Wednesday, March 19, 2008
"I was really surprised to read that he could not find any “quality” Pakistani teachers teaching in foreign universities and even in the presence of “Foreign Faculty Hiring Program” he made his wish about bringing Iranian/Indian and in particular Indians to strengthen Pakistan higher education standard. Probably he was trying to be more “enlightened” as has been the case in some elite sections of our society nowadays that in every aspect of life they compare Pakistan with India and portray India and Indians as the superpower, whether its film industry, music, IT, language problems or even culture.
I am in no way against of comparing Pakistan with India in different aspects or praising what India has achieved but we have not. But my point is this that we should not present Pakistan as a complete failure and India as complete success while comparing the two. As in this case, Hoodbhoy has criticized HEC so much that one starts thinking that probably HEC is the main culprit of low standard not only in higher education but in every part of life and if HEC is kept allowed working in Pakistan then God forbid the higher education system will fall to the ground. The problem I guess lies in making the issues generalized.
The example of Hoodbhoy’s generalization is this that “Pakistan does not have a single “Real” university”.
I guess this is somewhat exaggerated and also heartrending that if a person like Hoodbhoy says this. Asia Week had listed GIK at 23rd, NUST at 20th and SZABIST on 32nd ranks in Asian Best Universities of 2000 in the category of Science and technology. I think Asia Week ranks only “Real” Universities of Asia not fake universities.
Hoodbhoy also mentioned India like having the world√≠s best standard of education and wished to have Indian talent in Pakistan so that they can save our education system from drowning. I have no doubt that India has some very good institutes so does Pakistan but again we should not generalize while making our case against someone/thing. It is really sad and it even destroys the credibility of the writer as well.I personally have lived and worked in Arab Emirates and Saudi Arab (KSA) and have a big circle of Indian friends. I also work for an organization (NGO) which is working in education sector not only in Pakistan but in India also and I have more hands on knowledge of indian education system. Its not uncommon in UAE and KSA that u will hear about the fake degrees of Indian workers, especially from Hyderabad. Even Saudis who need a degree for their promotions, ask Indians or even go to Indian Heyderabad to “buy” a university degree. This is especially common in engineering. I asked some of my friends and relatives who live in India to send me info about this business of fake institutions and degrees. I also collected some of the news in this regard which I have presented at the end of my email. I hope u all will find it interesting.
I was thinking if God forbid HEC accepts Hoodbhoy’s recommendations of bringing Indian students/teachers to Pakistan then how HEC or Hoodbhoy is going to check or scrutinize the degrees of Indians who even have been successful in getting H-1B visas in USA on their fake degrees (see the news collections below). In KSA people used to say that if you want an engineering degree then go to BAQALA (Arabic of a shop) in Hara (a place in Riyadh) and buy it from there.
Hhodbhoy was also very quick in giving the examples of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the Indian Institute of Technology, in Delhi and their “polite” and “cultured” students by saying“Angry words are exchanged and polemics are issued against the other, but no heads are bashed”.
but he failed to looked at the dismal condition of vast numbers of other institutes of India where basing the heads is regarded as very common.. Some of the examples I have present below under the heading of “Students Politics in India”. This generalization again shows Hoodbhoy’s selecting some good samples to reinforce his argument and making it universal but forget the opposites.
In the end, I would like to say that Pakistan has some good things as well as bad and unsatisfactory things (like in education) and this phenomenon is universal “including” India. But it gives a real pain if someone presents just a gloomy picture of Pakistan and contrary to that portrays India as superpower. Usually journalists used to do it just to earn some money but if our well informed Professor does the same then nobody would have the credibility of what they say or write.
