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Articles by: Mirza Yawar Baig

Change the language

Change the language

The one who controls the language, controls the debate. Today Indian Muslims are in a peculiar situation where they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. and interestingly it is all a product of language. ‘Secularism’,which was the refuge, not only of Muslims but all those who believe in our Constitution and in the freedom and dignity[Read More…]

Caring Means To Work

Caring Means To Work

He came with a lizard in his beak. A choice tidbit, most appreciated. But only if you’re a Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis). The female lays up to four white eggs in a tree hole blocked off during incubation with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow aperture, barely wide enough for[Read More…]

What Did You See? Nothing!

What Did You See? Nothing!

Kabini River Resort on the bank of the Kabini Reservior, bordering Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. I am in the Gol Ghar (which is actually rectangular) at tea and snack time after the afternoon safari. “What did you see?” asked an American who had come to Kabini for the first time. “Nothing. Totally dry. Five safaris and we saw nothing,” said an[Read More…]

Silence Is Culpable

Silence Is Culpable

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.  ~ George Orwell India has changed. I hate to say it, but that is the truth. It is no longer the nation I grew up in. The question is, ‘Do we want to continue to remain silent and allow this[Read More…]

Murugalli Masjid

My Extended Family

The tea plantations of the Sub-continent are a unique environment, be that in South India, Assam or Sri Lanka because they represent a completely artificial man-made community. The areas where tea is grown were, until a hundred years ago, pristine rain forest. Then came the British, having discovered wild tea in Assam as well as with stolen tea seedlings from[Read More…]

Tea Factory, Black magic and Demons

Tea Factory, Black magic and Demons

One of the first things that strikes you as you enter any ‘Tea District’ is the tea factory. These in many if not most cases are over a century old, build entirely of wood on a structure of steel girders. The machinery, especially in the Orthodox factories is fit for a museum. For the uninitiated, ‘Orthodox’ refers to the type[Read More…]

Theory Of Security

Theory Of Security

Why do you have a burglar alarm on your car or home? Not because you believe that no burglar in the world can get past it. But because you know that burglars, very sensibly, always look for easy gains. The reality is that if someone really wants to break into Fort Knox, I am sure there are ways to do[Read More…]

Who Are The Friends Of Fake News

Who Are The Friends Of Fake News

I expect most of you, if not all, saw this post on WhatsApp about how and why fake news spreads faster than real news. For those who didn’t here it is. http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/08/media/fake-news-mit-study/index.html This is a ten plus year MIT study which comes up with many surprising findings one of which is: “A surprising twist in the study was that bots[Read More…]

Understanding And Dealing With Hatred

Understanding And Dealing With Hatred

Co-Written By Mirza Yawar Baig, Steven Earl Salmony and Sally Dugman According to Yawar: Change the Script We have reached a stage in our development (if I dare to call it that) as human beings where our world seems to run on hatred, not love. I think we all know the many reasons for this and how the flames are[Read More…]

Zoo in Corbett – Really?

Zoo in Corbett – Really?

Let me introduce you to the tiger. He is not an animal. He is not a spectacle. He does not exist for your pleasure or like all politicians, for photo ops. He is not living in your land, you are encroaching on his. The tiger (gender neutral term as it refers to the species, and not to the male alone)[Read More…]

Urdu, What Did I Do?

Urdu, What Did I Do?

A language, any language, is not simply sounds and script characters which represent thoughts. A language is the soul of the people. It is the vehicle which connects their past to their present, their present to their dreams. It is the means by which one generation leaves its legacy for the next. In my view the single most significant event[Read More…]

What’s My Crime?

What’s My Crime?

The killing shot is just behind the shoulder. Aim for the spot behind the elbow and your bullet will tear through skin and muscle, enter the rib cage and pulverize the heart. If it gets deflected by a rib it will still go through the lungs and graze the heart enough to cause massive bleeding. But it is not a[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
Jhalana, Jaipur’s Secret Paradise

Jhalana, Jaipur’s Secret Paradise

The Blue Bull had been killed by hyenas. The Striped Hyena pack, led by the matriarch had lived in this forest for generations beyond number. Their ancestors lived off the kills of tigers, until the last of those great hunters fell to the guns of men. Men, forever on their quest to kill, burn and destroy and call it conquest.[Read More…]

Photo by flickrPrince

Life Lessons From Tea

I started working in India in the Anamallai Hills, part of the Western Ghats as they tapered down all the way into the tip of the subcontinent. Before that I had worked for five years in bauxite mining in Guyana, South America and lived on the bank of Rio Berbice, in the middle of the Amazonian rain forest. But that[Read More…]

Future Of Wildlife Conservation In India

Future Of Wildlife Conservation In India

One of our big challenges in wildlife conservation is to stop poaching and habitat degradation which leads to animal human conflict which always has only one ending, destruction of the animal.The backbone of the conservation team in a Reserve Forest or a National Park is the Forest Guard. This individual lives inside the forest, many in the Core Areas in[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
Yala, Leopard Paradise

Yala, Leopard Paradise

He had killed the buffalo late the previous night. The dark was his friend. Thanks to the reflectors in his eyes, he could see as clearly in starlight as we can see in bright daylight. If he could have read a book, he would have, reclining on a massive tree branch overhanging a pathway. As the light faded and night[Read More…]

Triple Talaq…Crime?

