Friday, August 5, 2011

Muslims in India - An Honest Look

I was hopping from video to video and dawned on this video on IBN with Shabana Azmi. Every word she has said resonates with me. The link is at the end of my note.  Ramzan is getting to me… I will be counting the next two hours to Iftaar and looks like every minute is an hour.   I am planning to go to the Shia Masjid (Momin Center)  for Iftaar on the 5th day of Ramadan. 

I really put the label Muslim on me after 9/11, as she took it after Babri Masjid. Prior to that I did not call myself a Muslim like she did not, I was a cultural Muslim, I was rather an Atheist. Amazing words and incredible experience! I have written each one of those words in my write ups...

When she said to the politicians why do you consult the bearded...? I have written almost that in Huffington post, "The Ground Zero Mosque, nay, the Muslim community center in New York was a major turning point in adding the average American Muslim to the media mix of the public faces of Muslims who are not only moderates but also contribute to the overall peace, prosperity and security of America." I was a product of that.

She also talks about digging in her heels for a forced identity on her and attributes the increasing Hijab wearing to that event. Hijab is something new to a lot of us from the early fifties. Hijabs are everywhere now. One of my Doctor friends came to visit us in Hospital when late wife was going through surgery for her cancer… the one thing he mentioned as both of us noticed Hijabi doctors walking around… where do they come from?

Shabana was truthful about her being a cultural Muslim, I am sure a few don't like it to hear it, so was my case. A few Muslims did not like me for being truthful about my identity that I did not claim to be a Muslim, it was the 9/11 and study of Pluralism that really turned me around and claim my religious and spiritual identity as a Muslim.

She talks about Eid celebrations where to be a Muslim meant wearing Gharara, eating Biryani... on Birayani deal, way back I had sponsored her show with Farooque Shaikh and after the show she came to our home for dinner. She loved the Hyderabadi Kacchay gosht ki Biryani and double ka meetha that my late wife had cooked. Shabana said for the first time in some 20 years she got to eat delicious Biryani and she acknowledged over eating.

She wanted to go for a walk, she and I walked around the lake in front of my house...she was curious about how the city and school system worked - She could not believe those Cities, Schools and most organizations are supported by local taxes as opposed the Government. As we talked further I realized I had the socialist inklings once, but have moved to accept the responsible capitalistic economic system for growth and prosperity. It was a great conversation... The next day we had a fund raising dinner for her school in her home town.

Shabana Azmi reflects what an average Indian Muslim is all about; an active participant and contributor towards the society he or she lives in.

I hope you watch this video; it is one of the best analyses of the Muslim experience. I believe most of the Desi Muslims can relate with her. My dear friend Shariff (Sachar Report guy) and I grew up in Bangalore as main stream Indians and we rarely found ourselves to be any different than others. Fortunately we both know her. We were very integrated in the society and thank God I have never felt that I was not a main stream person in America either. Issues are faced by all, but rarely have I been identified as anything different other than the Pluralism I preach.

I did not mean to write this… I like Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar and their activism. They are the symbol of average integrated Muslims in the society and I am glad to be one as well.

Shabana Azmi on the Muslim Experience, an old video but a timeless piece.

Mike Ghouse committed to a cohesive America.
# # #

No comments:

Post a Comment


Email to:

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.