Now see the other part of the picture of “High” standard of Indian education and read the following: (keep also in mind the fake degrees issue in Pakistan published in the media recently)
Fake Universities and Degrees in India:
1.Employment consultants take advantage of the well-meaning visa applicants as the latter, mostly unqualified, are funneled into the US by middlemen who help them with fake academic degrees and pad their resumes in order to secure the H-1B visas. These shady recruiters in India take several thousand dollars from the “unqualified dreamer” to provide him with some “hurry-up” computer training and an H-1B visa.(Times of India 11 April 2001)2. Balendu Shekha Tiwari, who claims to be a classmate of Laloo Prasad Yadav from his Patna University days, was arrested for his involvement in fake certificate scam. The police team was in Ranchi, following the arrest of two professors from RN Jhunjhunwala College, who were provided fake PhD and DLit.Professors Indra Bahadur Singh and SS Naikwadi who were given the DLit and PhD certificates by Tiwari were accompanied by police to Ranchi. According to the police, Tiwari has confessed that he provided fake certificates to the professors.(Mid Day.com, Dec 30, 2003)3. Police raided the Institute of Paramedical Studies and Charitable Trust from where tthe fake doctors had obtained the degrees. Having no formal medical qualifications, these suspects had been prescribing allopathic medicines for the last so many years, playing with the lives of innocent people. There are about 40,000 such fake doctors in Delhi.(The Tribune September 7, 2003)4. Around 1,000 candidates selected as ETT teachers have been found to possess fake B.Ed degrees. The sources said that the maximum number of fake degrees detected in probe were from the universities and institutions based in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Maximum number of fake degrees were found to be allegedly issued by the Bharatiya Shiksha Parishad and Gandhi Hindi Vidhya Peeth both based in Uttar Pradesh and Maghad University of Madhya Pradesh.The sources said that certain officials of the Maghad University were also alleged to be involved in the issuing of fake degrees. They used to send fake verifications of the degrees issued with their connivance.(The Tribune January 18, 2003)5. The local police today busted a fake degree racket by arresting two women and a kingpin of the gang from an institute running in Mota Singh Market here. A large number of fake degrees were seized from the gang. According to the police, the institute had been supplying degrees for past about two decadesThe accused allegedly sold a fake degree for Rs 40,000 to Rs 80,000. They had contacts with officials of more than 20 universities.(The Tribune October 3, 2003)6. Recently, seven fake degree cases were found in North Maharashtra University in Jalgaon. “At that time, a court directed the state government to find out if there were more such cases,” informs Sawant. “We asked universities to check, but not much came out of that. But this matter needs immediate attention.”(Times of India Dec 2004)7. The medical association demanded immediate action against fake medical colleges selling fake degrees in New Delhi, and a mass public awareness campaign against quacks to be started by the government at the earliest.(Express India Oct 3, 2003)8. It just requires a fake certificate to get a job in top public sector undertakings like National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), State Trading Corporation (STC), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), Punjab National Bank or Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL). Chances are if you get caught by an agency and convicted by court, another company will readily employ you.
GAIL chief manager S B Baruah just got unlucky when he was caught by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for submitting a fake certificate in 1992 to GAIL for the job of senior deputy manager in 1992.Baruah had submitted a fake Chartered Accountant (CA) degree showing that he had passed out from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in 1978 and his role number was 9838.(Mid Day.com Sep 26, 2003)9. Has anyone realised the damage being done to our human resources by allowing students to be cheated by unscrupulous foreign universities which have opened offshore campuses in India, asks D.S. Cheema.(The Tribune, May 24, 2003)The higher education system as reported by Swaminandhan (1994), is suffering from several weaknesses in the form of increase in demand, proliferation of substandard institution, dilution in quality and standard, failure to maintain academic calender, out-dated curriculum, disparities in the quality of education, inadequate resources and lack of adequate support for research, and out-dated management system.The rapid unplanned flooding of higher education engendering complicated situations is one of the reason for indiscipline among students. Universities and colleges are viewed largely as public parks or political dens where the students emerge as pressure groups.(Dr. G.Q. Sheikh, Feb 2001)
Students Poilitics in India:
Twenty-two students of Tiptur-based Kalpatharu Institute of Technology have been admitted to various hospitals in the City for treatment of head injuries, which they had suffered during a clash between students from northern and southern states.
