Showing posts from May, 2014

Remembering Shaykh Sa'di - the great sage of Islam

Shaykh Sa’di was one of the greatest sages of the Muslim world. Growing up as a child in Bangladesh , I first came across a story about this great scholar in my text book.   It was an intriguing piece which never escaped from my mind.   Shaykh Sa’di was once invited to a wealthy man’s mansion.   He goes there shabbily dressed.   The guards would not let him in.   He returns after a short while wearing an expensive gown.   This time the guards let him inside the mansion.   The time for supper comes.   Instead of eating the food, he starts collecting the food in his pockets.   The host is puzzled by what he sees.   He approaches the Shaykh and inquires about the matter.   Sa’di says: “ I don’t deserve the food, but my gown surely does. ”   Hearing this, the host is equally puzzled by the reply of his honored guest.   He begs the Shaykh to explain the matter.   When Sa’di explains to him as to what had happened, the host gets a lesson on morality and apologizes earnestly for the mann

NPR's coverage of the Rohingya problem in Myanmar

The NPR (National Public Radio), known for its independent views, has recently covered the Rohingya problem in Myanmar. Here is a link to read its review.

Thai Government is in cahoots with criminal human traffickers of the Rohingya Detainees in Thailand

Thin Lei Win of the Thomson Reuters Foundation has recently covered the plight of the Rohingya detainees in Thailand. She mentions in particular about the sad saga of a Rohingya teenager who had left Arakan in 2012. This young teenager was holed up in a Thai Detention center for nearly a year before being handed over to traffickers. In the words of the detainee, "I was stuck at the Ranong Immigration Detention Centre (in southern Thailand near the Myanmar border) for 11 months. One day, we were told we would be deported back to Myanmar. The boats were to carry us to Kawthaung (in Myanmar) but we ended up at a place where cars were waiting. The cars took us to the jungle camp run by the traffickers. "The first time they beat us was just after we - about 400 of us - arrived at the camp in the early morning. They threatened us and made us call our relatives to ask for money so we would be released. When people said they did not have money or relatives to contact, they were be

Our 'Crazy' World!

In the early 1980s, I lived in Isla Vista, California, for two years and a half.   Located nearly a hundred miles north of Los Angeles city and edging the shore of the Pacific Ocean, with a round-the-year spring like climate, it is a small university town catering mostly to the needs of the students and staff of the University of California, Santa Barbara. It is paradise for students and probably the most scenic university campus in the USA. As a former student and resident I have fond memories of the place. I was simply shocked to learn that seven people, including a suspected gunman, died in drive-by shootings on last Friday night in Isla Vista. Such violence is almost unknown in this town. The police authorities believe the act to be "a premeditated mass murder." The violence began and ended within minutes, from 9:27 p.m. KEYT reported that "witnesses described seeing a black BMW speeding through the streets, spraying bullets at people and various targets." S

Narendra Modi - an analysis by Vikas Jose

Soon after my article on Narendra Modi got published in the Internet, some Indian pro-Modi supporters complained that I was too harsh on him, and that he was not a fascist. As I maintained many times before, Modi is a fascist, and I have not changed my mind on this dangerous man. His toxic ideology of Hindutva is  Hindu fascism and nothing short of it. By electing Modi and his BJP party overwhelmingly the Indian electorates have shown their fascination and fondness for fascism. Pure and simple! There is no other way to describe their choice! There is no way to hide this ugly fact. Two years ago, Vinod Jose wrote an excellent article - The Emperor Uncrowned - analyzing Narendra Modi's rise from a low-caste Hindu family to becoming the chief minister of Gujarat. It provides ample of evidences to show that my verdict of Modi is not misplaced. The interested reader can read Mr. Jose's lengthy article by clicking here .

My mother-in-law has passed away

My mother-in-law Rowshan Ara Begum died yesterday (Saturday) in Dhaka. Inna lillahi wa inna elayhi rajioun. May Allah forgive her and grant her jannat. She was a writer and wrote more than half a dozen books that included children's story books and short stories.

Modi’s Win in India - An Analysis

The Indian people have spoken and have elected Narendra Modi resoundingly as their man to lead their impoverished but promising nation of some 1.25 billion people. Modi has been described by many as a ruthless murderer, a fascist, a racist and a bigot, espousing a chauvinist agenda that favor one community, i.e., Hindus, over others in this caste-ridden nation of many creeds. His supporters, on the other hand, see him as a Hitler-like avatar that could work miracles, delivering results that would reposition India in the global arena as a power broker. Anxieties are high on all sides. Can Modi, revered by so many and also hated by so many, deliver the promises he has made? Will he carry out his threats? Can he deliver economic miracles? Or, will he marginalize non-Hindus, who despise him? Will his agenda lead to further escalation of regional tension? There is no doubt that India needed a change. Indians were tired of the dynastic rule from the Nehru family that has ruled India fo

Another Rohingya victim of Buddhist Lynching

Another Rohingya has been lynched to death in Arakan, Burma, by hateful Buddhists. You can read the story by clicking here .

Irfan Engineer on Assam Violence

 Irfan Engineer writes on Indian secularism. In his recent posting, he has covered the massacre of Muslims in Assam. Here below is his piece, which I share in full: ======================================== What is happening in Assam should shame humanity and Indian democracy. Official figures of dead in Kokrajhar and Baksa Dist. (Assam) is 32. Citizens were fired upon and killed on 1 st May and 2 nd May for their voting choice. Unofficial sources say number of dead toll may be even higher as 31 persons are still missing and not accounted for. The 16 th General election for Lok Sabha concluded in Assam on 24 th April. From Kokrajhar constituency, the candidate of Bodo People’s Front, a party of former militants, was Chandan Brahma and was opposed by a non-Bodo candidate Heera Saraniya, a former commander of ULFA, backed by the Sanmilita Janagostiya Aikkyamancha (SJA), an amalgamation of at least 20 ethnic and linguistic groups based in BTAD. He problematized 26 pe

Is India a budding hegemon or a regional leader?

Thirty years ago, Indian political scientist, writer and foreign affairs commentator (late) Dr. Bhabani Sen Gupta wrote in the India Today, “ The Indian elephant cannot transform itself into a mouse. If South Asia is to get itself out of the crippling binds of conflicts and cleavages, the six will have to accept the bigness of the seventh. And the seventh, that is India, will have to prove to the six that big can indeed be beautiful .” [“The Big Brother Syndrome”, India Today, April 30, 1984] Has the Indian elephant proven its case that it is beautiful, and not an ugly beast? Before we try to explore the issue, it may be proper to get used to the term ‘hegemony’; after all, India is viewed as a hegemonic power by all her neighbors – from Bangladesh in the east to Pakistan in the west, from Nepal and Bhutan in the north to Sri Lanka in the south. Hegemony is the privileged exercise of power in complete disregard to the interests of other states. Joshua Goldstein defines the term

Pathikrit's ignoble sanctification of xenophobia

In an article in the One India someone under the pen name of Pathikrit has made many unsupportable claims about the so-called Bangladeshi infiltrators in India. His claim is flawed on several grounds, and interested readers may like to read my articles on the Assam violence, which have targeted Muslims for a number of decades. The anti-Bengali local governments of Assam have played evil roles in such massacres, at least dating back to the time of Nelli massacre that witnessed massacre of thousands of Muslims. Even in the recent ones in which Bodo terrorists (mix of Christians, animists, Hindus and Buddhists) have attacked Muslims and other Adivashi (indigenous) people of Assam, the local government of Tarun Gogoi had a hand in letting such targeted violence happen against minority Bengali-speaking Muslims. They have become the willing executioners in the altar of xenophobia, hatred and bigotry. There is no supporting evidence that Bangladeshi Muslims have infiltrated into Assa

Why "no" to Taslima Nasrin?

