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Jewish-Indian relations

Reader comment on item: Musharraf's Historic Speech

Submitted by Vijay Dandapani (United States), Sep 26, 2005 at 10:12

Reader Gary's comments on the tendency of some Muslims to bring in a third party to obfuscate the issue is right on. In India's case, perhaps some of those spewing slander ought to know that India has a long history of welcoming Jewish people with a legacy that spans four distinct groups: the Bene Israel, the Cochin Jews, the Sephardic Jews from Europe, and the "Baghdadis" from Iraq. Each group practiced important elements of Judaism and had active synagogues. The Sephardic rites predominate among Indian Jews. The Bene Israelis came nearly 2000 years ago while escaping persecution in Galilee.

Beyond its tolerance and, indeed, welcoming of Jewish minorities, other groups such as Catholics, Budhists, Jains and Parsis of the Zoroastrian faith to name just a few ,found shelter and succor in India and have thrived for centuries. Anyone with a passing knowledge of what is happening in India is also likely to know that the current political leadership consists of a de facto Catholic (woman) leader, a Muslim president and a Sikh Prime Minister - absolutely no other country - not even the US - can lay claim to such a diverse environment either in their leadership or in the societal mix.

Incidentally, many of the zealots who have posted vituperative and patently false comments about Indian repression of Jews ought to know that a scion of famous Calcutta Jewish family, Major General Jacobs, led the Indian army in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Additionally, the Indian Air Force has had a muslim chief, Air Chief Marshal I.H. Latif.
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