Trouble fomented around 9 am on Friday when a group of students barged into the classrooms, dragged about 50 North Indian students out and assaulted them with wickets and iron rods.
The assault was in retaliation to an attack on a South Indian student on November 28. According to Mr G R Vijayaswamy, Principal of the Institute, “It all started in the hostel mess when one of the students was assaulted for a trivial reason.(Deccan Herald, Dec 07, 2003)At least half a dozen students and the officer in charge of the University police station were injured in a clash between the police and students belonging to the AIDSO on the B R A Bihar University campus here.(Times News Network, Sep 04, 2002)Activists of the Khalsa College Students Union (KCSU) and the Chandigarh Students Union (CSU) had clashed and the police had to resort to a lathi charge at SGGS Khalsa College, Sector 26.(Chandigarh Tribune, Sep 10, 2003)Regards"
W HamidNC, USA
It is the Soldier, not the reporter Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.
"Suzerainty" and "Sovereignty".
When i joined service in 1961 this was the main debate and how Mr.Menon( a descendant of KPS menon)who i think was foreign secretary at that time was responsible for giving away our rights to the Chinese because of his leftist leanings. Basically what i find is the lack of respect by Chinese to an agreement signed with India. In it they were ready to accept the continuation of a consulate in Lhasa for India(in exchange for one in Calcutta) and also accepted our special relationship with Tibet. The special relationship comes out of our Buddhists in India in ladakh and Arunachal pradesh having SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE DALAI LAMA. It is not territorial relationship but a tribute which our Buddhists in these areas have been paying to the Holiness Dalai Lama FROM THE TIME OF ASHOKA MAY BE. But when DalaiLama escaped into India in 1959 and panchan Lama took his place, a sort of dichotomy came into place. But we had terrific international standing at that time WITHOUT MILITARY POWER to go with it . The Chinese pricked the balloon in 1962 and we forget all about the consulates in Tibet and Suzerainty. It is time we look at these issues by dusting and reading the old files in foreign ministry and enforce SUZERAINTY granted by the Chinese.
Also Panchen Lama should be allowed to come out of his house arrest and show his face to the world
As i was about to leave for a game of chess with a friend, i was stopped by the young lady who has recently moved into our block after marrying a Tamil iyengar boy of IIM(Bangalore). She is a CKP of Maharashtra and an IT professional and i know she is SAP professional from her very looks! She knew we are from south and north and wanted to know from auntie how we have survived such a long marriage with a mentally ill child. Auntie left it to me to explain as she was busy preparing the breakfast.
I told her that the secret is Love and way of SHARING responsibilities. Basically i told her that i cater to the BIG picture being the head of family while my wife looks after the MINOR things in life. The SAP professional in her could not accept the inferior status in married life and she looked at auntie with little smirk. EQUALITY is the name of the game for her.
I told her that auntie selected the place we have to settle after retirement , the type of accommodation we purchased, the colour of interiors, curtains,the type of car,its colour,( I did not tell her that auntie selected 30 years back the Vespa and its colour when i just suggested the Jawa bike),the type of fridge,its capacity,type of Music system(PMPO),TV including its size and where it is placed,type of bed and also bedspreads and so many MINOR THINGS like the colour of my shirt,tie and what i wear at marriage ceremonies etc etc. Monthly outing and the restaurant,menu are of course minor. She also understood by now that the joint account and the bank we had this account are also minor issues.
"Uncle" then what are the MAJOR issues you decide? I triumphantly told her that i decide whether it is Obama or Hillary who would be best for USA. Whether US should withdraw from Iraq or not. I also decide whether India should sign the 123 agreement or select the F18 or MIG 31 for the MCA deal.I also decide whether Federal reserve should have cut the interest rate by 100 instead of 75 basis points. I also decided Indira Gandhi was the best PM (while auntie selected Rajiv because of his smile.).I also decide whether India should have bombed the terror training camps in Pakistan after the Parliament attack. I even decide that Zardari should be the PM of Pakistan instead of Fahim and how Mush should be treated after he vacates the Presidency. Kosov recognition,Malaysian elections,Tibet riots and the list is endless in which my male brain has to take major decisions.