Why not Taslima Nasrin? - asks Modi. In a recent interview, BJP's fascist leader Narendra Modi criticizes secular leaders of India (esp. Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal) who had criticized Modi's divisive policy along the religious line. He said that if they were so interested in letting the infiltration of 'Bangladeshis' continue why object to Taslima Nasrin. It is not difficult to understand why. Should a symbol of hatred and highly poloarizing figure (whose mention triggers emotional outbursts amongst the Muslim victims) be celebrated and welcome in a democracy that is still illiberal (like India)? Surely not. Just as the Mein Kampf is an unwelcome addition in a public library, morality and decency demands that such hateful characters like Nasrin be not hosted as a celebrity anywhere, esp. in a country with a sizable Muslim population of nearly 150 million Muslims. It would be simply stupid and irresponsible. It is not difficult to understand Modi's venerati

Understanding the anti-Muslim pogroms in Assam, India

Today, I came across an excellent article by Nilim Dutta who is executive director of the Strategic Research and Analysis Organisation, Guwahati. He wrote this article back in 2012 soon after the anti-Muslim pogrom in Assam. It has lots of useful information to understand better the current crisis revisiting the state. You can read his article by clicking here .

Does BJP have a hand behind the latest massacre of Muslims in Assam?

  Does Narendra Modi, the BJP leader, have a hand in the latest killing of Bengali-speaking Muslims in western Assam's Baska and Kokrajhar districts since Thursday evening of May 1? Union Minister Kapil Sibal believes so, and so does Assam Youth Congress president Piyush Hazarika. Addressing media the law minister said that the BJP leaders were fanning violence in Assam using morphed pictures as part of its "communal propaganda" on social media. Targeting the Gujarat chief minister, the Congress leader said, "Modi is a model of dividing India. This is the policy of BJP since 1984 of dividing India. The Rath Yatra, Babri Masjid demolition and all this has been a part of the communal strategy of the BJP." Raha MLA Hazarika said, "On April 1, immediately after Narendra Modi's rally in Biswanath Chariali, a local BJP leader, Bhavdev Goswami, told a TV channel that BJP had the support of NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland ) rebe

Killing of Muslims in Assam - 11 dead

Last month in a series of articles I warned about the potential harm that can visit Muslims in India, esp. in places like Assam, where Hindutvadi forces have been playing the anti-Muslim card to agitate others against the Muslims. As reported also in the BD News: "Candidates in India's general election, including opposition front runner Narendra Modi, have contributed to anti-Bangladeshi feeling in Assam. Modi last week said immigrants from Bangladesh in a nearby state should have their "bags packed" in case he came to power." The Muslims that live in Assam are not immigrants from Bangladesh. Like many others, they have been living there for centuries, and at least before the time of Indian partition into Pakistan and India. Simply because of their Muslim identity and Bengali root, they are perceived as outsiders or new settlers in hateful Assam, which had her bloody history of pogroms against Muslims. According to the latest information, suspected triba

Conference in the UK - Call to end Genocide of Rohingya people

Call To End Rohingya Genocide With Endorsements Wednesday, April 30, 2014  (Photo: AP) CALL TO END ROHINGYA GENOCIDE Myanmar's Genocide of Rohingya Must End What is really going on in Myanmar/Burma beyond tourist brochures, media spin and official reform hype? Unspeakable crimes are being carried out against innocent humans: children, women and men by the country’s government and racist extremists. Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya (of whom there are more than 1 million inside the country and another million around the world) have been singled out for systematic destruction. Successive governments, for decades, have institutionalized a system of apartheid against these people. Kept in concentration camp-like conditions and ghettoized neighborhoods, Rohingya are not permitted freedom of movement. Every aspect of their lives, including marriage, childbirth and ability to work, is severely restricted. Their right to identity and citizenship is officially de