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Islam and Pluralism ( 12 March 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Why are Indian Ulema Baying for Maulana Mahmood Madani's blood?

If anyone ever needed a proof of the total bankruptcy of ideas among the Indian Muslim Ulema and Urdu media, this is it. These people are not just irrelevant, idiotic, raving lunatics. They are dangerous. They are leading the Muslim community deeper and deeper by the day into a quagmire. They are even quoting verses from the Quran and sayings of the Prophet from Ahadees in their bid to prove that Islam is a religion inimical to and disrespectful of all other religions and does not allow Muslims to even read other religious scriptures. This in a religion whose Holy Book mentions the word prophet (in singular, denoting Prophet Mohammad) only thrice while mentioning prophets (in plural, denoting spiritual founders of other religions) scores of time and makes it an essential article of faith for Muslims to believe in all the 1, 24,000 prophets who were sent before our prophet, all of them with holy revealed books thus making all their followers People of the Book, deserving of special consideration and best or relations including marital relations with Muslims. YOU JUST CANNOT BE A MUSLIM, ACCORDING TO THE HOLY QURAN, IF YOU DON’T BELIVE IN ALL PREVIOUS PROPHETS AND GIVE THEM THE SAME STATUS AS PROPHET MOHAMMAD (PBUH). New Age Islam presents below a full transcript (Courtesy: India Today) of Maulana Mahmood Madani as well as Dalai Lama’s speeches, so that the Muslim community, or the sensible among us, can judge for ourselves the real situation.

Has Maulana Madani really gone beyond the pale of Islam by praising His Holiness the Dalai Lama? Did the Dalai Lama speech deserve the encomiums it received from the Maulana? 

Sultan Shahin, Founder-Editor, New Age Islam

 

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-pluralism/why-are-indian-ulema-baying-for-maulana-mahmood-madani-s-blood?-/d/1243

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Transcript of address by Maulana Mahmood Madani, former Gen Secy, Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind

 

The Dalai Lama made some valuable suggestions in the first session. If we follow them, it will mean a solution to 90 per cent of our current problems.

 

Today’s subject is what is the role of religion? In fact, the greatest problem is terrorism, which is a fact. And terrorism is giving a bad name to it. Today’s topic has changed from religion to Islam. But the crux of the problem is that terrorism is being used for political gains. People are using religion for political gains.

 

Who has been maligned by this? Religion, or plainly speaking, Islam. On the other side are those who have started the war on terror. It has its speakers, writers and fighters and they too have targeted Islam. One of the speakers said terrorism cannot be fought because there is no weapon to prevent suicide bombers. But I feel responsible people should neither lose hope nor show pessimism.

 

Some of us are putting up resistance against those who cause terror as well as those who are fighting it. Both—people who are causing terror as well as those who have started the war on terror—are helping breed terrorism. I meet people who disdain my appearance, especially my turban, my beard and my dress. To them, I am the symbol of a terrorist. Branding a particular appearance as terrorist or jihadi is helping terrorists achieve their nefarious designs.

 

A terrorist should never be called a jihadi. Jihad is mandatory for every Muslim as enshrined in the Quran but we will have to differentiate between jihad and terrorism. Jihad is being given a wrong connotation—shedding blood, indiscriminate killing, suicide bombing—and this has boosted the morale of the terrorists. Opposition to terrorism is the greatest jihad which is incumbent on every Muslim. We are also struggling to save the image of Islam and its misuse by vested interests.

 

I could not understand fully what Irshad Manji had said therefore I don’t know how to react. I hold madarsas is high esteem. I know of an organisation that runs 3,000 madarsas and another 12,000 are associated with it but these are an asset to India as well as Indian Muslims.

 

I am asked on television whether I love Islam or my country more. This is a tough question. If I say Islam, they call me unpatriotic. I am always asked to prove my loyalty to either Islam or to India. Now I say, I have two eyes and you should tell me I keep and which I should give away. But I give preference to my religion which has inculcated in me the spirit to lay down my life for the sake of my motherland.

 

Islam respects women but Muslims do not follow that. At the same time, Islam does not have casteism as well as parochialism but our society still practices it.

 

I regard India as a magnificent country and the best country for Muslims on this planet. We have a pluralistic society which is why India has spread the message of a civilised society. Our culture inspires us to love, not hate.

 

Women have different roles to play in a society and it is a known fact that if women are literate that community will remain literate. But women today face two cultures—one that raises the banner of advancement by creating nudity and the other that seeks to imprison them by curbing their rights. I feel women should be given the freedom to do what they want to do.

 

Transcript of Q&A session with Irshad Manji, Maulana Mahmood Madani and S. Gurumurthy

 

Akbar (moderator): ...that was raised to Maulana Mohammad. Ali and he gave this answer in 1925 after the Khilafat movement. And I must say I was so happy to hear about gender bias, I say this to audiences which are predominantly Muslim when I get an opportunity to address them and I am very pleased that at his last conference about seven thousand Maulvis were there in Hyderabad when he was launching his continued effort to explain and challenge the philosophy of terrorism which he is doing all over the country, he asked me to speak and there I thought it more important.

 

And I keep telling my fellow Indian Muslims that if you do not eliminate gender bias in your society, you are not going to enter the 19th century - who is inviting you into the twenty-first? You are just not going to get it. And in fact it is a very valid point that he made that it is really the struggle for modernity that we are facing. I know the Pakistani High Commissioner is here, but I will beg his pardon, because I do want to make a point which I hope you will not take amiss - I do believe it very strongly so therefore I am making it, not in the purpose of nationalism but I hope with a little more, let us say, less emotional objectivity.

 

What is the difference between India and Pakistan? Indians and Pakistanis are the same people, they have same strengths, same weaknesses. I believe, it is my view, that we have moved in different trajectories because the idea of India is stronger than the Indian and the idea of Pakistan is weaker than the Pakistani. That is the basis. And what is it?

 

Basically, I believe that India was fashioned around a modern idea which is built around, what might be called, three equalities and one equity.  Three equalities being equal political right, democracy - one vote, one person, religious rights - secularism, irrespective of your religion you are equal before the law, number three - gender equality, critical, gender equality is critical for the creation of a modern society, and fourth economic equity - you cannot have economic equality that is an absurdity, but economic equity over and over again our various government, successive governments have actually fashioned economic policy with a view that there can growth without social justice, there cannot be.

 

So, this is what makes us a modern state and I do not really believe that faith is sufficient glue for the creation of a nation.  If any faith, if for example Islam was sufficient for creation of nationhood, why would there be twenty-two Arab countries?  As simple as that, however, I know nobody is asking for the revocation of the two nations but I think it may still make sense for the revocation of what might be called the two nation theory.

 

Finally one point that Guru you made about the cutting of trees. No author can ever resist an opportunity to plug his book. Right!  If you read the Shade of Swords, Hazrat Abu Bakr who was the first Khalifa to send out army, right, he defined the ten rules of Jihad.  Rule number eight or seven is very clear, seven is that you cannot kill innocents and so on that is well known and well advertised.  Rule number eight that you cannot destroy palm trees, that you cannot destroy trees; you cannot do what is called destruction of fields which is part of Koran philosophy.

 

You cannot touch anyone worshiping, even if it is idol worship and so on. So there are great things that we have to find in common, the point is what to find what is in common rather than to find what creates conflict.  And I think on that note may I, there is still time, may be take questions.  I am sure there are questions.  Please identify yourself.  I will have one request, which is not a request, please be brief and make it a question rather than a viewpoint. Remember that Uncle Aroon has invited only three speakers.

 

Irshad Manji: I must tell you that I don't consider myself a moderate Muslim at all. There is nothing moderate about my position. What I  am is a, mind it, reformed Muslim and it is a very important distinction that Americans, especially as they stumble over themselves to determine who is an extremist and who is moderate, I think the more important distinction to be made today is who is a moderate and who is a reformer.  Let me just quickly explain what I mean by this distinction.

 

Moderate Muslims certainly denounce violence that takes place under the banner of Islam.  In many cases, public opinion has pushed them to do so. But the problem is they still deny the role that religion plays in inciting the very violence that is committed in religion's name.  You will often hear the next time a bombing or a beheading takes place, an Islamist group claims credit for this, you will often hear moderate Muslims say - no, no, please don't misunderstand, Islam has nothing to do with this.

 

Not only is this dishonest, as many of the terrorists themselves prove, when they quote from scriptures, okay, not only is it dishonest, but it is dangerous, because in their denial moderate Muslims in effect hand over the opportunity for reinterpretation to those with already malignant intentions.  In effect moderate Muslims say, "you terrorist get to walk away with the show, we are not going to come back at you with bold and competing reinterpretations - we can't, because if we did, then we will be acknowledging that religion does really play a role".

 

And we can't go there since Islam is perfect.  We reform minded Muslims, who are in a much smaller vocal category, we say - hold on, we must go there.  Just as liberal Jews and liberal Christians had reinterpreted their violent passages for a brand new context, we have to do the same.  And reinterpretation is not the same as re-writing.  As a matter of fact, the Kuran itself contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to think and analyze and reflect instead of versus that tell us only what is right or only what is wrong.  In other words, three times as many verses promoting 'Ichdihat' than verses promoting blind submission.  So by that calculation alone, I believe Sir, reformed minded Muslims are at least as authentic as the moderate mainstream and quite possibly more constructive. Thank you.

 

Question: My name is Dinesh Trivedi. Evidently there is so much of light out here, the light of knowledge, yet there is so much of darkness outside.  My question is, is this terror purely money and business oriented or is conflict of civilization?

 

Answer (Gurumurthy): See, it is a mix of both.  The war on terror is as bad, as Dr. Madani said, Jihad itself.  And there is a mix up of so many things - geo-politics, money, economic interests, personal prejudices and so you are absolutely right there is a civilizational dimension as well as political and economic dimension.  But, the more important thing which I tried to emphasize, may be in a lighter vein I distinguished, how some religions have been able to avoid this kind of situation in which the monotheistic faith have landed themselves.

 

See single god religions have to be more careful. A multi-god religion like Hindu religion, you know, we made peace between gods, got them married or whatever and ensured that gods lived in peace. The monotheistic faith have allowed their gods to clash.  It is purely failure of interpretation according to me. No god can clash with other gods.  He can only try to see my flock is retained with myself.

 

So I think there is a tremendous failure of religious failure in monotheistic faith and more in Islam and to that extent I agree with my fellow panelist Irshad Manji that there is a failure of leadership and what requires, and I wouldn't exactly use the word 'reformed' because it is not a very good word in these days because economic reforms have thoroughly failed, and so I would like to use the word 'introspection' instead of reform.  Every religion needs introspection.  Every segment of a religion needs introspection and every leader and faithful needs introspection.