SAP understood the tips of long lasting marriage and her mouth was wide open while i could see a smirk in my wife's face.
The following link provides how the American media is treating a sensitive subject with lot of elan and intelligence thereby helping their country solve a difficult problem. Indian media donot have the expertise , courage nor the skill to take these type of uncomfortable subjects
Friday, March 07, 2008
This is the second oldest Mosque in the world and ofcourse the Oldest Mosque in Indian subcontinent.It is located at Kodungallur IN Central Kerala.
The original Hindu Architecture of the whole structure was changed but still it is maintaining its ancient Hindu heritage in its sanctum sanctorum,mehrab,mimbar,traditional lamp and also the pond. this was constructed by Arab trader MALIK BIN DINAR in honour of Keral king CHERANAR PERUMAL who died in the sultanate of oman after he was converted by Prophet Mohamad himself. This is its present look.
the old look is below
http://www.pakspectator.com/ Is the blog which has put the following questions to me and my answers.
Q.Would you please tell us something about you and your site? I am a sixty eight year old retired Jet pilot of government of India. My wife Shirley is from the state of Rajasthan whileI am from the sunny southern state of Tamil nadu .Our only daughter MInal is schizophrenic and as such i am interested in thismental disease and issues relating to psycho social rehabilitation in India. My site reflects this concern as alsomy interests in current affairs and security matters. I find it interesting and simulating that i can write my views on National securitywithout fear like my bosses used to do when they wrote books after retirement.
2.Q. Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you? One definitely grows as we blog but i also grew as i READ other's blogs and commented on them. It is important because you come to know so many people's views from so many countries. I am new to the technology of blogging and still learning.
3.Q.I'm wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging? I am ordinary citizen of India and at the most i can hope for some media space in the form of "letters to editor"Today i see my blog has hits from people as far as iceland,bosnia,Malaysia etc. This gives a thrill.Also as i am on to disability due to mental issues, i find that there are a set of Lawyers, Psychiatrists,and social workers making a living out of this disability by manipulating laws,government officials, seminarsorganized by DRUG MNCs for this very purpose. Now as i post and comment i am respected for being a pain in their ass!
4.Q.What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?Comments and debates. Very rarely email friends.
5.Q. What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now? YOU TUBE
6. Q.Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive? Effective among the well read and intelligentsia who are the opinion makers. It can be effective among common people as OBAMA campaign has shown as America is a wired nation.
7.Q.What do you think sets Your site apart from others? Nothing really. I am an ordinary guy with ordinary concerns and an ordinary blog.
8. Q.If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be? HONESTY and Integrity in stating your views.
9.Q.What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life? Happiest moment is when my wife at that time a pretty angel accepted my proposal. Gloomiest moment is when i found that my only daughter is schizophrenic and this disease is incurable. Do you think [the use of Twitter and other social networking tools by politicians] is bandwagon jumping or what? Politicians can jump but people who use computers are wiser.
10.Q.If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it'spaid for - what would your top 3 choices be? Package tour to seven wonders of the world Pyramids of Egypt Italy
11.Q.What is your favorite book and why? How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie. His practical suggestionsreally work. Tamil Sage Thiruvalluvar's " THIRUKURAL" is immortal for me.
12.Q.What's the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)? Their EYES.
13.Q.Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn't write? I do not remember.
14. Q.How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially? Through Goggle's adsence but i do not know how it works practically because i have yet to get a cent!!
15. Q.Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands? I do not think so
16.Q.What are your thoughts on corporate blogs and what do you think the biggest advantages and disadvantages are? Corporate blogs help in getting information about their company in a very cogent waywith the click of the mouse. But then it is impersonal and can drive away customers who are keen on dialogue.
