How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

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Mkenya
Posts: 471
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:16 am

How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#1

Unread post by Mkenya » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:12 am

I was born in 1939 in a Dawoodi Bohra family. Having been brought up in a traditional Bohra household and later having migrated to North America I ensured that my children were raised in the same tradition. I taught them to read, write and recite Arabic, how to perform wudhu and offer prayers, explained Islam and its sects down to what we are as Dawoodi Bohras.
In North America I have come across many immigrants from East Africa, India, Pakistan, Middle East and other countries who shared my feelings. They, like me, migrated to have a better standard of living, experience freedom, security, etc. I must say it was a good decision to migrate as I have done well in all respects.
Together with the task of settling down in North America I, with other members of our community, observed Ramadan, Muharram, Urus, etc. on a communal basis. Initially these functions were held in community halls, clubs, basements of churches, etc. But in our midst were a few “staunch” Bohras who had aspirations of one day approaching the Kothar (the central Bohra clerical administration in Mumbai) to send us a Mulla or Sheikh to facilitate religious events. Their vision was grand in that they wanted to establish a jamaat, build mosques, organize madrassas, etc. Little did they know that jamaat members would have to bear the expenses and that those had to come from them only.
I must confess that I harboured a nagging feeling in my heart that as soon as our community would get better organized the chamchas would embark on this task. As feared we had Sheikhs visit us on occasions of Muharram and Ramadan. The Kothar having its own barometer must have estimated the amount of “wool” our community was worth. Within a year a Sheikh was installed in our city who had to be provided with a substantial salary, an apartment, furniture, car, etc. He surrounded himself with chamchas through whom he started to consolidate his position. Subsequent Sheikhs have incrementally entrenched their position and power. The collection of wajebaat is now fully implemented and enforced.
I continued to attend the markaz and paid my dues. As a senior member I saw my wajebaat go higher and higher every year. Salaams and other dues were extracted for this and that. As I continued to attend markaz I listened to the chorus of complaints from other members about increases in wajebaat, etc., yet they were the same people who participated fully in all functions. I felt that they should stop participating, if they wanted to change the situation. But the reason they could not object or stop participating was due to the fear of being blacklisted and not being invited to daris, nikahs, mishaqs, and other such social and religious events. They feared ostracisation. This fear compelled them to go to markaz. Bohras are weak-boned by nature. They do not like confrontation. “Bolwu nai” (do not speak) is their motto, they cower and they continue to grin and bear.
I told many of my friends that what they were doing was hypocritical, they should stop going to markaz, stop attending events. Many told me that “jawu pade che” (we’ve to go). It was pathetic to listen to adults telling me “Jawu pade che”. That is not only a capitulation but it affects the very foundation of any human being's rights and freewill. The disgruntled Bohras were always up-to-date on any gossip and adventures of the “royal family”.
For me enough was enough. After much thought, I made the decision to stop going to markaz and paying dues. My Bohra friends and acquaintances when they meet me always asked “Kem markaz ma dekhata nathi” (how come we don’t see at markaz anymore)? To which I reply that I perform my prayers, etc. at home. It is a very easy reply; I do not lie. I want to be honest to myself and my Allah. I continue to fulfill most of my religious obligations. I do that in the peace and quiet of my home; away from all the gossip, the crowds and congestion, etc. Also I do not have to offer two-raqat namaaz to any living and departed Dais, I do not have to do salaam to teeny-bopper children of Sheikhs, make useless small talk, express false praise, sit with double-faced people.
The Kothar has taken full advantage of modern technology to relay events to all parts of the world where Bohras reside. Such a great sacrifice by Imam Hussain (AS) and Ahlul-Bait has been pitifully reduced to a choreographed series of maatam. Overriding the whole waaz is the praise of the present Dai, the 51st Dai and the anointed Dai. At times it is embarrassing to listen to a waaz where we are told about Maulana Ali's humble lifestyle, his meagre diet, and his benevolence. Yet, the opulence that surrounds the waaezin is so starkly contradictory.
It is true that the Kothar is a very powerful organization; ruthless, deceitful, and will go to great lengths to vilify and destroy any dissidents wherever they are. Human beings are social animals and need a society to function. The Kothar knows that well. They take to the takhat to pronounce laanat on anyone who comes in its ways. Stories abound both on this site and the Forums as well as in other publications that its tentacles are spread far and wide.
Years ago mullahs and sheikhs were sent to provide service to Bohras in villages, towns and cities where they lived. These were humble people who performed their tasks and were well rewarded by their hosts. Today most major cities and towns have someone who is from the Dai's family. With the introduction of E-card the Kothar tracks when and how many times one attends waaz, namaaz, etc. The Kothar had a master plan put in effect years ago to bring Bohras under its absolute control. It started with the quomi libaas, rida, dadhi, etc. which was followed by compulsory attendance in sabak, etc. Din has been reinvented; the wudhu of older days has been revised. Bohras now perform their own version of Hajj. Kothar has put Bohras in a mould from where it is very difficult to extricate oneself. Madrassa children are turned into spies. They are being asked to report whether their parents perform namaaz, gamble, smoke or drink, listen to music, etc. The introduction of the tiffin system was heralded to make Bohra women free from the task of preparing food for their families. The Kothar offered that women would use that time to educate themselves in dini taalim, sew rida, embroider topi, etc. to earn extra income.
I have read hundreds of posts in these Forums and I do feel a lot of affinity. My question is what purpose does it serve and where is all this leading to. We can complain about the lavish lifestyle of the Dai and his huge contingent of Shahzadas, Shahzadis, and their offspring. Have they experienced paid employment? Do they perform any incoming-producing work? No, their only source of income is the wajebaat and other taxes from Bohras. Their lifestyles, first-class travels, cars, bungalows, servants, etc. are all supported by the community. Every Bhaisaheb, Sheikh, Mulla has a stake in the collection of wajebaat in terms of a commission. The Kothar juggernaut is secure and sure of itself and its power. Its control is absolute and effective like a straitjacket.
I feel posts and comments on happenings in the Bohra world are only good for venting hot air. I am sure Progressives have achieved a lot. Could someone please inform me about what Progressives have achieved? What is our vision, where do we see ourselves in a few years? Wrongdoings from and about Kothar is a broken-record played over and over by us. Our whining is self-satisfying. Let us collectively come up with suggestions as to what we can offer. We do not have to “build” anything.
I was on an extensive visit to India this year and witnessed the abject poverty there. People in East Africa live better than that. Together with my business associates I donate to societies in Rajkot and Kolkata which do exceptional work to help the poor in slums. They provide inexpensive medical clinics, free education, vocational training for young mothers, small loans for cottage industries, etc. India is a country in which 49% of the population does not have a proper toilet; people urinate everywhere, garbage including dead animals and rotting food can be seen in the streets and alleys. Let us open our eyes, identify areas where help is needed and do something about it.
A Sher, below, by Daag should energize us!
Khoob parda he ke chilman se lage bethe ho;
Saaf chupte bhi nahi aur samne aate bhi nahi
Zist se tang ho to 'Daag' jeete kyun ho;
Jaan pyari bhi nahi aur jaan se jate bhi nahi

