Source : Google photo of unity in diversity in India
Synopsis : A great change is coming to India where a great leader is changing the country fundamentally by making ” progress for everybody together “ his mantra and is making all Indians proud for the first time in their life. He is bringing unity among the diverse population of the country by saying that we are all Indians first and we are all brothers and sisters who have the same aspirations as others to grow in prosperity and live in peace and harmony.
I must admit that I have not always believed in unity in diversity in India because as a child I was led to believe that the Muslims were the root of all the problems in India. They failed to assimilate with others no matter where they lived and created their own communities where they felt safer and where they could be a Muslim according to the tenets of their faith.
This feeling of separateness was very evident everywhere including the schools where our Muslim classmates remained aloof and separate from the rest of the class although at a very young age, we did not understand this separateness in them or the reasons for it. They never became our friends and we never invited each other to our homes or public festivals or religious events so this feeling of separateness never left us and had a great impact on the way we looked at each other as we were growing up.
There seemed to be a great divide between the Muslims and the rest meaning the 70% of the Indian population where the Hindus were the majority but there are the Christians, Sikhs, Jains, the Buddhists and many other fringe groups like the Bahais, the Parsis, the Jews and others but this divide became more pronounced after the partition of India into large Muslim dominated Pakistan and Hindu dominated India known as Hindustan.
I was too young to understand the full impact of the vivisection of India because in 1947, I was only 3 years old but my father knew. He had worked under the British in the pre independence India in areas that are now part of Pakistan where some of our siblings were born. He was awarded a prestigious medal by the British for his services in Wajiristan that is a tribal area of Pakistan in the west and worked closely with the Muslim tribals in that area. He lived in Quetta in the Sindh province where one of my sisters was born so my parents were quite familiar with the Muslims wherever they lived.
Then came the politicians who started to see great benefits for themselves in dividing the Indians based on their religions thus creating the barrier and animosity that still prevails 70 years after the independence and has led to 4 wars with Pakistan alone.
I will not repeat the history here and dwell on the reasons because there is no room for such a topic here that can become a very big subject that can’t be discussed in just a few words here so I will stick to the subject of diversity and unity here among all people living in India no matter what their religions and beliefs.
So I will go back to my grade school days and try to understand this great divide that existed then and still persists today. One day our teacher while taking the attendance noticed that one Muslim kid was absent so he asked a few of us Hindu kids to go to his house and find out why he had failed to attend school. We had never been to any Muslim house before but we found his house and entered when no one answered the door.
Inside we found our schoolmate in tears but what was most shocking to us was that he was chained like a dog to the wall by probably his parents but we did not know why. We did not know what we could do so we returned to our school and reported the matter to our teacher who kept quiet. We did not see that kid again in school and moved on to the next grade. He was soon forgotten and I can’t recall his name or his face now but I do feel the shock even today seeing him chained up like a dog and treated so badly.
In other countries such matters would be reported to the Police who will then take some actions to free the kid and ask his parents about it but I do not know to this day if they did and what happened to that kid. Then one day I saw him in the market selling joss sticks while his father stood nearby keeping an eye on him. He had a cruel look on his face and perhaps it was he who had chained his son like a dog in his house but why?
We were also shocked at the abject poverty in which the kid lived so perhaps his parents could not afford to send him to school so made him sell a few things in the market at his tender age. This is the story of millions of Muslims who have remained poor and without education because they had other priorities like survival. One classmate who one day came with a shirt that his mother had hand stitched entirely for him made us gasp because we had never seen such a beautifully hand stitched shirt before but it also signified poverty among the Muslims.
The politicians have always treated the Muslims as their vote bank by telling them that only they can look after their needs but failed to do so because it was a political gimmick to get their votes so the Muslims now feel that they have been deceived by the people who they voted for.
But it was not always this way. Netaji Bose was the first national leader who made no distinction between people based on their religion and welcomed all to join his Indian National Army ( INA) to fight the British and make India free so thousands of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians joined INA and fought together to oust the British and some 26000 died doing so. The survivors who are now over 90 years old ,feeble and poor shed tears remembering how great a leader was Bose who gave them self-respect and dignity and called them all to fight for a cause so people from all religions , caste and creed responded.
