Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Less Known Temples of Kerala – 3: Thirunavaya, Trippadam, Hanuman Kshetram

The three temples  are near one another and can be comfortably covered within two hours.   (between kottakkal & kuttipuram on Mangalore  – Cochin rd ‘ 19 km from kadampuza ).

Ed visited these temples in June 2011.

PS: Roads in Kerala have innumerable turns , bends , forks, and junctions. Of course there are no sign boards where you need them. However people are helpful enough.

Thirunavaya : Nava Mukunda

Vishnu Kshetram on the banks of Bharatha Puza.

It is approximately 19 Km from Kadampuza. On the bank of the river steps have been built and maintained for convienence of pilgrims. Pitru Karma and kria ceremonies are conducted here, and many who are unable to go to Kashi or Gaya come here. You will also see many ladies performing ‘ tarpanam’, an unusual site, as normally it is the men folk who perform these ceremonies.

Navamunkuda Temple, believed to be constructed by Nava yogis on the right bank of Bharathapuzha, is an important Vishnu temple of Kerala. Pitru Tharpanam is a ritual, held here on the day of Amavasi in Karkidaka (July).  Balikarma is offered by people in their wet clothes, after a dip in the river, for the salvation of sins and to appease the manes.

There is a seperate sanctum for Lakshmi. The story goes; when Adi Sankara visited this spot he found that people of the area were arrogant on account of the vast wealth they possessed.  He saw that the reason was living in the vicinity of the idol of Laksmi whose right hand with an open palm facing downwards was below the hip  level. This ensured that any one who prayed to her was showered with wealth, deserving or not. So Adi Sankara prayed to the mother goddess to revert to her normal abhaya hasta, which she did. This ensured that undeserving persons did not get wealth.

Across the Bharatha puza is a temple for Brahma. However there are no boats or bridge to cross over for a darshan of Brahma.

Trippadam ;

Trikanangode ; Siva Ksehtram; Markandeya Moksha Sthalam

Markandeya was destined to live for only 16 years. When he found his parents sad and unhappy on the last day of life on earth he went to Trikanangode , the abode of Paramasivan, for help. He was chased by Yama dhootas and fled towards the shrine. The AAL in front of the temple split and gave way and allowed him to pass.

Markandeya entered the temple premises and in to the sanctum sanctorum and embraced the the Linga and prayed. The Yama dhootas could not enter the area and went to complain to Yama who himself came on the scene and summoned the young lad to come out.  When Markandeya refused Yama who by then had grown angry and frustrated bloated as he was with the power he wielded over all beings, threw the the pasak kayaru at the boy. The noose wrapped around the boy and the the Linga. When Yama pulled the pasam the Siva Linga was displaced and out came Lord Siva himself , angered by the the action of yama who had dared to take away the life of his bhakta.

It is said he covered the distance to Yama in three steps, and slew him with his trisulam. Then he went to the temple pond and washed away the stains . There is a temple at the original site and the three small temples depicting the three steps taken by Siva, near the present  main temple.

The main pujas in this temple are : Japa of Mritunjaya Mantram’, Uma Maheswara Puja ‘& Maha Rudra Yagna

Rama Temple at Althiyoor

(12 Km from Tirur)

It is a temple for Rama but over a period of time Hanuman has gained  pradhanam. There is a separate enclosure for Lakshmana.

Here one will find a strange looking Hanuman idol, with hands folded and head tilted as if listening carefully. The sthala puranam Rama spoke to Hanuman personally and in confidence and gave him some special signs by which he could identify himself to Sita  as the special dhoota of Rama. He related to Hanuman incidents not known even to Lakshmana, who was standing at a distance. Hanuman with folded hands is listening carefully to Rama. The sight of Hanuman with folded hands and attentive demeanour cannot but bring tears in to ones eyes.

 

Life’s Lessons

Mr Watwani sends this

Please read below 5 important lessons one should learn. As far as I am concerend, I am a beginner and in the process of learning more and more with regard to the various aspects of life. I will also be trying to put the lessons learned into practice.

1 – First Important Lesson – Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor

Gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student

And had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the

Cleaning woman several times. She was tall,

Dark-haired and in her 50′s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question

Blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if

The last question would count toward our quiz grade..

Absolutely, ” said the professor. “In your careers,

You will meet many people. All are significant.. They

Deserve your attention and care, even if all you do

Is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her

Name was Dorothy.