 

Maulana Mahmood Madani: Me is bare mein kehna chahonga ki Guruji ne jo bat kahi hai who, partially me use agree karta hoon, ki yakinan apna muhasba hame khud karna chahiye aur sab mazab walon ko iske bare me dekhna chahiye, karna chahiye aur kiya bi jata raha hai, lekin reinterpretation ka jo issue hai, who bhi bilkul hona chahiye.  Usse bhi mein agree karta hoon ki reinterpretation bhi hona chahiye, lekin mein isse agree nahi karta hoon ki reinterpretation kaun karega.  Yahan par masla khada ho jayega ki reinterpretation kaun karega.  Hamare yahan bahut sare legal problem aati hain to uske bare mein legal opinion li jati hain, Soli Sorabji ko pucha jaata hain - Mehmood Madani ko koyi nahin puchta uske bare mein na.  Nahin puchta na?  Kay Sanjay Dutt election lad sakte hai ya nahi lad sakte, mujhse nahin pucha jata hai.  To baat yeh hai ki jo logon ki jo field hai, us field ke logon ko usmein kaam karna chahiye aur jaroor karna chahiye.

 

M.J. Akbar: Just one point. The three major monotheistic faiths - Christianity or Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one thing in common, they have the same God.

 

Question: You know I was wondering listening to all of you, what would be the final aim of, if I may say, the top management of terrorism? The people down, they use perhaps religion to make good people into terrorist, so they feel that alright if you do this you will go to heaven so people at the lower rungs what they do I can understand, but the real managers or the management of terrorism, what do they want and do they think they will succeed? Bombay saw about two hundred people dead, the papers mentioned that they were aiming at five thousand people to be there. Even if that had happened and what then, but if that happened do you think the terrorist would have earned whatever was ruling of a nation or capturing of a nation? What is it that the terrorist wanted?

 

Answer (Gurumurthy): For the terrorist, terror is an advertisement, it is a public relation campaign, it is a motivational exercise. This is where Bush went wrong. He made terrorist larger than they are, more powerful than they are, more motivated than they are.  The hatred against Bush transformed into motivation for terror.  We should never handle terror that way.  The most important way of handling terror is for people here who accrue higher positions in the society to understand that you cannot tackle terror purely by modernity. Modernity is one of the targets of terror.

 

So we must understand the actual ground level reality and try to think of it. Actually, I find layers and layers of differences. So my feeling is a very powerful sustained dialogue is needed.  And I found, probably Maulana Madani is one of the most important personalities of "Orthodox Islam". But I don't find any difficulty in talking to him.  Both of us understand religion.  Only those who understand religion, religious sentiments, can have the dialogue. We must promote dialogue between religions - honest dialogue, sincere dialogue, not false dialogue that all religions are same. They are not same.

 

All religions have the same goal - they don't have the same goal.  They don't have the same methods.  But all religions must learn to live together is the principle.  That is the only way by which we can get over this menace, I entirely agree with Doctor sahab that we are promoting terrorists when we club them with Islam.  But I would certainly say that Islamic scholars like him must come out and clarify that non believers in Islam do not mean Kafirs. Generally non-believer is a Kafir.

 

You ask a Hindu, he will say a Christian according to him is a believer; a Muslim according to him is a believer, only the person who doesn't believe in any religion, a Hindu will consider him a non-believer. But a non-believer in Islam is considered to be a 'non-believer', then the problem arises. That is what I told him before we came here and that is my appeal to him.  If this concept is accepted all the space which the terrorist want to occupy is denied to them.

 

M.J. Akbar: 'Lakun De Nakun Velyadin" - very important and basic principle of the Koran, your religion for you and my religion for me. As simple. That is the best definition of secularism. We don't impose upon each other.  May I just in answer to that have one sentence? One of the purposes of top management, that was really a very good question, is to destroy alternative models of society through chaos with your inability to defend yourself.  So each time it is a major test.

 

Question (Mohini): My question is to Madani Sahab. Religion is a personal affair. It is my personal relationship with my god. That is it. Why should any Mullah or any Sankaracharya or the Akal Takht or the Pope in Rome tell me what sort of relationship I should have with my God? Apne kaha ki kisi religious leader to precepts lay down karne hain. I don't accept that. Can you convince me?

 

Answer (Madani): Dekhiye baat yeh hain ki, yeh baat bilkul sahi hai ki kisi ko, kisi ke saath zabardasti karne ka koi hak nahin hain. Lekin jab ham ek society mein rahte hain to hamari ek us society ko jo hum munasib samajhte hain - hamse sawal kiya jar aha hein ki ye Jihad ho raha hain, ab Jihad ke bare me bataye ki kya hai yeh.  Yeh Jihad hai?  Hum kehte hain Jihad nahin hain yeh fasad hain.  Kehte hain na!  Aur usko log pasand bhi karte hain, kyonki woh zarorat hai, woh zarorat hai is waqt ki hame kehne hai, ladna hain un logon se joh Jihad ke naam par fasad faila rahain hain.  Asi hi doosere issues par bhi, jisko sahi lage maan lo, nahi sahi lage mat maano.  Zabardasti toh kuch hein nahin isme.  To joh bhi mazhab ho, jaise kal Dalai Lama Sahab the, woh compassion ki baat karte theh, love ki baat karte theh, aur bahut sari baatein unhon-ne kari.  Kisi ko achcha lagega bilkul manega, kisi ko achcha nahin lagega to woh apne dil mein hate leke baithega - ki hame hate hain aur hate mein hi rahna hai.

 

To hain bhi hate wale log duniya mein.  Yeh apni apni choice kit baat hain.  Hum to bata sakte hain ki duniya ko modernization ki tarafh is taraf lejane wale log bahut bada challenge ban ke hain.  Hamari civil society break ho rahi hain, tuth rahi hain.  Hamara joh Hindi mein kehte hain, English zaban mein to culture kahte hain, Urdu mein hum log tehzeeb kahte hain.  Hamari tehzeeb khatre mein hein.  Tehzeeb alag cheez hai, mazhab alag cheez hai.  Mazhab bilkul alag cheez hai - woh individual matter hain, bilkul sahi.  Lekin hamari ek tehzeeb hai, hamari ek society hain, India ki bhi apni ek tehzeeb hai - sanskriti, hamari sanskriti joh hain, hame usko bachana hai.  Hum modern ho jayen, bilkul ho jayen - apne kapdon se, apne khane pene se, lekin vichar se hamen modern nahin hona chahiye. Vichar hamara wahi rahna chahiye jo hamari sanskriti ne hame diya hain.  Yeh ek khayal hai, aapko nahin achcha lagta nahin maniyein.

 

Question (Mohini): Aap keh rehe the ki jo interpretation hain religion ka woh kisi Maulvi se, ya Akal Takht se aana chahiye.

 

Answer: Meine Maulvi se nahin kaha. Dekhiye, har cheez ka ek field hai.  Us field ka joh specialist ho usise aap karaiye.  Jho aadmi jis field ke baare me jaanta nahin, mein Indian Penal Code ke baare mein nahi jaanta, kuch pada nahin uske baare mein, meri who field nahin hai, to mujhse uske baare mein koyi bhi nahi poochtha.  Lekin dharam ke baare mein sab log sab se poochne lagte hain aur sab bolne lagte hain. Yeh problem aa jaati isme thodi se.

 

Question: I'am Anuradha from the SRM University. When a child is born, you know, the child is neither a Hindu or a Christian the child just takes the religion that the family follows. Later the child also has a choice to convert into the religion the child likes.  What is the significance of religion? How important are these interpretations to them?  Will our children become the victims of religion because we are not agreeing on a common understanding of what religion means to us.

 

Answer (Irshd Manji): If I may try to answer that very profound question and it is deep.  Something else that is deep today in this modern world is the sense of meaninglessness.  You know, we live in an age as everybody knows, of globalization and this relatively free movement of capital, of goods, of people, even of jobs what few exist now, but what it suggests is that people are thrown into chaos of their own.  And so many people around the world don't quite know who they are.

 

And so in a time of such aggressive fluidity it is easy for religion to become calcified to be source of absolutes and for people to cling and to be able to say through this I know who I am.

 

The problem with that notion of who I am is that it is actually not about who you are at all, it is about what you are.  Identity is only about what you are.  It is constructive, often in relation to the other - integrity, which is not identity.  Integrity is much more complex.  It takes into account your particular values, your personal narrative, your authentic journey in this world.

 

That I believe is one of the great transitions that we have both the opportunity and the challenge to make through our children, you know, in the years coming is that transition from identity into integrity and what are we teaching our children about integrity.  If anything, do we even use that word in our own languages?  Do we even understand that concept of homeness.

 

Because it allows us to be many contradictory things at once, whereas identity allows you to be only one thing at once and that reduces you as a multi-faceted human being to something far less than you actually are. And I wanted to springboard after that idea to quickly address the Gentleman's question about - what is it that the terrorist want?  I know sir, I remember very clearly that you were asking about the top tier management.  But my constituency is a relatively a young one.  In the people from whom I hear around the world are in their teens, in their twenties and in their thirties and many young fundamentalist actually do e-mail me, usually to berate me, but then I, you know, engage in conversation and I come to learn some of the insights about how they got to be where they are.

 

I must tell you I am amazed that this not reported in the media.  But I hear this over and over again from young radicalized Muslims in the West that they are not just fighting, what so many people say is the racism of their society - that is easy, that is a lazy answer, what they tell me is that they are also actually fighting what they call the tribalism within their own, Pakistani in many cases, I am thinking of the U.K. in particular or Bangladeshi communities in particular, where their elders are saying to them this is who you are - which is really to say what you really are, this who you are, this is where you belong, this is what you believe. No questions allowed. End of story.

 

And you know what, in this world of free movement of information these kids are not to be infantilized that way. Do we really think that they are that stupid?  Do we not realize that they are making decisions every single day as they navigate information and misinformation on the Internet. They feel utterly humiliated by their own and not just by their so-called outside oppressors. And so that makes them extremely vulnerable to anybody who preaches to them. And that is the power of religion.

 

Akbar:  Thank you very much. Must compliment India Today for putting together such an erudite panel.  Just by way of observation that is not a question, nothing official about it, for that I get plenty of opportunity otherwise, M.J. you talked about the two nation theory and very rightly said that what the two nations truly exist, that is a matter of fact, matter of history.  But as regards the theory itself, let me tell you that this is still the feeling in Pakistan - that this is the glue which keeps the people of Pakistan together.  But, I must also quickly add that this is in no way to suggest that on the average the people in Pakistan do not want good, better relations with India.