Triple Talaq…Crime?

Criminal law deals with behavior that is or can be construed as an offense against the public, society, or the state—even if the immediate victim is an individual. Examples are murder, assault, theft,and drunken driving. Civil law deals with behavior that constitutes an injury to an individual or other private party, such as a corporation. Examples are defamation (including libel and slander), breach[Read More…]

My India Today

My India Today

This lecture by Mirza Yawar Baig is take on India as it is today and the challenges that face us in the immediate future. He says “It is my address to my fellow citizens to say that it is time we accepted the role of citizenship and understand that it means to take responsibility for the welfare of our nation[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy, Video
Education! Give Them Memories

Education! Give Them Memories

Who is your Role Model? Think of someone you know or knew personally, not a public figure. For how many of you is that a parent or a teacher? If I asked your children the same question, what do you think they would say? Who would they be thinking of you? How do you know? What about you inspires your[Read More…]

Babari Masjid Dispute – But Is It?

Babari Masjid Dispute – But Is It?

In the drama called India we are about to open a new scene. Actually, a new episode of an old story – the so-called Babari Masjid dispute. The attempt by the spin doctors is to make it sound like the usual, ‘We Hindus are being reasonable, peaceful, non-violent and accommodative as usual. You Muslims really must get your act together[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Communal Harmony
Accepting Freedom

Accepting Freedom

Many years ago, I wrote a piece which I posted on my blog called, ‘Same Chairs, Different Bottoms’. Here it is for those who may not have read it. It is necessarily full of Indian (and Hindi) idiom which is not translatable so I apologize to those who don’t understand Hindi in advance. Also you need to know something of[Read More…]

Where Are We Headed?

Where Are We Headed?

You may have seen the famous documentary, Four Horsemen. In this film is this quote: When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of people living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.      ~ Frederic Bastiat I ask myself why[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Why Did Hyderabad Die?

Why Did Hyderabad Die?

This is not a history but an attempt to understand what probably happened in those last years that led to the demise of Hyderabad as an independent country and its annexation by the newly independent India. It is speculation; perhaps informed speculation; I hope, intelligent speculation, but speculation nevertheless. I am not speaking chronologically or relating incidents but attempting to[Read More…]

My Thoughts

My Thoughts

My deepest fear is that I will simply die one day
Crying for what might have been
The earth will be free of carrying my burden
And there will be no trace of my passing

Which Way To Go?

Which Way To Go?

There is a beautiful teaching story from Korea of a Zen master and his disciple. The master took him to the bank of a stream that flowed between rocks. There he made a small paper boat and floated it on the water. He told his disciple to follow the boat and report back to him about its journey. The disciple[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Give A Dog A Bad Name…..

Give A Dog A Bad Name…..

I want to begin with a brief thumbnail view at global geopolitics since the collapse of the Soviet Union under President Gorbachev. This was an event that was widely applauded and rejoiced, including by Muslims worldwide. Little did they realize what it would lead to. For a military state, an economy based on war, an enemy is essential. When the[Read More…]

Become A Villager

Become A Villager

In 1985, when I was studying at the IIM Ahmedabad, our Professor of Organization Behaviour (OB) Area was Prof. Pulin Garg. One day he told us a very interesting story which has remained in my mind all these decades. He told us that some years earlier Ford Foundation, the American NGO, did a project to help village farmers to enhance[Read More…]

Arsonist or Fire Fighter?

Arsonist or Fire Fighter?

This world is a coin. It has two faces. Both joined together but both different; often the opposite of one another. I am speaking about social media, the coin which on one side has convenience, communication and companionship and on the other, lies, ignorance and hatred. Both made possible by technology which like all technology is value neutral. What we[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled World
It’s Not My Fault: Owning Personal Authority

It’s Not My Fault: Owning Personal Authority

On April 13, 1919, the 9th Gurkhas, 54th Sikhs & 59th Sind Rifles, on the orders of Col. Dyer, fired on an unarmed, peaceful crowd gathered to celebrate Besakhi at the Jalianwala Bagh in Amritsar. As a result, 1000 people died and perhaps three times that number were injured. Even though, the crowd was overwhelmingly Sikh, one of the platoons[Read More…]

Normalizing Terror

Normalizing Terror

We are free to choose but every choice has a price https://scroll.in/article/849804/this-photograph-of-two-murdered-teens-should-disturb-an-india-that-has-normalised-hate “Hate: It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved a single one yet.” Maya Angelou We seem to be living in times when some people appear to be bent on challenging this law of nature – that fire burns and the[Read More…]

DhankiBaat

DhankiBaat

I read this article with great interest. http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/21887818 The final sentence is salutary. I want to add that whether governments or judges guard or curtail rights will depend on what we, the people, do about it. Active citizenship is not something that we are used to. We are still used to being the ‘ruled’, looking up to our elected governments[Read More…]

Now What?

Now What?

Gauri Lankesh was executed. What else do you call a bullet in the forehead? We know why. The question to those who did it and those with whose support they did it is, ‘Now what?’ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/world/asia/gauri-lankesh-india-dead.html?mcubz=0 The problem with using ‘ultimate’ strategies is that when they fail, you have nothing left. Ultimate strategies also indicate another fatal flaw, that you[Read More…]

Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

There are four things that I have learnt in building a leadership consulting practice across the globe that are related to Customer Service. They are: The customer is not always right but the customer is always the customer. All rules related to customers must be clearly for the customer’s benefit. Good recovery after service failure results in more customer loyalty[Read More…]

Independence Must Be Earned

Independence Must Be Earned

Happy Independence Day to you. Independence doesn’t just happen. It must be earned. Let us reflect that real bondage is of the mind and spirit. Nelson Mandela for 27 years in the South African apartheid prison was actually free. But today in India we have accepted the slavery of discrimination against each other, of corruption and of mutual hatred. It’s[Read More…]

An over 12 year old cartoon that featured in the national media to mark 50 years of India’s independence: the situation is as grim

Same Chairs, Different Bottoms

Once upon a time there was a beautiful land in which clear rivers flowed through lush forests. Birds flocked to the trees which were heavy with fruit until one was almost deafened by the cacophony of their cries. And if one dared to walk under the trees, then one needed an umbrella which quickly changed color and became white with[Read More…]

Bird or Beast: BJP Must Decide

Bird or Beast: BJP Must Decide

My take on the situation in our country today is that the BJP must decide what it is – bird or beast. It must decide what its core ideology is. I am happy to do a Core Ideology Workshop for them and the RSS if they want. The problem is that they seem to be confused in this respect and[Read More…]

Musings From My Twilight

Musings From My Twilight

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” –Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius was a stoic and a man of great wisdom; very unusual in a ruler. So, I present my musings to you as something from my perspective and not “The Truth”. As I reflect on our world, someone sent[Read More…]

Ahem! Pardon Me, May I Say Something?

Ahem! Pardon Me, May I Say Something?

We are living in a country that appears to have gone mad. All sane voices are being silenced. All insanity is being given free reign. Since fascists don’t read history it has no lessons for them. For it is too easy to see what happened every single time to those who went down this road of self-annihilation…they were very successful.[Read More…]

Come to the Okavango

Come to the Okavango

First there was the dry. Then it rained high up and far away in the mountains. And water flowed. Life giving water filled the river banks and overflowed. Life giving water which itself gives up its life in a few months when it sinks into the sands of the Kalahari Desert. But while it lasted, it would be called by[Read More…]

Indian Muslims: Looking Ahead

Indian Muslims: Looking Ahead

If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule: never lie to yourself.            ~ Paulo Coelho UP elections are over and the results are out. They are surprising for some of us who have become used to living our lives in slumber. But for those who had their eyes open, the result in UP was neither unexpected[Read More…]

Democracy And The Corporation: Coporatizing The World

Democracy And The Corporation: Coporatizing The World

“The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”      Edward Dowling We’re seeing a sudden surge of dictatorial fascistic leaders around the globe. Here’s something I wrote several years ago, trying to explain what’s happening[Read More…]

Is It A Bird or Is it A Plane? Homeschooling

Is It A Bird or Is it A Plane? Homeschooling

Of late I, have been reading many articles on ‘Homeschooling’ – which term when written like this seems to have acquired the status of legitimacy instead of being wrong spelling. The need for a hyphen is apparently no longer felt. ‘Home’ and ‘School’ are evidently no longer two different places, either geographically, physically or emotionally. The latest of these articles[Read More…]

Grass Hills

Grass Hills

The Anamallai Hills are a ridge that is between three thousand five hundred to six thousand feet high and goes like the backbone of an elephant right down the Western side of India to the tip of the subcontinent. Even though it is not called by this name all along this journey and the name changes to High Range in[Read More…]

Respect Earns Respect

Respect Earns Respect

There are ocean people and others who are mountain people; and yet others who are city people. I, am of the forest people. Wildlife, open spaces, mountains and forests have always been a very significant influence in my life. There is an instant connection that I find with forests. And every once in a while I rejuvenate myself by spending[Read More…]

The Beard Question: Religious Duty or Discipline?

The Beard Question: Religious Duty or Discipline?

It is very interesting to note the judgement regarding the Muslim IAF officer who claimed that keeping a beard is his religious obligation. The Indian Express reported that the ruling given was, “Emphasising the need to “maintain discipline” in the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Muslim personnel cannot keep beards by citing religious grounds.” http://indianexpress.com/article/india/air-force-personnel-cant-sport-beard-rules-supreme-court-as-it-junks-muslim-mans-plea-4427848/ Being[Read More…]

Jungle Nights And Mornings

Jungle Nights And Mornings

One of the greatest needs today is for us, human beings, to get back in touch with nature. It is not our evil intent but our indifference, ignorance and disconnect that is the root cause behind global warming, environmental destruction, wildlife extinction, pollution of rivers and oceans and the consequent backlash to our own existence. If not altruism, then at[Read More…]

‘Mitron’ Fact Is Stranger Than Fiction

‘Mitron’ Fact Is Stranger Than Fiction

I discovered a new word: Mitron. It means, ‘A large group of unsuspecting people about to be hit by something they will take a long time to recover from.’ Ironically it comes from the Hindi word – Mitron (Mitr = friend. Mitron = of friends). I believe we are in a Mitron moment; the discovery of a word and an[Read More…]

An over 12-year-old cartoon that featured in the national media to mark 50 years of India’s independence: the situation is as grim

Same Chairs, Different Bottoms

Once upon a time there was a beautiful land in which clear rivers flowed through lush forests. Birds flocked to the trees which were heavy with fruit until one was almost deafened by the cacophony of their cries. And if one dared to walk under the trees, then one needed an umbrella which quickly changed color and became white with[Read More…]

Demonetisation: An Anesthetized Anarchy

Demonetisation: An Anesthetized Anarchy

We, in India, are living in a state of anesthetized anarchy. We seem to have lost it in more ways than one. In the days of the sabretooth tiger mankind needed to be totally in touch with reality if it wished to avoid being the tiger’s next meal. Since we made the STT extinct we seem to believe that being[Read More…]

Demonetisation And The Loss Of Faith In Rupee

Demonetisation And The Loss Of Faith In Rupee

Dire Straits’ famous song has some very politically incorrect lyrics but the refrain, ‘Money for nothing and the chicks for free’ sums up the situation of black marketeers and owners before the demonetization and the name of the songsters – Dire Straits – sums up their situation in India today. But what are the implications of demonetization? We have seen[Read More…]

Trump The President: What Does That Mean For The World?

Trump The President: What Does That Mean For The World?

Whew! Finally, the charade is over. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States of America. What does that mean? It means that Simpsons prediction came true: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2146815/the-simpsons-correctly-predicted-a-donald-trump-presidency-16-years-ago-in-episode-set-in-the-near-future/ So now you know who to refer to for accurate predictions about the future. Goodbye Tarot cards, et al. In 1995 I recall reading a survey which concluded that America[Read More…]

If I Advised The AIMPLB

If I Advised The AIMPLB

Okay! So, you are laughing. Good! I love to make people happy and after all we all have our right to fantasize. The question I asked myself was, ‘If I were to be invited to advise the AIMPLB (All India Muslim Personal Law Board ) at this rather heated moment, what would I say?’ Key word? IF. Please don’t get[Read More…]

When The Voiceless Get A Voice

When The Voiceless Get A Voice

If there’s one overwhelming sign that numbers mean nothing and organization means everything, it is the plight of Dalits and Muslims in India. Dalits and Muslims are officially 17% & 13% of the population. That means that together one in three Indians is a ‘Dalim’ – Dalit Indian Muslim (my coinage today – in case it ever makes it to[Read More…]

Uniform Civil Code : An Alternate Perspective

Uniform Civil Code : An Alternate Perspective

The ongoing debate on the questionnaire circulated by the Law Commission on the proposed implementation of a Uniform Civil Code and the predictable knee-jerk reaction of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), is a very good opportunity to learn the basics of conflict resolution. With over thirty years’ experience in negotiation, conflict resolution and arbitration on three continents[Read More…]