2. – Second Important Lesson – Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American

Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway

Trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had

Broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally

Unheard of in those conflict-filled 19 60′s. The man

Took her to safety, helped her get assistance and

Put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his

Address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a

Knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a

Giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A

Special note was attached.

It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway

The other night. The rain drenched not only my

Clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.

Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying

Husband’s’ bedside just before he passed away… God

Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving

Others.”

Sincerely,

Mrs. Nat King Cole.


3 – Third Important Lesson –

Always remember those Who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,

A 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and

Sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in

Front of him.

“How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked.

“Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and

Studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the

Waitress was growing impatient.

“Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied..

The little boy again counted his coins.

“I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put t he bill on

The table and walked away The boy finished the ice

Cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress

Came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the

Table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,

Were two nickels and five pennies.

You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had

To have enough Le ft to leave her a tip.


4 – Fourth Important Lesson. – The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a

Roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if

Anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the

King’s’ wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by

And simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the

King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did

Anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of

Vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the

Peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the

Stone to the side of the road. After much pushing

And straining, he finally succeeded. After the

Peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed

a purse lying in the road where the boulder had

been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note

from the King indicating that the gold was for the

person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The

peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.


5 – Fifth Important Lesson – Giving When it Counts….

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a

hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who

was suff erin g from a rare & serious disease. Her only

chance of recovery appeared to be a blood

transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had

miraculously survived the same disease and had

developed the antibodies needed to combat the

illness. The doctor explained the situation to her

little brother, and asked the little boy if he would

be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a

deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save

her.” As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed

next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing

the color returning to her cheek.. Then his face

grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a

trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away”.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the

doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his

sister all of his blood in order to save her.



Most importantly…..

“Work like you

don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been

hurt and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”

 

Just A Smile

Mr Watwani has sent this message for all

Just smile pleaseeeeeeee

Smile, it is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart.

A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime

There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness

Smiling makes you feel better about yourself, even if you don’t feel like it. And it always makes other people think better of you.

A smile is a light in the window of a face that signifies the heart is at home and waiting

Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it

You are never fully dressed until you wear a smile

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks

Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.

Keep smiling – it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to

Peace begins with a smile

Every tear has a smile behind it.

Keep a smile on your face and let your personality be your autograph

No matter how small, a SMILE on your face tells all

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity

Smiles are unbreakable- -and mend broken hearts

Smiles are great investments: the more you collect, the better you feel

Be multilingual; smiles are the universal language

A laugh is a smile that bursts

A smile is just a frown upside-down

A smile is as nice to give, as it is to receive

Most smiles start with another smile…

Though Smile cannot erase our burden, but it sure does make us feel lighter…

Just smile pleaseeeeeeee


 

Andher Nagari: Education in Maharashtra

Control freak wreaks havoc in education


Is Govt Taking Its Anger Out On Non-SSC Schools For Challenging Earlier Orders?

Anahita Mukherji I TNN

Mumbai: The state government’s latest diktats on school education seem to have born out of an urge to get even, say non-SSC schools and parents of kids who study in these schools. These institutions and parents have come together twice in the last one year to drag the state to court for its policies and have managed to convince the judiciary of their partisan nature both times.

The latest government move comes barely a couple of months after the state’s second defeat in court against non-SSC schools and parents who challenged its decision to reserve 90% of seats in junior colleges for SSC students. The Bombay high court rubbished the decision, calling it “self-contradictory’’ and “unconstitutional’’.

The HC ruling on the state’s percentile system in 2008 was as scathing. The court had found the system “hurried’’, “flawed’’ and “illegal’’ and said the new rule promoted “mediocracy over meritocracy’’ and hurt “students’ right to equality’’.

Non-SSC schools and parents of students going to these schools are again getting ready to challenge the decision. Teaching Schools A Lesson TOI gives in a nutshell the new law laid down by the state and how it impacts non-SSC schools and their students
THE NEW LAW ON ENGLISH

All schools, irrespective of their boards, will have to follow the SSC English curriculum from classes I to V.
THE QUESTIONS How will kids cope in Std VI?

Every expert agrees that the English curriculum followed in SSC schools is of a lower standard than that taught in most non-SSC schools. Educationists and schoolchildren’s parents are now worried that students may find it difficult to adjust to texts of a higher standard after being reared on a diet of “mediocre texts’’ for five years.