Al Zulfiqar
Posts: 4609
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:01 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#2

Unread post by Al Zulfiqar » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:58 pm

welcome to the forum brother mkenya!

that was a very good post. you have, in effect, traced a comprehensive history of the perversion of our faith and the rot which has crept in. of course, as you yourself have rightly said, whatever you have said is nothing new. all of us veterans on this forum know and have experienced this gradual but ever-tightening noose around the community's necks.

i sense a great deal of despair in your musings and i empathise and agree with you. i may be much younger than you, but i do recollect vividly from my own and my father's memories of what we were before and what we have turned into today. its a very sad and tragic story, but the blame for much of it lies in the submissive and meek nature of our people. what should have been nipped in the bud has not happened, and before we all realised it, lo and behold the enslavement was complete. as you have correctly outlined, the kothar is like a monstrous octopus which has a thousand arms which engulf you from all sides and suck the blood and life breath out of you. you have no escape, unless as you and i have done, you cut the ties and escape.

but the kothar has been very clever. as one veteran here, bhai kaka akela has put it, the kothar has been wise and cunning enough to increase their persecution and tyranny in small doses, cleverly graduated, so that they don't kill you outright, they just keep enough blood in you, so that they can continue to suck and milk you while they fatten themselves. pain and misery if applied continuously and ever so slowly increased, makes the victim attuned and numbed to the torture. after a while, they actually become immune to the sadism and are now conditioned to accept further tightening of the screws and even to justify it to themselves!

but bhai mkenya, all is not complete gloom and doom. although this forum reaches perhaps only 1-2% of bohras, i have personally seen atleast a dozen cases where bohras after visiting this forum have been influenced enough to either leave the community as you have done, or stopped visiting the jamaat but kept paying their taxes, albeit at severely curtailed rates, or started rebelling and influencing others too. as you have mentioned, we are up against a very powerful and ruthless outfit, but every blow on its toes, every pebble thrown at its hydra-like head is affecting it. there are so many instances, where because of this forum, the kothar has started hiding its nefarious activities like ziyafats, luxury travels, photos of lavish salaams with gold and fat envelopes filled with cash. it has also imposed censorship on its self-serving sycophantic sites like maalumat and zeninfo etc, so that outsiders and ‘daawat na dushmano’ cannot gain access to all their unislamic bullshit.

every converted abde is a major victory for reform and in this age of technology and all-pervasive social media, this forum is serving a very useful purpose. yes, there is a lot of venting of repressed anger and disgust on this forum, but isn’t that an effective valve for bohras and for the kothar to know the amount of resentment and brewing discontent? believe me, they are monitoring this forum very closely and must be fervently wishing that enough progressive-minded bohras get tired of venting and stop taking interest in this site. we must not let that happen.

