Why this goodwill gesture now with Babri?
By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi
The Babri Masjid and Ram Janam Bhomi dispute has been an unparalleled and extraordinary case in the entire history of India. For last more than one century, the matter has been a source of Indian polity including this post independence past 50 years where it took a centre stage in Indian's divisive and polarising political chessboard. Hundreds of political figures rose, shined or paled; half a dozen political parties formed, won or simply fell to dust, thanks to Babri Masjid - Ram Temple issue. Formation of governments both in the Centre and in the state of Uttar Pradesh were heavily influenced by this emotive issue in post 1992 India. Previously less popular political formation came to power riding on temple yatras and some other, on the other hand, lost chairs owing to Babri issue polarized majority for their opponents.
Lengthy legal battle is on since independence between parties of India's two major faith holders - - Hindus and Muslims. In the post 1992, Babri Masjid demolition case and it's land ownership suit, combined, has been the single major case for whole of India's judicial system. Babri linked cases are still date under regular causelists in the Allahabad High Court as well as in the Supreme Court of India.
Thousands of human lives, directly or indirectly, lost or affected because of this dispute. Billions of rupees spent, enormous energy utilized; ASI, history archives and modern scientific methods from within India and abroad put to use to prove claims and counter claims by the parties involved. India's core value of unity in diversity had major setbacks due to this uncalled for incidence. The whole world has been carefully observing our businesses in the apex court.
Of late this title suite became a battle of secular, democratic and constitutional principle of India. Stronger muscle power group always tried to use force against the weaker side. Constitutional safe-guard in protection of the Babri structure proved to be in vain. Thus, it is time now to deliver by the honourable Court that in India judiciary is on straight path and it is the "Supreme" power in our system of republic and democratic governance.
Having all these, aforementioned, to the credit of Babri Masjid - Ram Temple saga, the apex court of the country took a good initiative to give it's verdict on the land suit case sooner than later. Of course, the present ruling dispensation might have asked or pave the way for this fast-tracking legal stride, may be as display of it's political adventurism.
Nevertheless, following the failed out of the Court settlement attempt, regular hearing by a Special Bench in the Supreme Court of India, headed by the Chief Justice himself is going on for last a few months. The case is about to be locked this week, a judgment is expected soon, as the hearings and arguments from all concerned parties are nearly completed.
Here comes one new twist from a few so-called goodwill shooters from among the Muslim Indians. One gentleman reported to proclaim that Muslim should donate the Babri Masjid land to Hindus even if they win the title suit. The other argues that the judgment on the title suit need not be delivered, instead Muslim should handover the land voluntarily to their Hindu counter part.
To me, these are planted players to derail the on going and smooth constitutional and legal process in the dispute. It may be not in the interest of some political power houses if the honourable apex court gives a verdict on merits. Thus agents are out on streets to sabotage the whole process ensuring further confusion among the masses and prolonging the political mess for future elections.
Muslims were ready for out of the court settlement which did not come out to be fruitful. Muslims have unanimously stated, what may come, they will respect the court verdict.
Then where this goodwill gesture theory is coming from now, why and who are these people? Answers are but individual guesses. Are they party in the case in anyway or did they make any contribution in the matter in the past? Answers are No in both cases. Who should make a goodwill gesture? Obviously the opposite party in the case which is battling for it.
I think, without slightest ambiguity, Muslim should wait for the final judgment. Let the constitutional supremacy prevail in India - be it in favour or not, by all parties. How can one speak about donating a piece of land when it is yet not clear whose land is this! However, goodwill gestures are very much in demand given the present boiling condition in India. But a goodwill gesture is a goodwill only when done with equal respect, mutual share and on the basis of equal justice. Else it becomes indirect fear mongering and plotting tactics of blackmailing to meet interests of the stronger player in the race.
If the Muslim party wins the Babri title suit in the apex court in the upcoming days then only they will be in a position to think and decide about its use in view of the sentiments of majority fellow citizens of India.
However, if the Court verdict goes in favour of Hindus, then the Muslim party already stated will accept the order. Thus, speaking about donating the land and goodwill gesture in this case makes no sense.