17. Q.What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile? By being honest with each other even if the views are unpalatable and debating.
18. Q.Who are your top five favourite bloggers? http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/
19 Q.Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people? My comment in a singapore forum that " Bush is perceived as the leader of christians and not Pope" brought forth lotof reactions.
20.Q.What is your perception about Pakistan and its people? The Poor in Pakistan have shown courage, wisdom and willingness to experiment during this election. But they are being led by Feudal leaders who are NOT elected and who in turn are guided by USA and Saudies. Pakistan which has Democratically elected leaders who have control over Executive(including Army), Independent Judiciary, Independent Mediawill be an asset to whole of SouthAsia.
21.Q.Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger? Every blogger is unique in his or her own way. That is the beauty of blogging itself.
22.Q.What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country? Cleanliness ,clean air and running water. South asians are the filthiest in the whole world and so we are the least developped.
23. Q.What is the future of blogging? It has great future as computer literacy and affordability will grow and so also connectivity.
24. Q.You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life? It has not affected my personal life except that my wife shouts at my long hours in front of screenwhich will affect my eyesight a glaucoma patient. It has tremendously helped me to help others and also help myself bymaking people aware of the issues in which i am interested.
25.Q.What are your future plans? Nothing. Being a Capricornian i used to plan. After my daughter's sickness i donot plan. I take life at it comes.
26. Q.Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator? I want to thank the generous readers of Pakistan spectator for giving this opportunity to be interviewed and also give my opinions freely and frankly.I consider it a great honour for an Indian who faught against Pakistani nation in various ways. Once we understand wehave a common Heritage things will fall into place. Poverty and Dirtiness are more worrisome and deadly common enemies.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
The following article by Mike ghouse and a response by Dr.Jamil is very relevant to India. For Dr.Jamil the very purpose behind TeenIlahi is blashphemic as nothing more can be revealed as Islam is the final revelation. This is what Dr.Zakir naik espouses to Muslim masses and so everything connected with Islam becomes TRUTH while all other religions are half truths only.This is what makes Saudi arabia's reluctance to allow construction of temples and churches as correct while India and Thailand must allow construction of Mosques because it is the Truth!!!!
Islam and Pluralism
Mike Ghouse, February 26, 2008
By the way, I would want you to express your understanding of the Pluralism, together we can learn more.The attacks on Islam after 9/11 propelled me to study the veracity of the statements ascribed to Islam by the media.The traditional translations of Qur'aan did not offer much hope, and it was a taboo to question those translations. Thank God for the internet, the net waves got flooded with information in addition to the availability of multiple translations of Qur'aan in the market. Every translation added a new dimension, and reflected translator's background; they were obviously influenced by who they keep the company with.The need to understand Islam, as it was intended, became a priority to me. I was driven by one of my favorite passages from the Bhagvad Gita – finding the truth is one's own responsibility. The human fears, anger, ill-will, malice and the negative emotions are some times based on false propaganda, and liberation comes from it is finding the truth, as truth relieves one from anxiety and brings clarity and possible solutions, be what that truth may be.Qur'aan is for all seasons and all ages, it is what you understand. The political criminals twist the constitution to support their agendas, just as the religious politicians twist their holy books to support their own agenda which is generally destructive. Where as the 99% of the population does the right thing by understanding the purpose of religion and live and let live.Qur’aan, Al-Inshiqaq, Surah 84:7 "And as for him whose record shall be placed in his right hand," (whose behavior in life characterizes him as "righteous"), and Qur’aan, Al-Inshiqaq, Surah 84:10 “But as for him whose record shall be given to him behind his back; (where it is stated that the record of the unrighteous "shall be placed in his left hand". In reality, however; the present formulation alludes to the sinner's horror at his record, and his wish that he had never been shown it (69:25-26): in other words, his not wanting to see it is symbolized by its appearance "behind his back".)Islam consistently encourages individuals to do good to others. It emphasizes one’s individual responsibility towards the peace and security of the society at large. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) described a good deed as an act which benefits others, such as planting a seed, knowing well that, when it grows to be a full fledged tree it will serve generations of wayfarers with fruit and the shade. The world is a better place today because of a good legacy bequeathed to humanity by people of all faiths that came before us. We owe it to coming generations to leave the world a little better than we found it, to usher an era of justice and peace.“There are the people who have never cared for their neighbors; they thought they would never return to God. Their Lord watches all that people do.”It was a defining moment for me when I decided to delve myself into understanding Islam. Imam Feisal Abdur Raouf of New York had made a statement to the effect that Islam means peace; and a Muslim is one who brings peace. Over the years, I have pondered over who is a Muslim or a religious person of any faith for that matter? The following statement was the result "To be a Muslim (or to be religious) is to be a peace maker; one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; life and matter. Indeed that is the purpose religion." Each one of us is a carrier of the peace flag.The above became my lens through which I was looking at the word of God, for me, as a Muslim, God’s word is Qur'aan. God is for every human being and no one owns him or has any exclusive rights with him (equally her or it). We are his creation and belong to him as he belongs to us all.Islam is an all embracing idea and justice is its core value. When there is justice, it puts people at ease; they are released from the fear that some one is going to take advantage of them or the fear that they will have to pay for their actions if they are unjust to others. The middle path as the Prophet called is the key for peaceful living. Qur'aan -55:9 weigh, therefore, [your deeds] with equity, and cut not the measure short!When there is justice, one's focus turns to living the life. No one would be lying to others; no one would be cheating, abusing or usurping what belongs to others and most certainly, no one would be taking advantage of the weak. The description of the day of the judgment is simply the pinnacle of learning about individual responsibility – you would stand on your own, neither your parents, nor the kids, nor your wealth or even the Prophet is going to do anything for you, your only defense is the good you have done to others. God is just and will serve justice to every human being. By the way, Qur’aan has assured God’s blessing and grace to every human who is Just; Muslim or not.When the universe evolved, or simply when God created the universe, it was a two part system; Matter and Life.Matter had a defined space and role to play. In this model, the creator God did not give freedom to the matter, it was put on a trajectory and was to do exactly what it was meant to do, and it has been doing this for millions of years, precisely and on time. The Earth takes ~365 days to revolve around the Sun; the light determines the plants, ice, water content and life. Qur'aan -55:6 "[before Him] prostrate themselves the stars and the trees." Each one is simply playing its determined role; each item respects the space of other and co-exists in harmony. This is the model of peaceful co-existence.When it came to life, God placed the brains and took away the defined role (like the role of earth revolving around the sun) and gave freedom to humans to use their intelligence and create their own abode of harmonious co-existence between billions of them. On the way, God gave manuals (for Muslims, it is Qur'aan) to each species or each community and nation to follow that model of peaceful co-existence.Qur’aan, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."For the followers of the Qur'aan (manual) Islam is a complete way of life. However, others have their own manuals to follow to achieve peaceful co-existence. God offers the clarity to each one of the followers of different manuals, each nation and tribe has its own equilibrium and manual and we have to know one another.As Muslims we have never had the chance to dig in more and find the truth for ourselves. We (followers of all faiths) are conditioned by the politics of religion to negate other manuals of God. However, God's words (Qur'aan) are beautiful and respectful toward those who follow a different manual.109:1 SAY: "O you who deny the truth!109:2 "I do not worship that which you worship,109:3 and neither do you worship that which I worship!109:4 "And I will not worship ~hat which you have [ever] worshipped,109:5 and neither will you [ever] worship that which I worship.109:6 unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine!"It is a reminder for us to think about it from our manual's point of view and learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.Our goal is to