Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Dubai Floods And Indonesia's Green Islam Campaign - Ulema Of The Indian Sub- Continent Should Learn A Lesson From The Ulema Of Indonesia

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 30 April 2024 Two Islamic Countries Demonstrate Different Approaches To Nature Main Points: 1. UAE and Oman witnessed rare floods last fortnight. 2. 20 people were killed by the floods. 3. UAE has been adopting cloud seeding technology to precipitate rains for decades. 4. Indonesia's imams warn Muslims against interfering with Nature's eco system. 5. Green Islam campaign of Indonesian imams stresses to preserve Nature. ------ Cars are stranded on a flooded in Dubai following heavy rains on April 18, 2024 - Giuseppe CACACE ------ Recently, two different approaches to Nature and their good and bad effects were witnessed in two different Islamic countries. Two weeks ago, the UAE and neighbouring Oman witnessed rare floods that killed 20 people, inundated buildings, malls and airports and disrupted traffic. The desert region that generally has a dry weather with 50 degree Celsius temperature saw 256 mm rain only in 24 hours. The storm first hit Oman on 13 April and then reached UAE on 15 April. Due to the heavy rain, world famous city Dubai was flooded and life in the city came to a standstill. The heavy rains and the subsequent floods started debate on the reasons behind them. One of the reasons for the floods was told to be the process of cloud seeding adopted by the UAE government to precipitate rains. Cloud seeding is a modern technology in which planes fly carrying chemicals and spray it into the clouds to precipitate rains. This brings rains. Dubai is said to be adopting this technology regularly since the 80s. According to media reports, prior to the rains, cloud seeding was done on Sunday and Monday by UAE which caused the rains on Tuesday. However, meteorologists and environmentalists are of the opinion that cloud seeding alone can not be the cause of the floods. Man made climate change and global warming may also have contributed to it. According to reports, the global temperature has risen by 1.5 degree during the last 150 years. Therefore, the temperature of the UAE also has rien by 1.5 Celsius. A warmer atmosphere has more moisture and therefore is more likely to produce rain. It is said that when the cloud seeding was done, it was not really needed as rains were likely to come as a result of a warmer weather but the UAE authorities needlessly adopted cloud seeding that contributed to more rains to already heavy clouds. This speaks of the callousness of the UAE authorities and their total lack of considerations for the laws of nature. Cloud seeding process is a violation of the laws of nature and the UAE authorities ignored the serious consequences of interfering with the laws of nature for their benefits. They have been playing with Nature for decades to make life comfortable for themselves and ignoring the warnings of Nature. Man made climate change has been the cause of natural calamities in different parts of the world. Deforestation, excessive use of fossil fuels and rampant industrialisation have disturbed the eco system. Dubai's floods were also the result of man made climate change. The floods of Dubai were only a warning from Nature to the people so that they restrain themselves from playing with Nature. The wealthy oil rich Arab nations do not care for Nature as they think they can change the climate of their country with the help of money but they ignore the devastating consequences of disturbing the balance of the Nature. They ignore the warning of the Quran: "Corruption has spread on land and seas as a result of what people's hands have done so that Allah may cause them to taste the consequences of some of their deeds and perhaps they might return to the Right Path." (Ar Rum:41) Such floods are a warning to man so that they may return to the simple way of living. On the one hand, the rulers and the ulema of UAE and Arab countries have been ignoring the warning of the Quran and on the other, the ulema of another Islamic country Indonesia have woken up to the need to protect the earth and Nature to avoid doom and natural calamities. (Representative Photo) ----- The initiative was taken by the imam of the main mosque of Jakarta, Isteqlal Mosque, Maulana Nasruddin Umar. He started a campaign called Green Islam from his mosque. He told the Muslims that they should not treat the earth only as an object. They should care for it and work to preserve it by planting more trees and preventing deforestation. He cites hadiths and Quran to bring home the message that Islam teaches Muslims to care for the earth and preserve Nature. Therefore, as the first step towards Green Islam, he advised the Muslims to clean the river that ran by the mosque. Next, he got solar energy panel installed in the mosque to save high electricity bills. He also got water recycling system installed in the mosque. All these steps won the Isteqlal Mosque the Green Building status from the World Bank. Inspired and encouraged by the campaign started by Maulana Nasruddin Umar, other ulema and imams of Indonesia also issued fatwas urging Muslims to join the Green Islam campaign and plant more trees and work to stop deforestation. The central religious organisation of Indonesia, Ulema Council has adopted the campaign. Thus, the ulema of Indonesia have set an example before the ulema of the world. Generally, Muslim clerics do not take environmental issues seriously and regard them out of the purview of Islam. But Nasruddin Umar reminded the Muslims of the world that they can not ignore the environmental issues as they are linked to their survival. Climate change and global warming have affected the lives of the people irrespective of religion and it is the duty of every individual to protect nature. The ulema, therefore, have their duty to create awareness among the Muslims to preserve nature and the earth so that calamities like Dubai floods could be averted. The ulema of the Indian sub- continent should learn a lesson from the ulema of Indonesia and involve themselves in environmental and secular causes like afforestation, cleaning of rivers etc. They should also start campaigns against child trafficking, corruption, drug addiction, food adulteration and other social evils plaguing the Muslim society of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam-environment/dubai-floods-indonesia-green-islam-ulema-indian-sub-continent/d/132230 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Amir Khusro: An Epitome of ‘Divine Union’ (Wisal-e-Ilahi) with the ‘Divine Beloved’ (Mahboob-e-Ilahi)