But the seed of division was sown by some extremely greedy politicians who wanted power in the post independent India so chose to divide people on the basis of religion and separated India into three parts in 1947 that led to Hindus fleeing East Pakistan and West Pakistan in large numbers that got them massacred in the hands of rabble Muslims. They were encouraged by their political leaders and Mullahs to get rid of all Hindus from Pakistan. Hindus in India then took revenge on the Muslims thus creating the barrier and mistrust that we as children saw and I write about today. Indian lives lost in the struggle for freedom and the consequent massacres in large scale proves that Gandhi’s non violent struggle was a blatant lie that the world still believes in.
When I left India at the age of 22, I saw for the first time how Muslims lived in other countries and how they were in no way any different from others. They treated me so well in Algeria where they invited me to their homes and fed me sumptuous meals during the Id festival. I have already written about how they invited me in seeing that I was getting wet in the rain on the road to Mascara near Mostaganem. Nobody had poisoned their heart against the Hindus the way the crooked politicians had done in India and use them as their vote bank for selfish gains.
It was a group of Palestinian boys who found me a trattoria in Sienna, Italy one day and a Pakistani gentleman in Sudan had given me shelter in his home one night so I began to realize that all people no matter what religion they follow are simply people with same aspirations as anyone else and dream of a peaceful and prosperous life no matter where they live. I have shared meals with them and their hospitality in many countries outside India but in my home country people still live separate lives.
Now for the first time in India a new leader has emerged who has said that all Indians deserve the education, jobs and prosperity irrespective of caste, creed, color, race and religion so that the country as a whole can move forward and make progress. Muslims were so surprised by this declaration that they at first thought that it was too good to be true but soon realized that in New India there was room for everybody where anyone can make progress and come out of poverty.
For the first time they were told that the Hindus are not their enemies but are their brothers and sisters who do not look down on them. They saw for the first time that the government is helping the poor people everywhere by bringing electricity to all villages and building farm to market roads, by building millions of toilets in the villages, by giving poor farmers debt relief, by providing subsidized cooking gas to the poor people, by making universal health care a reality, by giving everyone free medical insurance worth Rs. 500000, by giving low interest loans to people to open their own business, by guaranteeing a good market price for the farm-produce and reserving 10% of all jobs for the minorities like the Muslims.
Muslim women for the first time were called sisters by the Prime Minister of the country who promised them to repeal their hateful practice of Triple Talaq rule that any Muslim man can use to divorce his wife and throw her out as a destitute. They were in tears of disbelief when this law was passed in the parliament because no one had ever thought of helping the poor divorced Muslim women this way.
There was a Hindu lady social worker in Lucknow who freed the Muslim women embroiders from virtual slavery and abject poverty and from the clutches of the exploitative agents who were making these poor women blind from the hard work of embroidery , paying them pittance and making huge profit from their exquisite work. Please read my blog : The pride and strife of embroiders of Lucknow. ( power point )
This had never happened before so slowly the Muslims have begun to understand that now there is a government that is not dividing them just because they are Muslims but actually helping them come out of their poverty through numerous schemes that are providing them education, jobs and business opportunities.
Slowly they are beginning to support the new government in increasingly larger numbers although the hate mongering is still fashionable among many who have not supported the new Government and continue to support the old politicians who still use them as their vote bank and continue to make fake promises to them.
So I see now a change in the offing that is slowly starting to transform India into a more progressive and prosperous country where more and more people from all sections of the society are coming to join the ever growing middle class because the government is determined to help everyone and treating people of all religions equally creating an inclusive society for all.
The Ram mandir issue :
When Baber destroyed a Hindu temple to build a mosque in Ayodhya some 600 years ago, he laid the foundation of hatred between the Hindus and Muslims that his successors to his throne kept alive by their large scale destruction of thousands of Hindu temples. They converted Hindus to Islam by force and killed wholesale those who resisted thus creating the large Muslim population that it has become now.