It is expected that the urgently called meeting of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Nadwatul Ulama Lucknow this week will deliberate on this issue too and take a wise and respectable stand for minority Muslims in India. We cannot make a whole long constitutional process undone simply for wishful good wills of a few agents. Contribution to keep India peaceful, it's constitutional values are guaranteed, citizens' rights are respected and it's good image in the international stages is protected is everybody's duty as citizens of India.
By following Gandhiji's principles, the atmosphere of violence and intolerance within the country can be changed
Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi Sambhali
A member of the Hindu Muslim Alliance who also played an important role in the country's independence, Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi was born in Gujarat on October 2, 1869, 150 years ago. Gandhiji employed the Satyagraha as his weapon. Satyagraha means to raise public voice against oppression in a peaceful way. This process led the campaign for India's independence and the spirit of human rights and freedom movements for the world. He is respectfully called Mahatma Gandhi and Bapu. He was awarded the title of “Father of the Nation” by the Indian Government. Gandhiji's birth day, known as “Gandhi Jayanti”, is a national holiday across the country and is celebrated worldwide as a Day of Non-Violence. Gandhiji's constant struggle with the Hindu-Muslim alliance forced the British to leave India and our country was finally liberated on August 15, 1947.
While advocating in South Africa, he used Civil Disobedience for the first time to fight for the rights of Indians. After his return to India in 1915, he protested against the indiscriminate discrimination of land with farmers and labourers.
After taking over the leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhiji launched a campaign to eradicate poverty from the country, exercise women's rights, religious and ethnic well-being, abolish untouchability and economic self-reliance. He vowed to liberate India from foreign control. Mahatma Gandhi led the Non-Cooperation Movement, after which in March 1930, a 400-kilometer long journey (Dandi Yatra) was launched to oppose the British for imposing tax on salt. Then in 1942, he started Quit India Movement “ Bharat Chodo Aandolan” civil disobedience movement with the demand for independence. Mahatma Gandhi spent many years in prison in both Africa and India. As a leader of non violence, Gandhiji vowed to speak the truth and appealed others to do the same. He lived a simple life in the Sabarmati Ashram ands adopted a traditional Indian dhoti and a another piece of cloth to cover his upper body, both woven with yarn spun by him on spinning wheel. He used to eat green vegetables and was a devotee of spiritual purity and social protest for which he observed fasts.
Among Gandhiji's main achievements are the Hindu-Muslim unity and the philosophy of non-violence (ahimsa) that if they were to be treated with integrity even today, the atmosphere of violence and intolerance created within the country could be removed.
Given the prevailing situation in the country, it is imperative that social workers, who are in accordance with the thoughts of Gandhiji, should come forward and follow the principles of Gandhiji and strive for Hindu-Muslim unity and put maximum potential on the education of the nation, that is need of the hour.
Gandhiji's principle was "Sarva Dharma Sadbhav" i-e- freedom of all religions to flourish or in easy words "Live and let live". This is that principle which can guarantee the development of our country even today. According to Indian laws, every person has complete freedom to practice his own religion. When we examine Gandhiji's speeches, it is clear that he has tried to create harmony between different classes on the basis of caste, religion, regionalism, color, race and language.
Mahatma Gandhi realized that India could not get freedom until the two major classes of people living in the area, namely, Hindus and Muslims, learned to live together. Even if freedom is granted, it would not be the freedom that we want. That is why Gandhiji was a staunch supporter of the Hindu-Muslim unity. He believed that if Hindus and Muslims did not learn to live peacefully, then the existence of this country, which we know as India, would be ceased.
Gandhiji studied books of different religions and ideas of notable intellectuals of the world. He is said to have studied the Quran and the Gospel with the Gita, daily in the morning. In his famous book "The Story of My Experiments with Truth" he himself confesses that he had many good relations with many Muslims during his stay in South Africa, which was very useful for him in understanding the Islamic teachings. When he was asked what kind of government he would like to establish as the “Ram Rajya”, he replied, "It will be in the style of the second Caliph Hazrat Omar Farooq (RA)". During his stay in England, he also tried to understand the teachings of the Pharisees by by mixing with the Parsi people while practicing Christianity and advocacy. He respected all religions even though he had a deep connection to his native Hindu religion.