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam 30 April 2024 As “Urs” Connotes Divine Union Of The Saint With His Most Beloved, Khusro Attained Wisal-E-Ilahi (Union With The Divine) Along With The Divine Beloved (Mahboob-E-Ilahi) Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia RA. Main Points 1. The 720th Urs (death anniversary known as ‘divine wedding’ in Sufism) of Hazrat Amir Khusro was celebrated from 27th to 30th April with great gusto at his shrine in Delhi. 2. Amir Khusro, prominent Indian Muslim mystic, Persian and Hindawi poet and Chishti Sufi saint, was originally named Abul Hasan Ameenuddin Dehlvi and is popularly known today as “Tuti-e-Hind” (India’s parrot), a poet who was a proponent of universal mysticism and higher spiritual consciousness in Chishti-Sufi tradition in India. 3. Initially, Khusro was not all that mystically-inclined in his poetry when he served seven Sultans of the Delhi Sultanate, including Sultan Alauddin Khilji until he met his Sufi master Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. He transformed his inner world which created a tremendous spiritual urge in his heart and poetry. 4. Khusro also strengthened the foundational principles of Chishti Sufi Order such as the two key precepts of “Khidmat-e-Khalq” (service to mankind) and “Sulh-e-Kul” (reconciliation with all)—as taught by his Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia RA and conceived by Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Moinuddin Chishti, the founder of Chishti Order in India. 5. Many of his Hindawi, Persian and Avadhi Kalams (verses) focused on an inclusivist and pluralistic tradition which emanated from the universal essence of Wahdat-ul-Wujud or Unity of the Existence. ----- The 720th Urs Mubarak (death anniversary known as ‘divine wedding’ in Sufism) of Hazrat Amir Khusro (1253-1325) was celebrated from 27th to 30th April with great gusto at his shrine in Delhi's Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. Prominent Indian Muslim mystic, Persian and Hindawi poet and Chishti Sufi saint, Abul Hasan Ameenuddin Dehlvi more popularly known today as “Hazrat Khwaja Amir Khusro” and also eulogized as “India’s parrot” (Tuti-e-Hind) was a proponent of universal mysticism and higher spiritual consciousness in the Chishti Sufi tradition in India. The founder of Ganga-Jamni Hindustani Tehzib—India’s composite culture—as well as the Hindawi language and Hindustani vocal and musical genres including Tabla and Sitar, Khusro epitomised spiritual unity, mystical oneness, religious harmony, socio-cultural cohesion, national and communal integration deeply embedded in his Chishti Sufi lineage. This is showcased for more than seven centuries in the 5-day celebration of his deah anniversary called “Urs-e-Khusrawi” which includes Fatiha, Qul Shareef, Qawwali and Langar distribution at his holy shrine adjacent to the grave of his spiritual master Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya RA. Born in 653, Khusro was not all that mystically-inclined in the beginning of his poetic career at the Shahi Darbars where he served earlier. He served no less than seven Sultans of the Delhi Sultanate, including Sultan Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316). But his inner world was transformed an a tremendous spiritual inclination was created in his poetry only when he came close to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, and later became his dearest disciple. This deeper spiritual relationship between a Murshid (master) and Murid (seeker) birthed a beautiful blend of mystical oneness, spiritual unity and harmony in the Indian Sufi tradition. This can be seen and experienced in many of the Avadhi and Farsi verses of Amir Khusro such as in the following: Khusro Raen Suhaag Ki, Jaagi Pi Ke Sung, Tun Mero Mun Pi-U Ko, Dovu Bhaye Ek Rung. (Khusrau, the bride, spends the eve of her wedding Awake with her beloved, (in such a way that) The body belongs to her, but heart to the beloved, The two become one) This is the celebration of the divine union of Hazrat Amir Khusro which is manifest in his Urs every year so much so that even Pakistan’s Sufi devotees and shrine-visitors try to turn up at the Dargah of this Indian mystic. This year, a group of 70 Pakistani Zaireen (Sufi pilgrims) visited India to participate in his 720th Urs celebrations. A traditional Chadar on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan was laid by the Charge d’ Affaires of Pakistan to India. This shows the strength and significance of Hazrat Amir Khusro’s legacy and his tolerant tradition in complete harmony with the composite culture of the country. In fact, Amir Khusro strengthened the solid bedrock of harmonious humane values ingrained in the ancient Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. It was reinterpreted and clearly reflected in the nuanced Chishti conception of “Khidmat-e-Khalq” (service to mankind) and “Sulh-e-Kul” (reconciliation with all)—the two integral parts of the Chishti Sufi tradition taught by Khusro’s Murshid or Master Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia RA and conceived by Hazrat Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Moinuddin Chishti, the founder of Chishti Order in India. He said: “If you truly want to love and worship the Creator, care for all His creations”. This was promulgated as the basic premise of Amir Khusro’s poetry and philosophy. He says in one his Persian couplets: “Almighty holds dear those who love Him for the sake of human beings, and those who love human beings for the sake of Almighty.” He also articulated the broader Chishti notion of Sulh-e-Kul in one of his Persian couplets as follows: Kafir-E-Ishqam Musalmani Mura Darkaar Neest; Har Rag-E-Man Taar Gashta Hajat-E-Zunnaar Neest. (I’m a pagan in my worship of love; I do not need the creed of Muslims). Every vein of mine has become taunt like a wire, I do not need the Hindu girdle) If we delve deeper into the meanings of his Persian poetry including Masnawis and Hindawi Dohas, he actually popularised the beautiful Sufi notion of Wahdatul Wajud—Unity of the Being—which has close resemblance to the Vedantic concept of Advaita (non-dualism). Many of Khusro’s Hindawi, Persian and Avadhi Kalams (verses) lay greater emphasis on an inclusivist and pluralistic tradition which emanated from the universal essence of Wahdat-ul-Wujud—Unity of the Being or Existence. Notably, Khusro was well versed in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Sanskrit and several other languages. But he chose to express his experience of the spiritual unity in an indigenous poetic style using Hindawi Kalaam, Avadhi, Khari Boli and Brij Bhasha in which he composed Dohas extensively, besides the different forms of Persian poetry like Rubai and Masnavi (rhymed pairs). Much like Jalaluddin Rumi’s world-famed Persian collection Masnavi-i-Ma’anawi which is considered the second Qur’an in Sufism, Khusro’s Kalam (verses) are replete with anecdotes and stories derived from the Qur’anic wisdom, prophetic traditions, and the tales of early Sufi sages. Significantly, he composed a large part of his work to illustrate a crucial point; India’s sanctity in Islamic tradition and its centrality in universal spirituality, and each aspect of it is explained in detail in his Dohas. It is a common knowledge that the saddest part of Khusro’s life came after the demise of his Murshid Hazrat Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia RA. Even his own death was nothing as compared to his Murshid’s. Bereaved Khusro, in an extreme pain of separation from his most beloved, painted his pain in a lyrical miniature: Gori Sove Sej Par, Mukh Par Daley Kes; Chal Khusrau Ghar Aapnay, Saanjh Bhaee Chahu Desh. (The fair maiden rests on a bed of roses, Her face covered with a lock of hair; Come Khusrau let’s go home now, darkness settles on the world now) As per the will of his Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, Khusro was never allowed to come close to his grave, as he feared that his body would forget the laws of the mortal world and break open the grave to embrace his closest disciple. But then after his death, Khusro was buried just next to Hazrat Nizamuddin. Today, every visitor to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia’s shrine has to first pay obeisance to the grave of Hazrat Amir Khusro in order to complete his or her Zeyarat. His death anniversary which is known as Urs-e-Khusrawi or the “Divine Wedding of Amir Khusro” begins from the 16th Shawwal six months after Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Urs. As “Urs” in Sufism connotes the divine union of the saint with his most beloved, Khusro attained Wisal-e-ilahi (union with the Divine) with the Divine Beloved (Mahboob-e-Ilahi) Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia RA in a divine play of love, as he beautifully sang before his death: Khusro Baazi Prem Ki, Main Kheli Pi Ke Sang, Jeet Gayi To Piya Mere, Haari To Pi Ke Sang I play the game of love with my beloved. If I win he is mine. And even if I lose, I’m his) ---- A Regular Columnist with Newageislam.com, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an Indo-Islamic scholar, Sufi poet and English-Arabic-Urdu-Hindi writer with a background in a leading Sufi Islamic seminary in India. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-personalities/amir-khusro-wisal-ilahi-divine-beloved-mahboob/d/132232 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

The Leitmotif Of The Ongoing General Elections Seems To Be Islam And Muslims

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 30 April 2024 The drift or leitmotif of the ongoing General Elections seems to be Islam and Muslims. Examples are for you to see: Chief minister of UP Adityanath alleged on Thursday that the Congress’ attempt to give reservations to Muslims from the OBC quota in Karnataka was part of its agenda to push the country towards “Islamisation and division.” Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday sparked a row after he alleged that the Congress wants to “give your children's property to Muslims.” The PM said a few days ago that Muslims were infiltrators who churned out children. It's now free for all. Long ago, K R Narayanan, the former President of India who studied Political Science in England under Professor Harold Laski, wrote that Professor Laski predicted that the future politics of India would be based on the flagellation of Muslims! When Laski opined this, India was under Congress rule and Muslims were relatively better. But hats off to the great man who could foresee! Exactly the same is happening at the moment when Muslims are at the receiving end, thanks to the discriminatory politics of BJP. Astute political analysts are of the view that in a democracy, a leading political party often picks up a specific group of people for target practice. It invariably happens when the leading party is unsure of its overall performance at the hustings. The current political dispensation is not sure whether it'll be re-elected. But it's certain that polarisation will help in such iffy situations. India is already polarised on religious lines. Hindus and Muslims are now clearly divided. BJP is trying to widen this gulf and repeating its narrative of Muslim-bashing. Otherwise also, Muslims have always been used as pawns on the political chessboard. Congress may have been sympathetic towards Muslims, it also used them as a vote-bank. Way back in 1972, Amitabh Bachchan acted in an immensely forgettable and super-flop film, 'Raste ka Patthar.' But the film had a meaningful and relevant title-song penned by Anand Bakshi, "Raste Ka Patthar Qismat Ne Mujhe Bana Diya, Jo Raaste Se Guzra Ik Thokar Laga Gaya." Let me paraphrase the song in today's context, "Raste Ka Patthar Qismat Ne Musalmanon Ko Bana Diya/ Chahe Jis Ki Sarkar Bani, Musalmanon Ko Kya Mila?" (Fate has relegated Muslims to the stones on the street/ Regardless of any political party at the helm, what have they got?). Rabid Hindus like Mr Anburaj will bay for my blood, but no one can deny the fact. Mind you, I ain't a supporter of Muslims or Islam. I just call a spade a spade, nay a shovel. I praise when it's required and condemn when it's needed, regardless of any affiliation or allegiance. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam-politics/leitmotif-general-elections-muslims/d/132229 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

US-China: Is The Ice Thawing?

By Asad Mirza, New Age Islam 30 April 2024 Last week the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken was in China, ostensibly to diffuse the tension build-up between the two super powers. However, in this latest bilateral exchange, China appears to have taken an upper hand over the US. ------ The top American and Chinese diplomats held tough talks in Beijing last week, as the sparring superpowers sought to clarify their growing differences on an array of bilateral and global issues that could further strain the already tense relationship. While US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed that ties are “beginning to stabilise,” his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, did not mince words when addressing a number of contentious topics, including Ukraine, Taiwan and trade issues. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ----- At the Beijing meeting, Wang warned Washington not to cross China's red lines on sovereignty, security and development, adding that “negative factors” have been mounting between the world’s two largest economies as the relationship “faces all kinds of disruptions”. Meaning, it told the US to keep its hands off the Chinese adventurism in the South China Sea. “China's legitimate development rights have been unreasonably suppressed and our core interests are facing challenges," Wang told Blinken, asking whether the two countries should keep moving forward or “return to a downward spiral”. For his part, Blinken, who also visited Shanghai and met President Xi Jinping during his latest three-day China trip, said he warned Beijing directly about its assertive moves around the Philippines and vowed to defend the ally. Blinken said he raised Beijing's "dangerous actions in the South China Sea" during meetings with top leaders. Earlier, Blinken had promised to be “very clear, very direct” in the talks about “the areas where we have differences and where the United States stands”. Blinken was hoping to build upon the progress made in recent months on resuming counter-narcotics cooperation, military-to-military communications, artificial intelligence and strengthening people-to-people ties. Both Wang and Biden also referred to the heightened trade tensions between the two sides amid consistent complaints that Chinese overcapacity is flooding the US market and undercutting American firms. Though for this the US and the wider West itself is to be blamed Antony Blinken also met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. During the meeting Xi told Blinken that the world’s two biggest economies should “be partners, not rivals.” according to state broadcaster CCTV. During their meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Xi proposed three major principles: mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation for improving ties with the US. Chinese President Xi Jinping ----- Apparently, Xi was reported as saying that the earth is big enough to hold the common development and… prosperity of China and the United States and China would be pleased to see a confident and open, prosperous and developing US, adding that he hopes the US can also take a “positive view of China’s development. When this fundamental problem is solved… relations can truly stabilise, get better, and move forward. However, China’s increasing closeness to Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine has heightened US distrust. Blinken told reporters that during his discussions, he reiterated serious American concern about the People’s Republic of China providing components that are powering Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. The Wall Street Journal reported ahead of Blinken’s trip that the US might threaten to remove some Chinese banks from the global financial system if China does not curtail outflow of dual-use components to Russia. Officials of both countries said they had made progress on a few smaller, pragmatic fronts, including setting up the first U.S.-China talks on artificial intelligence in the coming weeks. They also said they would continue improving communications between their militaries and increase cultural exchanges. But on fundamental strategic issues, each side held little hope of moving the other, and they appeared wary of the possibility of sliding into further conflict. Meanwhile, In an interview with CNN at the tail end of his China trip, Mr Blinken said he’d reiterated a warning President Joe Biden had delivered to Chinese leader Xi Jinping during their November 2023 summit, in which Mr Biden told Mr Xi not to get involved in the 2024 election. He said recently the United States has learned of Chinese efforts to “influence and arguably interfere” with this year’s upcoming general election and is working to stop them. China professes that it does not get involved in other nations’ internal affairs, but over the years Beijing and its allies and affiliates have been the subject of election-meddling accusations from multiple countries. Earlier this month, Microsoft warned that China might use AI to disrupt elections in the United States, India, and South Korea in 2024. The report said that “China tacitly approved efforts to try to influence a handful of midterm races involving members of both US political parties” with the idea to try to prevent certain candidates perceived as anti-China from winning and support certain candidates perceived to be pro-China. All in all, the visit seemed to be full of rhetoric, and seemed to have gained nothing much for the United States but it gave an upper hand to China over the US on reiterating its position on many contentious issues. In the meanwhile, China continues to support Russia over Ukraine, and be a continuous headache for its neighbours in the South China Sea besides asserting its right over Taiwan, and being an international disruptor on major trade and technological issues while building-up its military power. Moreover, the visit came at a time when the risk of confrontation between the two is growing, and areas where two could work together seem to be shrinking fast. But the message conveyed was that both countries are trying to salvage what they could. ----- Asad Mirza is a Delhi-based senior political and international affairs commentator. URL: https://www.newageislam.com/current-affairs/us-china-ice-thawing-blinken-jinping/d/132231 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Monday, April 29, 2024

