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The Greatness of India December 9, 2008

Posted by neoavatara in Politics.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/08/world/asia/08muslims.html?_r=1

For those of you that don’t know, my parents came from India in 1970.  My sister and I were both born here, but have a close link to the ‘homeland’.

Clearly, my posts show my affection for my ancestral homeland.  And few things make me prouder than India’s reaction to the terrorist attacks on Mumbai two weeks ago.

Yes, you can say that the military and police were not efficient or prepared.  You can say the intelligence services were lacking.  You can say the government was asleep at the switch.

For Indians, this is a daily norm.

Indians have learned how to live not only without working government, but around the obstacle course that is the red tape beaurocracy of India.  They succeed despite the best efforts of government.

That said, what you have seen from the Indian public since the terror attacks has been anger, contemplation, progress; what you have not seen in mobs, anger, hatred, and more religious killing, things that historically India has been known for.

But what outsiders don’t understand is that India is a very multicultural country; as multicultural as any in the world.  They have been that way for centuries.  There is certainly prejudice and bias; I am not going to lie.  But India was borne from British rule by Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others alike.

What we have seen from the Muslim community in India should bring joy to the nation.  Muslim leaders have totally repudiated the attacks, and openly so.  They are doing something that almost no other muslim community in the world is doing:  protesting publically about their hatred for the terrorists.  Muslim leaders have refused to allow the bodies of the nine militants killed in the attacks to be buried in Islamic cemeteries, saying the men were not true Muslims. They also suspended the annual Dec. 6 commemoration of a 1992 riot in which Hindus destroyed a mosque in Ayodhya, in an effort to avert communal tension. Muslim religious scholars and public figures have issued strongly worded condemnations of the attacks.  Additionally, Hindu right-wing groups have been noticeably absent from the streets. Although leaders of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have criticized the government’s handling of the crisis, they have not stirred anti-Muslim sentiment.

My grandfather was a well-to-do businessman in southern India, a Hindu.  He led a devout life.  His three best friends?  All Muslims.  And these were not casual friendships; these were men that loved each other like brothers.  And that was started 70 years ago.  There is hope.  There has always been hope.

India shows the hope for the world.  It shows hope for the future.  India, maybe more than anywhere else in the world, is an imperfect place where hope survives.  It has immense number of poor, uneducated, and castoffs; and yet is thriving with intellectual and business leaders.  It has a multitude of religious and cultural entities, and most of the time finds ways to live together.  The U.S. shows this ability to live together; Europe, Australia, and others as well.

Free countries unite.  There is hope yet.

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