While Mahatma Gandhi's concern was that the British should leave India and go back to their country, he also wanted to engage the people of the country with the adoration of education and take them towards development.
When Sir Syed Ahmad Khan founded an educational institution under the patronage of the British, those who fought for the independence of India from the British also founded Jamia Millia Islamia under the patronage of Sheikh al Hind Maulana Mahmood al-Hassan in which Mahatma Gandhi's services to cultivate can never be forgotten. I too got a doctorate from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, which is now a Central University and one of the few prestigious universities in India, so I have a moral obligation that I should remember Gandhiji's services on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. The University is the only university in India with the majority of the founders sacrificing in the country's independence.
Gandhiji was a strong opponent of communal riots. When there was a riot in Bihar's Nawakhali area, he himself went there and stayed for a long time trying his best to normalize the situation. Gandhiji also looked very sad over the communal riots that broke out after India's independence. Some misunderstood people have interpreted it as anti hindu which is certainly wrong. Rather, the fact is that, Gandhi's sensitive heart did not tolerate oppression against anyone and he was forced to raise his voice against it.
All of Gandhiji's ideals, whether it be Non-violence (ahimsa), Satya- graha or brotherhood, have become popular not only in India but all over the world and have been praised by international thinkers, writers and artists. On the other hand, it is also a fact that the efforts of Gandhi's Hindu-Muslim unity were hated by some who tried to spread corruption and these elements cost India to lose its great hero . Finally, the country also saw that Mahatma Gandhi, a member of the Hindu Muslim League and a prominent figure in the country's independence, was shot on Friday, January 30, 1948. Not even six months had passed since the country was liberated, and the lamp that lit up the whole country with its light and taught us that we should not think that we are only Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians, but we are Indians and true Indians had extinguished. We all have a responsibility to remember Mahatma Gandhi and to continue to play his role in the development of our country by adopting his valuable principles and to provide our services for Hindu Muslim unity.
One of the secrets of Gandhiji being a successful leader is that after the independence of the country, he took no part in the power but vowed to serve the nation without having any office of government. This distance from power also made him a great leader and he became an example of Allama Iqbal's poem:
“Religion does not teach us to have enmity among ourselves; we are Indians and India is our nation.
By: Khursheed Alam Dawood Qasmi*
Markazul Ma’arif as an NGO:
Inspired by his father’s charitable work, then a young graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband, Mualana Badrudding Ajmal Qasmi, founded Markazul Ma’arif (NGO) in 1983 to work for the needy people. It’s a social-welfare Non-Government Organization with the sole aim and motto of striving for the upliftment of economically and educationally backward section of the society, with its headquarter located in Hojai town of Assam. From its inception, the NGO laid special emphasis on Education by establishing dozens of schools and colleges. It also works in several important fields by establishing, hospitals, orphanages, providing houses to homeless people, distributing reliefs at the time of natural disasters and extending financial assistance for marriage. The NGO is not only serving in Assam vicinity, but it also works in different parts of India through its branch offices located in Assam, Manipur, New Delhi, Deoband and Mumbai. One of its noteworthy works is to equip fresh Ulama with English language under Markazul Ma’arf Education and Research Center (MMERC).
Need of English Language for Ulama (Islamic Scholar):
No doubt, English language is an international language in our age. If one wants to communicate with international community or just wants to use a commonly understood language to convey his messages at large, he must learn English language. Ulama being the suitable people to represent Islam and convey the peace messages of Islam, throughout the world, were not aware of the ABC of English language. It was difficult for them to present their thoughts at global level to reach international community, where much misunderstanding has been spread against Islam due to biased media houses. The English language has become essential and crying need of the hour; but Ulama were not able to understand, speak and write English language properly. Need of English language for Ulama (Islamic Scholars) was felt by many individuals; but no one knew how to materialize this dream.
Markazul Ma’arif Education & Research Center Establishment:
Comprehending the importance of English language and apprehending the need of the hour, Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Center (MMERC) was established in 1994 by a Darul Uloom Deoband graduate and a successful businessman, Muhsin-e-Millat Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi. Maulana Qasmi is a member of Darul Uloom Deoband’s governing body, President of a political party: AIUDF and Lok Sabha MP for Dhubri constituency of Assam. The mission of this institution was to equip the young promising Ulama with English language, computer science etc. so that they can face the current challenges and play a pivotal role in preaching Islam and serve the nation and international community at large. Thus, MMERC became the first institution of its kind in India, which started training Ulama in accordance with the need of hour.