Muslim World's Famous Women Reformers – Part 1

By Grace Mubashir, New Age Islam 29 April 2024 We Know The Brilliant Women In Modern Islamic History Who Have Re-Read The Dangerous Depths Of This Systematic Misogynist Construct. These Women Are Role Models For The South Asian Community To Initiate Much Delayed Feminist Reading Of Islam. Main Points 1. In the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Muslim women opened the front of struggle in different countries 2. Had they been able to continue to develop the way of their investigations and struggles, it would have been possible to transform and introduce Islam to the level of the liberating vision of modern societies instead of being labelled as a '6th-century tribal religion'! 3. At various points in modern Islamic history, there have been brilliant women who have recognized the dangerous depth of this systematic anti-feminist construction and re-read it. The first wave of it was the Egyptian women's rights struggles of the last century 4. Indian Muslim women can learn from these reformers the importance of resilience, solidarity, and active engagement in efforts to promote gender equality and social justice. They can draw strength from their legacy and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for themselves and future generations. ------ Attitudes towards women within the Muslim world have become the greatest example of the grave degradation that has taken place in the Muslim community. The Muslim woman and her headscarf are being discussed again in the world through the women of Iran. Its ripples are rising in India too. It has been a long time since the conservative clergy and their minions started throwing 'fatwa baits' at her, but now that the girls have gained the insight to recognize such baits, the religious authorities who claim to have the right to subvert the Muslims are in a state of complete disarray. There is no point in blaspheming against these people who do not turn their attention to the words they utter, even if they reach the result of lying down and spitting. However, the bright chapters of the past need to be placed against the background of the current female awakenings in the Muslim world. It would be an injustice to those individuals and to history not to dwell on some of those struggles that are not so far behind. In the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Muslim women opened the front of struggle in different countries. Religious leaders and political power centres joined hands to liberate the victimized women and girls from the society of that time. Some women fought along the lines of women's liberation in the West, while others saw liberation from within their own existence. Accordingly, they forcefully and persistently questioned the male narratives of Islamic precepts through historical re-reading and logic. They found gender equality, equality and justice, which they interpret as modern values, from these same creeds. At the same time, 'Islam', which deviated from these same values, was constantly ridiculed and scorned by the world. Peace was alien to these fighters in the ways of justice and rights that Islam had opened before them. Because of the internal and external agitations, rejections, jails and beatings were sought. But the reality is that the governments of many countries had to kneel before them in the last century. Laws were rewritten to accommodate women in education, suffrage, family and social positions. They have made unprecedented progress in many areas. All of them were qualified and capable enough to compete with or stand ahead of the male world of that time in terms of spiritual and material education. Had they been able to continue to develop the way of their investigations and struggles, it would have been possible to transform and introduce Islam to the level of the liberating vision of modern societies instead of being labeled as a '6th century tribal religion'! However, later, attempts were made to make these women's struggles invisible in the dustbin of history by the authoritarian rule in Muslim countries. In the second half of the 20th century, there was another reason for the decline of those advances. One of them is the West's 'war on terror'. When the neo-colonial invasions that started from Iraq and spread all over the West Asia destroyed the Muslim countries, the women's lives in those countries were also fragmented. The combination of war and flight made it hellish. On one side, the black hands of the priesthood, on the other, the imperialist foreigners who pretended to be the saviors of Muslim countries. Between the devil and the sea, the female awakenings that had occurred earlier in the Muslim world had weakened roots. Islam has been relegated to the past by those who have no capacity to guide the Muslims of the modern age, either spiritually or intellectually. Theirs was an approach and intervention that poured oil into the post-September 11 state of affairs in the Muslim world. The attempt was to defend all external attacks on it as a religious community by cloaking it in strict orthodoxy. The body of a Muslim woman was a rusted sheet of it. They have convinced the world within their sphere of influence that its internal and external challenges can only be covered up. Male and female slaves were created accordingly. Arab nationalism was co-opted to label neo-conservatism as Islam. Modern technology has also been used to spread misinterpreted creeds around the world. The result was that misogyny, a vestige of pre-Islamic Arabian tribal life, was exported to various parts in the name of Islam. Its apparent spread was through the black long dress. The propagandists of neo-liberalism along with the Muslim man come in as the real beneficiaries of the obfuscation of this past in the new circumstances where all democratic interventions towards the problems of the Muslim woman are overturned and hidden on a piece of cloth. Muslim women have begun to rise up in many countries with the support of the new social media while this invasion is intensifying by suppressing the local diversity and rights struggles of Islam. It was a succession of early and later interrupted awakenings. That is what is unfolding in Iran now. Its waves spread to many lands. While the Muslim community around the world is going through turbulent times under the sharp claws of imperialism and fascism, the power priesthood is busy blocking the outside light and wind with the easily acceptable shield of 'Islamic doctrine', attacking the faith and confidence of women. Unfortunately, in Kerala, which boasts of being a very fertile ground for Muslim 'renaissance', such reform efforts can be seen being trampled with utter disdain. Its stench is emitted by the words of the Maulavis. At various points in modern Islamic history there have been brilliant women who have recognized the dangerous depth of this systematic anti-feminist construction and re-read it. The first wave of it was the Egyptian women's rights struggles of the last century. Through this, famous fighters who were not brought close to reading areas, including those of India, are being introduced. In the language of the mullahs here, the 'libertines' who challenged the religion. Huda Sharavi: The Woman Who Pulled Off Her Headscarf In The Face Of The Priesthood Huda Shaarawi was born in 1879 to Egypt's extreme orthodoxy. Huda Sharawi is the first name on the list of women who changed Egypt. She is also considered to be the pioneer of the women's movement in that country. She was born into the 'harem' system where men and women were separated. Her father was Muhammad Sultan Pasha, who was active in Egyptian national politics. Huda Sha'arawi - Wikipedia ------ Despite being born into an elite family, they too were destined to grow up in oblivion. In those days girls were denied schooling. Women huddled indoors in secluded rooms and wore face veils when going out. Huda Sharawi's situation was no different. She was deeply disappointed that she was denied the same schooling as her brother. She was deeply saddened by the family's neglect of her studies and their secondary attitude towards her as a girl. Huda realized that being a woman stood between her and her freedom. The Egyptian Feminist Union was founded in 1923 by Huda Shaarawi, president of the Women's Central Committee of the national political party 'Wafd' in 1920. In March of the same year, she removed her headscarf and face covering from a train at the Cairo railway station. He jumped out of the train with his head open. Other women were invited to join this movement At the age of 13, she was forced to marry her cousin, Ali Shaarawi, who was 40 years older than her. She had no choice but to give in to save her family's honor. But Huda decided to speak out about his pain and start the revolution himself. So as a child she started speaking to people against this injustice. As a result, many women came out of hiding for the first time in their lives. In 1908, under the leadership of Huda, the first secular charity organization run by Egyptian women was formed. It was for service activities for underprivileged women and children. Huda and her husband Ali were strong supporters of Egyptian independence from Great Britain. In 1920, Huda became the president of the Women's Central Committee of a national political party called 'WAFD'. The open participation of women in the national movement marked a turning point in Egyptian society. Never before had so many women been openly involved in political activities. After her husband's death, Huda Sherawi shifted her focus from the nationalist movement to efforts towards women's equality. In 1923, she founded the Egyptian Feminist Union. It spurred women's suffrage, personal law reforms, and educational opportunities for girls and women. In March of the same year, an incident that shook the country took place. It was when Huda Shaarawi was returning home after attending the International Women's Conference in Rome. She removed her headscarf with face covering from the train at the Cairo railway station. He jumped out of the train with his head open. Other women were invited to join this movement. This was the first anti-headscarf protest in Egypt. It became a strong blow on the face of the religious priesthood. Many women came out from inside as part of the protest. Huda then ventured into the practical ways of women's education. Schools were started for girls. An organization called the Egyptian Feminist Union was also formed. Their fight to raise the marriageable age of girls to 16 was successful. Huda Shaarawi remained president of the Egyptian Feminist Union for the rest of her life and became the founding president of the Arab Feminist Union in 1945. She left this world in 1947 after constant struggle for the liberation and rights of women and children. Doria Shafiq: The Daughter Of The Storm-Turned-Nile Doria Shefiq, a poet and editor, was one of the prominent leaders of the women's liberation movement in Egypt in the mid-1940s. As a result of their struggle, Egyptian women won the right to vote. Doria Shefiq, a poet and editor ------ Doria was one of the first Egyptian girls to graduate from secondary school with a baccalaureate degree at the age of 18. The Egyptian Ministry of Education awarded her a scholarship to study at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He received his PhD in Philosophy. She wrote a thesis on equal rights for women. When she returned to Egypt from France in 1940 after her studies, she wanted to contribute to the education of her country's youth through