Should govt control other boards?
Why should the government want to control the curriculum of other boards? Then, what’s the point in having different boards?

Should other boards be dragged down to SSC level?
The SSC board has consistently been trying to upgrade its curriculum to match those of other boards. Now why does the government want to drag other boards down to the SSC level?

Why should schools’ freedom be curtailed?
Boards like ICSE and CBSE allow schools the freedom to create their own syllabi up to Std VIII; this allows flexibility and innovation. Why should ICSE and CBSE schools be deprived of this freedom?

THE NEW LAW ON MARATHI
All schools will have to introduce Marathi as a compulsory second language from Std I to Std VIII.

THE QUESTIONS
What happens if you have to move out of the state? Will kids, taught Marathi as second language till Std VIII, be able to take up another language in Std IX if they have to move out of the state?
Who’ll be responsible for the trauma?

A significant percentage of Mumbaikars have transferable jobs (people working in the government, defence forces, banks, multinational firms, the media). A transfer for parents can often be a little unsettling for the kids. Shouldn’t your children be spared of the additional trauma of coping with a new second language in school? Wouldn’t Hindi as an option make much more sense?

Meddling In Administration
The government has listed other new administrative rules that ICSE, CBSE, IB and IGCSE schools will have to comply with to get a no-objection certificate (NOC). Some of the rules will gladden parents, but there are several that schools fear can be used by the state to arm-twist them at will

NOCs will be given for three years after which they will have to be renewed. The first NOC will be given by the state; the following ones will be given by the deputy director of education.

NOCs can be taken back at any point by the government; schools must comply with its terms and conditions.
During the admissions, schools must procure bona fide birth certificates from students.
The government fee structure will be applicable to these schools.

 

MCD DELHI: Fake Employees?

45,000 MCD employees fake?

Weeding Out Non-Existent ‘Staffers’ Could Save Rs 1,000cr A Year

Ambika Pandit | TNN

New Picture (51)
New Delhi: Harried Delhiites have long fumed that MCD doesn’t work. Here’s probably why: 45,000 employees on its roster, who have been drawing salaries, have gone missing!
An elaborate exercise by the civic body to build a biometric identification database of its employees has opened a can of worms. About 85,000 employees have registered, while 45,000 are not traceable.
It gets worse.

According to a senior corporation official, though these numbers add up to 1.30 lakh, the total number of employees could be up to 1.75 lakh, which means the number of missing staffers could double.

This workforce, a big section of which exists only on paper, thrives on a Rs 207-crore monthly wage bill.
That such a scam could be perpetrated for years so brazenly in the civic body of the national capital puts a huge question mark over the functioning of the corporation, its officials and the political wing.

It would be naive to think that there is no complicity and that this could have gone undetected all these years without an all-pervasive rot.

The corporation’s vigilance department and the state government’s anti-corruption branch, it seems, were not so vigilant after all.

It was Commissioner K S Mehra’s decision three months back to extend the biometric identification system, already operational in Town Hall, to all the 12 zones of the corporation that blew the lid. The phantom employees never registered. ‘‘July 15 is the deadline for all the employees to register and after that only those who are registered will get their salary,’’ Mehra told TOI. He refused to comment any further.

A senior official said the scam is most rampant in the sanitation and horticulture departments where salaries are drawn by supervisors against ATM cards of non-existent safai karmacharis and gardeners. The official, who didn’t wish to be quoted, said weeding out of these names could yield a saving of Rs 500 crore to Rs 1,000 crore annually.
MASSIVE DRAIN
85,000 staffers have registered for biometric identification system, 45,000 are missing
Sources say number of fake MCD employees could be even more
July 15 deadline for staff to register if they want their salaries

MISSING CORPN OF DELHI

Vasant Kunj resident smelt a rat in 2004

Dipak Kumar Dash I TNN

New Delhi: While revelations about MCD’s ghost employees — particularly in the sanitation and horticulture departments — might have come as a shock for many, resident welfare associations (RWAs) in the capital had more than an inkling about it for long. So much so that many had demanded that salaries of sweepers and gardeners should be paid after their attendance was endorsed by the RWAs.

A resident activist had even nailed the rot in the MCD in 2004 after filing an RTI seeking details of the gardeners deployed in his pocket.
Anil Sood, secretary general of NGO Chetna and a resident of C-1, Vasant Kunj, recalled he filed the first RTI in May 2004 as his colony parks were severely neglected. ‘‘I asked how many gardeners were deployed in our pocket and what were their duty hours to which they said three full-time gardeners were on duty,’’ he said.

