This was a wake-up call for me to think through life, and I am pleased to share the following, this was written when the surgery was originally scheduled.
Instead of an open heart quad-pass surgery in Louisville, our Doctors in Dallas decided to do a balloon and a stent. I appreciate my friends Dr. Harbans Lal and Dr. Amer Suleman for pushing and facilitating me to go for the alternate procedure. Thanks to Dr. Taysir Jarrah for the smooth operation, I did not even feel it. Thanks again for the prayers, duwas, Prarthana and wishes.
STARTING OVER WITH A CLEAN SLATE
This is not my obituary. It is a moment of reflection, and if it prompts you to think about your own mirror, then I have served the purpose of writing this note.
My bypass surgery is scheduled for 11/11/13. Thank God it gave me the opportunity to be silly, ridiculous, pensive, and thoughtful. Do all of us get that luxury? What if you don’t? What are
the things you would have done or not done? This is an exercise for such eventuality.
My life could have ended on July 9, 2013, without giving notice, it was indeed a heart attack. Of course, no one but the manufacturer knows the life of our battery; we don’t come stamped with an unlimited lifetime warranty. I hope you find this booklet to be your mirror.
Should I become the statistics and not make it through the surgery, I want you to know that I
have lived my life and am happy to go or stay on. This is one of the most beautiful moments of my life, and wish every one of us takes a moment to reflect on life. It is liberating to know ourselves and re-assess the priorities of our life.
Michami Dukadam is a powerful phrase I have learned from Jainism, it simply means I will wipe all the negative thoughts from my mind, and ask you to do the same, I seek forgiveness from you, and I reciprocate the same. It will release both of us from burdensome bondage into Moksha, Mukti, Nijaat, Salvation or freedom.
Today is one such day, I am asking ya’ll to forgive me and I will do my part, I carry no ill will, malice or hatred towards anyone. Thank God, I am free as my new Grandson Jayden.
Let’s start our life on a clean slate.
Page1 of 20
Purpose of this booklet
HOPE YOU CAN FIND YOUR MIRROR, AS I HAVE FOUND MINE
I am hoping, each one of us can find a new mirror to see ourselves, and purposefully
determine what we want out of life.
Tum bhi ek din marja o’gay, hum bhi mar’jayeingay
Takraron ko ab chodiye, sukoon hum kab payeiengay
One day, your life will come to an end, and mine too
if we keep arguing, when will we find peace?
When will we stop and smell the roses?
Whether it is new or an age-old tension between you and your sister, brother, parents, spouse or kids, and friends, customers or clients, how long will you carry the burden? Tum bhi ek din marja ogay, hum bhi marjayeingay, then why carry it? Death will end the complaints anyway; why not end them today, now?
Whether it is hatred for an individual, a group, or their faith, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture or other uniqueness, it is our burden, they quietly come and go, they may not even know about our hate, but we’d be still carrying the burden, anger, and pain. As a corollary, you or your friends may have loved someone intensely during your teen years without the other even knowing about it. Pyaar huwa chup ke se.
THANK YOU, MY FRIENDS,
I have been blessed by many friends and well-wishers. I was going crazy just thinking about all the people who have been good to me, but here is a partial list, and I know some of you will forgive me for not remembering to write your name here.
Saleh Shariff, Adil Khan, Davendra Maini, Harbans Lal, Basheer Ahmed, Len Ellis, Nauman Anwar, Farooq Hemani, Surinder Mittal, Mani Rahman, Bill Matthews, Lata, and Sante Chary, Joshua & Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk, Rizwan Sheikh, Mirza Beg, John Hammond, Yuri, and Mark Hernandez, Amir Rupani, Jerry Middents, Zaf Tabani, PetraWeldes, Zafar Iqbal, Jon Halsey, Tatiana Androsov, Mohammad Suleman, Michael Jenkins, Kundan Sharma, Shabnam Modgil, Kathy Joplin, Lon Burnam, Karen Hollie, AG Chini, Rafi Faruki, Moazam Syed, Asifa Ijaz, Amer Shakil, Amanullah Khan, Sultan Choudhary, Marylou Ghyst, Rita Clarke, Zia Shaikh, Zafarullah Hanjra, Linda Evans, Laura Sutherland, Butch Rahman, Sher Suleman, Paul Goldstein, Suzanne Carter, Mumtaz Mir, Sultan Shahin, Gow Fields, Hasan Mahmud, Peggy Larney, Irfan Ali, DW Lewis, Bangalore Harbans Lal, A. Ramachandran and many more to be added.
I found my Mirror and I hope you can find yours.