teaching, but was denied a teaching position by the Dean of the Faculty of Literature at Cairo University on the grounds of being 'liberal'. The event that caused a storm in the Egyptian Parliament took place in February 1951. Doria Shefiq secretly brought 1500 women to the parliament through Bint Al Nil and the Egyptian Feminist Union. She stalled Parliament for hours with several demands related to women's socio-economic rights. This created a huge uproar in the country He then became the editor-in-chief of La Femme Nouvelle, a French cultural and literary magazine. It was decided to publish an Arabic magazine called Bint Al Nil (Daughter of the Nile) aimed at educating Egyptian women and helping them play the most effective role in the family and society. The first edition sold out immediately after its release in November 1945. Two years later Doria formed the 'Bint Al Nil' Union to address the primary social issues of women and ensure their inclusion in the country's policies. Efforts were made to eradicate illiteracy by setting up centres for the purpose across the country and setting up employment offices and cafeterias for employed women. The event that caused a storm in the Egyptian Parliament took place in February 1951. Through Bint Al Nil and the Egyptian Feminist Union, Doria secretly brought 1500 women to the parliament. She stalled Parliament for hours with several demands related to women's socio-economic rights. This created a huge uproar in the country. In the same year, Doria formed a uniformed paramilitary unit. She led a senior brigade to surround and shut down a bank in the country. Police arrested them during the demonstration. After the Egyptian revolution of 1952, the government invited Bint al-Nil to recognize it as a political party. Doria Shafiq herself became its president. In March 1954, she went on an eight-day hunger strike in protest against the formation of the Constitution Committee without women. They ended their strike after receiving written assurances from President Najib that he would commit to a constitution that respects women's rights. As a result of the interest sparked by the hunger strike, Doria was invited to lecture on Egyptian women in Asia, Europe and America. She travelled to Italy, England, France, the United States, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. As a result of Doria's tireless efforts, women got the right to vote under the 1956 Constitution. Doria went on a second hunger strike at the Indian Embassy to protest the dictatorial rule of President Jamal Abdul Nasser. Nasser put them under house arrest. Their names were banned from the newspapers and their magazines from circulation. They waged an unrelenting and continuous struggle against the priesthood and the state. In addition to print media, she has written a novel, 'El Eslave de Sultan' (The King's Slave) and several poems about the slavery of women to men. Nawal El Saadawi: Owner of Bright Liberation Politics It seems that there is no other women's liberator in the world who has fought and struggled with the authoritarian system within religion and within capitalism like Nawal El Saadawi. Nawal Saadawi is the second wave in the fight for women's rights in Egypt. That life was a vast sea of experiences that at once baffled and thrilled those who sought to know them. A brilliant personality who shined in diverse fields like writer, activist, physician, mental health expert, teacher and organizer. Nawal El Saadawi: Egyptian author and activist ----- Till she left this world on March 21, 2021 at the age of 89, she continued to radiate the fresh energy of unique thought and bravery. For decades, she has shared her story and perspectives with the world through novels, essays, autobiographies, and lively conversations. Their brutal honesty and unwavering dedication to advancing women's political and sexual rights struck a chord enough to inspire generations. Nawal El Saadawi made the most accurate political observation that 'oppression of women has its roots in the global capitalist system, supported by religious fundamentalism'. Sadavi's works have been translated from Arabic into more than thirty languages. She was a strong critic of capitalism as well as religions. She made the most accurate political observation that 'the oppression of women is rooted in the global capitalist system, supported by religious fundamentalism'. Born the second of nine children in a village on the outskirts of Cairo in 1931, Saadawi’s life was surprisingly eventful. Saadawi’s father was an official in the Egyptian Ministry of Education. During the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, he was exiled to a small town on the banks of the Nile as a result of campaigning against British occupation. Being relatively progressive, he taught his daughter to grow up with self-respect. Those parents encouraged their children's education. Even so, Saadawi was subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) at the age of six according to the local custom. In her book 'The Hidden Face of Eve', she describes the painful brutality on the bathroom floor. She campaigned against this practice throughout her life. It was argued that it was meant to oppress women. Egypt banned FGM in 2008. Yet Saadawi continued to fight against it. There was an attempt to get her married at the age of 10, but her mother objected. Saadawi learned at an early age that daughters are valued less than sons in that society. When her grandmother once said, 'A boy is worth at least 15 girls,' she cried out against it. Saadawi wrote his first novel at the age of 13! The early demise of her parents put the burden of taking care of the large family on her shoulders, but she did not get discouraged. He graduated in medicine from Cairo University in 1955, worked as a doctor, including in villages, and eventually specialized in psychiatry. He joined the Egyptian government as director of public health. Ever since she dared to speak out dangerously, Sadavi has faced death threats and imprisonment. They never retreated in fear. 'I am telling the truth. "Truth is cruel and dangerous," they once said. A friend called her 'born with a fighting spirit'. About Omnia Amin Saadawi. She got a fighting spirit and self-esteem from her father. She proudly described herself as a dark-skinned Egyptian woman from a young age. Fearlessly looking the priesthood and its political forms in the face, they exposed the truth. At one point, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat put them behind bars. In 1972, while director of public health, she was fired after publishing a non-fiction book, Women and Sex, which criticized FGM and the sexual harassment of women. The magazine 'Health' founded by Saadawi was closed down. Yet speaking and writing did not stop. In 1975, the novel 'Woman at Point Zero' was published. The novel was based on the real-life account of a woman on death row. In 1977, she wrote 'Hidden Face of Eve', which chronicled her experiences as a village doctor witnessing sexual harassment, murders and prostitution. This created a great stir. Critics have accused it of subverting the role models of Arab women. In September 1981, under the regime of President Anwar Sadat, Saadawi was arrested and imprisoned for several months. She scribbled notes on dirty toilet paper using an eyebrow pencil from her sex worker in prison. After Anwar Sadat's assassination, Saadawi was released from prison. But their work was censored and their books banned. In the years that followed, death threats came from fundamentalists. The courts went up. Eventually he became an expatriate in the US. She has accepted offers to teach in the Department of Asian and African Languages at Duke University in North Carolina and at the University of Washington. From there the attacks on religion, colonialism and Western hypocrisy continued. He later held positions at several prestigious colleges and universities, including Cairo University, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Sorbonne, Georgetown, Florida State University, University of California, and Berkeley. She received honorary degrees from three continents. But their only dream or hope was recognition from Egypt. She said that she has received honours all over the world but none from her own country. Saadawi returned to his beloved Egypt in 1996. In the 2004 election, he tried to run for the presidency. In 2011, he was in Cairo's Tahrir Square to protest against President Hosni Mubarak. He spent his last years in Cairo with his son and daughter. ----- A regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com, Mubashir V.P is a PhD scholar in Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia and freelance journalist. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-women-feminism/muslim-world-women-reformers-part-1/d/132225 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Write 'Jai Shri Ram' To Pass An Exam!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 29 April 2024 Four DPharma (Diploma in Pharmacy) students of UP’s state-run Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal (VBSP) University in Jaunpur who wrote nothing but “Jai Shri Ram” and the names of some star cricketers in a recent exam were awarded 50% marks. The bizarre disclosure through RTI prompted a probe and re-examination that led to the four getting zero marks. The probe panel has recommended that two teachers who gave the 50% marks be sacked. However unprincipled BJP's agenda may be, it seems to resonate with people's wishes. By Ghulam Mohiyuddin 27/04/2024 23:57:15 Read the shameful news item and then read Mr Ghulam Muhyiddin’s comment. Agreed, the current political dispensation is outright unscrupulous, but for the survival of such an unethical political outfit, extremely religious, moronic, grovelling and fanatic masses are also required. The students who wrote 'Jai Shri Ram' in their answer scripts and the teachers who passed them, constitute the people (read Hindus) of India. Because of such prostrating (Hindu) zealots, a PM of the country can openly call Muslims 'Infiltrators' with 'more children.' Reporting from Delhi, Mujib Mashal of The NY Times writes, "Why did Modi call India's Muslims 'Infiltrators'? Because he could." Yes, you can, when you've hordes of genuflecting people who call you the 'saviour' of Indian democracy and a 'crusader' of Hindutva. When there are 'educated' people who shamelessly declare on TV that India got true freedom when Modi became the PM in 2014, you can jolly well understand why the stupid (Hindu) masses don't react or protest when such incendiary statements openly vilify a large section of people. People get the government they deserve. Hindus support this government because it gave them Ram Mandir and humiliated Muslims. I had better start reading Ramayana and chanting Jai Sri Ram in public to survive in a soon-to-become Hindu Rashtra! By the way, I've a copy of Ramayana (Baab-e-Ramayana; a chapter from Ramayana) written in Urdu by Brij Narayan 'Chakbast' (1882-1926). I first read Ramayana in Urdu and after that, I got hold of a copy of Valmiki's Ramayana in Sanskrit. Are today's Sanatanis aware of Pandit Brij Narayan Chakbast's Ramayana? He was a Kashmiri Pandit hailing from Lucknow. But who cares? I also read Abdul Qadir Bada'uni's Persian Ramayana. He translated Ramayana into Persian in accordance with the wishes of Akbar. Jai Shri Ram. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/jai-shri-ram-exam/d/132224 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Education Without Moral Training And Our Social Decline

