India shouldn’t ape the bad in the west, like the bee draw honey from all flower

Burqa ban & dress code row! – dr. james kottoor

James kottoor    After the second world war, Europe and Americas colonised the rest of the word and gave leadership in everything, in art, culture, politics and in life style to the rest of the world. The colonized blindly followed the conquerors in everything slavishly.                    

But things began changing fast with globalisation and the arrival of the 21st century. Now with the surge of new nationalism and independence instead of interdependence, countries in he west are stung by the nostalgia for the good old days and beating a retreat to pre-colonised days of nation states. The upheavals and conflicts in the west seem to be their signs. This editorial comment is on reports in The Express Tribune of May 12, given below.

Little and big things make up life and greater ones ennoble it, it is said. Here we are speaking of Little things with accent on  entertaing people, as is clearly noted by the byline: “By Entertainment Desk below.  Correcting people by laughing at them, (“Riddendo corrigere”)making fun of them also is one of the functions of journalism.

The reports  in the ‘Express Tribune’

Speak of: “Feminism, food we eat, the dress we wear” etc. One who speaks about ‘Feminism’  is Chancellor (Head) of the German Republic, Angela Merkel, who is revered by the whole world for her leadership qualities. She is the daughter of a Pastor just as Theresa May of UK who now is trying to preside over a ‘coalition of chaos’. What a difference between the two – yes different like ‘day and night’.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany

Is she a ‘feminist’? was the question asked by a Magazin reporter and her answer was she did not want to adorn herself with feathers, giving the message that she is not one of the women folk, who revel in “vanity products” (think of endless varieties of “vanity bags” for women; men don’t use them, which flood the market.) Her firm considered answer was: “She is a manly woman”. That is what she is like Francis Pappa, or Emmanuel Macron of France,  but not like Trump of US or May of UK.

While most women are like ‘feathers’ and delight in adorning themselves with such things she registers her balanced view with deapth. What Drydon said: “Feathers like straw on the surface flow, those who search for pearls must dive below” is the message she gives and our salutes to her noble mind.

Merkel, Trump & Macron

Compare her reaction with US’ Trump and France’s Macron in public on serious issues of global concern and good manners like “hand shake”. She offered her hand as decency demanded on such occasions and Trump wriggled out of it and cut an awkward figure, and appeared like a clown for the delight of critics. In this case, a manly  US president should have been the first to offer his hand to Merkel, a woman but  equally a president of another great country and what is more, Trump’s  own guest (recall: ‘Adithi devo Bhava’ = Treat your guest like God himself, the Indian moral code of conduct).

Burqa ban controversy

Feminism and dress code (burka ban) is the main theme of our discussion. As for wearing a burqa, Merkel is firm and categorical: “The full-face veil is not acceptable in our country,” she said point blank and gave her reasons.

Practice in UK, Canada, Europe

In UK opinion is divided, some for and some against. In Canada while a few support for being politically correct, majority oppose calling it a ‘mad idea’. In France, Belgium,   Bulgaria and Switzerland, support for burqa-ban is on steady increase. France the most open society in Europe was in the forefront allowing burqa from 2011 but is now opposing it due to so many terrorist attacks on her soil.

In India

India today is in the midst of multiple controversies led by Hindutuvawadies, RSS, cow protectors against Muslims, minorities and beef eaters under Modi’s BJP government. They lead processions and hold meetings in saffron clad attire to draw the majority community against minorities especially on religious grounds.

In protest against Muslim girls wearing hijabs and burqas on university grounds students protest wearing saffron-colored scarves in classrooms. The scourge of divisions based on creed, community, eating  and dressing habits are tearing the country to shreds. Where is India today compared to its once glorious ideal and practice of ‘unity in multiplicity’ and living as one human family Vasudeiva Kudumbam”, yes as God’s family on earth praying and working for “Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu”,  may the whole world live in peace and prosperity?

Refugiess & homeless immigrants

The world today is stricken  by communal tension, terrorist attacks and conflict between theocratic and secular states. All these produce a multitude of homeless people seeking a place to stay in various countries. To assist them many countries in Europe, led by Germany, France and Canada keep an open door policy unlike US and UK, offering living and working opportunities.     

Besides middle class people in various countries migrate to other coutries which offer better opportunities. In such instances what do you expect from host countries and immigrants. Host countries expect from the homeless immigrants to accommodate and adapt themselves to the customs and practice of host countries.

Rights & duties of Imigrants

Beggers can’t be rulers in host countries. Unfortunately, this is what some immigrants from Islamic countries fail to understand. They demand permission for themseves, not all, Islamic religious practise and social customs, which they themselves won’t  permit to foreigners in their own country.  This has created Islamafobia the world over. It is also called ‘clash of civilisation’ the main opponent being Christianity which started it all with its infamous ‘Crusades’. Now they are ashamed of it and speak no more about it. Many Islamic countries and Muslim communities are slowly coming to such an enlightenment. An exception is the latest diplomatic blockade of Qatar by neighbouring nations which threw a spanner  in the works and prevent speedy resolution.

One partial solution to it is PM Modi’s effort to bring common civil code in Inda. Its main opponents are, first the Indian Muslims  and second the Catholi Church in India. We can only argue for it and pray for good sense to dawn on them. “Into that heavenly freedom let my country awake”  sang Tagore. Even so said Sri Narayana Guru: “One God, one religion, one caste, the human caste.” This is what Jesus himself taught and preachd: “That they all be one”,  they meaning the whole of humanity, because it was for the salvation of all, that Jesus got incarnated, not just for Catholics or other divided churches.

To reach that goal the starting point is to wake up to the truth proclaimed by poet  Vayalar Ramavarma: “Man created religions; religions created Gods, and Gods and humans concocted to divide our mother earth and human minds among themselves.” So much more work remains to be done by people of good will around the word. This hard work on a war footing should go on instead of  preachings only, mindful of the warning: “Perform or Perish!” james kottoor, editor, ccv.                          

Please read below the Tribune article on national Leadership qualities and dress code

Angela Merkel responds to question: 'are you a  feminist?'in bizarre way

By Entertainment Desk, in The Express Tribune,  12 June, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during a press conference in Berlin. PHOTO: REUTERS 

Of course, men and women can define feminism in any way they like, rant about it on Facebook, have a banter with friends or stay mum altogether – as long as at the crux of it, we’re all on the same page that women are equal to men.

One woman who has decided to weigh in on the on-going definition of the term is German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who was recently asked on whether she considered herself a feminist, reported ELLE magazine.

Earlier this week, the Chancellor, who was a research scientist with a doctorate in physical chemistry before entering politics attended a panel discussion in Berlin – took a moment to consider whether she does, in fact, call herself a ‘feminist’. Merkel revealed, “I am not afraid of it [the label]. If you think that I am one – please, vote on it. But I don’t want to adorn myself with these feathers. To be honest the history of feminism is one with which I have common ground but also differences, and I don’t want to embellish myself with a title I don’t have.”

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands interrupted to say, “I just want that all women have freedom of choice and opportunities, that they can grab and be happy and proud of themselves.” To that, Merkel responded, “If that is a feminist, I am a feminist.”

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands interrupted to say, “I just want that all women have freedom of choice and opportunities, that they can grab and be happy and proud of themselves.” To that, Merkel responded, “If that is a feminist, I am a feminist.”

Trump refuses to  hand-shake Merkel

In a highly publicised interaction between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the latter’s suggestion of a handshake for the press went unheard or ignored by Trump – an awkward moment in what are usually highly scripted occasions.

That was not the only moment of tension. Stark differences between both on everything from trade to immigration were in full view during an icy first meeting at the White House Friday. In a frequently awkward joint press conference, Trump and Merkel showed little common ground as they addressed a host of thorny issues including NATO, defense spending and free trade deals.

For most of the 30 minutes in the East Room, Merkel was stony-faced as Trump ripped into Washington’s NATO allies for not paying for their “fair share” for transatlantic defense and demanded “fair and reciprocal trade” deals. Recall also the handshake of Macron and Trump

Burqa ban on Global stage

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for ban on burqa, saying it was not acceptable in her country. “The full-face veil is not acceptable in our country,” she said while addressing her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, The Independent reported. “It should be banned, wherever it is legally possible.”

The UK police force considers allowing burqa-clad policewomen West Midlands Police – one of the largest of the UK’s police forces – has been rapped after stating it would let Muslim women officers sport the burqa.

The force said it would look into permitting the traditional Islamic dress to become part of Muslim women officers’ uniform. At a recent meeting, chief constable David Thompson stated he would consider hiring burqa-clad officers in attempts to raise the number of black and ethnic minority officers by 30 per cent.

But Hijab is pproved as uniform option by Scotland Police.However, even the Muslim Council of Britain aired its reservations over burqa or niqab-clad policewomen. The council said it would be “very surprising” if such a move was approved.                 

In the media, the term burqa is used to describe the full-face covering but the veil with the slit for the eyes is actually the niqab. The burqa is actually the full gown which goes from shoulder to ankle with the face remaining clear. It would be very surprising if West Midlands Police were in favour of full-face coverings. The actual percentage of women wearing a niqab is very, very small and the women who do would probably not want to be in police,” a spokesperson for the council remarked.

In Canada

In Canada, police allow women officers to wear hijab.The suggestion has even been assailed by those working at the agency. “Apart from anything else there is the health and safety issue. How could you possibly have an officer pursuing a suspect down the street while wearing a burqa over their face? It is frankly a mad idea. I think the chief constable was probably trying to be politically correct because if he’d said outright no to burqas then he would have come in for some stick as well, an unnamed individual from the force said.

Across Europe, the support for burqa ban has been gaining momentum since France implemented the law against it in a first in 2011. Belgium, Bulgaria and parts of Switzerland followed suit afterwards.

Hindu students go saffron to protest against burqa-clad women

Liberals in India complain of feeling pressure about their freedom of expression as religious groups flex their muscles PHOTO: Reuters

As Europe continues to grapple with controversies over the burqa, a new debate is brewing in India over Muslim women sporting hijabs and burkas on campuses.

Hindu students in the southern Indian state of Karnataka have started wearing saffron-colored scarves in classrooms to protest against Muslim women wearing hijabs and burkas on university grounds. The young man however, while lodging a complaint, claimed that the woman is a salesgirl at a local accessories store in Mangalore, where he is the manager.

“She had asked me for a loan of Rs 2,000 and we were walking to an ATM when the armed man came with knives and started attacking us,” the manager said. Though the woman managed to escape, she too was slapped by the men when she came to her colleague’s defence. In India’s Anglicised middle classes, the sense of bigotry and prejudice runs through so strongly that it is frightening

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