 

That is besides the point.  But the fact of the matter is that the two nation theory, you know, sixty plus years ago there was an idea, a realization - the two nations have come to stay, but at the same time as I have said there is a genuine desire on both sides, I believe, to improve relations with each other.  So that is about the two nation theory. Maulana Sahab aapne farmayah ki yahan aapko badhi pazerahi milti hai, yahan aapko badhi achi tarah se sunah jaata hain.  Mein aapko yakin dilate hoon ki aap Pakistan Tashreef layen, apko wahan bhi isi kisem se aapko haatho haath liya jayega, jis tarah yahan liya jaata hain.

 

Question (Aroon): I am Aroon uncle, Aroon Chacha. It seems to me that most of terrorism which is happening today is happening in the name of Islam for whatever reason. And it seems to me also that they are also winning this war in terms of hearts and minds. What is it specifically that the Panel would suggest for media, politics, society as a whole, that how do you counter it? I know it is a big large issue, people had said in our conclave that you know, it is poverty, it is discrimination and the war on terror creates its own reaction. But, I think that these are all a minority. How do we fight this war on terror as individual, physically. Theological debates can happen, but in the end we have to deal with this on the ground.

 

Answer (Madani): Media ke point of view se keh rahan hoon, Islamist terrorist ka labze bandh kardena chahiye, isseh uneh support milit hai. Jihadi kehna bandh kar dena chahiye, agar musalman hain to kaha jaye Muslim terrorist. Islamic na kahen. Islamic keh dene se woh baat wahan chali jaati hain ki ye unko support hain. Unko usseh alag karna hai.  Choteh se group mein unko sideline karna hai pure muslim ummah se aur Islamic world se.

 

Gurumurthy: Islamic scholars should be asked to deny that Hindus are Kafir. Second India is not Darul Harab. This should be unanimous opinion.  Not one institution saying it and others denouncing it. This is the only way you can win a theological test with terrorism. See you can never contain it by any other means - secular means, modern means, military means, political means are inadequate.  You have to get into the core of what is their claim over Islam. Their claim over Islam is that non-Muslims are non-believers, non-believers are not Muslims. You have to say non-believer means you don't believe in any religion. The Hindu position should be taken by Islamic scholars; that is the only answer and the entire intellectual establishment should demand it.

 

Madani: Dekhiye, Muslaman is mulk mein minority hain and minorities hi kafi chalta bhi hai uske hawale bahut sari baaten hoti hain, seedhi bhi or ulti bhi.  Mein manta hoon ki musalman is mulk ki second-largest majority hain aur musalman is mulk ka asset hain aur ushe asset banna hai, ushe mayus nahin hone dena hain, hopelessness usme paida nahi hone deni hain, usko mainstream me lana hain.

 

Yeh joh sawal aata hai baar baar, Musalman is mulk ko Darul Harab manta hai - achcha nahin mante ho to sabit karo, sab log mil karke fatwa do.  Isi tarah se kaha jaata hai, ke tum log kafir mante ho isliye problem.

 

Hum kahten hain hum kafir nahin mante hai isliye problem hai, uske bawajood bhi problem hai problem ke bahut sare sources hain.  Please gaddhe me mat dalo, deewar se mat lagao, aise kaam mat karo ki jisse logon mein hamesha yeh baat paeda rahe ki hum to mujrim hain. Terrorism pe humne shuruh kiya aur kafhi kuch kiya to kisi sahab ne mujhe kaha ki pahle fatwa lao tab manenge.  To hum fatwa le Aaye.  Ab kahene lage ki Darul Aman mano aur iska fatwa do.  Woh fatwa bhi leaye.  To ab sabh log mil kar ke kehane ke baad aur bhi kayi sawal khade ho gaye, log karte rahenge.

 

Irshad Manji: I haven't had a chance to answer that question. Very briefly, we talk about you know ensuring that various schools of Islamic thought can agree that Hindus are not Kafirs or infidels of any kind. This again inculcates the Islamic interfaith blessing for marriage the one that is translated into Hindi actually makes the case for why the Hindus are believers in a way that Muslims can accept, so for those of you who are interested there are some copies for you.

 

Aroon chacha you asked and again I am taking you literally, you asked what is it that individuals can do because we are talking big pictures concepts here, what is it that you can do?

 

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SESSION TERRORISM: Does Terror Have A Religion?

 

Transcript of session introduction by M.J. Akbar, Chairperson Journalist & Writer

Friends, welcome to the second day of the conclave, it’s a great pleasure to see so many eager faces at 8 o clock in the morning, for a subject that is not necessarily conducive to a good diet. I was just thinking that we are gathered here to discuss terror and its relationship to religion. One of the interesting facts about the country is that in the last 60 years, we have been uniquely privileged to have terrorists from every single religion of this country.

 

We have seen Christian terrorists in Nagaland supported, and I make this point very consciously, supported by Reverend Scott, a name that has been completely forgotten but, it is lying somewhere in history books, and I gather in the British intelligence archive. We have had Muslim terrorists all through in Kashmir and recently elsewhere. We have had Sikh terrorists in Punjab… and we have Hindu terrorists in ULFA and if you consider the Naxalite movement to have any religious inclination then there are Hindu terrorists all over the country. This much I will say of course for the Naxalites that they do not profess their religion. But still, the point is that, we have had through a diverse experience, and therefore I don’t believe that any of our faiths in India propagates, and advocates terrorism. Hinduism believes in non-violence, but the non-violence is not sacrosanct to Hinduism.

 

After all the two major epics of Hinduism are war epics, and any faith that has war epics cannot consider non-violence to be a sacrosanct type. It’s a preferred idea, not a sacrosanct idea. Christianity did not develop a war doctrine until after the institution of Christianity as a state faith, which is in 325-327 AD with the arrival of the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople. Islam has had a war doctrine from the time of Prophet Mohammed himself, because he embodied in himself not merely the arrival of the message, not only ‘deen’ but also ‘duniya’ which was the exercise of power of Imam of Madina, and eventually Imam of all the areas that came under Muslim dispensation.

 

It’s an interesting point that there is no jihad revealed to the Prophet as long as he was in Mecca as how he was prosecuted as long as he faced so long prosecution, that he was almost killed. It only came when he has to run the state, because as in Mahabharata & Ramayana it is impossible to run a state without a particular war doctrine. Islam I have actually, in order to make great clarity or perhaps encourage clarity, I have some time described as one of the good definition of jihad lies in Krishna’s sermon to Arjuna that there are moments when war is necessary to prevent chaos and disorder. You cannot let the world descend into disorder.

 

The Quran is very clear, I am sure Maulana will have more to say on this, he is certainly more learned than I am on this. The Quran is very clear that the killing of innocents is absolutely prohibited. Verse in chapter 5/Surah 5/ verse 32 is very clear, the Quran addresses, the children of Israel  and says very clearly that the killing of one innocent is akin to killing of the whole community and saving one life is akin to saving whole community.

 

This verse has always been very emotional and moving for me, because when you see an attack of terrorism, when you see innocents die, don’t you feel that something within you had died as well. There is a lot of misunderstanding also but when we discuss ‘secularism’ by those who look at India through Western lenses. The definition of secularism in the West is quiet substantively different from the definition of secularism in India. In the West, secularism has been defined largely by Voltaire and principally actually by a man who is being increasingly forgotten Karl Marx. It is really Communism which drove religion away from state in more substantive ways, right from the shores of Atlantic and Britain up to the shores of the Pacific in China.

 

It is huge social upheaval that took place through the 19th & 20th century, but then the West’s secularism is the separation of Church and state, which may have its advocates, it may be right and wrong. I am not doing the business of passing judgments but in our country this is quite different. Secularism is respect for the other’s faith, not separation of it. Basically I as a Muslim have no right to pass judgment on Hinduism. It is up to the Hindus to believe, in what he wants to believe. Similarly the Hindu has no right to pass judgment on what I conceive as heaven. It’s up to me. In fact there is something self delusional about imposing so much rationalism on faith which is essentially an irrational concept.

 

Faith is beyond reason, so I think there is a great deal that we can learn in a greater exchange between India and the West. Yes having suggested terrorist have very little to do with any religion. You know Buddhism is a most nonviolent faith that we all know, Christianity is the faith of the Sermon of the Mount when Jesus was turning the other cheek, Buddhism is the faith of Buddha, you go to Colombo airport, all you can see are the books of Buddhism, but hasn’t stop the Buddhist government from pounding the LTTE out of the ship. 

 

So every faith has its doctrine and I dare say every faith has its terrorist. There are Muslim terrorists, large number of them, but I offer you one thought why do you blame Islam for the sins of Muslims? We don’t go on blaming Christianity for George Bush? Do we? On that slightly seditious note, may I turn to very well-known author whose books really speak for herself and today we will ask Irshad to speak for herself rather than through her books.

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Transcript of address by Maulana Mahmood Madani, former Gen Secy, Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind

 

The Dalai Lama made some valuable suggestions in the first session. If we follow them, it will mean a solution to 90 per cent of our current problems.

 

Today’s subject is, what is the role of religion? In fact, the greatest problem is terrorism, which is a fact. And terrorism is giving a bad name to it. Today’s topic has changed from religion to Islam. But the crux of the problem is that terrorism is being used for political gains. People are using religion for political gains.

 

Who has been maligned by this? Religion, or plainly speaking, Islam. On the other side are those who have started the war on terror. It has its speakers, writers and fighters and they too have targeted Islam. One of the speakers said terrorism cannot be fought because there is no weapon to prevent suicide bombers. But I feel responsible people should neither lose hope nor show pessimism.

 

Some of us are putting up resistance against those who cause terror as well as those who are fighting it. Both—people who are causing terror as well as those who have started the war on terror—are helping breed terrorism. I meet people who disdain my appearance, especially my turban, my beard and my dress. To them, I am the symbol of a terrorist. Branding a particular appearance as terrorist or jihadi is helping terrorists achieve their nefarious designs.

 

A terrorist should never be called a jihadi. Jihad is mandatory for every Muslim as enshrined in the Quran but we will have to differentiate between jihad and terrorism. Jihad is being given a wrong connotation—shedding blood, indiscriminate killing, suicide bombing—and this has boosted the morale of the terrorists. Opposition to terrorism is the greatest jihad which is incumbent on every Muslim. We are also struggling to save the image of Islam and its misuse by vested interests.

 

I could not understand fully what Irshad Manji had said therefore I don’t know how to react. I hold madarsas is high esteem. I know of an organisation that runs 3,000 madarsas and another 12,000 are associated with it but these are an asset to India as well as Indian Muslims.

 

I am asked on television whether I love Islam or my country more. This is a tough question. If I say Islam, they call me unpatriotic. I am always asked to prove my loyalty to either Islam or to India. Now I say, I have two eyes and you should tell me I keep and which I should give away. But I give preference to my religion which has inculcated in me the spirit to lay down my life for the sake of my motherland.

