Temple, Abudhabi, the relevance and the facade

When the Abudhabi Temple land donation news was making news in all major news, I posted something like this

Because of the clutter of selfies, mosque visits and happiness over granting the temple land I am not sure if anyone had chance to discuss the Long work hours for laborers and conditions in which they work and live. Or Speak about the Kafala System in UAE which is at the center that prevents improving life of migrant workers, or the plight of domestic helps, any word about Indians who might be locked in the Jails without any help Or of the practice of a UAE company holding on to a worker’s passport (The passport is a property of Indian Govt. right?).

Should people just pray now to Abudhabimaa and Abudhabibaba…. and find that their problems are resolved Or as someone said since there are more malayalees Abudhabikavilamma and Abudhabyoorappan….

Of all the issues that need to be addressed, a land for a temple is the least important. It definitely shows that UAE is not like many other Muslim countries but erecting a house for the Gods will not resolve the issues faced by the mere mortals…

I have lived in Dubai and Abudhabi and to be honest they are one of the most accommodative of the Islamic countries, but even there are issues especially for Indian immigrant workers and lack of a temple in Abudhabi is not one of them….

To this comment a lot of people came running and hurling stones saying I was not looking at it properly.  The question was simple.. “Where is the news about things that really matter?” But many thought that question was a question on Modi… Why would I question a PM who is the first in 35 years to visit a place where a big number of Indian’s work. That is commendable as an effort, but does not mean one cannot question.

After that I posted another post that came in Daily Mail.UK in 2014  The intention was that in the euphoria of a temple the fact of the matter… the reality should not be lost and I get quite pissed off when I see people put things under rugs…. and my post went as follows

For those who hurled stones at me when I said highlighting the donation of land for a temple in Abudhabi as the major news of a PMs visit was inappropriate… By doing so what you have said is that these images do not really matter… because they are not pretty for the image you wish to project…. what you did by hailing a temple agenda is that you demean this existence even more.

Yes I know there are changes that happened over years which are bound to happen in any place... but highlighting a STUPID agenda as a temple land in a euphoria of your supremo is so bad….

Now don’t come back to me and comment that Modi visited there.. and I am always against Modi…. It is not about Modi.. It is about YOU.. YOU and only YOU… who think that a temple is a big thing….

Here in the images we are not talking about Hindus alone… it is about Muslims, christians, Sikhs and many others….. not just from India, but across the world… A Land for a temple is a cheap relation building agenda played well by Rulers in UAE and the media…..

Ask these people in these images what they feel about a new temple…. a place that will be built so lavishly (lavishness is the name of the game) so they can now leave their cramped rooms and meagre existence and pray to God….. And what about the non hindus in the camp.. they can just sit there with their Thumbs sucked…..

I feel pity for every single idiot who highlighted the Temple land as a great thing… there is a dignity in even being worthless and you have fallen down from there as well…. And many of them were debating as if it was honey and milk….

A temple is a pure hindu agenda…. but these images should be a human agenda… and if you don’t know we are humans first and then anything else

Baat karthe hein saale…..

That also received unfavorable response from many and very sensible response on a few that made me stand corrected. Then today I read a post by another guy who is still in the heat on an earlier conversation and so I thought I need to out a post on how I see the whole story of a temple in Abudhabi

As a kid I lived in Dubai and then as an adult I worked there before I moved out of the Gulf. My dad was a doctor there and so as a Kid I have interacted and heard stories from many people across various strata of the society including Extremely rich Arabs, businessmen, professionals, restaurant employes, britishers posted in Dubai, laborers, house helps, palace workers, teachers turned salesmen, taxi drivers and so on. As a kid I have grew up with every aspect of the Malayalee diaspora visiting our home regularly. I don’t think it was just our house it was the case with every house. Though there was a big difference in the standard of living, it was one single family when it comes to get togethers and parties. But yes in our house I am sure the benefit of having a doctor for medical advice did count.

I still remember a distant relative of ours who worked in a iranian restaurant cleaning dishes and used to walk to our house every friday afternoon in scorching heat to spend some time in the AC room as that was the only free time he used to get and I would sit there talking to him. I remember the sulaimani (black tea) maker in Shaikh Rashid’s palace who used to come home for medical advices and many other people who all had stories to say, not always to me but to my dad and I would be sitting in the room listening. I grew up knowing many of these people.

Then we returned to India in mid 80s and my dad quickly slipped into being an out an out Kerala guy, I found it very difficult to slip from the ‘AC and Pepsi’ culture of Dubai. Even people around us who initially looked at us as a gulf return stopped looking that way when they saw my dad did not get into that gulf return lavishness in his existence till he died at the young age of 45 a few years after returning.

Once I grew back a kind of nostalgia took me back to Dubai where I worked for 2 years. Many things had changed and I got to visit many of our contacts I knew as a kid, some were still there while some had left. The experience for me was different because I felt a bigger difference between the haves and have nots and the gap was much huger, but comparing that with the thoughts of a kid of 10 does not make sense so I will discount that gap. Yet I found that Dubai was more cosmopolitan that it was back then. Those days when people from US used to come and tell me that don’t I feel discriminated living there, I would get offended and blame that americans did not know anything. We were so happy. The fact was we were used to a type of living where there are somethings we did not consider as a issue with freedom and the things like owning land, being a permanent resident etc… During my tenure I have had the chance to work with the Dubai legal system on some client issues that went to the court and got settled on our favor. I also found that Dubai was way ahead in terms of treating its people and in the aspects of religious tolerance. Abudhabi lagged behind and one of the points always highlighted was the lack of a temple.

A temple in a Muslim country is a big thing no doubt, not because a temple is needed but it goes against what many maniacs preach about in tolerance. And the fact that Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid is said to be a liberal forward thinker. I even now remember meeting a sindhi guy based in Switzerland who owned a property in Satwa that was in full ownership of his dad and then inherited by him. He said it had the signature of Sheikh Rashid and  his sons will not go against that will and so will owner the inheritance of the same by his children. Something that was quite opposite of the fact that only Dubai citizens could own land or property. I was so happy to hear that, well who in today’s world would do that. So there is honor among the rulers. But I was often concerned about things like the control the company had on its employees and how they exercised it.

There are instances I know where the employee has an emergency to go outside the country and the company says they wont give the passport and they will do so if he someone stands guarantee by surrendering their passport. This was quite unethical. And how did they get another guy’s passport. often people who are on business visas trying for job gets picked and also there are companies where they do not hold the passport like the one I worked. How do I know this? because I was asked if I could surrender my passport as a guarantee for a friend who wants to go out of the country. It is not a law but a practice that impacts freedom.

Now Why did I write against the temple. The truth is I did not write against the temple, people sane enough can get it. I wrote against the euphoria that the Hinduvadis created on the temple land donation. They made that a big advertisement to showcase honey and milk which is untrue. Compared with other Muslim countries United Arab Emirates is a much better place to live and I know that because I have lived there and I have also communicated with people who lived in Saudi. It is a no brainer that UAE has more individual freedom.

But your concept of freedom changes when you start traveling. I do not believe there is any place in the world where it is total freedom, we all live by the rules of the land and often we are used to the rules in our place that we feel other places more free or less free based on how we define freedom. I do not believe in any religion and think religion should be the least of the concern for a human being, but I think people should be free to practice any religion as long as it does not infringe on the rights and freedom of others. One main example is having a place of worship where you go and pray, no harm to anyone fine. So in that manner the Abudhabi temple land donation is a big step and kind of a message to the other Muslim countries to change and progress.

But Temple should be left where the temple should be because it only impacts a p



Categories: Random Thoughts

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