Then one day, thousands of Hindus went to Ayodhya and partially demolished the Mosque so that they could build the temple of Ram there but hundreds died in the process when the police opened fire on them. Ram is a Hindu God who was born in Ayodhya and is venerated by hundreds of millions of Indians.
But many Muslims opposed it that led to the intervention of the Supreme Court where the matter stagnates. Now many Muslims say that it was wrong for the Mughals to destroy the Hindu temples so they will help the Hindus re build the temple at the same spot and help correct a historic wrong.
The future as I see it:
There has been a drastic change in the attitude of many Muslims and countries like Saudi Arabia and Quatar among others are helping build Hindu temples there which was unthinkable a few years ago. When Geeta was translated into Arabic, it sold hundreds of thousands of copies in Saudi Arabia in a short time showing that the Muslims there have the thirst to know Hindu scriptures like Geeta. This is a bitter pill for the fanatic mullahs to swallow but times are changing that brings better understanding between the Hindus and Muslims.
But dividing people on religious grounds and their political affinity has been in fashion in many countries where the politicians try to gain their advantage by labeling people by their race, color, religion, ethnicity etc. Hitler declared that only the white Germans were blue blooded and of pure Aryan descent while the rest were impure people not worth being called Germans. This group included the Jews, many minorities and Gypsies who were brought to the concentration camps to be gassed.
Many political parties in many countries thrive on the notion of white supremacy so they look down on their citizens who are not white or of a different political persuasion creating many difficulties for them. The rise of hate crime against the nonwhites and recent immigrants is a result of homophobia that their political leaders promote.
The discrimination based on one’s religion, race and skin color is an old practice in many parts of the world even today but people are waking up and are demanding equal rights for themselves that does not sit well with some politicians. Could anyone believe that a black man with a name like Barack Hussein Obama will become the President of the United States? But he did that shows that people are changing and voted for him based on merit only.
This is also happening now in India where Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians alike are voting for a Hindu who wants to change fundamentally the country so that all people can live there in peace and harmony and all can participate in the growth of the country. He has not seen people as Hindus and Muslims but Indians first just like the great national leader Netaji Bose long ago and is working hard to unite the people under one nation, one flag, one rule of law for all and equal opportunities for all so that everyone can improve his life.
The fanatic mullahs will not be pleased because it will dilute their prominence in dividing people when Muslims ignore hate and embrace love for all but I see the change taking place right now in India and am very optimistic that it will one day emerge as the great nation where people irrespective of their caste or religion will live in peace and greater prosperity than they had ever imagined possible.
I can see the unity in diversity in India and hope that other nations will emulate this trend and work on it to make racism, intolerance and prejudice a thing of the past like slavery and fanaticism.
The diversity is akin to different flowers in the same garden, each beautiful in its own way and should be appreciated. May be India will show the way.
Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography:
Source : Google photo of Machiavelli
Synopsis : We now see so much acrimony in politics that holds no bar in defaming the opposition in crude and unsubstantiated allegations that makes me think of Machiavelli. The fight for power has always been like war where no rules apply so the politicians throw away all that is decent and resort to dirty politics. I would like to think that Machiavellian politics should be condemned and relegated to the dustbin of history so that people can fight for election within rules and decency.
Niccolò Machiavelli, (born May 3, 1469, Florence, Italy—died June 21, 1527, Florence), Italian Renaissance political philosopher and statesman, secretary of the Florentine republic, whose most famous work, The Prince (Il Principe), brought him a reputation as an atheist and an immoral person.
Machiavelli wrote a long time ago what it took to win in politics that today many politicians have taken to heart and take his advice as the road map to success. What the common people ignore is the fact that the politics of winning has no moral base or guidelines so yesterday’s opponent becomes an ally and today’s ally may become tomorrow’s nemesis.
We hear of the great Indian election underway now that will decide who will be the leader to lead a nation of over 1.3 billion souls and whether or not he or she will become a great leader to make the development a priority or a bad leader who will fill his pockets to get very rich quickly and let the country down.