 

Islam respects women but Muslims do not follow that. At the same time, Islam does not have casteism as well as parochialism but our society still practices it.

 

I regard India as a magnificent country and the best country for Muslims on this planet. We have a pluralistic society which is why India has spread the message of a civilised society. Our culture inspires us to love, not hate.

 

Women have different roles to play in a society and it is a known fact that if women are literate that community will remain literate. But women today face two cultures—one that raises the banner of advancement by creating nudity and the other that seeks to imprison them by curbing their rights. I feel women should be given the freedom to do what they want to do.

 

Maulana Mahmood Madani comes from a family of Islamic scholars. In his final year at Darul Uloom Deoband in 1992, the demolition of the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya affected him very deeply. Mahmood came out to aid the victims of the communal riots that followed. With supporters he surrounded the local police and administration offices, demanding immediate justice. After graduation from Darul Uloom Deoband, he took to business but still devoted time to social and political activities. His political career started with the Samajwadi Party and he became its National Secretary and central Council member. Subsequently, he joined the Congress. In 2004, he joined the RLD and is now a member of the Rajya Sabha from UP.

 

During the Gujarat earthquake, his relief and rehabilitation work brought him national recognition and he was elected as General Secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind from 2001 to 2008. He is now an executive member and regarded as its leader. His far-reaching recent achievement is in launching the countrywide anti-terrorist campaign and in getting the Deoband Clergy to pass a fatwa against terrorists. He organised 40 anti-terrorism conferences all over the country. The massive public gatherings in May 2008 at the Ramlila Grounds of Delhi and in November 2008 in Hyderabad have helped in mobilising the Muslim masses and Ulema against terrorism. – India Today.

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Transcript of Q&A session with Irshad Manji, Maulana Mahmood Madani and S. Gurumurthy

 

Akbar (moderator): ...that was raised to Maulana Mohd. Ali and he gave this answer in 1925 after the Khilafat movement. And I must say I was so happy to hear about gender bias, I say this to audiences which are predominantly Muslim when I get an opportunity to address them and I am very pleased that at his last conference about seven thousand Maulvis were there in Hyderabad when he was launching his continued effort to explain and challenge the philosophy of terrorism which he is doing all over the country, he asked me to speak and there I thought it more important.

 

And I keep telling my fellow Indian Muslims that if you do not eliminate gender bias in your society, you are not going to enter the 19th century - who is inviting you into the twenty-first? You are just not going to get it. And in fact it is a very valid point that he made that it is really the struggle for modernity that we are facing. I know the Pakistani High Commissioner is here, but I will beg his pardon, because I do want to make a point which I hope you will not take amiss - I do believe it very strongly so therefore I am making it, not in the purpose of nationalism but I hope with a little more, let us say, less emotional objectivity.

 

What is the difference between India and Pakistan? Indians and Pakistanis are the same people, they have same strengths, same weaknesses. I believe, it is my view, that we have moved in different trajectories because the idea of India is stronger than the Indian and the idea of Pakistan is weaker than the Pakistani. That is the basis. And what is it?

 

Basically, I believe that India was fashioned around a modern idea which is built around, what might be called, three equalities and one equity.  Three equalities being equal political right, democracy - one vote, one person, religious rights - secularism, irrespective of your religion you are equal before the law, number three - gender equality, critical, gender equality is critical for the creation of a modern society, and fourth economic equity - you cannot have economic equality that is an absurdity, but economic equity over and over again our various government, successive governments have actually fashioned economic policy with a view that there can growth without social justice, there cannot be.

 

So, this is what makes us a modern state and I do not really believe that faith is a sufficient glue for the creation of a nation.  If any faith, if for example Islam was sufficient for creation of nationhood, why would there be twenty-two Arab countries?  As simple as that, however, I know nobody is asking for the revocation of the two nations but I think it may still make sense for the revocation of what might be called the two nation theory.

 

Finally one point that Guru you made about the cutting of trees. No author can ever resist an opportunity to plug his book. Right!  If you read the Shade of Swords, Hazrat Abu Bakr who was the first Khalifa to send out army, right, he defined the ten rules of Jihad.  Rule number eight or seven is very clear, seven is that you cannot kill innocents and so on that is well known and well advertised.  Rule number eight that you cannot destroy palm trees, that you cannot destroy trees, you cannot do what is called destruction of fields which is part of Kuran philosophy.

 

You cannot touch anyone worshiping, even if it is idol worship and so on. So there are great things that we have to find in common, the point is what to find what is in common rather than to find what creates conflict.  And I think on that note may I, there is still time, may be take questions.  I am sure there are questions.  Please identify yourself.  I will have one request, which is not a request, please be brief and make it a question rather than a viewpoint. Remember that Uncle Aroon has invited only three speakers.

 

Irshad Manji: I must tell you that I don't consider myself a moderate Muslim at all. There is nothing moderate about my position. What I  am is a, mind it, reformed Muslim and it is a very important distinction that Americans, especially as they stumble over themselves to determine who is an extremist and who is moderate, I think the more important distinction to be made today is who is a moderate and who is a reformer.  Let me just quickly explain what I mean by this distinction.

 

Moderate Muslims certainly denounce violence that takes place under the banner of Islam.  In many cases, public opinion has pushed them to do so. But the problem is they still deny the role that religion plays in inciting the very violence that is committed in religion's name.  You will often hear the next time a bombing or a beheading takes place, an Islamist group claims credit for this, you will often hear moderate Muslims say - no, no, please don't misunderstand, Islam has nothing to do with this.

 

Not only is this dishonest, as many of the terrorists themselves prove, when they quote from scriptures, okay, not only is it dishonest, but it is dangerous, because in their denial moderate Muslims in effect hand over the opportunity for reinterpretation to those with already malignant intentions.  In effect moderate Muslims say, "you terrorist get to walk away with the show, we are not going to come back at you with bold and competing reinterpretations - we can't, because if we did, then we will be acknowledging that religion does really play a role".

 

And we can't go there since Islam is perfect.  We reform minded Muslims, who are in a much smaller vocal category, we say - hold on, we must go there.  Just as liberal Jews and liberal Christians had reinterpreted their violent passages for a brand new context, we have to do the same.  And reinterpretation is not the same as re-writing.  As a matter of fact, the Kuran itself contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to think and analyze and reflect instead of versus that tell us only what is right or only what is wrong.  In other words, three times as many verses promoting 'Ichdihat' than verses promoting blind submission.  So by that calculation alone, I believe Sir, reformed minded Muslims are at least as authentic as the moderate mainstream and quite possibly more constructive. Thank you.

 

Question: My name is Dinesh Trivedi. Evidently there is so much of light out here, the light of knowledge, yet there is so much of darkness outside.  My question is, is this terror purely money and business oriented or is conflict of civilization?

 

Answer (Gurumurthy): See, it is a mix of both.  The war on terror is as bad, as Dr. Madani said, Jihad itself.  And there is a mix up of so many things - geo-politics, money, economic interests, personal prejudices and so you are absolutely right there is a civilizational dimension as well as political and economic dimension.  But, the more important thing which I tried to emphasize, may be in a lighter vein I distinguished, how some religions have been able to avoid this kind of situation in which the monotheistic faith have landed themselves.

 

See single god religions have to be more careful. A multi-god religion like Hindu religion, you know, we made peace between gods, got them married or whatever and ensured that gods lived in peace. The monotheistic faith have allowed their gods to clash.  It is purely failure of interpretation according to me. No god can clash with other gods.  He can only try to see my flock is retained with myself.

 

So I think there is a tremendous failure of religious failure in monotheistic faith and more in Islam and to that extent I agree with my fellow panelist Irshad Manji that there is a failure of leadership and what requires, and I wouldn't exactly use the word 'reformed' because it is not a very good word in these days because economic reforms have thoroughly failed, and so I would like to use the word 'introspection' instead of reform.  Every religion needs introspection.  Every segment of a religion needs introspection and every leader and faithful needs introspection.

 

Maulana Mahmood Madani: Me is bare mein kehna chahonga ki Guruji ne jo bat kahi hai who, partially me use agree karta hoon, ki yakinan apna muhasba hame khud karna chahiye aur sab mazab walon ko iske bare me dekhna chahiye, karna chahiye aur kiya bi jata raha hai, lekin reinterpretation ka jo issue hai, who bhi bilkul hona chahiye.  Usse bhi mein agree karta hoon ki reinterpretation bhi hona chahiye, lekin mein isse agree nahi karta hoon ki reinterpretation kaun karega.  Yahan par masla khada ho jayega ki reinterpretation kaun karega.  Hamare yahan bahut sare legal problem aati hain to uske bare mein legal opinion li jati hain, Soli Sorabji ko pucha jaata hain - Mehmood Madani ko koyi nahin puchta uske bare mein na.  Nahin puchta na?  Kay Sanjay Dutt election lad sakte hai ya nahi lad sakte, mujhse nahin pucha jata hai.  To baat yeh hai ki jo logon ki jo field hai, us field ke logon ko usmein kaam karna chahiye aur jaroor karna chahiye.

 

M.J. Akbar: Just one point. The three major monotheistic faiths - Christianity or Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one thing in common, they have the same God.

 

Question: You know I was wondering listening to all of you, what would be the final aim of, if I may say, the top management of terrorism? The people down, they use perhaps religion to make good people into terrorist, so they feel that alright if you do this you will go to heaven so people at the lower rungs what they do I can understand, but the real managers or the management of terrorism, what do they want and do they think they will succeed? Bombay saw about two hundred people dead, the papers mentioned that they were aiming at five thousand people to be there. Even if that had happened and what then, but if that happened do you think the terrorist would have earned whatever was ruling of a nation or capturing of a nation? What is it that the terrorist wanted?

 

Answer (Gurumurthy): For the terrorist, terror is an advertisement, it is a public relation campaign, it is a motivational exercise. This is where Bush went wrong. He made terrorist larger than they are, more powerful than they are, more motivated than they are.  The hatred against Bush transformed into motivation for terror.  We should never handle terror that way.  The most important way of handling terror is for people here who accrue higher positions in the society to understand that you cannot tackle terror purely by modernity. Modernity is one of the targets of terror.

 

So we must understand the actual ground level reality and try to think of it. Actually, I find layers and layers of differences. So my feeling is a very powerful sustained dialogue is needed.  And I found, probably Maulana Madani is one of the most important personalities of "Orthodox Islam". But I don't find any difficulty in talking to him.  Both of us understand religion.  Only those who understand religion, religious sentiments, can have the dialogue. We must promote dialogue between religions - honest dialogue, sincere dialogue, not false dialogue that all religions are same. They are not same.