Humsafar
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:01 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#3

Unread post by Humsafar » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:06 pm

Mkenya,
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for your great story. You had the courage and self-respect to move out of that oppressive circus. Many people like you are doing it, as Al Zulfiqar reports. It takes exceptional courage and an acute sense of humanity to take such a bold step. The more the better.
With regards to the question, how we can stop Kothar's juggernaut?, these individual and random ditching of the system is not going to do it. This is in no way to belittle your courageous step, sure, it saved you but the system remains intact. But when it comes to making systemic changes, it can happen only and only if people like you have the courage to speak up, simply getting out and leaving the mess behind is not going to be enough. Aware and awakened people must remain inside, be part of the system, must organise and have the courage to challenge the aamils, not submit to his demands and his threats. Individual acts of rebellion is not going to stop the juggernaut. Borhas must orgainse and either make a collective challenge (as in Udaipur) or "get out" en mass and reclaim our community. This is the only way to stop the juggernaut.
But it is easier said than done. Bohra lives are so deeply marinated in propaganda and fear that they will not listen to you, as your experience shows. Ultimately people who value their dignity have no option but to leave.
You ask, what have progressives achieved. All reformists jamats in India, the UK, Canada, USA are working exactly the way we want the whole community to work:
  • we as a community own our properties and assets (it is not wakfed to Dai);
  • we hold regular elections to elect jamaat officials to run the affairs of the community;
  • there is a complete accountability and transparency in our financial dealings;
  • any member has the right to ask for accounts, and the jamaat has the obligation to provide it
  • we run schools and clinics and charities and social welfare schemes with funds coming from members
  • we do not live in a constant fear of raza and baraat
These are some of the tangible achievements, but our greatest achievements are intangible and are reflected in our atitude, our independence of mind; our freedom of thought and expression; we live in dignity with our head held high; we bow to no one but Allah; we do not live in fear of the mullah and his chamchas; we've the right to question authority; the thought of wajebat does not give us sleepless nights. Even if we had not made any material and outward progress, just these intangibles would be enough to count as success. Our humanity and our faith is intact.
Let me also quote a sher, but from Allama Iqbal:
Agarche but hain jamat ki astinon mein
Mujhe hai hukm-e-azan, La Ilaha Illallah

If idols are still concealed in the sleeves of believers,
I'm ordained to proclaim, there is no God but one God.

think
Posts: 1838
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:15 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#4

Unread post by think » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:21 pm

Very well written and so are the responses.
A simple analysis and a no brainer is the fact that this kothar has become super powerful because of the unlimited flow of cash money and not answerable to any government or authority. The bhai sahebs , amils and sheikhs coerse mumin to rob and steal if they have to, but give wajebaat. The adna mumin is least aware that the amil, sheikhs and mullas also have a percentage of commission that is going into their pockets when this mumin gives money. This being the case, where all interests are served, the sheikhs and amils have but one song to sing "moula ,moula".That is also one of the reasons why people give huge amounts of money to become a sheikh; the salams he will get, the parties he will be invited to with all the respect and of course the lavish food.
I see only one solution to the problem. To strike where it hurts and that is at their pockets. some how the ordinary mumineen have to be convinced that there is more sawab in giving your charity to the poor and needy yourself rather than the kothar doing it for you. Edhi is an example and a number of such organizations exist where one can give charity and the sawab is still there. A good deed does not have to take place through the hands of the dai or his appointed luteras. Easier said than done but I think this is the one way where this kothari empire will feel the pinch.

Haggi
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:01 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#5

Unread post by Haggi » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:39 am

Thank you Mkenya, its been a while since somebody has posted something worthwile . I totally agree with you and your
analysis of the Bohra community psyche of how it works and disfunctions. They are stuck in a rut which they are incapable of disassociate
them selves from with the so called "club".
It is probably almost a n impossible task to halt this juggernaut looking at this bird brained abdes and their weakness / ignorance
in their reliance of religion and community that makes it so difficult. The community has been manipulatavely disassociated with other societies vide
believes, attire and he make bealive world that we are the mominin and the others are musalman.
How can this community celebrate the Dai's birthday for a full month while Rasullah's birthday for just a day.
Preaching of Shahadat everyday is a like some cult doctrine to keep the bakras in check.
The only way to stop this juggernaut is to stop partcipating, go slow in participating in your markas or mosque, stop asking for Razas and be non comittal
unless realy nessesary.
The day thry realise the markass/ mosques are empty it may open their eyes.

Conscíous
Posts: 1491
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:41 pm

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#6

Unread post by Conscíous » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:25 am

Salaam Mkenya & welcome to the forum..

Nietzsche
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:14 pm

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#7

Unread post by Nietzsche » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:56 am

You're all very much enlightened. It's hard to leave a religious system that you've been raised into. I think, however, that all you reformists still have one step to take. Do you see how religion has played out in your lives? All it has lead to is greed and oppression. The only way to prevent it from continuing is by dropping religion from your itinerary. It's never done anything beneficial to the human race. It is the root of conflict. Please, you people are smart and independent thinkers.You must see that, if you desire an equal society, then religion must cease to exist. Please consider it, but if you are really ingrained with your beliefs, then no one has the right to rip them away from you.

If more people like you simply drop religion, there will no longer be any taxes or payments. There will never be another kothar, they will not have any pigs to slaughter.