In a revealing submission, the MCD said gardeners were working from 9am to 5pm in the pocket and in the logbook, one tubewell was being operated 4-5 hours daily.

‘‘The three gardeners were drawing Rs 6,500 salary each. I even sought the fathers’ names and residential addresses of the three gardeners to verify them. But they didn’t provide anything more,’’ Sood said.
Finally, he wrote to the lieutenant-governor seeking a high-level inquiry and the LG marked an investigation to then municipal commissioner Rakesh Mehta. Later, the MCD marked a copy of the findings of the inquiry to Sood, which said that the gardeners were marking their attendance in D-3&4 and they were working as per the directions of their ‘‘superiors’’.

About their salaries, the corporation said salaries were being paid as per their attendance verified by the supervisory staff. The corporation also submitted that though the pump was working 4-5 hours a day, it did not receive any electricity bill and no payment had been made till then. ‘‘To hide their lie, they even claimed to have got a certificate from a resident that said the condition of parks and working of the gardeners were satisfactory. Though we challenged the authenticity of the endorsement, they never paid any heed,’’ Sood said.

CORRUPTION BLOOMING IN MCD

MCD in denial mode, cites ECS payment

Ambika Pandit | TNN

New Delhi: Senior MCD officials have acknowledged that an elaborate exercise to enrol the MCD staff for biometric identification has revealed that over 45,000 employees are missing. They simply didn’t turn up — it’s feared that most of them don’t exist. But a day after TOI exposed this shocking state of affairs in the civic body, many officials and their political masters were in a state of denial.

Leader of the House Subhash Arya said since the corporation was paying all its employees through the electronic clearance system, there was no question of there being any ‘‘ghost employees’’. He, however, failed to mention how supervisors were withdrawing salaries of many of these nonexistent employees by using their ATM cards. This seems to be common knowledge.

The MCD is paying its employees through the electronic clearance system (ECS). This means that every employee should have a bank account which is not possible to create without an identity and address proof. Hence MCD says that all its employees are accounted for. But officials clam up when asked for a figure. No one is willing to state how many employees the corporation has or hazard a guess.
Arya was defensive.

‘‘We are in the process of implementing the biometric system of attendance and there are still 15 days left for employees to get themselves registered. Any conclusion can be reached only after all heads of departments and zonal heads certify that all employees under their charge have registered.’’

‘‘Secondly,’’ he added, ‘‘the finance department will have to say that the salary is being paid as per certification by the heads of departments and zones. Finally, the firm undertaking the biometric work will have to certify that they have enrolled each and every employee according to the list provided by the heads of department and zonal chiefs.’’

MCD Commissioner KS Mehra too told TOI that any inquiry or action on the matter will be ordered only after the exact number of employees is established.

About 85,000 employees from various departments of the corporation have registered under the biometric system so far. Of this figure, 50,000 are in the sanitation department, 11,000 in engineering, 18,000 in health and 7000 in horticulture.
ambika.pandit@timesgroup.com

 

Unsung Heroes & Heroines

New Picture (49)

A BUILDER OF YOUNG LIVES

Samarpita Banerjee

Pune: Renuka and Anjana enter the room with a twinkle in their eyes. And why not? They had a big news to announce. “I scored 87 per cent in my class VII exam,” Renuka announces. “And I 85 per cent,” chimes in Anjana.

What makes the achievement of these two girls worth acknowledging is the fact that they belong to poor, uneducated parents who work as nomadic construction workers. And for this marvellous achievement, full credit goes to their mentor, Nirmala Hiremath, or didi, as she is lovingly called.

Hiremath has been working for the children of construction workers across the city for the past 23 years and runs the Tara Mobile Crèche (TMC). The crèche takes care of some 6,000 children every year. “We have children ranging from the age group of 15 days to 15-16 years. At the moment, we are running 16 day care centres across the city and till date we have opened and closed 128 sites,” said Nirmala, elaborating on the structure of the TMC.

So, how did it all begin? “The idea of starting such a crèche first came to social worker Meera Mahadevan when she came across many half-naked children of construction workers playing on a site in Delhi. The sight moved and motivated her so much that she started a day care centre for such children in Delhi in 1969. The Mumbai and Pune branches opened in 1972 and 1980 respectively, and we work collectively under the name Mobile Crèches. Since then, the programme has grown considerably and all the three organisations now function as separate entities,” says Hiremath.