We see again and again how the bad people get to the top by making fake promises they have no intention to keep just to get the votes and then becoming extremely arrogant once they are elected. Then they are surrounded by security goons with dark glasses and automatic weapons who keep people away as far as possible.
So the people who voted the politician into power feel let down because now the same politician makes threats and intimidates people who have not voted for him and insults them with deprecating words just because they voted of their own free will.
I always see the baby kissing politicians with fake smile shaking hands with the would be voters to impress them but in reality the same person hides his dark secrets from them to project only the fake side of him to win their votes and support. It reminds me of the woman who married Duvalier in Haiti and was a person of low moral character but said that she will get even with her detractors after her marriage which she did by ruining them when she got married to an equally bad person. Many politicians do the same and become vengeful once they get elected toward those who did not support them.
Machiavelli said that in politics people make strange bed fellows to serve their interest and will go to any length to gain power and stay there because power is very addictive and gives such a person the opportunity to abuse it with impunity. No one can bring a dictator to the International court of Justice for killing thousands of innocent people who never meant any harm to anyone because he is not answerable to anyone for what he does. Idi Amin, Mobutu and Mugabe are some names that come to my mind.
In the days of kings and queens, it was routine to see the bloody struggle to gain or retain power. Aurangjeb killed his half-brothers and jailed his father Shah Jehan, the emperor so that he could ascend the throne but such tactics were common since the ancient times.Genghis Khan killed his fierce opponent to become the sole ruler and Cleopatra had her half-brother killed to gain power and favor in the eyes of Julius Caesar. Shaka Zulu had all his opponents executed so that he could become the most powerful of Zulu rulers but in the end he too was killed by his own trusted generals who disagreed with him. Jalal Uddin Mohamed aka Akber challenged his fierce opponent to a one to one duel with the winner take all deal to avoid mass killings by two armies. His opponent was defeated and sent to exile showing magnanimity in Akber. But he was also known for his cruelty toward his opponents.
So the power game has always been brutal where the most cunning and ruthless person prevailed by eliminating all opposition one way or the other. Machiavelli simply put into words and action on how the modern struggle for power can be played through cunning, careful planning and often outright deceit because he said that there is no morality in the game of power struggle so the means should justify the end result.
We are now in the age of democracy where the common people are empowered to vote and elect the government they want through their voting rights. It is fair to say that the voting rights were hard earned through bloodshed and revolutions in many countries while in others they are still fighting for such rights.
In some countries, people demonstrated in the streets in very large numbers to chase out the dictators like in Iran and Tunisia only to find the next government just as corrupt and brutal as the ones they chased out so a revolution fatigue sets in that encourages the bad people to rule once again.
So the people powered revolutions need a charismatic leader who has the power to move the masses against the status quo so such leaders emerge during a period of crisis in a country like what has just happened in Sudan where women took the lead to force out a longtime dictator. But it takes great courage to stand up against a ruthless dictator because such courageous people end up beaten or dead. In other countries the power vacuum is quickly filled by the hard core fundamentalists who then become the dictators.
There is a basic premise that all people no matter where they live want freedom from oppression and fear, freedom to choose the government they want, freedom of expression and an independent judiciary that becomes an institution and pillar of democracy. They want an army and police force that is apolitical and serves under the democratically elected civilian government but these are high goals to achieve even in a modern democratic country like India although it must be said the Indians do enjoy their right to vote and choose their government, a free press, an independent judiciary and the armed forces that are subservient to the civilian elected government.
I write about India because they are in the process of electing their new government through massive voting, the results of which will be announced shortly. The election process although largely fair and peaceful has seen some poll related violence where people have been killed or injured due to political differences between parties that are fighting for their share of electoral votes and will stop at nothing to get them.
Source : Google photo of Josef Goebbels , the Nazi propaganda minister
One method used by the Nazis was to appoint a propaganda minister called Josef Goebbels whose sole job was to create propaganda films, publish articles in the media to favor their party and through mass meetings where only the Nazi party was allowed to sing their own praise. Today many politicians do the same by making fake promises to gain voters, publish news articles in the media to show them in a good light and by paying corrupt newspaper editors and TV journalists to sing their praise.
