man has the right and obligation to look down at another man, only when that man needs help to get up from the ground.

Say always what you feel, not what you think. If I knew that today is the last time that that I am going to see you asleep, I would hug you with all my strength and I would pray to the Lord to let me be the guardian angel of your soul.

If I knew that these are the last moments to see you, I would say 'I love you'.

There is always tomorrow, and life gives us another opportunity to do things right, but in case I am wrong, and today is all that is left to me, I would love to tell you how much I love you and that I will never forget you.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn't wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives. I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.

Keep your loved ones near you; tell them in their ears and to their faces how much you need them and love them. Love them and treat them well; take your time to tell them 'I am sorry, please,  forgive me, and thank you', and all those loving words you know.

Nobody will know you for your secret thought. Ask the Divine for wisdom and strength to express them.

Show your friends and loved ones how important they are to you.

Say and do what you must today itself ...tomorrow will be like yesterday, and if you never do it, it doesn't matter either, the moment to do it is now.

For you,
With much love,
Your Friend,"

_________________________

Note: 
In 2000, the impending death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, (famous Colombian writer, and Nobel Peace Prize) winner for literature) was incorrectly reported by Peruvian daily newspaper La República. The next day other newspapers republished his alleged farewell poem, but shortly afterwards García Márquez denied being the author of this beautiful poem.

_________________________

About Gurvinder Singh
Post a comment on my website
Engage with Gurvinder Singh

Facebook - Twitter - linkedin - SikhNet - Instagram


03 February 2020

Murder of Democracy


Leaders and the ideologies they propound ask a fundamental question, 'Is Humanity basically good or bad?'

Those who believe that Humanity is basically bad, unabashedly seek to concentrate power in their hands and dominate the masses with the help of a relatively small group of loyalists and supporters. It is usually centred around an ideology and a few personalities.

However whenever one entity tries to dominate another, conflict will naturally occur, as Theocracies, Dictatorships, Monarchs and Communists have discovered. 

Each type of domination has its advantages and disadvantages. The more overt the domination more the hostility. When domination is covert and subtle, the less the opposition by the dominated. 

Democracy has the unique distinction of the masses to choose who will dominate them, if even for a short while. Naturally  the people are more accepting of democracy than any other form of rule. 

Democracy is not a new concept it has existed in various forms for thousands of years. An interesting note is available on Wikipedia What is Democracy?

Though I quote American President John Adams, America is not the originator of democracy, though it is the loudest proponent of its own kind of democracy.
Known Western Democracy originated in Europe with Athens 508 -507 B.C.E. and then other City states and across Greece then Roman empire. It then spread across Europe and finally through post Colonial efforts it spread across the world.

In a democracy the politicians have to woo the electorate. This is relatively easy. They break up the electorate into tribes, religions, genders, race, caste, and then grant each group in the electorate with favours and privileges. With passage of time the tail increasingly wags the dog.

Wooing the electorate with the wealth of the state is easy. The politicians don't have to spend their own money, they just take it out of the State treasury and distribute it. 

As appeasement grows, which it will always do so in a democracy, more and more power and privileges flow to certain groups and the drain on the exchequer deepens. 
This is because in a democracy wealth flows from the producers to the non producers in the name of 'equality'. As a result the State sinks deeper and deeper spiritually, financially, socially, morally and culturally.

Naturally a State weakened by the burden of unsustainable load can no longer indulge the people. When governments cannot afford to indulge and bribe the electorate, restrictions are placed on the people and sacrifices are demanded of them.  First the people will grow angry, then furious and finally riots and violent protests will break out and one day democracy will collapse.

When this happens another form of government will step in, promising  to try and set things right. This new form of government will be very centralised and highly authoritative. The people will have lost their freedom and democratic rights. 

This calamity of the death of democracy may be delayed by a wise population but its death is inevitable. That too, only if the people exercise their electoral and citizenship rights with responsibility as long as they can.
While on the topic one must look at a different kind of Socialistic Democracy that was practiced in India for 2000 years until the Muslim invaders tampered with it and the British completely dismantled it. 
Until this invasion on India's civilisational political structure India had a different kind of vibrant democracy. A system where every village was a Republic. 

In the Indian democratic system called the 'Asiatic Model' the people in society held much their resources in a common pool. The villagers themselves decided upon everything that impacted their lives through their Panchayat system (reintroduced in 1992). They paid their taxes to the ruler but otherwise they just minded their own affairs without any significant interference from a government bureaucracy and the ruling elites at the capitals.