Elaborating on the aim of the organisation, Hiremath adds, “Even as thousands of people come to the city from other states to work as construction workers, and build the ‘Modern India’, their children are left to fend for themselves among piles of rubble and construction material. They do not get proper food and hygiene. They have to work as domestic helps at homes and most of them cannot attend schools. In the process, they lose their childhood. Our aim is to ensure that we are able to reach out to more and more such children and make them capable enough to enter the mainstream instead of following the path of their parents.”

Since its inception, TMC has faced many problems. “Initially, the developers did not support the idea because it becomes an added responsibility and they even had to give us a room which is in a good condition to act as a house for new-borns. This problem persists even today. At times, they give us a small room with a tin ceiling without a fan or water supply,” says Sandhya Gujar, a volunteer who has been with TMC for the last 17 years.

However, facing these problems as challenges, the TMC team, headed by Hiremath spreads awareness around the city about the fundamental right of every child — the right to education. “Today, the situation is much better. Because of the awareness, schools are accepting our children. Also, more developers and builders are giving us support by contributing one-third of the expenses.”

The organisation has also opened a hostel for students who do well in schools. “Since the parents are nomadic, they keep shifting from one site to another and it becomes difficult for us to track down the children. Continuity in education is very important. That’s why we have opened the Seva Sadan hostel. Today, we have 13 students staying there.”

Numerous students, who once were a part of the TMC, have now entered the mainstream and doing quite well. Twenty three-year-old Sidhu Kamde today works in a call centre. “I owe everything to TMC and didi,” says Sidhu.

 

Mantralaya mutt : Chief Pontiff passes away

Head of Mantralaya mutt passes away

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

new-picture-30

Bangalore: The chief pontiff of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt in Mantralaya, Sri Sushmeendra Teertha Swami, passed away on Saturday following a cardiac arrest. Swami Sushmeendra was 83 and breathed his last at 2.20 pm at a private hospital here.

He’d been admitted to the hospital a fortnight ago after he complained of age-related ailments, according to Rajagopalachari of Raghavendra Mutt. His body was taken to Mantralaya where it will be kept for public viewing between 5 am and 8 pm on Sunday before being taken to brindavana (temporary burial).

Born in Nanjangud near Mysore, Swami Sushmeendra at 59 joined the Mantralaya mutt in the temple town on the banks of the Tungabhadra in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in 1985.

“He was instrumental in taking Mantralaya closer to people,” recalled Rajagopalachari.

 

Bluid the peace consensus

The trail of terror continues with cricketers as the latest target. The Mumbai and Lahore attacks, public executions and the murder of over a thousand civilians in the Swat valley by Taliban-style terrorists are horrifying examples of atrocities committed by militant groups thriving on political Islam.

Global Muslim communities urgently need to condemn the agenda of political Islam that distorts religious scriptures to legitimise violence. This ideology of Islamism is threatening to replace a moderate and spiritual Islam, leading to the destruction of many societies and, in particular, oppression of women and minorities.

Muslims have a moral responsibility to engage in the social, political and economic development of the societies they live in. Global Muslim societies would do well to imitate the exceptional efforts of Indian clerics in denouncing terrorism and delinking it with Islam. Sincere moral outrage needs to be expressed at Taliban atrocities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, political kidnappings and assassinations, militancy in Kashmir, Shia-Sunni killings in Iraq and Pakistan, fatwas condoning suicide bombings in the Israel-Palestine conflict and other atrocities affecting innocent lives.

Muslims require an international consensus on combating extremism. Our credibility is lost when we express selective outrage, as in the aftermath of the Danish cartoons controversy.

Political Islam draws its lifeblood from the ideology of fighting the oppressor, but has clearly become the oppressor itself. Though some Islamist groups have renounced violence, accepted the principles of democracy and marginally improved their stand on women and minority rights, they remain socially conservative.

In Jordan, the Islamist party does not support the rights of women to file for divorce. In Kuwait, the Islamists fought against the right of women to vote. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will not allow a woman or a person from a minority community to become head of state. Unfortunately, militant Islamist groups thrive in the political vacuum created by oppressive regimes in most Islamic countries.

Muslims must stop blaming the problem of extremism on catastrophic policies of foreign countries. For, two wrongs simply do not make a right. It is primarily a Muslim problem, threatening both Muslim and non-Muslim societies. We need to acknowledge that there is a problem of theology when extremists talk of going straight to heaven after taking innocent lives.

The roots of all modern militant Islamic movements can be traced to one man, Abdul Wahab from Nejd in the Arabian Peninsula. He set out to ‘purify’ Islam, believing that Muslims had drifted away from true religion. Wahab’s followers destroyed many sacred sites that he
considered linked to idolatry. Attacking the arts for being frivolous and dangerous, Wahab sanctioned the rape, murder and plunder of those who refused to follow his injunctions. He was considered a heretic by most, for Mecca and Medina were then centres of contemplative Islam, inhabited by Sufis from all over the world.

In 1774-75, Wahab negotiated a deal with the then nomadic tribe of Saud, forebears of the current royal family, in exchange for support to their quest for political domination. Most Saudis reject the name Wahhabi; they either call themselves Muwahuddin — Unitarians — or Salafi, referring to salaf, the venerated companions of the Prophet. In this blinkered view, no other version of religious truth can exist.

This new face of Islam has nothing to do with Sufis, music, poetry, miracles or the countless devotional customs of Muslim cultures across the world.

Under the patronage of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism went from strength to strength. Abul Ala Mawdudi, a journalist who translated the Quran outside the classical paradigms, propagated the Wahhabi ideology. He founded the political party Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, making jihad central to Islamic discourse. Addressing non-Muslims as infidels, he grouped Muslims into ‘partial’ and ‘true’ Muslims. Mawdudi’s ideas of Islam as a revolutionary doctrine to take over governments and overturn the whole universal order deeply influenced Syed Qutub of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

These groups have been motivated by political upheavals and the rejection of traditional scholars. Syed Qutub’s brother happened to be among the teachers of Osama bin Laden.

The extremism now found in Mecca and Medina, the heartland of Islam, is the Wahhabi ideology that the Saudis have spent millions in promoting through their outreach programmes. There is no tolerance for Shias, Sunni Sufis or other Muslim traditions, leave alone non-Muslims.

Unfortunately, there is no collective Muslim protest against the Saudi regime for bulldozing graveyards, destroying the cultural and religious heritage of the holy cities, imposing a certain segregation of the sexes inside the Prophet’s mosque at Medina, radical sermons or distribution of radical literature outside Saudi mosques, many of them issuing calls for death to whoever they view as infidels or innovators of Islam.

The problem of Muslim extremism began in the Muslim world and the responsibility of resolving it lies with us.

The inability to present Islam as a peaceful religion is a collective failure of global Muslim communities. We could begin by increasing the decibel in condemning violence and sectarianism and standing up for women’s rights.

We should stop demonising the ‘other’ as infidels and show increased support for democratic movements in Muslim countries. It is time for the devout, silent and peace-loving Muslim majority to speak for Islam.

Let our voices be louder than the radical voices claiming to represent us.


The writer is a Delhi-based commentator.

Sadia Dehlvi is a renowned Delhi based media person. She is a prominent face on prime time television debates dealing with the issues of Muslim communities.

A well-known columnist and writer, Dehlvi is frequently published in frontline Urdu, Hindi and English newspapers and magazines. She has been the editor of Bano, a popular woman’s journal in the Urdu language with the Shama group of Publications. Dehlvi has produced and scripted a number of documentaries and television programs.

For over thirty years Sadia Dehlvi has engaged in voicing concern on issues regarding heritage, culture, women and Muslim communities. She is currently working on a book on Delhi’s Sufi history. Her surname ‘Dehlvi” means someone from Delhi reflecting her family’s long association with Delhi

 

free tractor serviceto small landowners

A story from today’s Indian Express: http://www.indianexpress.com/story/24797.html talks about a man Ramesh Arnalkar, a trader from Pune, who is giving out a brand new tractor to small land-owners in Maharashtra’s suicide belt, free of cost to help them till their land, and thus start earning from it. While returning with his wife, Shalini, from a [...]

 

Formation of srijan Foundation

On 22 March 2007, Srijan Foundation Trust was formally registered. The government functioning was extremely efficient, the people behind the counter to advise on how to fill the form were a little impatient yet helpful, the final signing authority seemed like a person of integrity. It took all of 4 hours to complete the process, [...]