 

All religions have the same goal - they don't have the same goal.  They don't have the same methods.  But all religions must learn to live together is the principle.  That is the only way by which we can get over this menace, I entirely agree with Doctorsahab that we are promoting terrorists when we club them with Islam.  But I would certainly say that Islamic scholars like him must come out and clarify that non believers in Islam do not mean Kafirs. Generally non-believer is a Kafir.

 

You ask a Hindu, he will say a Christian according to him is a believer, a Muslim according to him is a believer, only the person who doesn't believe in any religion, a Hindu will consider him a non-believer. But a non-believer in Islam is considered to be a 'non-believer', then the problem arises. That is what I told him before we came here and that is my appeal to him.  If this concept is accepted all the space which the terrorist want to occupy is denied to them.

 

M.J. Akbar: 'Lakun De Nakun Velyadin" - very important and basic principal of the Koran, your religion for you and my religion for me. As simple. That is the best definition of secularism. We don't impose upon each other.  May I just in answer to that have one sentence. One of the purposes of top management, that was really a very good question, is to destroy alternative models of society through chaos with your inability to defend yourself.  So each time it is a major test.

 

Question (Mohini): My question is to Madani Sahab. Religion is a personal affair. It is my personal relationship with my god. That is it. Why should any Mullah or any Sankaracharya or the Akal Takht or the Pope in Rome tell me what sort of relationship I should have with my God? Apne kaha ki kisi religious leader to precepts lay down karne hain. I don't accept that. Can you convince me?

 

Answer (Madani): Dekhiye baat yeh hain ki, yeh baat bilkul sahi hain ki kisi ko, kisi ke saath zabardasti karne ka koi hak nahin hain. Lekin jab ham ek society mein rahte hain to hamari ek us society ko jo hum munasib samajhte hain - hamse sawal kiya jar aha hein ki ye Jihad ho raha hain, ab Jihad ke bare me bataye ki kya hai yeh.  Yeh Jihad hai?  Hum kehte hain Jihad nahin hain yeh fasad hain.  Kehte hain na!  Aur usko log pasand bhi karte hain, kyonki woh zarorat hai, woh zarorat hai is waqt ki hame kehne hai, ladna hain un logon se joh Jihad ke naam par fasad faila rahain hain.  Asi hi doosere issues par bhi, jisko sahi lage maan lo, nahi sahi lage mat maano.  Zabardasti toh kuch hein nahin isme.  To joh bhi mazhab ho, jaise kal Dalai Lama Sahab the, woh compassion ki baat karte theh, love ki baat karte theh, aur bahut sari baatein unhon-ne kari.  Kisi ko achcha lagega bilkul manega, kisi ko achcha nahin lagega to woh apne dil mein hate leke baithega - ki hame hate hain aur hate mein hi rahna hai.

 

To hain bhi hate wale log duniya mein.  Yeh apni apni choice kit baat hain.  Hum to bata sakte hain ki duniya ko modernization ki tarafh is taraf lejane wale log bahut bada challenge ban ke hain.  Hamari civil society break ho rahi hain, tuth rahi hain.  Hamara joh Hindi mein kehte hain, English zaban mein to culture kahte hain, Urdu mein hum log tehzeeb kahte hain.  Hamari tehzeeb khatre mein hein.  Tehzeeb alag cheez hai, mazhab alag cheez hai.  Mazhab bilkul alag cheez hai - woh individual matter hain, bilkul sahi.  Lekin hamari ek tehzeeb hai, hamari ek society hain, India ki bhi apni ek tehzeeb hai - sanskriti, hamari sanskriti joh hain, hame usko bachana hai.  Hum modern ho jayen, bilkul ho jayen - apne kapdon se, apne khane pene se, lekin vichar se hamen modern nahin hona chahiye. Vichar hamara wahi rahna chahiye jo hamari sanskriti ne hame diya hain.  Yeh ek khayal hai, aapko nahin achcha lagta nahin maniyein.

 

Question (Mohini): Aap keh rehe the ki jo interpretation hain religion ka woh kisi Maulvi se, ya Akal Takht se aana chahiye.

 

Answer: Meine Maulvi se nahin kaha. Dekhiye, har chees ka ek field hai.  Us field ka joh specialist hon ususe aap karaiye.  Jho aadmi jis field ke baare me jaanta nahin, mein Indian Penal Code ke baare mein nahi jaanta, kuch pada nahin uske baare mein, meri who field nahin hai, to mujhse uske baare mein koyi bhi nahi poochtha.  Lekin dharam ke baare mein sab log sab se poochne lagte hain aur sab bolne lagte hain. Yeh problem aa jaati isme thodi se.

 

Question: I'am Anuradha from the SRM University. When a child is born, you know, the child is neither a Hindu or a Christian the child just takes the religion that the family follows. Later the child also has a choice to convert into the religion the child likes.  What is the significance of religion? How important are these interpretations to them?  Will our children become the victims of religion because we are not agreeing on a common understanding of what religion means to us.

 

Answer (Irshd Manji): If I may try to answer that very profound question and it is deep.  Something else that is deep today in this modern world is the sense of meaninglessness.  You know, we live in an age as everybody knows, of globalization and this relatively free movement of capital, of goods, of people, even of jobs what few exist now, but what it suggests is that people are thrown into chaos of their own.  And so many people around the world don't quite know who they are.

 

And so in a time of such aggressive fluidity it is easy for religion to become calcified to be source of absolutes and for people to cling and to be able to say through this I know who I am.

 

The problem with that notion of who I am is that it is actually not about who you are at all, it is about what you are.  Identity is only about what you are.  It is constructive, often in relation to the other - integrity, which is not identity.  Integrity is much more complex.  It takes into account your particular values, your personal narrative, your authentic journey in this world.

 

That I believe is one of the great transitions that we have both the opportunity and the challenge to make through our children, you know, in the years coming is that transition from identity into integrity and what are we teaching our children about integrity.  If anything, do we even use that word in our own languages?  Do we even understand that concept of homeness.

 

Because it allows us to be many contradictory things at once, whereas identity allows you to be only one thing at once and that reduces you as a multi-faceted human being to something far less than you actually are. And I wanted to springboard after that idea to quickly address the Gentleman's question about - what is it that the terrorist want?  I know sir, I remember very clearly that you were asking about the top tier management.  But my constituency is a relatively a young one.  In the people from whom I hear around the world are in their teens, in their twenties and in their thirties and many young fundamentalist actually do e-mail me, usually to berate me, but then I, you know, engage in conversation and I come to learn some of the insights about how they got to be where they are.

 

I must tell you I am amazed that this not reported in the media.  But I hear this over and over again from young radicalized Muslims in the West that they are not just fighting, what so many people say is the racism of their society - that is easy, that is a lazy answer, what they tell me is that they are also actually fighting what they call the tribalism within their own, Pakistani in many cases, I am thinking of the U.K. in particular or Bangladeshi communities in particular, where their elders are saying to them this is who you are - which is really to say what you really are, this who you are, this is where you belong, this is what you believe. No questions allowed. End of story.

 

And you know what, in this world of free movement of information these kids are not to be infantilized that way. Do we really think that they are that stupid?  Do we not realize that they are making decisions every single day as they navigate information and misinformation on the Internet. They feel utterly humiliated by their own and not just by their so-called outside oppressors. And so that makes them extremely vulnerable to anybody who preaches to them. And that is the power of religion.

 

Akbar:  Thank you very much. Must compliment India Today for putting together such an erudite panel.  Just by way of observation that is not a question, nothing official about it, for that I get plenty of opportunity otherwise, M.J. you talked about the two nation theory and very rightly said that what the two nations truly exist, that is a matter of fact, matter of history.  But as regards the theory itself, let me tell you that this is still the feeling in Pakistan - that this is the glue which keeps the people of Pakistan together.  But, I must also quickly add that this is in no way to suggest that on the average the people in Pakistan do not want good, better relations with India.

 

That is besides the point.  But the fact of the matter is that the two nation theory, you know, sixty plus years ago there was an idea, a realization - the two nations have come to stay, but at the same time as I have said there is a genuine desire on both sides, I believe, to improve relations with each other.  So that is about the two nation theory. Maulana Sahab aapne farmayah ki yahan aapko badhi pazerahi milti hai, yahan aapko badhi achi tarah se sunah jaata hain.  Mein aapko yakin dilate hoon ki aap Pakistan Tashreef layen, apko wahan bhi isi kisem se aapko haatho haath liya jayega, jis tarah yahan liya jaata hain.

 

Question (Aroon): I am Aroon uncle, Aroon Chacha. It seems to me that most of terrorism which is happening today is happening in the name of Islam for whatever reason. And it seems to me also that they are also winning this war in terms of hearts and minds. What is it specifically that the Panel would suggest for media, politics, society as a whole, that how do you counter it? I know it is a big large issue, people had said in our conclave that you know, it is poverty, it is discrimination and the war on terror creates its own reaction. But, I think that these are all a minority. How do we fight this war on terror as individual, physically. Theological debates can happen, but in the end we have to deal with this on the ground.

 

Answer (Madani): Media ke point of view se keh rahan hoon, Islamist terrorist ka labze bandh kardena chahiye, isseh uneh support milit hai. Jihadi kehna bandh kar dena chahiye, agar musalman hain to kaha jaye Muslim terrorist. Islamic na kahen. Islamic keh dene se woh baat wahan chali jaati hain ki ye unko support hain. Unko usseh alag karna hai.  Choteh se group mein unko sideline karna hain pure muslim umah se aur Islamic world se.

 

Gurumurthy: Islamic scholars should be asked to deny that Hindus are Kafir. Second India is not Darul Harab. This should be unanimous opinion.  Not one institution saying it and others denouncing it. This is the only way you can win a theological test with terrorism. See you can never contain it by any other means - secular means, modern means, military means, political means are inadequate.  You have to get into the core of what is their claim over Islam. Their claim over Islam is that non-Muslims are non-believers, non-believers are not Muslims. You have to say non-believer means you don't believe in any religion. The Hindu position should be taken by Islamic scholars that is the only answer and the entire intellectual establishment should demand it.

 

Madani: Dekhiye, Muslaman is mulk mein minority hain and minorities hi kafi chalta bhi hai uske hawale bahut sari baaten hoti hain, seedhi bhi or ulti bhi.  Mein manta hoon ki musalman is mulk ki second-largest majority hain aur musalman is mulk ka asset hain aur ushe asset banna hai, ushe mayus nahin hone dena hain, hopelessness usme paida nahi hone deni hain, usko mainstream me lana hain.

 

Yeh joh sawal aata hai baar baar, Musalman is mulk ko Darul Harab manta hai - achcha nahin mante ho to sapit karo, sabh log mil karke fatwa do.  Isi tarah se kaha jaata hain, ke tum log kafir mante ho isliye problem.