By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam 29 April 2024 We Have Shown In This Article How Poor Our Education System Is And How, Despite The Existence Of Some Educational Institutions, They Are Morally Deficient. A Nation Needs Moral Instruction In Addition To Education For Its Development. ----- Moral training is more effective than education. If moral training teaches the constructive use of consciousness, then education creates consciousness in individuals. If education fosters introspection, the ability to discern right from wrong, and the ability to ask questions, then moral education fosters the ability to respond with civility and manners. Put simply, if people with education constitute a society, then people with training form an organised, civilised society. It is a historical fact that Muslims have lagged behind other nations in many areas of education, despite historical records attesting to their significant contribution to the advancement of science and knowledge. In terms of educational institutions, Muslim scholars built madrasas but ignored schools and colleges; those who achieved success after attending school had a duty to contribute to the establishment of a quality school. However, it appears that they are not particularly interested in humanitarian endeavours; instead, after attaining success in their own right, they are preoccupied with leading affluent private lives and give little attention to improving the state of education for the citizens of their nation. This explains why our education graph is so low, and why the moral training graph appears to be declining in areas with educational institutions. These days, I wonder why some Muslims hold Ulama responsible for all of their misfortunes. With the possible exception of a few noteworthy institutions like Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, let us assume that their primary concentration was on the construction of madrasas rather than schools, colleges, or universities for modern studies. However, given that the majority of Muslims are graduates of modern sciences, why did they not take up the task of founding modern studies schools and colleges? The second tragedy is that, while we are beginning to pay attention to raising the literacy rate, we are utterly ignoring the components of moral education. Girls' education was not given much priority in our society until a few years ago. We attended to their education when circumstances required it, but moral education is still lacking in this instance. Home is seen as the primary educational setting, followed by school and finally higher education, where Muslims have a far lower literacy rate than adherents of other religions. Parents who possess the valuable tools of education and training can educate and train their children on their own. Even now, children in households where some degree of training is being done will exhibit better morals and manners. But all in all, the training centre has been dismantled as an institution. A primary cause of this is insufficient education and training. The acquisition of education and moral training go hand in hand, according to the Qur'an and Hadith. The Holy Quran makes numerous references to the need to contemplate the cosmos and learn about its sciences. The first revelation of the Qur'an commands us to acquire knowledge and moral instruction. As a result, it's critical to emphasise the value and use of education while also concentrating on the moral education of children today. There can be no success without education and no education without moral instruction. When we look at the educational shortcomings of Muslim society, we find that our children are extremely lacking in both religious and modern education. For this reason, parents and guardians must put more effort into education than nutrition. Education is useless without moral guidance. The renowned work "Muqadama Ibn Khaldun" by Allama Ibn Khaldun, the renowned Islamic philosopher and historian, states that "a nation with bad morals declines whereas the people who reach the heights of development in the world always possess good morals." The historical narratives provide witness to the devastation and ruin experienced by the nations subjected to moral degeneration. Despite reading these tales, people do not take anything away from them. Although our people are trained to learn words, they do not learn how to respect them. Their interest in raising their consciousness is non-existent. Because of this, people nowadays appear to be in a state of disconnection from social morality and respect. There are camps of egotism, agitation, negligence, and poor manners everywhere. Social norms are being disregarded, and self-interest has become so ingrained that it has made it so that people dislike one another. The same is true of institutions that operate behind religious guises and promote a culture of discord everywhere. Anger among Muslims has increased, backbiting is rampant, and all of the energy is being expended on meaningless arguments. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) defined a Muslim as "one from whose tongue and hand other Muslims are safe." The beauty of any civilization undoubtedly lies in its capacity to uphold decency, justice, patience, and moderation. In the absence of them, extremism, irresponsibility, fear, intolerance, and lawlessness flourish, and this is the environment we currently observe. We have forgotten that we belong to the Ummah of the greatest Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who lived a morally upright life, upheld justice and equity, dedicated his time to teaching humanity as a whole, and raised his hands in prayer for his enemies even after he had been brutally attacked in Taif. It's a space to reflect on why we behave in such an uncivilised manner. What are the contributing causes weakening the foundation of our society? The reason is obvious: intolerance naturally develops when there is a lack of knowledge and training. Putting equal emphasis on moral training and education is the only way to reverse the current social degradation. ------- Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/education-moral-social-decline/d/132223 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Religion And Morality: Islam Revived Moral Values That Are Now Part Of Global Ethics

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam 29 April 2024 Divine Religious Scriptures Deal Largely With Morality Main Points: 1. Morality and ethics have their root in religion. 2. Religion laid the foundation of morality 3. Prophets taught man morality. ------ To many, religion and morality are two different entities. They argue that morality does not have its origin in religion. Even agnostics or atheists believe in moral values. But when we study the history of man, we find that it is religion that taught morality to man and guided them whenever they strayed or became wayward satiating their physical desires at the cost of the freedom of other human beings. Cane killed Abel under intense jealousy. Such killing was denounced by God and the killing of an innocent person was declared immoral and a great sin for all the time to come. If Abel's killing had not been declared immoral or a sin, no man on earth would be safe as it would have been a normal act to kill anybody for any reason. It was told in the Quran and in earlier religious scriptures that killing an innocent person was akin to killing the entire humanity and saving an innocent person akin to saving the entire humanity. Corruption, sexual perversion, oppression, exploitation and other violations of social order were declared immoral and unethical by religions and prophets. Honesty, good treatment to others and justice to all were exhorted by prophets. The people of Sodom and Gommorah indulged in sexual perversion. Prophet Lot a.h. told them that the practice was immoral though his community did not consider sexual perversion immoral or unethical. If Prophet Lot a.h. had not declared unnatural sexual act unethical or immoral, the human society would not consider it immoral today. Therefore, it was religion that told man that sexual perversion was immoral. Similarly, dishonesty in business transaction was the accepted norm in the community of Madian. When Prophet Shoaib a.s. objected to this practice they turned hostile to him because they did not consider it immoral. Religion told them that dishonesty was immoral. The practice of earning riba or interest on loans was also a financial practice that originated in the middle ages by some business communities and was considered morally right on the basis of various arguments. But Islam declared it immoral because it precipitated financial slavery and even physical slavery of the borrower. Even if interest is considered acceptable in modern society, in principle, it is not considered morally permissible. The practices of female foeticide and slavery were not questioned in the society, not even by intellectuals of the western and oriental society before the advent of Islam. Female foeticide and infanticide was rampant in all parts of the world from Africa to China and from America to Arab. In Arab, girl children were buried alive without any hesitation. To the people of Arab, it was a normal practice to bury the girl child alive. In China too, girl children were killed by various means. It was only Islam that declared killing of the female foetus or an infant immoral. One can argue that today even non-Muslims and atheists consider female foeticide and infanticide immoral. It is true but the initiative was first taken by religion and later the idea was adopted by the global community as a universal moral value. Slavery was also one of the practices that was an accepted norm during the period before the advent of Islam. Keeping slaves was a sign of status for the rich and the powerful and the sale and purchase of slaves was a lucrative business in those ages. The slave trade was rampant in every region of the world from the east to the west, including India where maid slaves were considered property that was inherited by the son after the father's death. Islam was the first to initiate social rehabilitation of slaves and maid slaves by declaring slavery immoral and against human values. In fact, religion was not only concerned with man's obedience to God but also it was concerned with man's over all safety and welfare in the society. Therefore, religion outlined moral values and code of ethics apart from teaching man the ways of worship and conducting religious rituals. Ways of worship and code of ethics were therefore formulated to ensure man's freedom and safety in the society. The code of ethics or moral values were formulated to prevent one man from infringing upon the freedom and safety of others. A man's freedom was restricted to safeguard his own freedom in the society. If one is given unbridled and unrestricted freedom, others will also have the same measure of freedom and this unbridled freedom will get in the,way of every body's safety and security. Therefore, religion rejected the culture of power that gave the powerful section of society the right to do whatever they wanted to fulfil their personal interests and desires. This culture of power gave birth to the saying, 'The king can do no wrong'. Religion, or more particularly, Islam does not approve of this ideal and gives equal rights to all in the society and hold every one accountable for his deeds. That the atheists or agnostics have their own morality is not correct. The atheists also believe that slavery or female foeticide because they have inherited these ideals from religion. Atheists or agnostics are only the citizens of the modern world. The primitive man was not atheist or agnostic. He believed in one or the other or in many seen or unseen gods. His god may have been a tree, a snake, the wind or even the sun and the moon. Morality or code of ethics were established in the human society long before the modern society was evolved. The moral values that the modern universal community comprising both religious and non-religious sections have inherited have been itched in the subconscious mind of the man thanks to centuries of religious teachings by prophets and religious scriptures and later by religious reformers. Even if a section of the modern human society argues in favour of some practices that have been declared immoral by religion, the universal human society still considers them immoral because they infringe upon the social and economic freedom of the people and cause a breach in the established social order. In fact, their campaign in favour of immoral practices is an act of turning back to the immoral practices of the primitive human society unaware of moral or human values before the advent of religion. There are some modern immoral practices like bribery etc which have gained acceptance in the modern society but Islam has not approved of it and runs a campaigns against it. There are other immoral practices that Islam strongly protests against. In fact, Islam continuously speaks for moral values because moral values are the core of religion. ----- S. Arshad is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-spiritualism/religion-morality-moral-values-global-ethics/d/132222 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Shompen Tribe: No National Development Project Can Justify A Genocide

By Nava Thakuria, New Age Islam 29 April 2024 Ahead of general elections 2024 across the country, a group of Indian experts had written an open letter to the Union government in New Delhi demanding the scrapping of the Nicobar development project in the Bay of Bengal. Otherwise, the experts argued, the uncontacted Shompen tribe will be wiped out. They asserted that the wish of those indigenous people (to be left alone) should be respected. The letter alleged that if the development project is not scrapped, both the local authority and New Delhi will be liable for the irreversible damage to those tribal families in the Indian archipelago near Myanmar. Shompen Tribe ----- The letter, endorsed by Vishvajit Pandya (former director of Andaman & Nicobar Tribal Research Institute), TN Pandit (former director of Anthropological Survey of India), Nicholas Barla (Adivasi Samanway Manch Bharat), Ashish Kothari (Kalpavrish), Madhumita Mazumdar, Manish Chandi, Ajay Saini, Anstice Justin, Virginius Xaxa, Ruby Hembrom, Purnima Upadhyay and Mukul Sharma, strongly urged the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and Union Tribal Affairs Ministry to intervene immediately over the sensitive matter and put a halt to the project before it’s too late. Months back, when President Droupadi Murmu visited the Andaman islands triggered a debate on the development initiatives there. Expressing serious concerns over the development programs in some parts of the islands, a group of international genocide experts wrote to New Delhi with a warning that its plans to turn the island into a mega-port city will wipe out the entre tribe. They argued that around 300 Shompen hunter-gatherers, two-thirds of them uncontacted until today, will face extinction if the development plans go ahead. Shompen people are one of the most isolated tribes on Earth, and they live in the dense rainforests that occupy the islands' interior. Should the project for a mega-port, a new city, an international airport, a power station, a defence base, an industrial park and helping 650,000 new settlers go ahead with original plans, it will be a death sentence for the Shompen, asserted the experts, adding that simple contact with the Shompen (who have little to no immunity to infectious diseases) may result in a precipitous population collapse. Survival International, a London-based tribal rights body, has been calling for the project to be abandoned to ensure the Shompen's ownership rights over their ancestral lands. Its director, Caroline Pearce, asserted that under international laws, no government (or company) should proceed with interventional activities without the indigenous people's consent in their territories. She also revealed that over 7,000 people, arguing that the Shompen people had no idea of the ongoing activities, communicated with New Delhi with their demand to stop the genocide. The group of over 830 large & small hilly islands (with only 31 inhabited) shares maritime borders with Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand and occupies a total land area of around 8,249 square kilometres with a population of 3.81 Lakhs. Andaman islands in the northern part are primarily home to four tribes: Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa and Sentinelese. These tribes are believed to have migrated from the African islands thousands of years ago, and most of them survive by hunting wild animals and natural agri-produces. The Sentinelese are the most isolated and reject all contact with outsiders. On the other hand, the Nicobar Islands in the southern part shelter two tribes, namely Nicobarese and Shompen, who might have arrived on the islands several thousand years ago from the Malay-Burma coast. Nicobarese (around one thousand) maintain contact with outsiders and are now converted to Christianity. However, the Shompen are still a relatively isolated tribe surviving by hunting local wildlife and harvesting plants. Many believe they can survive and thrive if their lands and resources are secure. Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal also visited the islands recently and admitted that some stakeholders raised environmental concerns. However, he pointed out that those were already addressed. Inspecting the proposed mega port at Atlanta Bay, Sonowal informed that it's hardly 565 km from Yangon, 765 km from Sittwe, 1000 km from Chittagong and 1100 km from Kolkata. Once the harbour is fully operational, it will drastically reduce the ship travel time to Kolkata from 72 to 15 hours, commented Sonowal. “This is the second time in a matter of months that a group of experts has demanded that the Great Nicobar Island Development Project be scrapped. Anyone with any knowledge of the Shompen and other uncontacted tribes knows that this project would completely destroy them - they simply won’t survive the catastrophic transformation of their island that the Indian government is planning,” said Caroline Pearce adding that no national development project can justify a genocide and hence the tribal rights body urged New Delhi to alter the plans before it is too late. ------ Nava Thakuria is a northeast India-based professional journalist who is an engineering graduate. URL: https://newageislam.com/current-affairs/shompen-tribe-development-justify-genocide/d/132221 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Will US Sanctions On Netza Yehuda Of Israeli Army Effectively Curb Human Rights Violations?

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 27 April 2024 Because of violations of human rights in the occupied West Bank, the US is thinking of imposing penalties on the Israeli army's "Netza Yehuda" battalion. If the sanctions are implemented, it will be the first time that the US has punished an Israeli army brigade for human rights violations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed opposition to any sanctions imposed on Israeli military forces. Will the US actually be successful in its consideration? is a question. ------ The US is considering sanctions on the "Netza Yehuda" battalion of the Israeli army, a unit of ultra-orthodox Jewish youth within the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), due to human rights abuses in the occupied West Bank. According to the New York Times, the restrictions may have an impact on one or more Israeli battalions. If sanctions are levied, this will be the first time the US administration has ever done so against an Israeli army battalion for violating human rights. As a result, the battalion will not be eligible to receive military assistance or training from the US. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he would oppose any sanctions imposed on Israeli military forces for purported human rights violations. The Brief Information About The Netza Yehuda Battalion Formerly known as Nahal Haredi, the 97th Netza Yehuda Battalion is a component of the Kfir Brigade of the Israel Defence Forces. Under Halakha regulations, this unit enables Haredi Jewish males to serve in the IDF as combatants while maintaining their religious views. The battalion's main operational zone is the West Bank. The battalion was formed in 1999 as the result of discussions between the IDF and Haredi educators that lasted eighteen months, under the direction of Rabbi Yitzhak Bar-Chaim of the Netza Yehuda organisation. When Netza Yehuda was formed, it only had thirty soldiers at first. This unit is permanently stationed in the West Bank, unlike other units that move around frequently. It begins its deployment in the Jordan Valley and gradually expands to areas near Jenin, Tulkarm, and Ramallah. The Netza Yehuda now numbers over a thousand guys. The IDF battalion uses a voluntary recruitment process rather than drafts. It recruits fighters from a range of backgrounds, including religious Zionism, ultra-orthodoxy, and Chardal families, in addition to overseas volunteers. For the religious needs of their soldiers, Netzah Yehuda bases carefully abide by Jewish dietary laws. The Kfir Brigade, including the Netza Yehuda Battalion, began participating in the Gaza War in 2024. The battalion is fighting in Lebanon, Syria, and the Gaza Strip. In order to preserve gender segregation and prevent any contacts between men and women that are judged inappropriate, only the wives of soldiers and officers are permitted among women on the Netza Yehuda bases. The slogan of the battalion is "V'haya Machanecha Kadosh," which translates to "And Your camp shall be holy," highlighting the Torah's insistence on cleanliness in a Jewish military camp. It is said that by doing this, one might call upon divine assistance when fighting. Will the United States' idea of punishing the Netza Yehuda battalion truly serve to curb Israeli settler violence? Despite focusing its punishment on Israeli settlers under President Biden, the US is reportedly unable to stop Israeli settler violence against Palestinians. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that twenty Palestinian communities in the West Bank have been attacked and forced to leave by Israeli settlers since October 7. The Israeli attacks in Gaza, which have killed over 34,000 people and sparked assertions of genocide, have obscured the forced expulsions of Palestinians and the brutality perpetrated by Israeli settlers. It is a highly odd situation that the US government has decided to denounce Israeli settler violence and stop providing military support to an Israeli army battalion that is involved in serious human rights crimes. The USA supported Israel while it massacred Gazans, severely violating their human rights, under the guise of defence. In recent weeks, Israeli settler violence has increased in spite of media reports that the US was going to punish the unit. The Israeli settlers appear to be well aware that, despite appearing to talk about penalties, the US will essentially do nothing to stop them from employing violence. The US's consideration of imposing punishments on the Netza Yehuda battalion may not effectively prevent Israeli settler violence. There are some reasons. The United States vetoed a resolution to the Security Council that called for the State of Palestine to be granted full UN membership amid the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip. The US decided to maintain tight ties with Israel in spite of its brutality and cruelty in Gaza, going against the wishes of other UN members. It is hard to think the US will actually be able to stop Israeli settler aggression. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have objected to the US action. As close friends, Biden and Netanyahu will not stand in opposition to each other. Israel seems to think that the United States of America won't be able to punish its battalion, since the US president has already stated that he supports Zionist Israel without reservation. URL: https://newageislam.com/islam-west/us-sanctions-netza-yehuda-israeli-army-human-rights/d/132210 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

The Onus Of Safeguarding A Man's Morality Is Always On A Woman!