Initially the MMERC was established in New Delhi. Mr. Mohammad Umar Gautam, ex-Lecturer of Jamia Millia Islamia and famous Da’aee was given the charge to work on the MMERC project and to run it as its first director. A two-year course was designed and named, “Diploma in English Language & Literature (DELL)”. Under Mr. Gautam stalwart directorship, this course started its journey. The newly graduated Ulama were selected after entrance exams. It was first time in the history that more than a dozen Ulama gathered under one roof to learn English language and computer science. It functioned well. Following some years, it was shifted to Mumbai. Maulana M. Burhanuddin Qasmi, an alumnus of MMERC’s first batch, was assigned to take the charge of its daily affairs as its second director. Under the dynamic leadership of Mr. Qasmi, some more activities were added to this programme. Each year, a good number of Ulama are benefiting and graduating since more than two decades and the MMERC is moving ahead.
MMERC Silver Jubilee Celebration:
The MMERC has completed 25 years. Now it’s going to celebrate its “Silver Jubilee Celebration and a 3-Day International Seminar on Muslim Youth, Ulama and Contemporary Challenges with Special Reference to DELL Course and Post-Madrasa Education” on 4th-6th October, 2019, in New Delhi. The period of 25 years is not a small one; but to get a tremendous success, this period is not too long as well. Anyway, within 25 years of its commencement, the MMERC got tremendous success and big achievement in its mission of equipping fresh Ulama with English language and computer science. A just and fair historian will surely endorse and record the services of the MMERC for equipping the Ulama with modern tools and removing the hindrance from their paths to face any challenge of this age.
MMERC has produced almost 450 graduates armed with modern tools like English language, computer science etc. By completing two-year Diploma in English language & Literature, Ulama, in moving forward, find no obstacles which stop them. They find themselves fully equipped to choose whichever field they intend to serve the Ummah and the nation. The MMERC Alumni chose different fields and have played important role in their chosen fields be it teaching, research, Dawah, social work, journalism or administration, etc. Whichever field they stepped in, their success is remarkable. Due to their talent, quality and outstanding performance, they have been respected and embraced by their administration and colleagues with enthusiasm.
For instance, I mention here few names of the MMERC products. Maulana M. Burhanuddin Qasmi is the present serving director of the MMERC, a freelance writer and Editor of the Eastern Crescent, a Mumbai based monthly English magazine. Maulana Mohammad Atiqur Rahman Qasmi is the Coordinator: DIPR of Markazul Ma’arif and Environmentalist Awardee from UNEP. Maulana Dr. Ansar Azmi Qasmi, professor Malik Saud University, Riyadh, KSA. Maulana Iftikhar Ahmad Qasmi is the bilingual English and Arabic writer and teacher of Hadith at Jamia Akkalkuwa. Maulana Dr. Md. Rafiq Qasmi is a research associate at MANNU, Hyderabad. Mufti Dr. Md. Obaidullah Qasmi is Assistant Professor and Head of Arabic Department in Zakir Husain College, University of Delhi and ex-Head of English Department, Darul Uloom Deoband. Maulana Mohammad Afzal Qasmi is Teacher of Hadith at Aljamiatul Islamiyyah, Bolton, Lecturer at Blackburn College, UK and ex-teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband’s English Department. Mufti Abdur Rasheed Qasmi is a teacher of Hadeeth and V-Chairman of Haq Education & Research Foundation, Kanpur. Mufti Dr. Muhammadullah Khalili Qasmi, freelance writer, is Head: Internet Department and Coordinator: Online DarulIfta, Darul Uloom, Deoband. Mualana Shamsul Huda Qasmi is the Head of English Department and Editor of The Light, an English magazine published form Jamia Islamia, Akkalkuwa. Late Maulana Ismail Moosa Makrod (May Allah grant him Jannah!), the founder of Markaze Islami Education & Research Center, Ankleshwar, Gujarat. Maulana Manzar Imam Qasmi (PhD) is a bilingual freelance journalist, research scholar on International Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and