Humsafar
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:01 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#8

Unread post by Humsafar » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:54 am

Nietzsche,
A person has a heart problem, he goes to a doctor. He recommends surgery and medication. For second opinion, the person consults another doctor. This doctor suggests, "why don't you remove the heart? No heart, no heart problem."
You are like the second doctor. The analogy might sound extreme but it conveys the point. Of course, one can get rid of religion but it would mean social and cultural death, not to speak of spiritual vacuum it will leave behind. In social and cultural terms our lives in traditional societies (even most Western ones) are closely tied to and shaped by religion. Speaking of Bohras, the problem is not of religion per se, but its abuse and misinterpretation by the clergy. This is no different from the way secular authorities (governments and corporations) abuse democracy to amass wealth and power. Would you recommend getting rid of democracy, too?
I grant that much blame for the ills of the world can be laid at the door of religion, but why pick on religion alone. The believers of secular ideologies - fascism, communism, capitalism - can and have been as fanatical and bigoted as their religious counterparts and have in fact wreaked worse havoc in human history. Religion, devoid of its bigotry, is a good thing. It serves as a social and cultural glue, it brings people together, gives them a sense of community, a sense of belonging, it brings cohesiveness through ritual and custom, provides moral and social structure to our life and lends it meaning and purpose, it offers - no matter how tenuous - a connection to life after death, it makes sense of the world and our place in it. Of course, you can argue about the details till the gods go mad, but religion is an important part of peoples' lives, they cannot abandon it just like that. We can live without the belief in God, and many do, but religion is not just about God.
If you want to further this discussion offer something practical and sensible.

think
Posts: 1838
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:15 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#9

Unread post by think » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:42 pm

cannot compare a politician to a religious leader. politicians may resort to extremes to make money, but this is not the character of a priest. Do you think a politician will ever wash the feet of a juvenille in jail as the christian pope did a few days back?

Al Qalam
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:08 pm

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#10

Unread post by Al Qalam » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:15 pm

Leaving the community is easier said than done. We won't be here, if we could have just done that.

The community has turned into a Club, an Elite Club. One that is getting increasing difficult to be a member of. However, this Club does serve specific purpose and provide certain services in our lives. At this time, there is no strong alternative and the Club membership is a means to an end. This is the reason, most of us keep paying various fees and taxes year after year, whether we like it or not.

The day when we feels that the Club has served its purpose no longer desire any of their services. We can walk-out, but until then...

as2153
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:11 pm

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#11

Unread post by as2153 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:09 pm

I like Al Qalams analogy for another reason. Any club requires membership fees (e.g. golf club, country club, other church groups). To be a part of the club, you have to pay your membership fee. As part of the fee, you get a group of people that are your community. Some members in the country club can contribute more and they have a higher status/regard among the other members for their contribution. Benefits to membership in the club include keeping the wife happy (most important), membership among a group of like-minded people, increased opportunities for children to mingle among like-minded people (which can have immense implications for them successfully finding a partner that understands them). Members that cannot afford to be a part of the club can be subsidized or no longer take part (a major flaw in the thinking here because this is a faith not a club - I know ).

The bohra community is really no different to all the various church groups in the west. Church members are required to tithe and encouraged to give more than the tithing for things like the roof fund. Those that give the most are given the highest status in the church and senior positions on various committees. Some of my mormon friends for example have to give a lot more than many bohras have ever been asked to give and rank of a person in the church of latter day saints is definitely based on your wealth and contributions and the degree to which practise your faith. Those mormons that are wealthier in the church appear to get better treatment than those who are not including in religious dealings (its the same thing everywhere).

I like this forum as an opportunity for people to express concerns about the community that may be heard if they are reasonable concerns. I have been reading the forums and postings (often with sympathy) and Im still convinced that as long as you politely stand your ground on requests for contributions to the amount that you are prepared to give (no more), being a member of the bohra community has cultural and community advantages that far outweighs the disadvantages. I also believe that the bohras would actually gain if they developed transparency with how money was used. For example, I like the idea of sabil (reasonable amounts) because no community can survive without financial support at the local level. I also think that I would be prepared to be more generous on wajebaat if I understood and could see how it was being used in a transparent manner and that in turn would be of benefit to the community but as long as it is opaque, I will not give more than I do now for this.

Humsafar
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:01 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#12

Unread post by Humsafar » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:11 pm

as2153 wrote:.... (a major flaw in the thinking here because this is a faith not a club - I know )
Then why elaborate on the analogy at all? It is totally irrelevant.
as2153 wrote:The bohra community is really no different to all the various church groups in the west.
It is different. Nobody is objecting to collecting funds to run an organisation. The point here is about extortion and money grabbing and lack of accountability.
as2153 wrote:I like this forum as an opportunity for people to express concerns about the community that may be heard if they are reasonable concerns.
Our concerns are very reasonable in terms of general social ethic and particularly in terms of Islamic morality and our Bohra history and tradition. The problem is that actions and powers of the clergy are so outrageous and egregious that our "reasonable demands" of accountability and jamat autonomy are seen as if we are asking for the moon.
as2153 wrote: Im still convinced that as long as you politely stand your ground on requests for contributions to the amount that you are prepared to give (no more),
Yes this will have an incremental effect, slowly but surely. People should start standing their ground, the more the better and then also ask for accounts.