 

Hum kahten hain hum kafir nahin mante hai isliye problem hain, uske bawajood bhi problem hai problem ke bahut sare sources hain.  Please gadde me mat dalo, deewar se mat lagao, ehse kaam mat karo ki jisse logon mein hamensha yeh baat paeda rahe ki hum to muzrim hain. Terrorism pe humne shuruh kiya aur kafhi kuch kiya to kisi sahab ne mujhe kaha ki pahle fatwa leao tab manenge.  To hum fatwa leaye.  Ab kahene lage ki Darul Aman mano aur iska fatwa do.  Who fatwa bhi leaye.  To abh sabh log mil kar ke kehane ke baad aur bhi kayi sawal khade ho gaye, log karte rahenge.

 

Irshad Manji: I haven't had a chance to answer that question. Very briefly, we talk about you know ensuring that various schools of Islamic thought can agree that Hindus are not Kafirs or infidels of any kind. This again inculcates the Islamic interfaith blessing for marriage the one that is translated into Hindi actually makes the case for why the Hindus are believers in a way that Muslims can accept, so for those of you who are interested there are some copies for you.

 

Aroon chacha you asked and again I am taking you literally, you asked what is it that individuals can do because we are talking big pictures concepts here, what is it that you can do?

 

http://conclave.digitaltoday.in/conclave2009/speechtranscript.php?id=2566&issueid=33

 

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INAUGURAL KEYNOTE ADDRESS: The Moral Imperatives Of Change

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's introduction by India Today Group Chairman & Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my great pleasure, and a rare privilege, to introduce our inaugural keynote speaker this morning.

 

He humbly describes himself as "a simple monk with a smile." But we all know that he is more than just that. He is unarguably the most famous monk walking on this planet. He is a spiritual icon with a rock star aura, revered by the persecuted and the displaced. And even by the Nirvana seekers of Hollywood.

 

To his faithful, he is the God King of Tibet, a living Buddha. To the Chinese government, he is reviled as "a splittist"and "wolf in monk's clothing".

 

To the world at large, he is a Nobel Laureate, a statesman, a spiritual leader, a politician, a diplomat, a chief executive, a committed scholar, a teacher and the leading practitioner of non-violence and peace.  How many human beings that you know, can be all this?

 

The Fourteenth Dalai Lama represents the past as well as the future of Tibet. He is the living symbol of the battle between a Marxist China and Buddhist spiritualism, between the power of the gun and the prayer wheel.

 

The life story of the Dalai Lama-the name means Ocean of Wisdom-is a narrative of temporal responsibility and political struggle.

 

At the age of two, Llamo Dhandup, son of a poor farmer was identified as the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama, a manifestation of Bodhisattva, the patron saint of Tibet.

 

It was a baptism by fire. He was taken away from his parents and transported to the unfamiliar surroundings of Lhasa, where he was brought up in a monastic regimen of rigorous austerity and isolation.

 

When he turned 15, even as he was anointed head of state and government of Tibet, his kingdom had been overrun by Maoist China. He then had to watch with growing horror and helplessness as Red China went about subjugating his people and systematically destroying their unique culture.

 

When he was 20, Chairman Mao invited him to Beijing in a bid to win his support.  While His Holiness admitted to being charmed by Mao, what he whispered into his ear at their last meeting in 1955 made him realize the real intentions of the Chinese government: Mao told him "Religion is poison. It has two great defects. It undermines the race and secondly it retards the progress of the country. Tibet has been poisoned by it."

At the age of 24, almost fifty years to the date, he secretly fled the Forbidden Kingdom after a failed revolt and sought refuge in India. Around 100,000 of his followers would soon seek sanctuary here.

 

From Dharmashala he began the arduous task of remaking an entire ancient culture and his struggle for a self governing, democratic Tibet.

 

He formed a government in exile and drew up a constitution for Tibet-which even had a clause for his own impeachment

 

He has been traveling the globe since, as a one-man freedom movement, striking a fine balance between spirituality and politics, the transcendental and the mundane.

 

Even as hotheads among his supporters accused him of being an out-of-sync peacenik, Dalai Lama used all his authority to pursue with his pragmatic policy of non-violence and moderation.

 

The Dalai Lama has been advocating a Middle Way whose essence is avoiding extremes.

 

For the Tibetans, he insisted on the protection and preservation of Tibetan culture and religion apart from ensuring their political autonomy.

 

For the Chinese, he said he was ready to abandon claims for full Tibetan independence and was prepared to accept their military presence in Tibet and leave foreign policy and defence to them.

 

For neighbours like India and the rest of the world, he promised serenity on their borders and peaceful international relations.

 

His campaign gathered world wide support in a number of national assemblies and international bodies including the United States Congress and the German Bundestag.

 

A seriously worried Chinese Government resumed the stalled negotiations with the Dalai Lama over the future of Tibet.

 

Unfortunately, as the highest guru of Middle Path realizes, finding a middle ground between the Conqueror and the Conquered is an elusive goal. For six million Tibetans, freedom is still a mirage, and tyranny is a day-to-day reality. 

 

For over 60 years, His Holiness, as a Mahatma in a maroon robes, has persevered with his struggle. During this period his adversary has only grown into a political and economic giant. Even the biggest of countries think twice before they tangle with it.

 

Any other ordinary mortal would have been a broken man by now, but not His Holiness. He finds joy in every human being he meets, shows compassion to his enemies and with his infectious smile keeps the dream alive of a Free Tibet for his people.

 

More than anyone else, it is His Holiness who embodies the Challenge of Change, the theme of our Conclave.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now invite His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to deliver the Conclave's inaugural address.

 

Transcript of address by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 

To the respected chairperson Mr Aroon Purie and all distinguished guests.

 

It's my great honour and I am very thankful to India Today for inviting me for this inaugural session of the India Today Conclave.

 

That I consider the more formal part. Now, as I always do, is my completely informal way and it also saves time. I need to use my broken English in order to communicate directly and also this is an opportunity to practise my broken English. In the meantime, of course, now I am getting older, my English is also getting older. He is my Buddhist student. He helps with my English. So, I really feel great honour and feel very happy.

 

This India, for the last 50 years is my home and spiritually its really my home. At spiritual level it is truly our home. So for some political reason majority of my life I have stayed in my original spiritual home, India. So, homeless person found a very happy new home. This prestigious news magazine, India Today, you organise annually this kind of meeting. This year you invited me here so I feel great honour.

 

The challenge of change, I think basically, as one important Buddhist concept things are changing every moment. Time never stand still, always moving no force can stop that movement. Only thing we can do is how to utilise time - constructive way or destructive way - that's up to us. But time always changes, is always moving. Now I think at global level and also at national level, because of this change, the new reality is always there. So it seems some time there's a gap between reality and our perception. So if we stick to our old perception, and take certain action, according to that old perception, it will simply not fit the new reality.

 

So therefore even out of best sort of motivation and constructive goal, simply your method becomes unrealistic .Because your action and method based on your own conception doesn't mitigate the gap between reality and conception and  thus the method based on that conception is unrealistic. So that unrealistic method, quite logically, fails to bring desired result. So then perhaps. The story of my own experience, I am nothing special, simple human being, a Buddhist monk and that is the reality. And I come from very remote village, my mother is illiterate, just a village farmer.

 

But my mother, was a really, really kind woman. That time I didn't really notice the value of her kindness, I simply took advantage of her kindness and I bullied my mother… but my life started that way. So, I feel today that the experience that I got from my mother, out of her sheer kindness that is really imprinted on my mind. Then of course later as a practitioner of Buddhism, that also helped a lot. At the year of my birth, 1935, the Nazi rising occurred and then when I was young… the news of the Second World War. Millions of people killed. When we really look back what really happened in the 30s and 40s in Europe.

 

They fought for the concept of one's own sovereignty, and clear demarcation between we and they….. and they fought. And millions of people killed and suffered. Now today I think nothing sort of remained out of this immense suffering. Today, a new sort of reality …. I consider my teacher, late Von Vizigar, a great physicist, he once told me, I think in the 80s he told me when he was young, in the eyes of a German the French were the enemies and in the eyes of the French the Germans were the enemy, today that has completely changed. New spirit of European Union has come.

 

Also in that period the Soviet Union, Stalin, in the 30s and in Mongolia immense destruction, destruction of monasteries, more than 1,00,000 monks killed but what was the real purpose? But now toady, in former Soviet Union and also in Mongolia, faith and in Mongolia's case, Buddhist faith is rapidly reviving. May be Korean war protects South Korea and Vietnam war totally a failure.

 

So judging these events, a question arises, whether they are lacking education, no quite sufficient. (Generally of course in some parts of the world there is not enough education and we need to promote education) and technology, generally speaking, not lacking. Money power and economy also not lacking but meantime these problems, lot of killings, lot of human sufferings why? Now today even what you call terrorism and what happened in Mumbai- these have not happened due to lack of education or lack of science and technology or lack of economy.

 

But these things happen because of absence of global responsibility on the basis of affection and as human brothers and sisters at the global level, reason being as human being, just one species of mammals, web are same human brothers and sisters. And in reality every nation's future depends on the rest of the world. According to this new reality the century old concept of we and they is no longer there. So the whole world should be considered as the part of we so that's the new reality and since the September 11 event happened I felt and I also expressed at many occasions modern technology and human smart brain or intelligence guided by human hatred, such unthinkable sought of destructions occurred.

 

So now I think according to new reality including environment issue ,we need   the concept of  dialogue since according to reality, the clear demarcation of we and they is no longer there, so you must consider others as part of yourselves and some disagreement, some different interest and have to solve through talk, not by force.

 

And then environment issue, now one or two nation, even the biggest sort of powerful nation, cannot solve the problem, unless the whole world, entire humanity puts in efforts, work together. This is our new reality. And as I mentioned earlier, technology, smart brain, instead of being guided by history, should be guided by love, compassion. Then the determination for talk, dialogue in the spirit of reconciliation. With suspicion, distrust, hatred, how can we develop will power to talk, or gain solution through dialogue? Impossible. So we need inner strength. I believe firstly as I mentioned earlier, I think the rest of my life, what I find very helpful is my sense of compassion, sense of brotherhood, sisterhood, which essentially comes from my mother.

 

My mother when she saw some beggar, without any idea of who she is, so long as that's a human being, needy person, my mother always give all available things in our kitchen to them, no discrimination. So clear spirit of human brother sister, sense of human brotherhood, sisterhood. Then also in 1973, my first visit to Europe, where first world war second world war and before that many wars, much bloodshed took place. Of course things are very beautiful but underneath, some restlessness.

 

Then I start talk, the idea, sense of global responsibility, sense of universal responsibility and of course to some extent European Union come from that kind of concept. So any way, time passes, I sort of developed more conviction, our inner value, warm heartedness or compassion is something very important. This is not just a religious matter, so now here according to new reality I think key thing is not just mere education or knowledge or intelligence, sometimes, intelligence or knowledge may bring more suspicion or more distrust, more hatred also. So the education, knowledge here, smart brain must balance with warm heartedness.

 

Then our knowledge intelligence becomes constructive. So now, a question, how to promote,  I think generally everywhere the people pay adequate attention to importance of education and health. They don't pay adequate attention about warm heartedness, that I think we take for granted. This is a mistake; yes biologically it can be taken for granted. Everybody has a seed of compassion because we are social animals. We are born from our mother, we survived at least a few years after birth on the mother, or someone else who is acting as mother, we survived with care of this person , particularly mother.

 

That's a biological fact. As soon a child is born, the child's doesn't know the mother, the mother too doesn't know. Without questioning, spontaneous, immense love, compassion, taking care of the child. So that brings them together, if at that moment there is suspicion on both sides, there is some distrust, then they cannot come together, and that will result in the child's death. That's a biological fact, nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with constitution, it's by nature. So we need to pay more attention, more effort to promote these human values.  Now usually I feel there should be three ways of promoting these things. Number 1, concept of creator, full of love, we are created by that. Also have this sort of…

 

That's one way of approach. Another way of promoting these things are  non theistic … religion. That's view of law of causality, our every experience, pains and pleasure takes place because of its own causes and conditions. So here main cause is our action. If you do positive action to other, helpful, compassionate action you get positive result, positive consequences.

 

Out of anger hatred harmful actions towards others bring pain to others, the consequences you have to face- more negative results.  So that's one way of approach- restrain harming others develop compassion towards others. Then there should be third method that is, I usually stress the third one that is secular way. Simply use our common experience and common sense, that means, as I briefly mentioned, we come from our mother, everybody here I think including your own health, better health, I think is very much related with when you are young. Or even you are still unborn in mother's womb, At that time, mother's peace of mind, is very much connected with children's health. And then naturally after birth mother's own milk and full affection and care makes our physical growth much healthier, much more proper. As well as mentally. So therefore that's our common experience.

 

So I think here anyone who lacks at an early age mother's affection or your family's affection today, your physical health may be slightly more difficult and mentally little bit dry, not warm and because of that your mood usually may be a little bit disturbed. For those people who have grown up with full affection and your family particularly your mother's, your health is better, your mental state is calmer and most importantly such person has a greater potential to show others' affection. If we check those people who really who are tyrannical from our history, of course in different conditions , that fact is there, but maybe at their young age their relationship with parents, particularly mother, maybe worthwhile to research. Any way these are common experience and common sense.

 

Then latest scientific finding among the medical scientists, begin to realize, our good health is very much related with our emotions our mental attitude. And also for speedy recovery also patient's mental attitude is very important. So my scientist friend told me, hatred, fear, and strong anger is eating our immunity system. More compassion mind more calm mind increasing or sustained our immune system.

 

In one occasion is New York University in a medical conference one medical scientist in his report according to his research mentioned that those people who often think I me mine in their mind, such people have greater risk of heart attack. Why? Although he didn't mention, later I thought maybe a person who often uses these words, it's a reflection of his or her mental attitude. More self- centred attitude. So more self- centred attitude is actually you closed yourself from rest of the human brother sisters. You think just to answer. So that closed our inner door. And that kind of feeling you find difficult to communicate with others. As a result, fear distrust and ultimately lowliness, hopelessness, compassion mind, open our inner door.

 

Easily develop trust; human love and then also our mind become more wider perspective. And your own problem not that much significance or unbearable. If your mind just thinks me, me, me, like that, even tiny problems then appears something unbearable. This really makes differences. So these are the latest scientific findings. Then of course some scientists carried out some experiments. Some young monkey put together with their mother and then separated. Then eventually found those monkeys with mother much happier, playful than those who are separated- always bad mood ready to quarrel. We are same. So use these common experience latest scientific findings we can now educate humanity particularly our younger generation. So here, now I want to appeal.

 

Firstly secularism in this country, the meaning of secularism is not something like rejection of religion. In the west some of my Muslim friend as well as some Christian friend they feel uncomfortable, the word of secularism. But India's own constitution based on secularism. So I think India has greater chance to promote the human values secularly. It fit this country. And this country, multi-religion, through centuries, so you cannot pick up one religion, there are so many different religions. So if you find moral ethics based on religion, non theistic or theistic.

 

Within theistic, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and so on and many Hindus, and also non theistic Buddhism, Jainism and some Hindus, there are differences. So then difficult. So therefore secular, respect all religions, including non believers and simply try to promote deeper human values in order to be a happier human society. Happier human family, happier human individual!

 

So that's the new challenge, new reality. I feel now time has come. I often say, in the 20th century, there's violence bloodshed although in that century tremendous sort of progress in technology, science and medical science and many things. But meantime there was a lot of bloodshed. Now this century, 21st century, should be century of dialogue.  Because conflict is bound to happen.  So what we can do is method of facing conflict through non violence which Mahatma Gandhi promoted. This is still very much alive in India. So this is my number one part.

 

The second part I want to tell about India, wherever I go I am always telling these things. And then also another thing, religious tolerance- two things. Promotion of human values and ahimsa. Ahimsa means action, or action of compassion is ahimsa. So in order to promote ahimsa, we must look for motivation, compassion to motivation, every action becomes ahimsa. So when we talk about ahimsa, we also mean compassion there. Second is religious harmony.

 

These two things, wherever I go I always talk about these things. And I also tell people I am simply messenger of India's thought.  That's all. As a messenger I am appealing to my Indian friends with folded hands, as a messenger of your tradition or your ancient treasure, actively as much as I can , time come , my boss, India, my guru, must take more active role, promotion of ahimsa, and promotion of religious tolerance, in the rest of the world . Now time come, India's treasure, not just keep in your country, but now new world is heavily interdependent. So according to those circumstances, now time has come when your century old treasure, must be exported more actively. That's very important.

 

So as India's messenger, I'l do till my death, I'll carry this work. Now in the meantime, my guru, usually I consider Indians as my guru, we are chela. One Tibetan scholar described, till India's light, that means Buddhism reach land of snow, although snow mature colour is white but till India's light comes, that country is dark. Only after India's light reached there, then the land of snow really brightened. So that's our attitude. You are our guru, we are your chelas. So logically if chela is carrying some sort of activities promoting India's century old value, why not you yourself are making more effort.

 

That is very, very important and also I think the circumstances is such in previous time maybe when Mahatma Gandhiji and other leaders, they were fully committed to promotion of non violence and maybe some people feel that is passive or sign of weakness. Now I think rest of the world, many part of the world, really getting more attraction about mahatma Gandhiji's non-violent ideals. So it is a good opportunity now, you should be active, export more. India's media team, media has a very important role in promoting ahimsa and promoting of religious tolerance. So since you invited me, I put this responsibility on your shoulders. Please do more. Thank You.

 

Q&A session with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 

Aroon Purie: Your Highness, you have talked about spirituality, compassion and the changing reality which is happening all over the world and how conceptually things haven't changed. I would like to deal with something which is practical and philosophical in a way, and we are a news magazine so you will forgive me if I bring you into current reality. One of the issues which I have regarding non-violence is that, is there any time when non-violence is not the path to follow; when there is evil in the world, and there has been evil in the world – the rise of Hitler; there is Khmer Rouge; there are all kinds of evil which arises in the world, and sometimes the only way to fight evil is actually with force. So is there a point where, how do you fight evil by just following a non-violent path.

 

You have struggled for the last fifty years to get some independence or something for your people, which you have not been able to succeed and you are faced with a country which is a very powerful country. So is there a point where you change your course?  I can put it another way, if you were the President of America and you had the best armed forces, how would you deal with China to get something for your country?

 

The Dalai Lama: Theoretically speaking violence and non-violence in a common sense mainly on the action. So then, from the Buddhist viewpoint theoretically speaking, method is not important. Important is motivation and goal. So theoretically speaking it is possible to use violent method out of sincere compassionate motivation and positive goal. But, in practical level it is always dangerous. The violent method, out of compassion, only those highly trained person, they can do, otherwise impossible. Violence goes with anger, hatred, so violent method out of hatred and anger is always bad. Reason number one, the violent method – unpredictable. Although you start violent method, limited violence, but it easily can be out of control. Now, Iraq crisis, exactly that has happened, and then venom also.

 

So, therefore, once you committed violent method, the unpredictable and negative consequences or negative side-effects, always there. And then also, deeper way, violent method control physical, not mind.  Now what happened in Afghanistan, in Iraq – physical level you can control, but here more hatred, more resentment. When September 11 event happened the next day, 12th September, I wrote letter to my friend President Bush – of course it is not my secret I describe him a very nice person.

 

I love him. Very nice as a human being - as soon as we met, first time, we immediately became friends, some other politicians, leaders when we met – a little distance.  But he is not like that.  So, therefore, I always – even you see among the people who had little bit of negative feeling towards President Bush, I always say "I love him". So, therefore, I wrote letter just next day, September 12. I expressed my, sort of sadness, and my condolence, I also expressed the way to handle this problem, hopefully non-violent way.  So then later, many occasion I express, I believe that if your handle become wrong then today one Manhattan, after sometime ten Manhattans, after that hundred Manhattans possible – difficult. So in the long run the way to tackle this problem is the human mind, human emotion. Respect them, share their interest and talk, listen to their grievance. Through that way their mind can change.

 

Today is your enemy afterwards can become your friend. So that is one reason, violence cannot solve the problem because it only control physical, not mind.  Then, my own case, Tibet case, non-violent method and also not seeking separation – I always refer European Union, as I mentioned before, there people think in common interest or common goal rather than each individual sort of national interest or national sovereignty – these things.

 

One time in this country Brighu Mharaji is the express, the idea, some kind of Union, A B C D – Afghanistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan – some kind of federation or something.  So these are really, I think, wise thinking perhaps. So in any way, Tibet, materially backward, everybody knows. Everyone wants modernized Tibet. So for that reason remain within bigger nation, economically more powerful nation is in our own interest. Meantime we have our own unique cultural heritage including our language, our script and our culture. Now I think many people know Tibetan culture is culture of compassion, culture of peace. It is really worthwhile to preserve.

 

It is not only interest for six hundred million people but over billion human beings in China need culture of compassion, culture of peace. Ruthless rule – what happened now in China – so much corruption, so much injustice. So therefore, we should have meaningful autonomy so that we can keep our unique cultural heritage. So, that way of approach, no seeking separation and strictly follow non-violence, from the Government level, of course, I think many Indian also now also realizes, some of the some of the communist sort of bring something little strange. We cannot judge according to our common-sense.

