Many in India are supporting Israel’s colonial enterprise in Palestine without knowing that India’s official position has always been Pro-Palestine
By Sheikh Imran
THE newly found love for Zionists from well-known public figures in India is intriguing but quite ignorant. One of the youngest MPs of ruling BJP, Tejaswi Surya tweeted recently, “I stand with Israel”. Similarly news anchors, TV personalities and actors believed to be close to BJP are explicitly calling for extermination of Palestinians with some of them recommending the extension of Israeli tactical aggression to Kashmir as well. Ironically, much to the dismay of these people, India’s official position remained pro Palestine at the UNSC.
It seems like all the cheerleaders of Israel’s colonialism are making a mockery of the legacy of their anti-colonial forefathers.
Since the proclamation of a Jewish state in the middle-east, the region has been experiencing troubles and instability which has snowballed into a major humanitarian crisis over the passage of several decades. The enigma of nations around the world to recognize Israel plagued most of the nations around the globe and India was no exception to it. One of the basic principles influencing India’s view of Israel back then was based on the fact that Israel, if established and recognized in the middle-east, will be an approval of a colonial state similar to the British Empire. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Indian nation on whose ideals of non-violence, Satyagraha, Atithi Parmodharma and Vasudeva Kutambakum modern Indian state is believed to be founded, is quoted by Louis Fischer, a renowned American journalist to the effect that the Jews had a good case but he was hopeful that the Arabs should not be wronged.
He wrote, “I do believe that the Jews have been cruelly wronged by the world. “Ghetto” is by far as I am aware, the name given to Jewish locations in many parts of Europe. But for their heartless persecution, probably no question of their return to Palestine would ever have arisen. The world should have been their home, if only for the sake of their distinguished contribution to it. But, in my opinion, they have erred grievously in seeking to impose themselves on Palestine with the aid of America and Britain and now with the aid of naked terrorism. Their citizenship of the world should have and would have made them honoured guests of any country.”
Gandhi kept reaffirming his sympathies with the persecuted Jewish community but continued to call out the American and British efforts in creating discord and fueling violence. He wrote, “No wonder my sympathies go out to the Jews in their unenviably sad plight. But one would have thought adversity would teach them lessons of peace. Why should they depend on American money or British arms for forcing themselves on an unwelcome land? Why should they resort to terrorism to make good their forcible landing in Palestine?”
After gaining independence, India maintained a position boldly inclined towards Palestine — it was fundamentally against the idea of division of Palestine. Since the early 1950s, both India and Israel maintained minimal contacts despite having no direct conflict between them. Indian nationalist movement leaders in 1920s supported the Palestinian cause against the British rule It was this shared opposition to British imperialism that political links were established between Indian and Arab leaders.
India’s first Prime Minister and one of the leading figures of Indian national movement Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru held meetings with Arab leaders, like the Brussels Conference of Oppressed Nationalities. Nehru even had found a linkage and a similarity between the partition of erstwhile India and Palestine, something he needed to oppose. The former Indian Prime Minister and freedom fighter blamed British for tactically dividing Palestine and tyrannising the actual Arab inhabitants of Palestine. He was in favour of a single Palestinian state based on federal principles. This was the official position of India as well.
It may come as a shock for many in the right wing camp that Indian national movement leaders were vocally against Zionists, who were seen as “Westerners” backed by “imperialist forces” in their quest to create a neo-colonial state. Another major reason for India to oppose Zionism was the religious nature of their nationalism, a position opposed by Indian National Congress in case of the establishment of Pakistan as well. Going back to one of the quotes of the father of Indian nation M.K Gandhi, India’s position was made crystal clear, “Palestine belongs to Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French”.
When the issue of partition of Palestine came up at United Nations, India along with many newly independent states rejected this division and in fact suggested a unified Palestinian state based on a federal structure.
Not only should Indians supporting Israel learn and practice their anti-colonial past,
they should also try to rid their sleeves off of the anti-semitic roots in some of their inclinations as well. M.S Golwalkar, the former Sar Sangchalak of the RSS in his book ,We and Our Nationhood Defined expressed his admiration for how Germany under the command of Adolf Hitler exterminated millions of innocent Jews.
“To keep up the purity of the nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races-the Jews. National pride at the highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”.
The right in India is again propounding a very dangerous offshoot of one of the darkest blots of modern history -the holocaust. Although they have no genuine concern for the victims of the horrific and barbaric extermination of millions of innocent Jews, yet they are screaming in their cacophonic jingoistic euphoria just because in Israel is against an Arab Muslim population.
The ignorance of the history and the foreign policy of India by some Parliamentarians and public figures leaning to the right is astounding. It now raises serious questions on the diligence of Parliamentarians like Tejasvi Surya and news anchors who hosted IDF personnel on their prime time shows.
Those trying to be on the right side of history need to revisit the dark memories of the holocaust and as a solemn tribute to the victims should say, “Never Again” —this time for Gaza and Palestine.
Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
- The author is a freelance columnist
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