The Cholas in South India had a well documented democratic electoral system in 920 C.E.  I am not sure there was any comparable system elsewhere in the world at that time.



About Gurvinder Singh
Post a comment on my website
Engage with Gurvinder Singh

Facebook - Twitter - linkedin - SikhNet - Instagram


28 January 2020

Midnight Madness - The Sikhs


My stint at studying Engineering at MIT, Manipal was very enriching educationally, intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually, whose fruits I enjoy even today for I continue to learn and evolve so much by my continuing interaction with many amazing college mates.

One of my senior friends was a tall, strong and fearless Khalsa Sikh,  [Ragnath Singh Kooner. Like all Panjabi people he is passionate and witty, only a lot more so. In addition he was an excellent student.

Ragnath Singh Kooner


Initially Ragnath's classmates would joke with him and pull his leg, then by and by it got out of hand. All and sundry, every Ram, Tik and Hari classmate jumped on the bandwagon and the jokes began to get mean and increasingly disrespectful.

Each day at noon they would taunt Ragnath Singh 'Sardar ji ke baraa Bajj gaye' (It's 12 O'clock so beware the Sikhs will go crazy).

At first Ragnath shrugged it off, then he requested them and then he warned them. But no one took notice of the protestations of the gentle giant. 

This phrase 'Sardar ji ke baraa Bajj gaye' was actually a warning issued by Mughal, Afghan and Persian leaders to their own men, out of great fear. Fear of the insanely courageous Khalsa Sikhs, though outnumbered would use high speed guerrilla tactics, to attack, wear down and finally defeat the much larger and more powerful invaders. The Sikhs would appear, almost out of nowhere from the dark, charge, attack and decimate the enemy and melt away into the night.

The invaders grew terrified of the Sikhs and would warn their soldiers to remain alert, for the Sikhs will make insane and brutal attacks in the middle of night, so 'beware of the Sardars'.
Sardar ji is a term used for almost all Khalsa Sikhs which literally means leader.

Not only Indians but many in the entire sub-continent owe their very existence today because of the sacrifices and contribution of the Khalsa Sikhs.
Many acknowledge this fact but some stupid and arrogant people may be forgiven for being ignorant of their own history.

The magnificent Sikhs are a proud and noble people, who will gladly die for friendship and a noble cause but are unlikely to tolerate or forgive injustice, cruelty nor disrespect. Ragnath was no exception and one day he made that point to his classmates.

So one day in 1975, there was a brief lull between lectures as the clock struck 12 at noon, some of Ragnath's classmates started taunting him again chanting in unison 'Sardar ji ke baraa Bajj gaye'. 


Suddenly Ragnath Singh  appeared to have lost his mind. He leapt out from behind his desk, shouting. 

Ragnath started kicking, slapping and punching those class mates, who habitually taunted him.  To each person he assaulted he would bring his palms together in the classical 'Sat Sri Akal' greeting/apology saying 'Please forgive me, I don't know what has possessed me' he would then give the poor chap another tight slap. 

Fearing for their safety, some cowered in the corners of the class room and those who could simply fled the classroom. 

Sat Sri Akal -
Meaning 'God is Truth'
The faces and bodies of all those who had been disrespectful of Ragnath and the Sikhs, were badly bruised, as they crept and crawled out of the classroom.

After 2 minutes, a calm and composed Ragnath sat down. Not surprisingly he was the only student in attendance for the next lecture. 

News of the incident spread like wildfire. Some admiring folks came to congratulate Ragnath and most gave him a wide berth. But none ever disrespected or taunted him nor any of the other Sikhs again as long as we studied there.



_________________

What are the lessons I learnt from the incident. 
1. There is a huge difference between, joking and disrespecting. 
2. Decency is often mistaken as timidity and weakness.
3. We humans will try and bully and torment anyone, even a lion if they feel we can intimidate and dominate them. 
4. The true Sikh respects himself or herself and is therefore respectful towards others and always showing great restraint.
5. Many timid people hide within the mob or group and become emboldened. They begin to behave in a manner unlike what they would dare to do so when alone.. 
6. One should never underestimate the fury of honourable and patient men when pushed to the extreme.