 

AP: But why do you feel you have not succeeded?

 

DL: Wait, wait! But, among Chinese intellectuals, Chinese people, simply yesterday I met few Chinese from Ming, China. One lady who spent some time in Lhasa speaks Tibetan very well and met me with tears. This is one example. Since 10th March last year, as far as I know, more than three hundred articles wrote by Chinese, many of them from men in China, all very positively support, very positive, and showing solidarity. Now 10th March after few days, 10th March incineration, around I think around fifteen-twenty some Chinese writers and also some Chinese who involved in promotional democracy, now coming, themselves. This is showing their good spirit and solidarity. So these I think the positive, concrete research.

 

I believe that since last 10th March I express my faith towards Chinese Government become thinner and thinner. But my faith towards Chinese people never shaken. We always try to reach out with Chinese people. People is important. Real ruler of the country is the people ultimately. Although the Communist Government, their lifespan little bit longer than democratic Government - democratic Government, every five years there is some change - Communist longer but still Government is Government, change.

 

Policy also change. Now the Peoples Republic of China, same Communist party – one party rule – well now today, some wonderful thing is communist without communist ideology – wonderful – a capitalist communist. Also wonderful. So, there are, I usually describe, four eras -  Chiman Mos era, Ing Chow Vi's era; Changsami's era; Wu Ji Thou's era. In these four eras Mos era emphasis importance of ideology.

 

Ing Chow Vi's era emphasizes economy. Now he bring capitalism into China. Immense benefit, meantime lots of corruption, lot of unhealthy things also there and gap – rich and poor. Then Changsami. New reality - now, middle-class, wealthy people become something significant in the society. Therefore, Communist party no longer be a party of working class people.

 

So three represents idea. Then that creative new sort of divisions – rich, poor and working class people and these lots of problems there and also coastline and interior country, therefore present Wu Ji Tau today emphasize importance of harmony society.  So, these, you see sign of change – new reality and to some extent they have the ability to act according to new reality.  So, therefore, our approach, strict non-violence. One way it has failed to bring trust from Chinese Government, or confidence. Rather there is still suspicion, distrust, but Chinese people, Chinese intellectual side, our approach really bring lot of positive result.

 

AP: So you are hopeful that with the changes in China that your demands in future could be met.

 

DL: Yes sure. I think I have also met Professor Sandonsi, there is a Chinese professor who are working somewhere. He once told that there is a Tibetan saying (in Tibetan).

 

AP: There is a popular Tibetan saying which goes 'The Chinese are ruined by their suspicion and the Tibetans are ruined by their expectations'.

 

DL: Then you see there is a Chinese Professor who told Rubichi "Tibetan case not ruined by hope but hope save Tibet". No 50 years past, still right from beginning our slogan is "hope for the best, prepare for the worst". That is our slogan. So 50 years past, our spirit, our determination, never sort of loose. We determined with hope. Meantime we prepare for the worst. Then he mentioned the Chines truly is ruined due to suspicion. Because of that there is too much suspicion.

 

So everybody, every country now always remain little bit distant. So we really hopeful. Then also occasionally I mention to my Indian friends, as I mentioned earlier, we truly believe – Indians are guru, so we are chela. I think if you look, last I think more than one thousand years, we Tibetan, I think truly reliable, faithful chela of India. So, therefore, logically when Chela getting trouble, guru have some responsibility.

 

AP: I think the guru is learning from the Chela right now. I will open it up to the floor. You just raise your hand and identify yourself and ask your question. Please make it a question.

 

Question (speaker not known): His Holiness, as a continuation of what you answered Arun, as a die-hard optimist, what would expect and hope for Tibet and as a extreme pessimist what is the worst that can happen to Tibet and what would you expect the world to do for Tibet which will take it to where you want Tibet to reach? Thank you.

 

DL: Our hope is to remain within the Peoples Republic of China and material development – of course the Chinese can help immensely and meantime as I mentioned earlier, Tibetan Buddhism is actually China as a country before Buddhism reached Tibet, Buddhism already reached in China, I think at least three-four centuries earlier. So, I always describe Chinese Buddhist brothers and sisters, our senior student of Buddha. We are junior.

 

So now, that great nation, the traditional value in the past, sometimes deliberately destroyed. And new Marxist class society completely fail to break because of that. So in the minds of millions of Chinese, something lacking, empty. They are Buddhisness – message of love, message of compassion, can help and Peoples Republic of China, most populated nation, become more compassionate nation, is everybody interest, not only overburdened human beings interest but also whole world.

 

So I think there are positive sort of scenario. I think few hundred thousand Chinese already following the patch of Buddhism. Unfortunately some Tibetan Lamas, false Lamas exploiting, that little bit damage, otherwise there are truly few hundred thousand, around million or so, this is the following. So the worst thing I describing now-a-days Tibetan nation passing through something like death sentence and clearly military occupation, if this situation remain another ten, fifteen years – Tibet then finished.

 

That is worst scenario. Then the question how world can support Tibet – that is a difficult question particularly at this moment you see – economic crisis, global economic crises – recent decade Peoples Republic of China made lot of money, so I think generally, I always mentioning, describing, there are supporters in many part of the world, particularly in Europe, in America, in Canada and Australia, in Japan and of course in this country. You see these are supporters I do not consider as pro-Tibetan, but rather pro-justice.

 

So in human blood respect of justice is there. Of course money and power sometimes can manipulate that, but naturally in our blood appreciation of justice is there. So naturally when other human brothers and sisters suffer like Africa, Dafo, thousands and thousands people dying in the killing, normal human being without response is impossible. Dying mother, caring child. So that is the basis of hope in human society, in global world, in the blood there is sort of respect or appreciation of justice. So, therefore, I think Tibet issue is in a way quite old issue and issue dealing with very powerful nation. So difficult, in spite of that many organizations, many individuals, many parliamentarians always showing their concern about Tibet is helpful.

 

Question (Koel Purie): Your Holiness I am Koel Purie. You talked about bringing compassion into ones heart. Do you believe by nature human beings are essentially good or bad? And if they are good where does this motivation for hate and killing and doing evil things come from?

 

DL: As I mentioned earlier human beings are social animals. Social animal means each individual survivor depends on the community. So the coming together not by force but by emotion, that is affection, human compassion. And then, particularly the tremendous care, tremendous sort of willingness, sacrifice, mother's own difficulties for sake of child – they are immense sort of motivation, immense emotion – that is compassion. So, therefore, as I mentioned earlier, our health – this physical goes well with peace of mind or compassion – not go well with hatred, anger, constant hatred. Anger brings more stress, more turbulence in our minds and very bad for our health.

 

So, therefore, basic human nature is more gentleness, more compassion, no question. However, basically again anger, hatred is biological factor for our survival. Love, compassion is emotion which bring the facilities for survival bring together.  Anger, hatred is expel – harmful thing, expel. So biologically both are part of our emotion which need for survival.

 

If these go more balanced way but meantime I think twenty-four hours, love compassion much more rule hatred, anger occasionally. And therefore, anger, hatred although part of our mind, part of our emotion, but through reason, through training we can reduce that. Here one big sort of difference is destructive emotion cannot promote by training, positive emotion can strengthen can promote through training, through reason such as compassion, positive emotion is solid basis. So you can use reasons.  The negative emotion, destructive emotion, spontaneous, but no basis of valid mind, so therefore, you cannot train. This difference. So now, intelligence and ignorance. Intelligence is basis so therefore we can train from A, B, C, D, from Kintergarden upto University level. Ignorance, just ignorance, there is no way to train ignorance. All positive emotions, there is solid basis. So use that, use of our own intelligence we can train.

 

Question (Bavan Manjal): Your Highness my name is Bavan Manjal. The fountainhead of your talk today was the mother and in this land of ours which is your home today, the female gender, the girl child is not getting the best of treatment. So considering that the girl child is tomorrow's mother and she is going to influence the society tomorrow, don't you think we are heading for real trouble and do you have a simple message or some simple solution for all of us?

 

DL: When human society, human civilization start very small family, or very small sort of population, at that time no idea of leadership – all family member work together, share whatever they get together, then gradually as their number increased with that the concept of "we" and "they" becomes stronger, so then it become necessary – leadership. So at that time education no there, so leadership – like other animal, the physical strength is the real sort of basis of leadership. More physical sort of strength become leadership. So that is the way male dominance come. Now in modern times, education become important role in society.

 

So as far as education is concerned – brain is concerned, same - male and female. So eventually becoming more equal. Now as I mentioned earlier, I only assume because of the expressing that including my recent tour in European Union I express, now time has come – pay more attention about warm heartedness or compassion. So, therefore, in order to promote compassion, female, physically biological factor, more sensitive about others suffering.

 

I have some stories, I noticed you see one occasion my sort of flight, I think from Tokyo to America or somewhere – quite long was the night journey, in the plane one couple with two children – one little bit older, I think may six-seven years old, other one very young, running here and there shouting like that – at the beginning both parents looking after these, particularly the younger one. About midnight, the father simply just slept, no longer bothered about the children.

 

The mother till next morning, till we reached the destination, the mother, the whole night cared – sacrificed her own sleep and next morning I notice, her eye become very red. That is one example. Biological factor - the female, their body more sensitive about others pains. So, therefore, and I think world history, all so called heros who are anyway murderers, killing millions of people – most cases these are male - very few female. Of course some exceptional female may be there, otherwise you see, their biological factor.

 

So, therefore, I stress no time come in order to promote human compassion, now female must take more active role about promotion of human compassion. So for wider perspective that is very important.  But, short term physically female will weaker, so working, making money, parent prefer son rather than daughter. That I think due to short-sighted. That is my view. And then some cases, I think in this country the caste system also bad.  And also some practice – I don't know the details, what you call the dowry system and some of these things, I think out-dated. Now we are new constitution, equality, I think the NGOs and individuals and also media people I think should promote, should make clear some of these out-dated sort of things. That is what I feel. Of course, if I made mistake, I apologize.

 

Aroon Purie: I had like to thank his Holiness for gracing us with his enlightening message and message of enlightening session and the message of compassion. After his last remark I think what we need is more Buddhist woman leaders in the world if we are to have a more compassionate world and I had also like to give a special thanks to him because he infact made a very special effort to be here because his flight from Dharamshala didn't take off. He drove all the way to Pathankot early morning and then chartered a plane and came here to be with you. So I am really grateful for him to be here. Thank you very much.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-pluralism/why-are-indian-ulema-baying-for-maulana-mahmood-madani-s-blood?-/d/1243

 

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