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 27 April 2024 Regardless of what a woman will wear Man has an incorrigible habit to stare Dorothy Parker A young Moroccan woman was banned from travelling due to her appearance on a blind dating show wearing a short skirt on a dating show. Many Moroccan women say they are terrified of the fallout (Courtesy, NAI, April 24). The holier-than-thou custodians and crusaders of false and warped morality in Islam will pounce upon this young woman for wearing a short skirt but would love to ogle at a scantily-clad (even better, if she's sky-clad !) woman. Why's Islam so obsessed, nay paranoid, about what a woman should wear in public? It's her choice whether she wants to wear a mini, micro skirt, a fig-leaf or even go au naturel. In Islam, a woman's modesty or immodesty is directly linked to a man's lustfulness or his 'saintliness.' Let me elaborate on it. If she's properly dressed (better, if fully veiled!), men will have no carnal desires. But if she's improperly dressed, Satanic desires will plague them (men)! To cut the matter short, a woman has to dress up in a way that she doesn't arouse a man. Alas, the onus of safeguarding a man's morality and modesty is always on her. If a man is so priapic and sexually so fragile, he'll invariably ravage a woman even if she's wearing decent clothes. Why should a woman be held responsible for a man's flings and sexual capers? Men are generally lewd by nature. And if you don't approve of the word 'lewd', let me say, seldom, if ever, men are indifferent to feminine charm and beauty. Modesty, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholders. Segregating men and women and imposing all sorts of stultifying restrictions on women will not allow a universal template for morality and modesty to emerge. Rapes in all societies, communities, faiths, races and countries have seldom been linked to women's (read victims) clothes. Innumerable women in India's hinterland are raped every day. Do village women roam around wearing G-strings and thongs to attract and arouse the rapists? Was Nirbhaya, Jyoti Singh Pandey, scantily-clad on the night of December 16, 2012 when she was brutalized on a bus in Delhi? All religions were human constructs and men (gender specific men) laid down the rules and regulations. Men attributed their inherent sexual waywardness to poor women and called them Nark ka Dwaar, Dar-e-Dozakh or Door to hell. Let women wear whatever they want to. Men must know how to control their salivating tongues and other organs. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/onus-safeguarding-morality-woman/d/132209 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Friday, April 26, 2024

Manusmriti: The Next Magna Carta?

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 26 April 2024 Sharia Law may be a diminishing threat, unlike Manusmriti. By Ghulam Mohiyuddin 24/04/2024 00:17:52 Mr Ghulam Mohiuddin's apprehension is NOT misplaced. I agree with him in toto. "The casteism of the Manuwadi social system, now formally called the Hindu religion, created an irreparable rift in an otherwise homogenous society, and divided the country on religious grounds, creating Pakistan to the west and present-day Bangladesh to the east. The disunity created by the MS made the country easy prey to foreign invaders such as the Mughals, Dutch, Portuguese, French and the British. Under the British, the country did get united politically and administratively. What is worth noting is that under all the foreign regimes, the pre-ordained social structure remained intact, and the high castes continued to reap the benefits. In fact, they were loyal and obedient, co-operating and supporting all the foreign rulers during their regimes, by occupying crucial offices at all levels, in all departments of governance." From " The Manusmriti and a Divided Nation " by P B Sawant An engraving of King John signing the Magna Carta on June 15, 1215, at Runnymede, England. ------ It's because of Manusmriti, this country has thousands of castes and sub-castes and all have been fighting among themselves for centuries. Reyon Garnett opined that the rigid caste hierarchy in ancient India eventually birthed all sorts of discrimination among humans whether it's today's apartheid, colour consciousness or racial supremacy prevalent in the western world. Though it may be debatable, there's no gainsaying the fact that the caste system, described and extolled in Manusmriti, was the first salvo and the earliest instance of an institutionalized aversion to other groups in a social set up. It sowed the seeds of social discrimination. Manusmriti states that Dharma is the religious and moral law governing individual conduct. Ironically, its caste hierarchy influences individual and social conduct in a skewed manner. Dharma, in its pristine form, underlines equality and egalitarianism (Sarvabhuteshu Param Vidhanam). Where do you find that egalitarianism if you follow Manusmriti ? If the current political dispensation is once again voted in, chances are that Manusmriti will be its Magna Carta or a new rule book. Brace yourself for that! ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/manusmriti-magna-carta/d/132206 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Embracing Spiritual Diversity: A Path to Personal and Collective Growth

By Adis Duderija, New Age Islam 25 April 2024 Spirituality, At Its Essence, Is Not A Call For Homogeneity But An Invitation To Embrace The Diversity Within Ourselves And In Others. It Is Through This Acceptance And Celebration Of Diversity That Personal And Collective Growth Flourishes. ------ Spirituality, at its core, is a deeply personal and transformative journey that transcends the bounds of homogeneity. It embraces the richness of diversity, both within ourselves and in others. However, as process-relational theologian Bruce Epperly reminds us, when we fail to acknowledge and embrace the diversity within us, we are often tempted to deny the diversity present in those around us. To truly embark on a spiritual path, we must cultivate openness and acceptance of the multifaceted nature of our own being and extend that same acceptance to others. By doing so, we create an environment where personal and collective growth can flourish. Embracing Diversity within Ourselves Spirituality invites us to explore the depths of our own being, recognizing that we are inherently multifaceted and complex individuals. Within each of us, there exists a tapestry of experiences, emotions, beliefs, and perspectives. Embracing this diversity within ourselves means acknowledging our shadows and light, our strengths and weaknesses, our joys and sorrows. By accepting the diversity within us, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. We learn to embrace all aspects of our identity, be it cultural, racial, gender-related, or spiritual. This process allows us to integrate our diverse experiences and beliefs, leading to a more authentic and wholehearted existence. The Temptation to Deny Diversity in Others When we deny the diversity within ourselves, we inadvertently create a barrier that hinders our ability to accept diversity in others. This denial stems from a fear of the unknown, a discomfort with the unfamiliar, and a desire to hold on to rigid beliefs and perspectives. It can manifest as prejudice, discrimination, and a reluctance to engage with those who differ from us in any way. Denying diversity in others robs us of the opportunity for meaningful connections and growth. It perpetuates division, fosters misunderstanding, and obstructs the development of empathy and compassion. By succumbing to this temptation, we limit our own personal and collective evolution. The Power of Embracing Diversity Embracing diversity, both within ourselves and in others, is a transformative act that opens doors to personal and collective growth. When we embrace the diverse aspects of our own being, we expand our self-awareness, deepen our understanding of the world, and cultivate a greater sense of empathy and compassion. It allows us to tap into the richness of our experiences, enabling us to contribute more authentically to our communities and the world at large. Likewise, embracing diversity in others nurtures a culture of inclusivity and respect. It widens our perspectives, challenges our preconceived notions, and fosters a sense of interconnectedness. By engaging with individuals who hold different beliefs, come from different backgrounds, and possess unique perspectives, we enrich our own understanding of the human experience. This, in turn, strengthens the social fabric, promotes harmony, and paves the way for a more equitable and compassionate society. Nurturing Openness and Acceptance To cultivate openness and acceptance, we must embark on a continuous journey of self-reflection, education, and dialogue. It involves challenging our own biases, examining our privileges, and actively seeking out diverse perspectives. It requires us to listen deeply, engage in meaningful conversations, and create spaces that celebrate and honour diversity. Additionally, spiritual practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and contemplation can support our efforts to embrace diversity. These practices enable us to cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness, compassion, and interconnectedness. They help us recognize the inherent value and beauty of every individual, irrespective of their differences. Spirituality, at its essence, is not a call for homogeneity but an invitation to embrace the diversity within ourselves and in others. It is through this acceptance and celebration of diversity that personal and collective growth flourishes. By embarking on a journey of self-discovery, we lay the foundation for fostering empathy, compassion, and understanding. Simultaneously, by extending this acceptance to those around us, we create a world that honours and respects the multiplicity of human experiences. In a world that often struggles with division and polarisation, embracing spiritual diversity becomes an urgent and transformative act. It calls upon us to recognize that our differences are not obstacles but opportunities for growth, connection, and collective flourishing. As we embark on this path, let us remember that true spiritual growth lies in embracing our own diversity and extending a hand of acceptance and understanding to all those we encounter along the way. ---- A decades old patron of New Age Islam, Dr Adis Duderija is a Senior Lecturer in the Study of Islam and Society, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science; Senior Fellow Centre for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, Griffith University | Nathan | Queensland | Australia. His forthcoming books are ( co-edited)- Shame, Modesty, and Honora in Islam and Interfaith Engagement Beyond the Divide (Springer) URL: https://newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/embracing-spiritual-diversity-collective-growth/d/132197 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