Bohra spring
Posts: 1350
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:37 am

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#13

Unread post by Bohra spring » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:29 pm

Mkenya...karibu na asante...
I feel posts and comments on happenings in the Bohra world are only good for venting hot air.
Yes I believe that too. To stop the juggernaut you need a tool or alternative, we have none.

Meanwhile Kothar is like a glaciar eroding minds and carving out permenant damage. this is a sorry state of Bohras. The excuse that Kothar is all powerful and wealthy is also partly the fault of the opposition, there has been no sustained, credible, externally recognised opposition that has made Kothar mill difficult, or provide escape routes for people, ideals to unite against an issue. Kothar is at such a momentum that people are falling overthemselves to be slaved if there is word like that.

I will state that Bohras objecting have not got out of anger or humiliation of being insulted, ignored or excommunicated by the Kothar. The current opposition is about getting back to STS descendants for past issues , it is about revenge, control of their right to say no. No deep real reform agenda.

Whatever intellectuals or learned opponents have tried to stand up, unite and try to go back to first Islamic principles, understand why Bohras try to think traditionally the way they do, try a uniting approach to create a parallel faith, even in the face of logic and facts. There has been hesitancy.

The resistance as is is dispersed , unstructured and completely rudderless. Fighting a global fight with local focus.

The current PDB leadership is partly an obstacle for renaisance in reforms. I have stated this many times and the PDB spokesmen on this site will shortly respond in unison to prove my point. PDB gets greater credit and attention than they deserve as a home for rebels, it is not, it may be the biggest present organised group, but does not have all the progressives, resistant or reluctant abdes in its fold. PDB feels threatened the same way Kothar does for relevance and shoots down uprisings, and probably Allah knows why, PDB in its current form seem to be incapable capacity wise and islamically incompetent to comprehend real reforms. Capacity is accumulated in numbers which it cannot attract droves of followers. While PDB were out gunned and out smarted by the Kothar. We now have fanatic abdes in droves who will not easily switch loyalty.

Opponents of kothar cannot even make up a strategy whether they are a community, faith or part of Islam...what issues they have and how serious. We seem to get sidetracked and most debates centre around money and wealth. That alone shows the shallowness of our issues or purpose of current resistance.

If you look at comments on this very blog they are statements of abuses but very little suggestion or feasible plans of action or how to achieve change. So opponents first have to agree after raising complaints do they wish to change things ...until then we can have this blog as a record of events rather than a source for recipe for change.

The purpose of this criticism is to suggest we take stock of what has gone wrong with the reform initiative in the last 50 years, why so little results, continuously flogging it will not result in change. Once the review has been done , we have to cleanse the ineffective agendas, the new generation of opponents need to decide whether they reform PDB or create a new movement . PDB may remain as it is for those who choose to remain traditionalist. I will not be surprised if PDB and Kothar unite to challenge the new movement if the change is too radical.

So as you stated and I am encouraged other new commentators on this blog are awakening to the fact the status quo eg Kothar verbal bashing, and PDB as the blunt instrument will not bring about the change. Something different has to be done.
Last edited by Bohra spring on Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

as2153
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:11 pm

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#14

Unread post by as2153 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:34 pm

"Then why elaborate on the analogy at all? It is totally irrelevant."

I think it is a relevant analogy (at least for me) - I feel being a bohra is like being in an exclusive club.

"It is different. Nobody is objecting to collecting funds to run an organisation. The point here is about extortion and money grabbing and lack of accountability."

It is not necessarily different. I have heard church members complain about being heavily pressured to contribute more than they can afford. This is a phenomenon that exists in many faiths. That said, your points on "extortion" are very well likely valid but I can honestly tell you that I have never seen this personally. As such, it could be argued that this happens in select jamaats and not all of them and this then becomes an issue that you cannot apply to the whole community in one broad stroke. I have also experienced that saying no to a request for a contribution is "uncomfortable" but accepted. This leaves me to wonder whether the so-called "extortion" is a feature specific to some jamaats/amils or a person specific issue. For example, I know many many people who have felt pressured to give within an old jamaat I used to belong too and just as many people in the same jamaat that had no problems saying no and nothing happened to them. Both groups stayed because of the community and cultural advantages and because of their faith.

"Our concerns are very reasonable in terms of general social ethic and particularly in terms of Islamic morality and our Bohra history and tradition. The problem is that actions and powers of the clergy are so outrageous and egregious that our "reasonable demands" of accountability and jamat autonomy are seen as if we are asking for the moon."

This site has examples that show historically there have been demands that have been unreasonable. I know of others too. I still think that these are not uniformly applied in all jamaats and that the site ignores the many jamaats that dont experience this and have thriving and happy members. As for the need for accountability and transparency, I agree but again because I think the community itself including the leaders would gain from this because members would want to do so much more if it was more transparent and accountable. The nature of this site also means that those jamaats that do so much for there members such as vaccination programs, training exercises, community outreach, building resumes etc etc is essentially all but ignored but an incredible value for those in the "club". I should also add that many of the stated issues I consider reasonable points of contention but other posts (who are likely not part of the DB/PDB group) that are focused on "democratic" appointments of dais and other such wishes to me seem outside the scope of "progressing the bohra faith".