Contending Modernities from University of Notre Dame, USA. Maulana Dr. Rafiqul Islam Qasmi is Assistant Professor at UG, GS: AIUDF and an ex-MLA of Assam. Maulana Dr. Gufran Najeeb (BUMS) is a medical practitioner. Maulana Dr. Abdur Rahman Qasmi is currently on post-doctoral fellowship and had worked as News Reader in All India Radio. Maulana Dr. Rahmat Ali Qasmi is Assist-Editor of Hajj Magazine in Hajj Committee, Gov. of India. Maulana Ghufran Sajid Qasmi is the Founder and Chief Editor of Baseeratonline and Milli Baseerat Weekly. Maulana Mohammad Sajid Qasmi (M Ed. From American College of Education, USA) is administrator of Darul Uloom, Atlanta, USA. Maulana Mohammad Khalid Qasmi is teacher of Hadith at Jamia Abdullah bin Masood and ex-Head-Imam Al-farooq Masjid, Atlanta, USA. Maulana Muddissir Ahmad Qasmi is the Assistant Editor of the Eastern Crescent, a columnist of Urdu leading daily Inquilab and director of Al-Ghazali International School, Araria, Bihar. Maulana Tauqeer Ahmad Qasmi is a gifted speaker and Head of English Department, Darul Uloom Deoband. Maulana Dr. Hifzur Rahman Qasmi is a research scholar at JNU, New Delhi and translator of several books.
These individuals have performed tremendously in different fields as it’s understood from their designations. They have also authored and translated several books. It’s truth that the English language, which they learned in the MMERC under the patronage of Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi and the directorship of Mr. Gautam and Mualana M Burhanuddin Qasmi, played a key role in their successes and achievements.
Launching of the Eastern Crescent:
In 2006, MMERC launched its monthly magazine, in English language, with beautiful name “Eastern Crescent” (EC) with the motto of “Alternative Media, People’s Choice”. The first issue was published in May 2006. It’s published under able editorship of MMERC director, Maulana M. Burhanuddin Qasmi from the day one. As it publishes the articles and stories of the MMERC alumni, it gives spaces to the modern educated scholars, without any discrimination, as well. It’s a good platform for the MMERC alumni to share their ideas, views and opinions with the English knowing people. Keeping focus on Indian issues and Islamic topics, the magazine covers current affairs and issues related to Indian Muslim community mostly. Because of its opining making articles, stories and beautiful printing, the magazine has been appreciated by several learned people and research scholars. This magazine is being published since last 14 years without fail. It’s a big achievement for the MMERC in the field of journalism.
Maktab Markazul Ma’arif:
The importance of Makaatib for Muslim children is acknowledged by one and all. As it imparts basic Islamic teachings to young children, it inculcates moral values in their minds. The pupils who go to the Makaatib in the early age of their lives are able to understand the significance of their faith and religion. They learn how to make Wudhu and how to perform five times daily Salaah etc. Bearing the aforesaid points, it’s necessary to establish Makaatib. It must be appreciated that the MMERC authorities are running a successful Maktab namely “Maktab Markazul Ma’arif” for the children under the supervision of the eligible teachers. Currently, about 170 children are enrolled in the Maktab. The success of the children of this Maktab is distinguished. The authorities must be thanked for this service to the community.
Workshop for School Pupils:
It’s very necessary to be informed of essentials of Deen. When one is aware of essentials of Deen, it provides spiritual strength and it gives confidence in the life to practice it. Currently our pupils who go to the schools are hardly taught adequately about Islamic teachings and values. Most of them don’t know the articles of faith. Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Center holds workshops on the occasion of school’s vacations. It’s held completely in an Islamic environment to promote the values of Islamic teachings and inculcate them in the minds of young learners coming from different schools. This workshop assists and encourages the pupils to practice Islamic teachings in their day-to-day lives.