duplicate the perfect model of Matter that God has created. We have to make our own pathways without conflict and create that heaven on the earth.Insha Allah, as a Muslim, I am committed to continue to study and understand the concept of Pluralism and co-existence God has presented to the followers of Islam. My reference is some of the many verses in Qur'aan that direct us to create that model of bliss between all of his creation. I welcome Muslims and others to do research on this aspect, as no one owns Islam or Qur'aan; it belongs to all, just as other faiths offer salvation, Mukti, Moksha or Nirvana.The concept of Tauhid is certainly understood in a few dimensions, one of them is a "one-single-physical God" despite the pronounced belief that God is not a being. Qur'aan - 112:4 "and there is nothing that could be compared with Him. Still it arms the politically oriented ones to imagine that are other God(s). We need to understand the depth of this concept.Tauhid to me, at this stage of understanding is "unison" without "conflict". – One source of creation, one originator, one universe, one people that leads to a model for conflict elimination and creating a blissful state of existence. Where fear, envy, jealousy, arrogance, ego, ill will, hate, malice and anger is overcome with the positive energy of co-existence.God want us to succeed for human co-existence and duplicate the model of the matter. It is accepting and respecting the God given uniqueness of each one of us that reduces conflicts and brings solutions to harmonious co-existence.I believe this was the intent of Akbar, the great Moghul King. To some of my friends and the critiques it failed in political terms, however, his legacy of harmonious co-existence will continue to inspire generations yet to come. India has been such a model with a few exceptions.
Your ardent support for pluralism is justifiable in intent but unjustified in essence. To talk of the acceptance of a plural society is one thing and to talk of unification of all religions into one and promotion of such an approach is other. The former has nothing bad in it. Every person has the right to conscience and practices his faith within the parameters of the system in which he is or has to live. This automatically leads to a plural society. All nations on the earth are plural in nature; there is no single country where all the people belong to the same religion. Even countries like Saudi Arabia and Vatican City have plural societies. As far as pluralism is concerned, literally it means deification of a plural society, which means that one does not just accept a plural society but prefers it over every single ideology. This type of pluralism is neither desirable nor possible because if one accepts this type of ideology it would require every member of society to believe in this ideology; those who do not believe in it will be either condemned or will at least get lesser respect than those believing in pluralism. This will again lead to dominance of one ideology over the other, as pluralism in itself is a specific ideology. As far as Islam is concerned, it is in itself a synthesis of the best of all previous religions; and who can give the best except one who knows all. God has produced the best; and by declaring Muhammad as the Last Ambassador and Qur'aan as the Last Book, He has made it known to the mankind that nothing can be better than the Best. Mankind or any single man or a group of men cannot add anything to Islam that will make it better; it will only distort, degrade and destroy the best. It is another matter that there is always a room for better understanding and better application of what has been chosen for us. Qur'aan accepts a plural society but does not promote pluralism of religion, ideology or system. The Desire of God is that the whole Mankind should submit to one ideology, one Religion and One System. That is in fact the essence and aim of Wahdat (Unity). Brother Mike, I know you have a golden heart which shines for everybody. Love all people and respect all systems; promote the right of all people to live respectfully irrespective of their beliefs, but please for God's sake, understand the difference between Pluralism and acceptability of a plural society. If you advocate pluralism, it would mean that you do not regard Islam as the Best and Final; if you advocate for the acceptance of a plural society it is already there in Islam. Emperor Akbar's Deen-e Ilahi was certainly not an improvement on Islam; it only diluted its supremacy. If his intention was to bring non-Muslims closer to Islam through Deen-e Ilahi, it might be a Good endeavor in the eyes of God; if he thought he could give a better Deen than that of God, God's wrath will await him in the Hereafter. Only God knows the best about his intentions; we can only hope that Akbar proves to be good to God.
I hope we all try to follow Muhammad and the Deen he preached and not Akbar and his Deen-e Ilahi. There is nothing wrong however in thinking positively about Akbar's intentions.
Dr Javed Jamil