"Yes this will have an incremental effect, slowly but surely. People should start standing their ground, the more the better and then also ask for accounts."
Last edited by as2153 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Nietzsche
Posts: 129
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#15

Unread post by Nietzsche » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:45 pm

The reference to the pope: The pope symbolizes the problem of religion. He is an anti gay advocate. You cannot bar people from doing what they are literally programmed to do. Homosexuality is not a choice, it is genetic, and yet this "great" pope is against legalization of homosexual activities. Also concerning the Catholic Church, has anyone else notice that whenever their priests make the news, it involves abuse of a child? You wanted a sensible argument, here you are.

Al Qalam
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:08 pm

Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#16

Unread post by Al Qalam » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:25 pm

Over last 50+ years Kothar has been extremely effective in recruiting and training the next generation. Result - this generation which is currently in their adulthood is more ardent supporters than defectors. This group also has the most to-gain or should I say to-lose with the ever tightening policies.

If we are waiting for Udaipur style revolution, it is unlikely to happen in foreseeable future. However, we can continue the cause of spreading awareness among our peers and especially to the next generation – our children and other youngsters. Change must come from within large numbers and we need to reach that critical mass for any change to be accepted...

seeker110
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#17

Unread post by seeker110 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:33 pm

After lakhoon shukar ke sajde we have received Reza to bore the hell out of everyone for another movie session. If you watch this bull you will get to heaven faster than the space shuttle. All the minutes of all the gatherings amount to zilch, nada. Damn learning. ( ILM)

Humsafar
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#18

Unread post by Humsafar » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:04 pm

as2153 wrote:That said, your points on "extortion" are very well likely valid but I can honestly tell you that I have never seen this personally.
By "extortion" I don't mean one-to-one interaction but the whole money-grubbing culture that exists; that money must change hands at every step of the way. For example, the blatant demand for gold guineas during this milad of Sayedna. It is this culture of spoken and unspoken pressure to give to clergy and support their extravagant lifestyle.
as2153 wrote:This site has examples that show historically there have been demands that have been unreasonable. I know of others too.
Can you explain what those unreasonable demands might be. And also, unreasonable form whose point of view.
as2153 wrote:...but other posts (who are likely not part of the DB/PDB group) that are focused on "democratic" appointments of dais and other such wishes to me seem outside the scope of "progressing the bohra faith".
You must ignore the rants about "democratic appointments of dais" as an outlier imaginings of no more than a couple of enthusiastic people. They do not matter.

Humsafar
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#19

Unread post by Humsafar » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:23 pm

Nietzsche wrote:The reference to the pope: The pope symbolizes the problem of religion. He is an anti gay advocate. You cannot bar people from doing what they are literally programmed to do. Homosexuality is not a choice, it is genetic, and yet this "great" pope is against legalization of homosexual activities. Also concerning the Catholic Church, has anyone else notice that whenever their priests make the news, it involves abuse of a child? You wanted a sensible argument, here you are.
Is this the best you can offer by way of sensible argument? Bigotry is common to all religion, and this is what all sensible people should denounce. What I am advocating is those aspects of religion which promote unity, compassion and justice.

Humsafar
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#20

Unread post by Humsafar » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:28 pm

seeker110 wrote:After lakhoon shukar ke sajde we have received Reza to bore the hell out of everyone for another movie session. If you watch this bull you will get to heaven faster than the space shuttle. All the minutes of all the gatherings amount to zilch, nada. Damn learning. ( ILM)
I agree these long posts do get boring at times, but rarely do we get a chance to get into a serious debate. That it amounts to zilch is true. What doesn't?

seeker110
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#21

Unread post by seeker110 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:54 pm

Sorry brother Humsafar, I meant to critique the Email we receive from our markaz. Your view points are worthwhile unlike the daily Urs ni majlis from Kothar and sons.

Safiuddin
Posts: 546
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#22

Unread post by Safiuddin » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:19 pm

Religion, devoid of its bigotry, is a good thing.

Humsafar, you mention the above in one post, and then a few posts later, say that "bigotry is
common to all religions".
Nietzsche is correct. Religions have caused more suffering, bloodshed,
and hatred than all the wars on this planet combined. Man created religions to have dominion over
others.
If you and others require a religion to tell you about morality, spirituality, culture, and society,
then you are being very cleverly brainwashed - and are not using your innate faculties.
Are people so devoid of integrity, morality, and creativity that they require some self-aggrandized and
self-appointed man in a dress and a hat with trappings of wealth to explain morality?
I'll take the spiritual vacuum any day over the hypocrisy and hatred spewed by world religions.
Same goes for cults like the Bohris: I don't require any lying, cheating, money-grubbing, and hate-filled misogynist
to explain spirituality, morality, or human decency.

Nietzsche
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#23

Unread post by Nietzsche » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:37 pm

There is no such thing as "practicing the good stuff" and simply discarding the rest. Where there is religion, there will, undoubtedly, be oppression, a caste system, violence, and lack of democracy. People with degrading policies (to gays, poor, blacks) are always those who are religiously driven. You point out the Nazis and communists, but you fail to mention:

the crusades (8, to be specific), the Inquisition, Romans vs Jews, the Spanish exterminating the Tribes of Southern America, Ireland vs the British protestants, Christopher Columbus (who is still celebrated as a hero), the Thirty Years War, the Lebanese Civil War, 9/11 and the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars. Salem Witch Trials.

You may argue that these wars were politically driven as well, but they were based on religion, and fought in the name of the "great, merciful, all powerful God".

Sir, your examples of non religious entities being more harmful than religious conflicts is shortsighted and is a superficial argument. You include 100 years of history and completely neglect the other 3000 years.

Your listed benefits of religion are all things that can be accomplished without the need of any type of "God" or some false "Book of God". Religion was a useful tool for people before humans investigated science and found rational answers to everyday questions. Religion is shaped by a culture, all the stories in the Quran and Bible, while beautifully written, were merely used to understand things which people were uncertain about.

The harmful effects of religion far outweigh the benefits of religion. This is not an opinion, it is a fact. Please review the list of religious conflicts and do your own research. It is religion that has the Dawoodi Bohra people in the damned situation they are in right now. Do you think that a merciful God would allow such a thing to happen? Would a merciful god let people who know nothing else to fork over their money to a corrupt, horrible, disgusting, abhorrent leadership? If you think that the God you believe in would allow this, then I would rather be in hell than play along in this terrible world. There is no caretaker of this world. It is up to people to watch over it and try and make the best of it. This can only be accomplished if people can overcome their differences and get along. If they cannot do that, then it will all crumble down.

I understand that you have your own beliefs. But your own argument concerning religion should show you why it is so hard for you Progressives to peel away the Bohras who are loyal to the Syedna. They know nothing else, and they are scared that if they do not follow the orders they get, they will be damned to hell. The only way you can help them out of this dilemma is by making them accept that they have been wrong all these years. Not all of these people are as smart as you all who post on this site. They know nothing else.

Lastly, I want you to know that I am not trying to belittle you here. I am on your side of this cause. I hate what the Kothar has done to their people. I was a very loyal Abde-Syenda once, but with the realization that this religion that I had loved was simply a money making machine, the thought of a merciful God was ripped out of me. Your cause is a a righteous one, and I am simply trying contribute to your discussions.

*I realise that I have some grammar errors.

as2153
Posts: 37
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#24

Unread post by as2153 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:03 am

Much of the postings on this forum highlight a much greater threat to the dawoodi bohras than any progressive movement could ever be and that is the loss of belief altogether from many of its members. Having atheist or agnostic thoughts are common to many people because they are so logical. Because of this reason, this is one of the fastest growing portions of the population in the west. In some ways it's sad because losing belief can involve a loss of community, a sense of identity and belonging and a loss of our roots but I see it happening amongst the youth in our community all the time. I know that this is a problem that is also more prevalent amongst the PDBs in the west aswell as the DBs. It's unclear how this can be reversed although I'm sure many posters have ideas. It's a challenge that all faiths including Jewish and Christian communities are facing.

Maqbool
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#25

Unread post by Maqbool » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:19 am

as2153 wrote:Any club requires membership fees (e.g. golf club, country club, other church groups). To be a part of the club, you have to pay your membership fee.
Yes but for that in the club there are elected committees and they fix the fees and has to be passed in the general body. This fee in our community is sabil and that is fixed by Jamat members and they are not elected. Withour any valid reasons they increase 5 or 10 times. There is no room for argument. You pay or face the consequences. Though our community is club but can not be compared by the clubs that is running democratically.

If the other communities are extorting wealth by unlawful ways, we can not justify there wrong doing with ours.

I think our whole community is like a bonded laborer and have lost the courage to revolt. We are coming here to vent our anger and relieved.

The kothar is taking all the advantage of communication technologies available and prevent their follower to use.

To communicate with our fellow brothers this site is giving tremendous help but we need more. We should write the atrocities committed by kothars on various sites. We can also inform about this site to many bohras by advertising.

There is a site http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/?hp where we can file our own petition and get the world support.

Nietzsche
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#26

Unread post by Nietzsche » Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:17 am

as2153- Thanks for your post. You're giving me more ammo to expend.

This is another problem with religion. When people start to shift their beliefs, (even when they are based on simple logic and science) the religious institution is riled up and will immediately try to force those people back in the loop. Why would you want to reverse this trend? It should only be proliferated, because the less religion there is on this planet, the better off we will be. You cannot reverse the trend towards godlessness- once people start to THINK, then they see how childish using God to explain everything is. Have you ever noticed that most intellectuals and scientists are godless? That is because these people think, and they realize that this world has no place for a god.

By speaking of "reversing the trend" you simply exemplify another atrocious aspect of some religious institutions. It's a shame, because the Dawoodi Bohra community members do not run wild like Jehovah's Witness members trying to convert people, but here we are.

You speak of this as being a "Dangerous" trend, which is ironic considering how dangerous religion has been over the history of humanity.

seeker110
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#27

Unread post by seeker110 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:37 am

All those miracles and no evidence left behind, also no witnesses. Where were the writers and historians of that time ?

as2153
Posts: 37
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#28

Unread post by as2153 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:06 pm

Science can explain a lot: molecules and then atoms and from there neutrons and electrons. From there we can have quarks but eventually there is no explanation and it can only be god.

The advantages of religion are that they provide a moral code by which we can live and these moral codes (devoid of politics) are generally very good and useful for societies and us to function effectively.

Even for those struggling with belief, the advantages of having a community are immense, they provide a connection to our roots, a sense of identity, purpose, friendships and an infrastructure of support. I can tell you that in the west, without the infrastructure of the community, it is is extremely difficult to find a similar minded life partner. Many people outside the community go to online dating services with mixed results and even within the community, it is still tough, but at least they provide an infrastructure that makes that process easier. This is an issue that is not trivial for the younger members of our community either.

Al Zulfiqar
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#29

Unread post by Al Zulfiqar » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:14 pm

Bohra spring wrote: ...To stop the juggernaut you need a tool or alternative,

...The excuse that Kothar is all powerful and wealthy is also partly the fault of the opposition, there has been no sustained, credible, externally recognised opposition that has made Kothar mill difficult, or provide escape routes for people, ideals to unite against an issue.

...No deep real reform agenda.

...try a uniting approach to create a parallel faith, even in the face of logic and facts.

...PDB in its current form seem to be incapable capacity wise and islamically incompetent to comprehend real reforms. Capacity is accumulated in numbers which it cannot attract droves of followers.

...Opponents of kothar cannot even make up a strategy whether they are a community, faith or part of Islam..

... very little suggestion or feasible plans of action or how to achieve change. So opponents first have to agree after raising complaints do they wish to change things ...until then we can have this blog as a record of events rather than a source for recipe for change.

...we take stock of what has gone wrong with the reform initiative in the last 50 years, why so little results, continuously flogging it will not result in change.

....we have to cleanse the ineffective agendas, the new generation of opponents need to decide whether they reform PDB or create a new movement

....Something different has to be done.
we have to do this, we have to do that... we have to take stock.. we have to review... we have to cleanse.. we have to strategise... we have to make feasible plans... we have to do something different... blah, blah and blah.... !!!!! who are these "we"???

you want do something... do it! stop pontificating and defecating on this forum!!

Kaka Akela
Posts: 402
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Re: How can we stop Kothar’s juggernaut?

#30

Unread post by Kaka Akela » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:44 pm

The simple answer to your question is ," you can not ". and thats it.
The juggernaut that you are talking about is an Octopus, an arm being power of money, and others being power of influence, power of misaq, power of their PR machinery, and of course power of their knowledge et.el.
You can not stop it but you can avoid it by distancing yourself from it, which is easier said than done. I am an old man who has seen the times STS and SMB both. My father used to tell me the stories of previous Dai(s) who he used to visit with his own dad (my dadaji) and life used to be so simple. they used to do 1/2 to 1 rupia salam to the dai and used to sit knee to knee with the dai and there was only one khadim at his door. Now there are 50 people you have to kiss-ass before you have the darshan of the dai and you have to have salaam in lakhs and you have to spend another lakh on the 50 levels before you get there. I have always believed that dai belongs to people and should always be available free of charge to each and every believer and giver of Misaq. When I was growing up in Mumbai, my dad always taught us never to do salam to the dai empty handed, but now it has been turned over on its head and you do salaam and then go and file for bankruptcy. This removes dai from his common people and a lot of other meaningless people have inserted themselves in between may it be shahzadaas or Kothari goons.
When I find faults in the DB juggernaut, I also see faults in the PDBs juggernaut, I visited Udaipur one time and visited the mosque for a vaez by a PDB. I was shocked to the core. The PDBs claim they have no problems with the belief in Dai or religious tenets of the Dawoodi Bohra religion but then they have totally ignored the Dai's teachings. What I saw is that the women of PDB in the markets and streets running around in lehanga and odhna (middle age and older women) and no ridas, young ones in very fashionable western clothes, in fact you can easily identify who is PDB and who is DB. Also among men in the vaez I saw men wearing all kinds of caps from simple cotton to fur caps and some caps were even lined with leather inside and sitting with crossed legs and show very ill-manner in their behavior, some had folded handkerchief tied over their heads. I had the feelings that the PDBs in their quest for freedom have leaned more towards Sunnism and have lost any similarity to the DBS, even though they claim to come back in the fold of DBs if all the corruption is removed and transparency is installed. The question that comes to my mind is why are not they following the teachings of the Dai in dress code staying away from moharramat (i.e, Riba, alcohol) or in mannerisms so it will be easier for them to re-join the fold at a later date. It seems the train tracks of the DB and PDB were parallel at one time but now they are slowly but surely going east and west. So the PDB juggernaut also need some addressing.
Bro Nietzsche's comment about," not believing in any religion is better", is more swallowable than his statement of non-existance of God. I have read many books of famous athiests (Hitchens among them) and have come to conclusion that athiests are nut cases. it would be better to be a Humanist who believes in God but not in organized religion and they believe in service to humanity which I like a lot.
In my old age I long the simple religion of my forefathers and I am very confused with the direction the DB religion has taken and it is becoming more and more Dai-worshiping cult and it seems we have to say prayer every minute of the day for the long life of Dai, and every breath we take is the karam & ehsan of the Dai, otherwise our faith and iman is in jeopardy. Every living thing has to face death and that is the promise of Allah then why all this hallabaloo about his long life?