All the stuff I have accumulated over the years would be useless. It would be a hassle for my wife to get rid of that crap (good stuff to me) should something happen to me, and my kids have zero interest in anything I own except the family pictures. Why should they spend the time in disposing of the stuff they don’t need? Should I burden them with a sense of guilt to get rid of that stuff, or should my love set them free? Should I worry what they will do to my stuff after I am gone? Can I base my life on goodwill or freedom? Or should I become a watchdog guarding my ego, my way of doing things, controlling others and living on the edge, seeking perfection in others? To be tense
and give tension to others? It’s a choice we make, to enjoy life with or without things we need, and do things that give us peace of mind.
I FOUND MY MIRROR
With a few exceptions that I regret, I have not maligned anyone, or gone around telling bad things about others. I have not tried to control other people’s lives to suit my whims, what would be the gain? I have no grudges in my heart either.
What is the gain with hatred and malice or backbiting? It’s actually a loss, it keeps you bonded with a dislike of others.
Asking others to forgive you for your shortcomings is not giving away control of your life, but giving an expression of how you feel. If they act, you forgive them and move on. Let it not be you who gives up on hope.
Let’s tie the loose ends of life, every day and live a full life! My mother tied the loose ends, and I was able to facilitate Najma, my late wife to do the same, and here I am, making the efforts. If you feel ill-will towards any, or get the temptations to denigrate the other. Go back to square one to your mirror.
Michami Dukadam friends. Let’s start our life afresh with a clean slate, now, from
What will I do?
IF I SURVIVE THE SURGERY
3. Production of footage for the film, Americans Together, building a cohesive America. Post-production and marketing to be done in 2015-16. Hopefully, this would be a first film where every representation of America can be seen. It is again a movie to reflect the book Standing up for others and building cohesive societies. We need funding for this.
4. Push the Interfaith dialogue to its limits, so we can face tough issues head-on, and get it over with it. I hope we learn to live with our differences, rather than pretending to be nice, but live with a load of ill-will within. Such attitudes are explosive and generate phrases like they asked for it, or they deserved it when the other group is in a difficult situation.
5. Initiate and continue with the Intrafaith dialogue in Islam, bringing different traditions to discuss the differences and learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the difference without denigrating each other.
Gratitude to family and
friendsTHANK YOU, THANK YOU AND THANK
My sister called me up this morning and asked me to come home and have the surgery done in
Bangalore. She said that she and my brothers have decided to keep a portion of their monies from an inheritance for my care! My eyes welled up with emotion, these are my younger siblings! I am
Standing up for Others
IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO STAND UP FOR OTHERS,
WHY SHOULD ANYONE STAND UP FOR YOU?
invincibility to vulnerability, and if we don’t stand up for those who are
vulnerable, then why should anyone stand up for us when we are
herded to a huge pit, and were shot into it during the Holocaust. The hurtful
looks in their eyes have been very painful to me. I connected with their plea, in
my college I helped a friend with answers during the exams and was caught red-handed
and taken to the Principal’s office. None of my friends stood up for me,
I was looking at them, perhaps even for an acknowledgment, and they walked away
as if I did not exist. I can never forget my helplessness and I said, never
again. The story is same whether it is Bosnia, Rwanda, Gujarat, Sikh
Genocide, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Native Americans, Africans, Maya….
They were looking at the world and saying in their hearts “where are you my
friends, where are you? Where is humanity in you? Are you just going to let this
happen? What happened to our friendship, did that mean anything to you?
nothing about it. We have to tell the bad guys that the world is not with them and when enough people speak up to begin the process of weakening the bad and strengthening the good, for the
common good of all parties. The idea of alms, charity, taking care of the elderly, weak, sick and the
children is a common theme in every religious tradition. It is indeed
insurance for everyone’s well being. I cannot be at peace when others
around me aren’t, and hence it behooves for me to take care of the ones
who need assistance.If we allow bias towards any human, we
miss out a part of God in our spirit. Fight your bias towards others
from now on, and see how happy you would be. We are made to be good
humans and if we become one, we are home!
requirement to be a good human being either. Whether one believes in God or not,
the creator loves his creation anyway, and every human will spend the time he
was charged up with whether he is a theist or an atheist. Every life will
end. Indeed, we have created God in our own image. The story is about defending their rights to their belief with many examples. Senator Williams’ Remarks Offended Hindus.
Governor of Kentucky attended a factory opening ceremony that created 275 jobs for
Americans in Elizabeth Town. Senator Williams criticized the Governor for sitting cross-legged with a “dot on his forehead,” and described the ceremony as “polytheistic.” It is not only a Hindu
issue, it is indeed an American issue and so I spoke up and wrote a piece and
hope to meet him and share the wisdom of Hinduism. Unless we stand up for each
other, we cannot expect an America where all men would be equal. Many such
stories are included in the chapter of Standing up for Hindus.
the story of my struggle to see a cohesive world, the story will take you
through different emotions but at the end, I hope you feel a sense of
completeness of the story.
Bibi in Pakistan, Pastor Nadarkhani in Iran, Christian Convert Abdul Rahman in
Afghanistan, Lena Joy in Malaysia, burning of Santos Albertus church in Bekasi,
raping of Nuns in India or torching 150 Christian homes in Pakistan, we have
spoken up as well as documented the belligerent opposition of a few.
Don’t make the mistake that one has to be gay to stand up for gays, if that were the
case, the world would be chaotic and ruthlessly selfish. Each one of the
spiritual masters worked to build a society where no one had to live in fear of
the other, as it will keep everyone in the fear. The role of religion was to
build cohesive and secure societies. I have taken a strong stand in support of
the rights of LGBT, and again it is tempting to do nothing and save harassment,
then what good am I, if I cannot stand
up for a fellow human?
Standing up for immigrants.
along with the Mexican and other Latino immigrants. Dallas Morning News decided
to publish my picture on their front page and my statement was quoted instantly
in every Latin American newspaper. I have been involved in immigration reforms, and please to be a full participant citizen.
and others…. and of course Muslims! The book has a chapter for every group of
beings—stop it, and if you cannot do that, talk with them, then he concludes,
the least you can do is to speak up. At least you have fulfilled your individual responsibility to see justice. Mahatma Gandhi and MLK have said—injustice to one is like an injustice to all.
I am dedicating the book to two of the individuals I admire, not for their take, but
for who they are; Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Brother Sean Hannity.
I urge you to speak up when you see oppression of any human, particularly those who are not related to you in any form.
THIS IS THE JOY OF MY
UNITY—UNITY DAY USAWe
have been celebrating 10 years of Unity in a determined way. Annual Unity Day
USA events – to build bridges, undo-stereotyping and bring people of different
faiths, races, politics, and ethnicities together to focus on the common good
and safety of America.
Each one of us feels at home, and at peace when
we have a sense of Unity, it happens when New Town shooting takes place, 9/11
occurs or Tsunami hits. Unity day is about nurturing Unity during peace times as
well as times of conflict. It is driven by the belief that knowledge of each
other leads to understanding, and understanding to acceptance of each
We have to be genuine in our effort, no tokenism but sincere
inclusion of all Americans, yes, every American is included. Please visit www.UnitydayUSA.com
major change in dealing with conflicts in the history of the world is
established now. The Mulberry event seeded the change about how Muslims would
react to future Quran burning, criticism of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam,
and how Americans perceive Muslims; an alternate but standard behavior was
established for the first time in history.
Respecting the freedom of speech of Pastor Jones and respecting the
Quran, the precise point made to Muslims and fellow Americans respectively. The
program communicated those two clear messages to the world.
a powerful story –over 300 news papers around the world carried our story,
Saudi, Pakistan, India’s leading papers endorsed our model, the Shia and Sunni
News agencies reported in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. Our men and women were out
of harm’s way, and no violence took place this time… anywhere. I am encouraged by the tremendous support it
received from all corners of the world. It was good to see Malala replicate it
in her own way, and if we keep doing this… we can see a lessening of violence
and mitigation of conflicts. It takes two sides to see peace. It’s a special report on Quran burning at
FOR HUMANITY | HOLOCUAST AND GENOCIDESIt
is a purposeful event for people to come together and develop empathy for each
other’s pain, and look to each other’s suffering in the most human way. Unless
we feel the pain of others, why would others feel our pain? It is also an event that takes you out of the
“me, me and my suffering only” to, “we
are all in this together” and have to work and bring the change for common
Holocaust every time and highlighting different Genocides across the world. The feedback we received from all groups was
healing.Until we started the
program, non-Jews never commemorated Holocaust anywhere; we were the first ones
to commemorate for the general public. It is also a Muslim initiative to bring
about understanding between peoples.
CONFERENCE | AN EXEMPLARY MODEL of
Robert Jeffress of Dallas created a storm in Dallas when he said, Quran is an
evil book written by an evil prophet.
So, we stepped in to deal with him in the most civilized and peaceful
manner – 5 TV interviews, and three Major news paper reports later – we
organized the Quran conference – with ten non-Muslim clergy to demystify the
myths about a few verses that have been maligned. It is an incredible model of
demystifying myths about others.Finding the truth is our own
responsibility, we cannot feel anxious about what others talk, we have to do the
research, ultimately, no one is responsible for our peace of mind, but
ourselves. The feedback from the pastors
was just incredible! www.Quraanconference.com
men and women have shaped my attitudes, and I thank them, they are models of
pluralism. Prophet Muhammad, Jesus
Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Guru Nanak, Mahatma Gandhi, Bahaullah, MLK., Mother
Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Dale Carnegie, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Gusdar Abdurrahman
Wahid, Swami Vivekananda, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rev. Moon, my Nana (Maternal Grandfather), my
father and mother. Among the living pluralists, HH Aga Khan, Barack Obama, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Bishop Tutu
and Pope Francis.
DIALOGUE | DIALOGUE WITHIN.Some
of the wars, death and destruction are not with the “outsiders” but with folks
from within. Each sub-group undermines the other and arrogantly claims
superiority over the other including denigration. God has not signed a deal with
any one behind other people’s back. No religion is an exception to this,
particularly the Christian and Islamic faiths.
is nice to have the distinct honor of moderating and organizing the World’s
first Muslim intra-faith dialogue at the Boniuk Center at Rice University. The
Shia, Sunni, Ahmadiyya and WD Muhammad groups never sat down face to face
before, God willing I will be involved with another one at Harvard University
and the Qatar Foundation. If religion feeds arrogance and self-righteousness,
then one really has not understood it, Islam and (all other faiths) are about
humility that which builds bridges.Perhaps, I am one of the few Muslims
in the world with zero bias towards others. I follow Quran which teaches me to
respect the otherness of others and accept the God given uniqueness of each
faith. If I survive, I will continue my
work. It is not easy, I get attacked and discouraged every now and then.
have conducted 26 workshops in understanding the essence of all the beautiful
religions, including Atheism. The idea
is to know each other.
of the world—for the last 20 years, I have written the essence of about every
festival in every major religion. If we merely understand the essence of each
festival, we would appreciate how other people commemorate or celebrate their
Radio on Religion— we have done over 520 hours of Radio shows on every religion
including Atheism. The idea is to free ourselves from bias towards the others.
is more, but this is good!
People of different faiths, races and backgrounds come together
|click on picture to see larger version|
|click on picture to see larger version|
Due to sensibility of the event, we want to assure you that it is an all inclusive event, over the last several years, we have focused on Holocaust and several Genocides across the world, and we hope to commemorate every one of them. This is a symbolic event to represent all Genocides and the Jewish Holocaust.
The purpose of this event is education, we hope to learn to acknowledge our failings, and our mission is to create awareness of the inhumanity within each one of us to find the solutions.
Please mark your calendar, invite your friends and invite sponsors for the event and share about this among your friends. We also would like to list all the organizations who commit to be present at the event. All donors over $100 will be listed on this website.
A DOCUMENTARY FILM
Americans Together is a documentary about Americans working toward building a cohesive society.It is time we bring fruition to the change we want, here is the first step towardbuilding an America that is good for every one of us. Our focus will be overall prosperity rather than pitting one against the other.
Every American must feel a sense of security, safety and freedom. If we can learn to accept te otherness of others and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
Collectively, we are represented by every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, culture and religion. We see God as one, none and many and in every form; male, female, genderless and non-existent, being and non-being, nameless and with innumerable names. America Together Foundation is committed to preserve this pluralistic heritage of America.
We are looking for partners:
SYMPOSIUMS1. Anti-Semitism—Not a week goes by without someone making an anti-Semitic remark, and shame on us for not saying a thing about it. If each one of us can stand up against Anti-Semitism, we will individually contribute towards a better society that we really want to live in. It is subtle. Should others do that to you?
I started writing about social issues in 1970, mostly in Urdu Language. Then through 1977 I wrote 42 some poems and 24 articles.There was a gap of 17 years between 1978 and 1993, I did not write much, neither did I socialize. Just work, family and home. Whatever I wrote was in commentary format here and there.
In 1993 I published a news paper called Asian News and started writing again, however, I lost all the pieces I had written till 1999 – when I opened my blog at Sulekha.Com. Since then most of my writing has been preserved. Still there is a lot I did not save, I regret that. Then through 2005 – much of my writing is saved at Yahoogroups. I have over 40 blogs on just about every topic I have dealt with.