MMERC’s DELL Embracement:
In the initial stage, when this MMERC’s Diploma in English Language and Literature (DELL) course was introduced, two and a half decades ago, none would have thought that this course would be as successful as it’s observed today. But the hard work, sincerity, dedication, devotion, commitment and enthusiasm of the management, teachers and learners bore fruits and paid fully. Today, it’s a model successful course to enhance the ability of the newly graduates of Madaaris. Following the success, this course has been widely embraced and introduced not only in the campus of some celebrated Islamic seminary or Madrasas in India, but also in a certain university like Aligarh Muslim University. This programme is known as “Bridge Course” in the university.
Really the MMERC has played a significant role in shaping the young Madrasa graduates for the service of the nation and the Ummah at national and international levels. As an institution, the MMERC is a role model to be followed. Currently, almost a dozen of such institutions are found in India following the footsteps of the MMERC. For a country like India where thousands of Ulama are produced from several Madaaris, it’s need of the time to introduce the DELL programme in a big number as the existing institutions do not seem to be enough comparing to the number of the graduating Ulama annually. In these institutions, along with the DELL programme, one special lecture in a moth, on an important topic, should be also arranged as it will be much beneficial for the learners, in my view. ***
*Head: Islamic Department, Moon Rays Trust School, Zambia, Africa
By Manzar Imam -
Madrasas in India have contributed immensely to Muslim education. They are still doing so. However, the madrasa syllabi have for long been in discussion both in the media and academia for being outdated, orthodox and irrelevant. Further, the madrasa system of education is often blamed by certain quarters of being rigid, typically traditional, promoting sectarian hatred among madrasa graduates with spillover effects in the larger Muslim society. There is some truth in these claims but there are more allegations than realities.
That most madrasas have avoided modern subjects is true to a large extent. If not aversion, then at least a discomfort with English language is another problem afflicting the madrasa education system, affecting prospects of career growth and advancement for madrasa graduates.
While this has been the case on the one hand, on the other hand majority of the college-going Muslim youth lack knowledge of Deen (religion) and Islam. Many of them can’t even read the Qur’an with proper Arabic phonetics, leave aside knowing its meaning and exegesis. And, there is a general tendency of shifting the blame from both sides, thus missing a balance.
Markazul Ma’arif Education & Research Centre (MMERC), a part of northeast India-based Markazul Ma’arif NGO, was set up to narrow this gap and achieve some balance. Under the guardianship of famous ‘aalim (plural, ‘ulama i.e. scholar, theologian), renowned perfume-baron and successful businessman Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Al-Qasmi, presently a Member of Parliament for a consecutive third term, the Markaz started a centre namely Markazul Ma’arif Education & Research Centre in New Delhi in 1994 with the objective to select a batch of 10 to 20 students (‘ulama) from different madrsas to mainly train them in English language and computers. The impact of this unique initiative was so powerful that a senior lecturer of English of Jamia Millia Islamia, who visited the MMERC in 1994 and interacted with students of its first batch, called it an “enthralling experience” which will undoubtedly be counted as a “yeoman’s service” in educating the ‘ulama. His words have come precisely true.
Within a span of less than a decade around 50 ‘ulama started to show great promises. Their oratorical skills were acknowledged and appreciated by senior academicians. Soon many of them also began writing in English. This captured readers’ imagination, something which journalist Syed Ubaidur Rahman aptly described in these words: “They have everything to surprise anyone believing in the orthodoxy of madrasa graduates.”
This year the MMERC completes 25 years of its establishment and, it is celebrating its Silver Jubilee with a-three-day international seminar in New Delhi from 4 to 6 October, 2019. It is also bringing out a souvenir titled Ulama, Post-Madrasa Education, Muslim Youth and Contemporary Challenges which contains well-written and researched papers on important socio-political and religious topics by the alumni.
Over these 25 years the prevailing misconception about ‘ulama not knowing the global English language of academics, business and communication has evaporated like a non-entity. Other changes are also taking place, thanks to MMERC. Presently there are about 15 such centres of language training across India.
The bearded-‘ulama are gradually becoming kings of the Queen’s language. Many of them have established themselves as journalists, interpreters, translators and authors having their works published in prestigious publication houses in India and abroad.
Although a lot remains to be done in terms of contents taught in madrasas, the English language has opened for the madrasa graduates new avenues of post-madrasa education. MMERC has been a trend-setter and its products are now shining with new knowledge and confidence. Kudos to MMERC and its founder Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi!
(Author is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)