Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ISCSC Nominates Member for Nobel Peace Prize

Ashok Malhotra, longtime member of the Society, has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, reports the Oneonta Daily Star. According to the paper,

"The International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilization and SUNY Oneonta have confirmed the nomination...According to SUNY Oneonta, he is best known for humanitarian work in establishing five Indo-International Schools in his native country, India. Much of the funding came from the Oneonta-based Ninash Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization he established in 1996 in honor of his late wife, Nina."

The winner of the Peace Prize will be announced on Friday October 8th at 11.00

Monday, September 20, 2010

Celebrate the 18th SUNY Oneonta Learn and Serve Program in India December 28, 2010---January 14, 2011

Study the old and new civilizations of India while helping the underprivileged children get education!

The ancient and modern civilization of India throbs with energy and life. Come and experience the ever changing and ever growing kaleidoscope that is India. Learn about the country first-hand through this eighteen-day SUNY Intersession Program directed by Dr. Ashok Malhotra, (SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor) and Ms. Linda Drake (Director, Center for Social Responsibility and Community.)

Participants will learn about the history and culture of India through lectures and excursions to places of historical, religious and artistic significance as well as visit the five Indo-International Schools in the villages of Dundlod, Mahapura and Kuran where they will volunteer their services.

Through Learn and Serve in India, you can continue the tradition of service established by the SUNY Oneonta Semester in India program, where in 1996, students and faculty established the first Indo-International School. Established in 1979, it is the longest running SUNY Study Abroad Program in India! Participants will celebrate its 31st year of continued existence during their 18 day sojourn in India.

Tentative Program to India: December 28, 2010: Leave Newark (USA) for Mumbai (India)--Continental or Air India Evening-- and return on January 14, 2011.
December 30, 2010 to January 5, 2011.

Learn and Serve at the Ninash Foundation’s five Indo-International Schools: Elementary and High Schools in Kuran (Gujarat); Elementary School in Mahapura (Rajasthan) and Elementary and High Schools in Dundlod (Rajasthan). The SUNY Oneonta group will join in celebrations of dance, music and dramatic performances by the children as well as will teach children, teachers and local community the use of computer, email and internet; teach English to teachers, children and local community; plant a tree and flowers in memory of Dr. Douglas Shrader (SUNY Oneonta Distinguished Teaching Professor); teach songs and learn songs; do art etc. and visit homes in the villages.

January 5-8, 2011:
Visit Indo-International Art and Culture Preservation School and learn about India through lectures and on-sight excursions:

Minibus from Dundlod to Jaipur:
Visit the Pink City of Jaipur which includes the City Palace, Amber Palace, Mirror Palace, Elephant Ride, Silver Bazaar and other artistic and historical monuments (Lectures on Mughal-Rajput--Indian history/art/culture)
January 9/10/11, 2011
Visit the City of Agra---Taj Mahal/Red Fort

Minibus from Jaipur to Agra:
Visit Fatehpur Sikri, the abandoned kingdom of King Akbar, see the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort created by King Shah Jahan and other Mughals—(Lectures on Mughal Indian history/art/culture)
January 11/12/13, 2011:
Visit New and Old Delhi

Minibus from Agra to Delhi:
Visit the seven cities of Delhi and its fabulous monuments with English speaking guides—(Lectures on Mughal Indian history/art/culture)
Approximate total cost: $4000.00 (Includes)
International Round Trip, Domestic Air Travel and Ground Transportation; Hotel Stays, Meals; English Speaking Guides, Lectures and Entrance Fees to Monuments/Special Events in India.

Seats are limited!
For further information, please contact Dr. Ashok Malhotra at 607-432-0496 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              607-432-0496      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or Ms. Linda Drake (Center for Social Responsibility), 607-436-2633.

By Ashok Malhotra

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bothersome Burqas

Well, those wacky French are at it again. You know, the French, those magnanimous Gallic people who are so completely convinced that their immigration program is correct that by government decree, everyone who lives in France is by definition French. The French are really serious about this; they think that the ideals of the Republic (“Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” and all that) require the policy. They are so gung ho that the government doesn’t keep any records regarding race; why would it, when everybody is simply French?

Unfortunately, the millions of Arabs--er, formerly Arab French—whom the French French have allowed to immigrate had the unmitigated gall (sorry) to expect to retain some of their traditional Muslim dress, particularly for their women. This utterly unpredictable stubbornness did not sit well with the French sense of fashion, so a year or two ago the French banned head scarves in schools. French French girls did not normally wear head scarves to school; the law was clearly aimed at formerly Arab French girls.

The head scarf ban apparently worked so well that the French have now decided to improve upon it in the obvious manner: by banning all burqa style facial veils worn in public (bashful Muslim women can still wear the veils in private, but on the street they have to let Francois, Pierre, et al gaze upon their faces). After all, if you’re going to ban covering one’s hair, why not go all the way and ban veils over faces as well? While some suspicious individuals might suspect that the French French may be trying to get rid of formerly Arab French by making life unacceptable to them, it seems obvious that the real purpose of the law is benign: to help the Muslim immigrants assimilate into French culture, particularly French high fashion.

Nevertheless, within minutes of the French Parliament’s passage of the law today, somebody made separate bomb threats against Parliament, Notre Dame, and the Eifel Tower. Rumor has it that NYC Mayor Bloomberg immediately opined that the culprits are probably disgruntled French French rightwingers. At any rate, immigrant Muslim French need to get used to this sort of law, because rumor also has it that the French Parliament is considering passing the following additional measures:

a) Mandatory attendance at topless and/or nude beaches (this is seen as the logical extension of the existing measures);
b) Mandatory consumption of at least five kilos of pate per annum;
c) Mandatory mime appreciation courses; and
d) Banning mosque attendance twice monthly, to be replaced by mandatory attendance at utterly depressing black and white films, preferably directed by pedophiles.

Regarding the last measure, one member of Parliament proposed on humanitarian grounds that the government forego the films and simply attempt to convert the Muslims to Catholicism. His proposal was immediately rejected as reactionary and inconsistent with secular French society, and he is apparently going to be prosecuted for hate speech.

My own position is that the ban on burqas for both women and men is far too broad and overreaching, particularly on those beaches.

W. Reed Smith