Note: Wherever I have used the term Hindus and Hinduism, it includes all Dharmic and Indic faiths such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism. Also, I am in no way suggesting that India should become Israel. A few noteworthy, appreciable aspects of Israel as learning lessons for the Indians are discussed.
Recently, both houses of the Indian parliament passed the Citizenship amendment bill. The bill eases the process of granting citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of three neighbouring Islamic countries: Pakistan, Afganistan and Bangladesh. The bill specifically mentions that persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Christians can seek citizenship in India after 6 years of stay in India. This waiting period is shorter compared to the usual waiting period of over 11 years. Muslims are not included in this list. This very reason has been a cause of liberal, leftist, Islamist meltdown in the country. One of the strangest, dangerous and downright disrespectful line of arguments that I heard in this regard was by Magsaysay award winner, Ravish Kumar of the NDTV. In his prime time, he first used the image of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He reminded his audiences of how Jews were persecuted and killed in gas chambers. Then he stated a statement made by Supreme Court a few months back that Delhi is becoming like a gas chamber. That statement was made in regards to increasing levels of air pollution in the capital city. He mentions this fact but with clever world play, he suggested indirectly that India is heading towards Nazi Germany and concentration camps and gas chambers or something like that will be used against Muslims. All these because Muslims of these 3 countries were excluded from the CAB. After hearing this, I was pulling my hairs out.
But then, I got an idea from Ravish’s line of arguments. It’s funny Ravish mentioned Jews and the Holocaust. There is actually a lot to learn from the Jewish community, especially for Indians.
A short story of the Jews
Jews are historically a very well-learned and successful community (like Brahmins in India). There had always been an inherent dislike of Jews in significant portions of Christian and Islamic populations over centuries (it is still true especially in case of large % of Islamic population). The term for this hatred: anti-semitism.
After World War I and the loss of Germany, this resentment against Jews grew even further in Germany. The same was exploited by Adolf Hitler. Hitler viewed Jews as lower life forms (like insects, pests). That’s why his followers from the Nazi Socialist Party, his Nazi army generals and even the well-educated Nazi scientists terminated Jews, conducted medical experiments on them and whatnot. The conditions and tortures that Jews faced are unfathomable. To downplay the Holocaust and comparing it to say border detention camps for illegal immigrants (USA-Mexico) or excluding Muslims from CAB is downright disrespectful to the suffered victims and their families.
What happened after World War 2 and the creation of Israel is a big lesson for the Indians. Jews with the help of Allied powers established a very small, yet very significant nation-state of Israel.
Israel’s success story is an example of Jewish excellence, cooperation, brotherhood and handling problems head-on, unapologetically with conviction. Israel is surrounded by its enemies. As mentioned before, a large percentage of the Muslim population around the globe have inherent hatred for Jews and Israel. This is despite the fact that Israel provides equality of opportunities to Muslim population living within its borders. There are Muslim politicians at influential positions in Israel, there are Muslims severing for IDF. However, Israel has special clauses, provisions and arrangements for Jewish communities around the globe.
Any Jew living anywhere in the world, persecuted or not persecuted can seek refuge and ultimately citizenship of Israel. Mossad and other Israel agencies in the past have carried out daring operations rescuing persecuted Jews from enemy countries such as Syria, Iraq. They even facilitated the immigration of African Jews from Sudan. Even a number of Jews from India (who were living peacefully) migrated to Israel. It is worthy to note that Jews acknowledge the fact that India is the only country in the world where they never faced religious persecutions. They even passed a resolution in their parliament in this regard.
Now, Syria is a border state of Israel. Syria has been in a devastating civil war which has created a deep humanitarian and refugee crisis. A huge population of Syrians have migrated to Europe. Taking advantage of this refugee crisis, a large number of illegal immigrants through illegal channels have also migrated to Europe for welfare benefits. This, however, has lead to a crisis and exponential increase in crimes and other law and order situations in such countries. Read “The Strange Death of Europe” by Douglas Murray for more details. Amidst all this crisis, Israel didn’t accept persecuted people in significant numbers from their neighbour Syria.
Now, at first glance, this would seem like a selfish, bigoted policy. But Israelis know what they are doing. Israel has been working on liberalising and progressing Muslim communities (17.8% of the total population of Israel) within their own country and prevent their radicalisation. However, they cannot do so or ensure the same for Muslim communities from other countries. The hatred for Jews amongst the large sections of the Muslim population is a well-known fact. From 9/11 to the death of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, they blame all kinds of actions on Jews. Countries like Iran have openly declared that their aim is the annihilation of Israel.