About Gurvinder Singh
Post a comment on my website
Engage with Gurvinder Singh

Facebook - Twitter - linkedin - SikhNet - Instagram


14 January 2020

'Truthification' - Why they convert a lie into a truth?



J Edgar Hoover



J. Edgar Hoover headed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of America and its 
predecessor organisation for 48 years (1924 -1972).  


In pursuit of so called, 'National Security', Hoover amassed great personal power by collecting large amounts of compromising and potentially embarrassing information on many powerful people, especially politicians. 




John F Kennedy
When John F Kennedy was campaigning for presidency of the United States (1962) he vowed to replace Hoover on becoming president.  

After becoming President, Kennedy never touched Hoover. On the contrary extended his term and powers as director of the FBI. 


When asked why he kept Hoover on as FBI director, JFK bluntly replied. 

"I would rather have Hoover inside the tent pissing outside, rather than have him outside pissing inside."


What is inside the tent? 
It's called 'The Establishment'. 

Figuratively speaking the establishment consists of all people of significant consequence, i.e. all the politicians, bureaucrats, officials, business people, judges, priests, media persons, and others, even criminals. They are the people in every society who make things happen or stop them from happening.
Figuratively speaking, this establishment which holds effective power is always inside the tent. 

The opposition and the 'want-to-be inside the tent' gang up, and as Kennedy said, piss inside on the establishment.  They hope to derail all initiatives, discredit the establishment and seek for their ouster so that they can occupy and establish themselves inside the tent.

Those inside piss out and those outside keep pissing inside. This pissing match between government and opposition is called domestic politics. Vested interests in the bureaucracy, judiciary, religious organisations, business people, join and indulge in this dirty game to ensure that their preferred choices win and become the establishment. It is usually a 'no holds barred' fight because they believe that the ends justify the means.

To win the match, it is necessary to win the minds of the people by convincing them that the existing establishment and leadership is unfit because of immorality, incompetence, corruption etc.  That the opposition is the best alternative. 

One of the greatest beneficiaries of the pissing match is the media. They are the carriers of the charges and the counter-charges, they make gold from piss. 
By providing entertainment full of drama, mystery, money, sleaze, violence, corruption etc. sprinkled with a few facts, the media becomes enormously wealthy, powerful and influential.

Until now the media was almost the sole life giving and taking agency for politicians and their supporters. Thanks to social media their monopoly is constantly reducing, main stream media remains incredibly powerful.

With power always comes arrogance and corruption. They perceive themselves as makers and true leaders of society. They cannot remain neutral and play favourites.

The media become the shouting agents to smear (damage the reputation by false accusations or slander) entities and philosophies, culture and religions etc. undesirable with as much filth as they can get away with, without crossing a line which will cause the public to react adversely. 


Nancy Pelosi
How does this smear campaign work?
Ms. Nancy Pelosi leader of the Democratic political party and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, a political veteran, explains how 'The Wrap up Smear' works.

First a politician or an academic or some person from an NGO or civil society will spew out allegations. 

Then one or a couple of  media sources will quote them, then a flood of allegations will be made by the media.
The politicians, will then quote the media and a falsehood becomes a perceived truth in the domestic and international public's mind.

Pinging and ponging, the allegations are bandied about endlessly and the the issue kept alive in the public's eyes and minds. 
In all the smearing and dirty tricks business the truth gets buried under an avalanche of lies. 

The main stream media has played this game too long for anyone's good.
Now Social media allows individuals to verify and provide counter views not from a corrupted press but from other individuals.

Now politicians and groups with vested interests are either conducting their own Social media campaigns or taking the assistance of the same  mainstream media who are taking to Social media themselves (with little impact).

We have to remember there are no truths just perceptions. He who wins the battle of the mind of the people will also win their hearts, and bodies. They will walk away with enormous power, influence and of course, a lot of money.

As a result of their perceived lack of integrity, Main Stream Media is losing ground and influence not only to individuals but also to  technology companies like Facebook, Twitter YouTube etc. 

Contrary to what we may like to believe, no mater who provides us the news, 
We the people are not the beneficiaries of news, we are the pawns and the victims.

____________________________________

About Gurvinder Singh

Post a comment on my website
Engage with Gurvinder Singh

Facebook - Twitter - linkedin - SikhNet - Instagram


Why are Muslims lagging behind?

Every society has some form of social stratification. In India this was originally done on the basis of one's knowledge, skills and ...