India’s religious freedom

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Washington, D.C., February 13, 2018 – Today we met at room 1540 at Longworth House Office building to discuss the religious freedom in India.  The program was sponsored by the International Religious Freedom Caucus, co-chaired by Congressmen Gus Bilirakis and Thomas Garrett. The meeting was run by Miranda, Maya, and Tripp representing different Congressmen.

Ajaya Kumar Singh, a Dalit leader himself,  gave a presentation of what is going on in India with Dalits, Christians, and Muslims.

When my turn came, I asked Jay Kansara, representative of HAF, the Hindu America Foundation to take the initiative and make statements against the lynching of Muslims, persecution of Christians and harassment of Dalits?   I also urged HAF to write to the Government of India urging them to grant a visa to the USCRIF Commissioners to do their findings of religious freedom in India.

 

I hope to see HAF come out clean and looked up to as a just American organization. I asked him to issue a press release to say that every Indian has a right to breathe, eat, drink, wear and believe whatever he or she desires, and no Indian has a right to forcibly impose his ideas on others. The Government of India will listen more to HAF than anyone else, as they all have similar affiliations.  Some of the other things I have said are expressed in the letter below.

Ultimately, we all have to come out clean and wash our inconsistencies and operate beyond reproach. If we don’t stand up for the rights of others, then who will?  It is not about Hinduism or Hindus, it is about the radicals among Hindus we need to work with.

I made an assertion that if an American Hindu is attacked; Indian Muslims will stand up for them.  We have a stellar record of that.

John Prabhudas also encouraged Jay to take the responsibility, and he did a great job in explaining how it matters to us in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Sana, spoke exceptionally well, she gives me hope that our next generation has an interest in the well being of India.  She was articulate and spoke American (meaning precise information to the point without digressions).

The IAMC provided the lunch, good homemade Biryani, and fruit tray.  I believe it was prepared by Zubair’s family.

My apologies for not remembering the names, as I had to dash out because of the car parking was 20 minutes walk and the time we had was just 20 minutes left on parking.

I hope someone will write the notes of the meeting. I know the staff of the congressmen took extensive notes. If they send me, I will share with those who want to see, let me know if you do. I have submitted the following recommendations to them.

If the Dalits and others are treated like what India’s constitution calls for; that is Dalit women are not the object of sex for the upper caste Hindu men; and they are not entitled to the Dalit women and they are not raped and hung on trees, and if a Dalit groom rides a horse and the upper caste accepts it instead of beating the groom up; if a Muslim is not lynched for eating meat (suspecting it beef) and if Christian nuns are not raped and harassed. If HAF and HEF can focus on correcting this in India, then the California textbooks should be corrected.

We cannot dupe our children, teach them one thing but when they visit India, they see it differently. The Indians parents look stupid to the American Indian Children. Over the years, I have asked some of my extremist fellow Indians to show their comments to their children and ask them honestly to grade them on the scale of the stupidity of their statements.

Mike Ghouse
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

International Religious Freedom Caucus.
US Congress.
Washington, DC

Recommendations to the International Religious Freedom Caucus 

As an American of Indian origin, I am concerned about the future of Democracy in India, and how it affects us, the Americans. I am pleased to submit the following with concrete solutions.

Governor Sam Brownback, our new Ambassador for religious freedom said it well at the reception held in his honor last week at the US Institute of Peace. If religious freedom is denied to a people, they will bear it to a point, when they have no way out,  they would become resentful and revengeful resulting in unmanageable civil strife. As Martin Luther King said, injustice to one is injustice to all.

India proved to the world that she can manage freedom and certainly established a pluralistic democracy based on humanistic values, patterned after the US constitution by Dr. Ambedkar.  That stability and rule of law attracted investments that benefited Indians as well as the investors from across the world including the United States. India’s GDP and per capita income rose continually.

The success of a nation rests on its two solid feet – the economy and a cohesive society, an imbalance in one would mess up both in the long haul and the entire nation would reel in the downward spiral.  At the end, not only Indians but the investors will also lose out.  Who would want to invest in a country that practices discrimination, harassment, and lynching against its minorities? Who wants to risk operating in such a chaotic environment? Rule of Law and stable societies are the attractants for investors, both are in peril in India at this time.

The Government of India is not doing it, but their silence is contributing towards the chaos. First, the British kept their control by pitting one Indian against the other, and now the current leadership is repeating that formula.   I hope it does not come to the point where we the American have another Afghanistan on your hands, this time it would be Hindu Talibans.

Solutions:

  1. We urge the US Congress to use its leverage with the Government of India to issue visas to the commissioners of USCRIF – to investigate and report the issues and solutions.
  1. We urge the Hindu organizations in America to step up and use their influence with the current Indian Government to issue statements like;
  1. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that freedom of Individuals is protected under the constitution and those who harass fellow Indians will be punished.
  1. We declare that every Indian is free to breathe, eat, drink, wear and believe whatever he or she is comfortable with.  We will not tolerate anyone to violate these rights of the individuals.
  1. That we the people of all faiths from Atheist to Zoroastrians will stand solidly with the people of India and expect everyone is treated with dignity.

We will urge the moderate Hindus to take back their faith of 5000 years with deep roots in pluralism.  We have also asked and continue to ask the Hindu organizations to issue a statement, and hope they would., and after I hear from the Congressman, I will enlist support from other Hindu Organizations.  A positive message to India would help build positive energy.

Together we have to protect democracies around the world. America is a shining example to the world that Democracy works, it brings stability and prosperity whereas fascism destroys everyone in the process.

The Center for Pluralism is committed to building cohesive societies where individuals can live out their lives in the pursuit of their happiness and without apprehension or fear of the fellow humans.

Thank you

What do we do at the Center for Pluralism
http://centerforpluralism.com/what-do-we-do-at-center-for-pluralism

Mike Ghouse, President
Center for Pluralism
Washington, DC
(214) 325-1916
Mike@CenterforPluralism.com
www.CenterforPluralism.com

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