An Insight into India's Biggest Political Jamboree

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 25 April 2024 Politics Is the Art of The Possible, Not the Art of The Ideal. Mario Vargas Llosa ----- Peruvian Nobel laureate in Literature (2010), Mario Vargas Llosa's quote, "Politics is the art of the possible, not the art of the ideal," sheds light on the pragmatic nature of politics. Rather than focusing on lofty ideals and utopian visions, Vargas Llosa suggests that successful politicians navigate the complex web of political systems by making strategic decisions based on what is realistically achievable. This quote resonates with the notion that compromise and practicality play crucial roles in the political realm. In order to effectively govern and make progress, politicians must be willing to navigate the realities and limitations of the societies they serve, choosing solutions that are attainable rather than holding onto unattainable ideals. Vargas Llosa's quote serves as a reminder that politics is a practical discipline, requiring leaders to balance competing interests and make decisions that may not align with their personal ideals but are instead aimed at creating the most feasible and desirable outcomes for their constituents. How will you contextualise Llosa's famous quote when elections are going on and politicians are making impossible claims? With due respect to the Latin American great, let me tweak his quote and rewrite it in the Indian context: Politics is the art of the impossible and also an art of manipulating ideals. To quote Ambar Baharaichi, "Ye Sach Hai Rang Badalta Tha Vo Har Ik Lamha/ Magar Vahi Toh Bahut Kaamyaab Chehra Tha" (Granted, he changed his (political) stance every now and then/ Yet, it was the most successful face). You got the insinuation? The political jamboree goes on because it's a Tamasha (charade) in the world's biggest democracy where, "Vo Taza-Dam Hain Nae Sho. Abde Dikhate Hue/ Avaam Thakne Lage Hain Taaliyan Bajate Hue" (Azhar Inayati) They (politicians) are never tired of making and claiming outlandish dreams/ The masses are tired of clapping. At the end of the day, we must remember that "Inn Se Ummeed Na Rakh Hain Ye Siyasat Wale/ Ye Kisi Se Bhi Muhabbat Nahin Karne Wale" (Don't expect anything from them as they're politicians/ These people are close to none). Politicians know how to bribe people, especially during elections. Bashir Badr rightly said, "Mujh Se Kya Baat Likhani Hai Ke Ab Mere Liye/ Kabhi Sone, Kabhi Chaandi Ke Qalam Aate Hain" (What do they want me to write as gold and silver quills are being offered to me). After all, "Samajhne Hi Nahin Deti Siyasat Hum Ko Sachchai/ Kabhi Chehra Nahin Milta, Kabhi Darpan Nahin Milta" (Politics doesn't let us know the truth/ Sometimes, faces are blurred, at times, mirrors are not there). Things are obscure. Future is obfuscated. The current political dispensation is obstinate and obdurate. Let's see what transpires on June 4. I've kept my fingers crossed. Haven't you? ------ A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: https://newageislam.com/spiritual-meditations/insight-india-political-jamboree/d/132196 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

Biggest Festival of Democracy - Far Eastern Part of Bharat Recorded Impressing Voters’ Participation

By Nava Thakuria, New Age Islam 25 April 2024 As the biggest electoral show on the planet began on 19 April 2024, where 969 million Indian eligible voters start exercising their franchise in the seven-phase polling conducted by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to elect 543 members to the 18th Lok Sabha for the next five years, the far eastern part of Bharat has recorded an impressing voters’ participation. Thousands of nominees from various national and regional political parties (along with some independent candidates) are contesting in the general elections, where the counting of votes in electronic voting machines is scheduled to take place on 4 June next (and results are also expected the same day). Chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar assured the voters of free, fair & peaceful elections and urged them to participate in the biggest festival of democracy (costing New Delhi around Rupees 1,200 billion). A woman carrying a child poses after casting her vote during a re-polling in Imphal West District, Manipur, India, Monday, April 22, 2024. Voters at some polling places in this northeastern state went back to the polls amid tight security on Monday after violence disrupted the vote last week. (AP Photo/Bullu Raj) ------ Leaving aside some stray incidents, the first phase of polling for 102 Parliamentary seats across 17 States and four union territories along with State legislative assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in northeast India, concluded peacefully with around 65 percent voter turnout despite heat waves in many places and rain in some other areas. ECI appreciated the nation's diverse electorate who have painted vivid pictures of democracy in action against the backdrop of a largely peaceful and conducive environment. The Constitutional body also added, from bustling city centres to remote villages, the polling stations witnessed a colourful convergence of voters spanning generations and backgrounds, where the polling was seamless, based on meticulous planning and execution by the ECI and its officials on the ground. India with 1.4 billion population (highest on Earth) has a 545-member lower house of Parliament, where two members are nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community. Northeast with a population of 60 million sends 25 MPs to Lok Sabha. The upper house of Indian Parliament (Rajya Sabha) has 250 members (including 14 from Northeast) of which 238 are elected by the legislators from the States and UTs. A maximum of 12 members are nominated by the President for their contributions to art, literature, science, social services, etc. Vice-President usually presides over the Rajya Sabha sessions, whereas an elected Speaker runs the show in Lok Sabha. The first phase witnessed around 1,625 candidates (including 134 females) who have sought the mandate from over 166 million voters (including 82 million female, 11,371 third gender and 18 million first-time electorates). Tripura, bordering Bangladesh, recorded the highest voter turnout, where its West Tripura seat witnessed as high as over 80 percent polling. The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded former State chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who is challenged by united opposition candidate Ashish Kumar Saha. The other seat East Tripura will go for polls in the 2nd phase on 26 April along with Manipur, Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir. Meghalaya recorded equally impressive polling where Shillong constituency witnessed over 65% voting and Tura seat went up to 81%. The ruling National People's Party (NPP) candidate Ampareen Lyngdoh is challenging the sitting Congress MP Vincent Pala in Shillong and in Tura, the sitting NPP MP Agatha Sangma faces electoral challenge from Zenith Sangma (All India Trinamool Congress) and Saleng A Sangma (Indian National Congress). Voting in five Parliamentary seats of Assam namely Dibrugarh, Kaziranga, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Jorhat also went to polls in the 1st phase where over 75 % voter turnout was recorded. The largest State in the region will witness two more phases of polling for Darrang-Udalguri, Nagaon, Diphu, Silchar and Karimganj seats on 26 April and Guwahati, Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Dhubri on 7 May. In Dibrugarh, central minister Sarbananda Sonowal faces challenges from Manoj Dhanowar (Aam Aadmi Party) and Lurinjyoti Gogoi (Asom Jatiya Parishad, endorsed by the united opposition forum of Assam). In Kaziranga, Rajya Sabha member Kamakhya Prasad Tasa had a direct contest from Congress nominee Roselina Tirkey. Similarly, in Sonitpur (earlier named as Tezpur) BJP candidate Ranjit Dutta is challenged by Congress candidate Prem Lal Ganju and AAP nominee Rishiraj Kaundinya. Among nine candidates in Lakhimpur seat, sitting MP Pradan Barua primarily faces challenges from Congress candidate Uday Shankar Hazarika. Jorhat seat attracted public attention as two sitting MPs contested with high promises. Gaurav Gogoi, who represented Kolibar seat (now delimited) came to Jorhat to challenge the sitting MP Tapan Gogoi, once a student leader before joining the saffron party. Nagaland recorded around 57 % voter’s turnout even after six districts (namely Mon, Longleng, Tuensang, Kiphire, Noklak and Shamator) recorded zero participation of electorates following an appeal by Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization’s (ENPO) to abstain from voting to raise their demand for the Frontier Nagaland Territory. Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party nominee Chumben Murry, who is also endorsed by People’s Democratic Alliance, remains a front runner against the immediate rival S Supongmeren Jamir (Congress). Mizoram also witnessed peaceful polling with around 55 % turnout, where Zoram People's Movement nominee Richard Vanlalhmangaiha was challenged by Mizo National Front candidate K. Vanlalvena, Congress contestant Lalbiakzama and BJP nominee Vanhlalmuaka. Amidst troubles in Inner Manipur constituency, the voter turnout was recorded over 75%, where Congress nominee Angomcha Bimol Akoijam is challenged by BJP candidate Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh. Some parts of Outer Manipur seat (polling in remaining areas scheduled for 26 April) also went to polls and reported over 61 % turnout. Kachui Timothy Zimik (Naga People’s Front), who is supported by the BJP, faces Congress candidate Alfred Kanngam S Arthur. Arunachali voters successfully exercised their franchise to elect two MPs and 50 legislators with a turnout of around 67 %. Mentionable is that 10 BJP candidates including State chief minister Pema Khandu and his deputy Chowna Mein were already declared unopposed winners. Union minister Kiren Rijiju faces Congress nominee Nabam Tuki in Arunachal West constituency and sitting saffron MP Tapir Gao has been challenged by Bosiram Siram in Arunachal East seat. Sikkim electorates also voted for 32 legislators along with one MP with more than 67 % turnout. The ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha fielded sitting MP Indra Hang Subba against former Parliamentarian Prem Das Rai (Sikkim Democratic Front), Gopal Chettri (Congress) and Dinesh Chandra Nepal (BJP) for the lone Parliamentary seat. In assembly segments Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang, former CM Pawan Kumar Chamling, legendary footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, CM’s wife Krishna Kumari Rai, etc are contesting from respective constituencies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a road show in Guwahati seeking votes for the NDA nominees. The enthusiastic crowd greeted PM Modi along with Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as he waved to the onlookers. Union home minister Amit Shah earlier addressed an election rally in Manipur and assured that all problems in the region will be resolved systematically. Shah asserted that the government will prevent any ill motive agenda to break Manipur. BJP national president JP Nadda addressed a poll rally in Kokrajhar in presence of BTR chief Pramod Boro, a number of State ministers and senior AGP leaders. On the other hand, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi campaigned for party candidates in a poll rally organised in Jorhat. The 1st phase voting was also conducted in Tamil Nadu (all 39 Parliamentary seats) and Uttarakhand (for five seats). Similarly, eight out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 12 out of 25 seats in Rajasthan, three constituencies in West Bengal, six in Maharashtra, four in Bihar, six in Madhya Pradesh, one each in Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jammu & Kashmir also went to polls on the same day. Bihar recorded the lowest voter turnout (less than 50%) in this phase, where Uttarakhand reported around 54% turnout, Rajasthan over 56 % and Tamil Nadu around 70 % voter response. Even the violence hit West Bengal reported a better turnout (over 77 %). Despite relentless awareness campaigns by the ECI, various social organisations and news channels, voter turnout continues declining in mainland India. In comparison, the north-eastern States did far better, thanks to a localised campaign by Lok Jagaran Mancha Asom for 100% voter turnout. The Assam-based nationalist forum launched the campaign with printed leaflets, music videos and short plays to inspire the voters to arrive at the polling booths on time and cast their votes with pride and responsibility. ------ Nava Thakuria is a northeast India-based professional journalist who is an engineering graduate. URL: https://newageislam.com/current-affairs/festival-democracy-bharat-voters-northeast/d/132194 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism