Dr. Stephen Gill

Stephen Gill, an expressive voice of Canada, India and Pakistan, has authored novels, literary criticism, and collections of poems. His poetry and prose have appeared in more than five hundred publications, and he has received recognition, particularly for his poetry. Multiple awards winning Stephen Gill has authored more than twenty books, including novels, literary criticism, collections of poems and a book titled Discovery of Bangladesh. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations, and research papers. Twelve books have been released by scholars and more are to be released on his works. He was born in Sialkot, Pakistan, where he passed his early childhood and grew in India. After teaching in Ethiopia for three years, he migrated to England before settling in Canada. He writes mostly about peace and social concerns. He now lives in Cornwall, Ontario. You can contact Dr. Gill through his websites at www.stephengill.ca - www.stephengillcriticism.info

Thursday, 31 January 2008 19:00 GFP Columnist - Dr. Stephen Gill

The word Diaspora is not a substitute for the word immigrant.

Diaspora essentially is a bitter experience of dislocation that leads to alienation, a sense of loss and nostalgic desires. It refers to that particular class of immigrants who are unable to go back, primarily because of the hostile climate of discrimination in the country of birth.

The hostile climate is intolerable in the land of birth and tolerable in the land of adoption. Usually Diasporans are not happy anywhere, and suffer silently. A poem by Stephen Gill catches their inner self to some extent:

I have gazed
into the graveyard of their eyes
often grabbing
the dry bones of their silence……

A smoke of uncertainty
surround them like fear
and the albatross of loneliness
sits upon them
like a paperweight1

Thursday, 03 January 2008 19:00 GFP Columnist - Dr. Stephen Gill

The government of India has dedicated the 9th of January to celebrate the overseas compatriots. The story goes back to the BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) Government that was defeated in 2004 general elections. When in power, the BJP Government approached the Indians abroad, using the word NRIS (non-resident Indians) to seek their help to save India from bankruptcy.

They played on their nationalistic sentiments to motivate them to play a major role in the economic landscape of India. The BJP Government and other Hindu nationalist parties were already collecting funds from the nationalists abroad for political activities, including their elections.

Encouraged by the initial results, the Government of BJP set up a Committee in September 2000 under Dr. L.M. Singhvi, an M.P., to woo all twenty-two million of its overseas Indians. The Committee asked NRIS to suggest ways to develop their meaningful relations with India. The real motive was to find out ways to attract their money. The 9th of January was set aside to observe Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (India Day for the overseas Indians) every year. That is the day when Gandhi returned to India from Africa to lead India?s freedom movement. The word NRIS was gradually replaced with Diaspora.

Every year, mostly business and other rich people of Indian origin, attend this day to shake hands with the ministers and other high profile Government officials. On this day, some overseas Indians, who have the means to buy tickets, are invited to lecture and dine with ministers. Several minor groups with affiliations with the same committee that makes arrangements to celebrate this day, connected directly or indirectly with the Government of India, have sprung up and also hold gatherings to recognize overseas Indians with pieces of paper, called awards, for which invitees pay handsome amounts. What connection these organizations have with the government and where those monies go is a mystery. As far as writers and artists are concerned, they are usually ignored, because from the point of investment and purchase of those awards they are unusable cars and old cows.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007 19:00 GFP Columnist - Dr. Stephen Gill

I am a democrat and believes firmly in the rule of the law. I begin to think when people discuss the state of emergency and suspension of the constitution in Pakistan from November 3rd. There are articles and press releases in support of lawyers and judges in Pakistan and to force General Musharraf to reinstate the constitution.

The question is which constitution of Pakistan they refer to. Was there democracy before this emergency? Let us talk about the blasphemy laws of Pakistan that put the minorities under the state-sponsored terrorism. For decades, the minorities, not more than three percent of the population, have been tortured, beaten outside and inside of the jails and if released could not enjoy the freedom that was given to them by a court. Either they died in jails or outside by crowds. The lucky ones who were freed by courts had to seek refuge abroad.

When Ms. Bhutto was prime minister, she said that there cannot be blasphemy laws in a country where a person can buy false witnesses for even twenty rupees that is less then half of a dollar. She also said she was in the office as prime minister without any power. General Musharraf tried to make these laws harder for every citizen to misuse them so easily to grab the lands of others, or to take revenge But the forces of anarchy stood against him and he had to withdraw his move.

In addition to these discriminatory laws, there are other laws that clearly discriminate between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. For example, a non-Muslim cannot be the head of the armed forces and prime minister of the country. There are discriminatory examinations for the students. The witness of two women equal to one Muslim male in court.

Thursday, 11 May 2006 20:00 GFP Columnist - Dr. Stephen Gill

Some persons come into this world to write a new chapter in human era. As Moses, they lead the leaderless mobs through the Red sea of a debasing journey of slavery to the land of freedoms. Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi is among such charismatic personalities. As the Moses of his times, Gandhi steered the shaky Noah’s Ark of politics in the roughest weathers.

His story is not an incident of losing a finger. Rather, it is a saga of offering hands in a calm that encourages the heroism of endurance to build the pyramids of justice. His struggle was not to touch the strings of a violin. It was a feat to produce a symphony of human hearts.

Mahatma Gandhi, the heroic figure that produced a symphony of human hearts, was able to produce this symphony to achieve his goal of peace through peaceful means. Karamchand Gandhi initiated the practice of non-violent protests to achieve political and social changes. He led protests across India for the removal of poverty, to free women, for unity among different religions and ethnic groups and to end untouchability, caste discrimination, for the economic self-sufficiency of the nation and above all for the freedom of India from the British rulers. He never wavered in his conviction in non-violence.

Before Mohandas Gandhi, the ideology of non-violence was confined to the gospel of Jesus in the West and to the teachings of Gotama Buddha in the East. In social and political fields it was not a popular and acceptable concept. With the exception of a few books and pamphlets here and there, this ideology never gained the momentum of a serious movement. Politicians now have started talking about the technique of non-violence in depth. It is encouraging that there are organizations and schools to focus on its strategies.


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