But this Blog is full time blog since 2008 and all my writing go here first. One of the most amusing thing I discovered in the last month was that I have not changed any since 1971. The pieces I wrote about God, Society, Religion is identical to what I am writing now. I wonder why did I not improve? www.TheGhouseDiary.com
security and the Palestinians the hope. Both deserve peace and security.”Peace hinges on hopes for the Palestinians and security for the
Israelis, anything short of justice will not produce sustainable peace” –
If Jews and Muslims can take the position that we cannot have peace
when others around us don’t and work on first removing bias and
stereotyping from their own minds, conflicts will fade and solutions
emerge. (more on left panel)
ability to celebrate marriage and other religious functions according
to their beliefs. We believe that this is an innate human right and is
also protected by the 1st Amendment. Our values come from the
understanding that all people, whether religious or not, have deep
personal values and should be treated with respect, acceptance, and
understanding.”Marriage is a celebration that brings people
together, and we want to extend that ethos further by being a church
comprised of a wide cross-section of people that have found common
ground in the service of bringing people together.To begin, the
legal dimension to officiating a wedding simply involves completing a
piece of paper, the marriage license. The marriage license is the legal
document of marriage. It is filed for by the couple from their local
government prior to the wedding.
role of the minister is to conduct the wedding, have the couple
present their marriage license, make sure that the information is
correct, and complete the license. The couple then returns the completed
license back to its office of issuance. http://interfaithmarriages.blogspot.com/
We are proud of our heritage – a multi-faith, multi-cultural,
multi-regional and multi-linguistic society, where we have come to
accept and respect every which way people have lived their lives. For
over 5000 years, India has been a beacon of pluralism – it has embraced
Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Baha’i and Zoroastrianism to include in
the array of the indigenous religions; Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and
Indian democracy is a
shining example to the world, where the people have peacefully
transferred the powers. Indians are inherently secular and economically
capitalistic. They believe in “live-and-let-live” life style, which is
the essence of capitalism.Through the years we have expressed the
highest degree of maturity on handling extreme situations; the more
divergent opinions we hear, the larger our heart grows, the bigger our
embrace would be and we can cushion more differences.
Let’s continue to
honor the concept that there is always another side to the story, as
finding the truth is our own responsibility.I am proud of my heritage
and am proud to be an Indian-American. Please join me in the discovery
of India on a daily basis, as time permits and share the wealth of
knowledge you have on this forum. http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/
is time for us to begin addressing the unity within the Muslim
community and with the communities of the world for building cohesive
societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the
other.To have the
power to effect a positive change in a given society one must be just.
It is not justice when one gains at the wrongful expense of the others.
Many a Muslims have lost the gut in their voice because they have failed
to stand up for others.
things are required to earn the grace of God: belief in God, belief in
the Messengers and accountability of our actions towards creating
peaceful societies. Anyone who submits to these ideals is broadly
defined as a Muslim – someone who subscribes to the idea of oneness of
humanity, to talk, act and feel like one family who lives cohesively
with the given differences for the good of the family. Every Muslim that
I know of, and that is a lot of Muslims in every denomination is driven
by the Shahada- the pledge; That God is one and Prophet Muhammad is his
last messenger. www.RamadanDaily.com
Hadith (Prophet Muhammad’s sayings). It it is a human effort to
understand the concept of Justice enshrined in Qur’aan for living a day
to day life.The private domain of the manual is about the
relationship between an individual and the creator, whereas the public
domain of the Sharia law is about the relationship between the
individual and the society.The contentious issues stem from
treatment of; divorce, women’s rights, inheritance, theft, adultery and
apostasy. Our focus is in understanding and bringing forth various
opinions and thoughts to get a grasp of the system.The core
value of Islam is Justice. The violations of justice and the rule of law
are found in every faith, culture and political traditions at varying
degrees. No community can cast the first stone.Sharia industry
has been built with strong fortifications to the point that many a
Muslims are caused into believing that Sharia is divine. Justice is one
of the core values of Islam and Sharia should be looked from that lens
and not vice-versa.
It is like the defense industy, tax preparers
industry or the Holocaust industry – where they make it so complicated
that they are needed. It is their business protection plan.
is a simple religion for one to follow and be accountable for his or
her actions. We don’t need an industry and Islam does not have clergy
built into it.
We can retain the private Sharia and let go of the
public sharia, the civil laws of the nation provide ample justice and
we don’t need a duplicate system. It is not divine to begin with to hang
on to it.
There are several other blogs based on the topics
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a
on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work
place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers
pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in
Standing up for others and
has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on
national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on
Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to
the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly
at Huffington post; and
several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work
through many links.