We are now in the era of smart phone technology in the hands of common people so spreading fake news and misleading information is easier than one can imagine. Gullible people who are predisposed to believe fake news especially if they favor one candidate over others then help spread the fake news by using the share button creating a tsunami of fake news that starts to exert its influence in the minds of people. Imagine what Goebbels could do if he had such technology in 1933?
What is interesting is the fact that the politics in any country attracts those people who are morally, psychologically ,intellectually and in many other ways unfit to run for higher office. Some are outright felons with many cases pending against them for bribery, dishonesty, criminal activities and such but they promote themselves as the most viable candidates giving credence to the notion that in any society the scum always floats to the top.
It is more so in the politics where the voice of honest people who may become the leaders if the voting is fair and impartial is drowned out in the fierce debates where the corrupt and incompetent people shout most insults at their opponents and encourage their supporters at their political rallies to beat or harass people who do not support them. We see this sort of behavior in many countries now.
The Nazis did the same but the ascent of Nazis to power was due to the vacuum created after the First World War and the unjust Versailles treaty that imposed heavy penalty on the German people thus creating great resentment and a desire in them to change their government so they opted for a strong leader like Hitler. Hitler explained it in his book Mein Kampf quite well.
This is no longer the case now. The politicians are now fighting with each other to win the election by any means even if the incumbent government is doing an excellent job of governing the country.
The analogy with a tradesman is quite apt here. If you call a carpenter or a mason or plumber or just about anyone to repair something in your house, he will always find something to criticize the previous tradesman. It is the same in the realm of politics where an aspiring candidate will always find something to criticize an elected official even if he is doing a great job.
One reason why some people feel jealousy is because they think that they are better than others and can do a better job. Students get jealous of their smart classmates, women get jealous of someone who is selected as the beauty queen, people get jealous of their office mates who are promoted ahead of them and the politicians get jealous of others who are doing a good job as the leaders of their nations.
Machiavelli used this dark nature in people to get to where he wanted to be and succeeded because he was totally amoral, an atheist and without any scruples so his writings still inspire immoral and dishonest people who say that any means to justify the end is fair because fighting for power is like a war where all is fair and permissible.
But in a true democracy, people are expected to adhere to the rule of law and practice what is fair and legal but how many do? You have heard of the Watergate scandal but in many so called democracies there are the “gates” that one side or the other has used to discredit their opponents. A good propagandist says that if a candidate is clean and honest, invent some dirt on him and repeat the lies until some people start to believe in them. This is very Machiavellian in concept.
I believe that the good and honest people must come forward in a democracy where they can be recognized on their own merit and not through propaganda. They must be supported to win their fight to be elected so that they can govern their country in a just and equitable way where all people irrespective of their caste, color, race, religion and ethnicity are treated equally, where the development is for everybody and where no one is discriminated using any parameter.
There should be no tolerance for corrupt, incompetent , dishonest , immoral people without conscience in the politics anywhere no matter what Machiavelli said because it is only when the good people take charge of their country, they can move forward and make development for all a priority. But this can only happen when the voters are educated and wise in choosing their leaders.
This can happen in many ways. One is not to support fake news and delete them from all social media and newspapers or TV channels. Support your candidate based on merit and not anything else. Judge him by what he has accomplished and not by his fake promises that he has never fulfilled. Expose corrupt people and do not vote for them. Remember that bad people thrive in politics because they get some support in terms of votes so do not give them the chance to win so that they won’t steal your money and enrich themselves.
There is some truth in saying that you get the government you deserve but no one deserves a bad government. It happens because the good people are defeated by the bad people through propaganda and Machiavellian tactics so wake up and elect people based on honesty and their merit.
If a country wants to make progress, it has to start at the ballot. A wrong choice can set you back by decades. The power struggle does not have to be Machiavellian to succeed. It needs to be fair, balanced and honest so that people can choose the right person to lead them.
Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography: