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Beer-drinking Muslim woman’s caning to go ahead October 5, 2009

Posted by reader111 in Islam.
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Associated Press, Kuala Lumpur, September 29, 2009

A Muslim woman sentenced to be caned for drinking beer wants to quickly get the punishment over with now that it has been confirmed by an Islamic appeals court judge, her father said on Tuesday.

If the punishment is carried out, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, would become the first Muslim woman to be caned in Malaysia, where about 60 per cent of the 28 million people are Muslims.

The case has ignited a debate in this moderate Muslim-majority country whether conservative Islamists, who advocate harsh punishments, are gaining influence over the justice system and whether Islamic laws should intrude into people’s private lives. According to local media reports Monday, chief Judge Abdul Hamid Abdul Rahman of Pahang state’s Shariah courts decided to uphold the sentence passed by the state high court on Kartika after a one-month review of the case.

No date was immediately set for the caning. Kartika’s father, Shukarno Abdul Muttlib, 60, told The Associated Press that while the family had yet to be informed of the judge’s latest decision, his daughter “accepts the punishment” and would like it to be carried out sooner rather than later. “We obey the law,” he said, adding that “it’s a challenge … (but) it’s the way of my life.”

Pahang court and religious department officials declined to talk about the case Tuesday. Others could not immediately be reached.

Kartika, a former model and nurse, was sentenced in July to six strokes of the cane and a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) for drinking beer in December 2007 at a beach resort in violation of Islamic laws.

Islam prohibits Muslims from drinking alcohol. Kartika, who pleaded guilty, refused to appeal her sentence and was on the verge of being caned on August 24. But the punishment was halted at the last minute following an uproar in the media and among rights activists.

Instead, the government asked the Shariah High Court Appeals Panel in Kuantan, the capital of Pahang, to review the verdict. Judge Abdul Hamid, who headed the panel, ruled that the sentence was correct and should stay.

The caning would be done with a thin stick on the back and would be largely symbolic rather than aimed at causing pain, unlike the caning of rapists and drug smugglers with a thick rattan stick on bare buttocks that causes the skin to break and leave scars. Malaysia follows a dual-track justice system. Shariah laws apply to Muslims in all personal matters. Non-Muslims, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs and other minorities are covered by civil laws, and are free to drink.

Only three states in Malaysia — Pahang, Perlis and Kelantan — impose caning for drinking alcohol. In the other 10 states it is punishable by a fine.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/459155.aspx

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Worthy of worship February 22, 2009

Posted by reader111 in hinduism, History, India, religion.
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Devdutt Pattanaik, TNN, 7 Mar 2008

 

Power in hindu mythology is a goddess — Shakti, commonly visualised as Durga, a goddess who rides into battle on a lion and kills a buffalo-demon with her many weapons held in her many arms. The goddess is power but who is Shaktimaan , the powerful one? That is Shakti’s husband, Shiva, a hermitgod , who has no desire for anything. This must not be translated literally (“ men are powerful because of their wives” ) but symbolically (“ why is power the spouse of the ascetic?”). Is there a message here?

 

Chanankya once told Dhanannad, king of Magadha, who had insulted him, “I have no desire for wealth or power or pleasure. That makes me a dangerous enemy. You cannot corrupt me and I have nothing to lose.” Dhananand had power but it was Chanakya who was powerful.

 

Power has to be distinguished from being powerful. Power is a resource that exists in the external world while being powerful is a state of mind. Power is outside, being powerful is inside. Power is a resource while being powerful is an attitude . One can have the resource but not the attitude. That is why many people in positions of power feel weak and constantly threatened. Like Indra, for example.

 

Indra, the king of the gods, is visualised as sitting in Swarga or paradise, located in the sky. There, in his garden , is the wish-fulfilling tree, Kalpataru, and in his shed is the desire-realising cow, Kamadhenu, and in his treasury the dream-manifesting jewel, Chintamani. His elephant, Airavat, has seven trunks and six tusks. His weapon, Vajra, is the great thunderbolt. He seems to have access to a lot of power but he is eternally insecure . A king by performing more sacrifices (yagnas) or a hermit by performing more austerities (tapasya) can accumulate more power and usurp his position. That is why Indra is always depicted as a jealous god, someone who disrupts yagnas of kings and tapasyas of hermits . His position is not permanent. Anyone who is better than him can lay claim to his paradise, his thunderbolt and his elephant. Even his wife, Sachi, a form of Lakshmi, goddess of fortune, is not faithful to him. She is faithful to the throne, to the position, not to the person.

 

 

All around us there are many Indras , apparently powerful, holding thunderbolts in their hands and riding elephants, but terrified of losing their position. For they know that their power resides in the position, not in them. So they cling to the throne and destroy anyone who comes close to it. And around Indras there are others who also believe the same thing and struggle all their lives striving to occupy the position.

 

The Mahabharata tells the story of Ashwatthama, the son of Drona. Though son of a priest, Ashwatthama aspires to be a warrior and a king. He goes to Krishna and asks for alms in his capacity as a priest. In keeping with the laws of hospitality, Krishna is obliged to give the ‘priest’ whatever he desires. “What can I give you?” he asks. “I want your Sudarshanchakra ,” says Ashwatthama, referring to Krishna’s discus, a very powerful weapon. “Take it,” says Krishna. Ashwatthama rushes to pick it up. First he tries to pick it with his left hand. He cannot.

 

So he tries to pick it up with his right hand. He fails once again. He tries with both his hands and still he cannot not pick up the Chakra. He looks at Krishna and Krishna only smiles. Finally, after many failed attempts, Ashwatthama leaves, feeling frustrated, wondering what has happened. Ashwatthama thought that by possessing the Sudarshan-Chakra he could become as powerful as Krishna. What he does not realise is that Krishna is not powerful because he has the Sudarshan-Chakra . It is because Krishna was powerful that he could wield the great weapon.

 

Indra clings to the throne because he believes his power comes from the throne. Invariably, someone comes along and takes the throne from him. Indra fights back with cunning or strength and eventually takes back what he lost for his self-esteem resides in victory. Thus the cycle continues — a merry-go-round fuelled by ignorance. Trapped in a cycle of losing and winning, Indra becomes unworthy of worship.

 

Indra needs to be contrasted with Vishnu. Vishnu never seeks power but he is infinitely powerful. As indicated by the spiral of the conch-shell in his hand and the rotations of his discus, he knows that everything in life is cyclical — so he does not fight to win. He does not need to win because he does not need victory to feel powerful. He is powerful all the time, irrespective of the situation he is in.

 

As Ram, he is powerful in Ayodhya and in the forest. As Krishna, he is more powerful than kings whether he is cowherd or charioteer . His actions are governed by dharma, which means the ‘other’ matters to him more than the ‘self’ . He works for the betterment of the organisation, the team, the world at large, and not to indulge his own ego.

 

Whether he is Ram, maintaining things, or Krishna, who is changing things, his strategic intent is always love, which means his attention is to make those around him feel secure and inspired so that they can realise their full potential. Power , manifesting as his many weapons, is but a tool, not an end in itself. That is why Indra chases Lakshmi while Lakshmi chases Vishnu.

 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/rssarticleshow/msid-2843968,prtpage-1.cms