Surrounded by such staunch, radicalised enemies, Israelis have adopted a no-nonsense, nation first, hard-hitting policy. Where they protect the interest of those people who support the nation of Israel at all costs. And at the same time, they retaliate massively to the terrorist outfits, enemy nations, going as far as killing civilian scientists of Iran’s nuclear programs.
Lessons for India
Israel is one of the, if not the most friendly nations of India. Israel has excelled in agricultural, defence, industrial technologies. Tel Aviv is a hub of world-class research, development, and entrepreneurship even rivalling Silicon Valley in some regards. At the same time, it looks for Jewish communities worldwide, even sending Mossad and IDF to rescue a few civilians from enemy nations. It doesn’t hold back in retaliation to its enemies and their politicians, media no matter what the political party, always work for their National Interest (compared that to NDTV, Congress, communists in India). Israel like India faces a lot of criticism in international media mainly because of two reasons.
Firstly, the leftists around the world have sided with radical Islamists and they have indulged in downplaying Islamic terrorism, radicalism (BBC terming Pakistani origin rapists of minor girls as Asians). They also align with the victimhood narrative of Muslims around the world. I actually agree with the fact that Muslims are victims but they are victims in the Islamic nations. They are NOT victims in countries like Israel, USA, India. Indians revere and worship Muslims like Abdul Kalam, Mohammad Rafi, Bismillah Khan. Ajmer Sharif is a holy shrine for Hindus also. However, they are not a fan of Afzal supporters or shameless journalists who downplay atrocities faced by Kashmiri Pandits at the hands of Jihadists in Kashmir.
The second challenge that Israel along with India face in the world of mass media is that many Islamic countries such as Qatar, Saudi are rich and powerful. And Pakistan although not rich is at the mercy of their army generals. So, enemies of Israel, India use this money and their dictatorship to create a paid propaganda warfare against India and Israel. Al Jazeera, NYT, Washington Post are prime examples. ISI had a full-page anti-India advertisement on NYT during this year’s Modi’s visit to the USA. I am sure that there are media outlets and influencers in India that are funded by the enemies of the nation.
Another big challenge that both these countries face is adverse enemy neighbours. Hatred for India and particularly Hindus is real. This is true for large sections of Pakistan and even sections of Bangladesh. Although Afghani civilians are Indophilic, there is Taliban in Afganistan. Hindus have faced unfathomable persecutions in Pakistan and Bangladesh. They are still facing persecutions, forced conversions, abduction-rape-conversion of minor girls. They face economic discrimination also wherein Hindus, Sikhs find it very hard to educate their children properly or conduct business. Hindu population in Pakistan has shrunk from 15% in 1951 to less than 1% today.
Bangladesh had Hindu population in excess of 33% in 1931. They are less than 8% now. Bangladesh Liberation War, post-independent migration, direct action of Kolkata in 1946, Malabar during Khilafat movement, Kashmiri Hindus in 1990, Hindus and Sikhs of PoJK are some of the few examples where Hindus faced large-scale massacres. Now, these are the situations that can be compared to the Holocaust. Nobody can understand the feelings of a Holocaust survivor better than a survivor of the Bangladesh liberation war, Kashmiri Hindus of PoK and Kashmir.
It should be the duty of India that is Bharat to protect and safeguard the human rights of people who believe in the idea of Bharat.
What about the persecuted Muslims of Afganistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh?
All these three countries are Islamic countries. Yes, there are Shias, Ahmediyas, Balochs who are persecuted in Pakistan. However, like Israel’s situation with Syria, one cannot ensure that these people would be easily assimilated and harmonised with India. Sharia can never be implemented and should not even be talked about in India (for obvious reasons).
It is highly likely that large portions of their population like Rohingyas have inherent hatred for Hinduism and Bharat. Anyways, they can still seek refuge through the usual route. Also, there are more than 30-40 Islamic countries in the world. They can easily seek refuge there. There are numerous Christain countries. Even the developed countries like UK, USA, Poland, Denmark, etc. gives preferential treatment to Christians in granting them citizenship. There is not a single Hindu country in the world where Hindus would be given ease of citizenship.
They are as much child of Bharat Mata as we are.
Featured image credits: The Times of Israel
Originally published for my personal blog.