by Supratim Barman 25 December 2019
As we speak, there is currently a massive wave of public resistance within the Indian Republic against the BJP Government’s initiation of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed creation of the National Register of Citizens.
Gauhati, in Assam is where the initial pushback began, (and is also where the bloodletting has been the fiercest): spreading on to the Capital, then to West Bengal; and now, has fireballed throughout the Republic.
The Citizenship Amendment Act has put the Republic at the top of the list on GenocideWatch; it has also garnered this statement on the 12th of December from the US State Department, (which is the equivalent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within a Commonwealth Nation).
“We are closely following developments regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Respect for religious freedom and equal treatment under the law are fundamental principles of our two democracies. The United States urges India to protect the rights of its religious minorities in keeping with India’s Constitution and democratic values.”
The Human Rights Office of the UN then went on to tweet the following statement; “We are concerned that the new #CitizenshipAmendmentAct is fundamentally discriminatory in nature. Goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcomed, but the new law does not extend protection to Muslims, incl. minority sects”.
All of this has taken Modi by surprise and he seems stunned by the level of antipathy to the creed of the RSS and Hindutva that he seeks to subsume the Republic under.
What the majority of those outside the Republic (and perhaps even Modi himself) will not appreciate is the vast diversity of the very same Republic and, (on that note), I would like to take you through a small tour of my part of the world, on the Eastern Seaboard, specifically within the vast city of Kolkata and show you a few things that Modi himself may not be aware of.
Let me first take you to the oldest Synagogue in ALL of Asia, the Neveh Shalom built in 1825. The recorded history of Jewish presence in Kolkata dates back nearly 250 years to around 1798, although their contribution and presence within Indian Republic dates back nearly 400 years. The first Jews to settle in the city were from Aleppo and they spoke Arabic and maintained their distinctive dress.
View from the Upper Gallery or Ladies’ Gallery
View as you enter the Neveh Shalom (The oldest Synagogue in ALL of South and South-East Asia)
A description of the people and dress of the first Aleppo Jews
As the people began to prosper and gradually enlarge in number, (as well as becoming fully integrated within Kolkata), they built the second Synagogue. Below is the Beth El Synagogue, which is the largest in Asia and was built in 1856.
Entrance to the El Beth Synagogue
Finally, in 1884, we have the Magen Daved Synagogue. By this time the presence of Baghdadi Jews began to outnumber those from Aleppo. There is now adoption of European dress and English is the spoken language. You will notice the Italian Renaissance style of the interior and the use of Belgian stained glass for the large and proud windows and the ornate crystal chandeliers.
Magen Daved as viewed from the Upper Gallery
Magen Daved as you enter
Crystal Chandeliers and Belgian Stained Glass
Here below, you see the 10 Commandments, which in Hebrew is called the Misvah, inscribed along the arch. Behind the curtains are where the Torah, or Old Testament, is kept and only the Rabbi can enter.
The 10 Commandments inscribed along the arch
The picture below is of the caretaker of the Magen Daved. Can you guess his religion? The caretakers of all the Synagogues are Bengali Muslims.
Caretaker of the Magen Daved
In the picture below, the man on the left is a friend who took me there, as the Synagogues are within Central Kolkata and are difficult to find, unless you have a guide. On the right is the caretaker of the Neveh Shalom. What is remarkable about this picture is that you have a Hindu and a Muslim within a Jewish Synagogue in the heart of Kolkata, in the Indian Republic.
Not too far away, along Armenian Street, I would like to take you around the First Armenian Church in Asia, built in 1707.
44 Armenian Street in the Heart of Kolkata
Below is the entrance door to the Armenian Church of the Holy Nazareth.
Entrance to the Church of Holy Nazareth
As you enter past the door, this is what you would see; the actual Church itself. Built in 1724 and is the Heart, Soul and Centre of the Armenian People of Kolkata.
Courtyard of the Church of the Holy Nazareth
Another view of the Courtyard with the Cemetery in the foreground
Another view of the Church Grounds
Within the grounds of the Church is a Cemetery with commemorative plaques in the Armenian language. The commemoration in the picture below is from 1807.
Below is the grave of Reza Bibi. 1630. It is the oldest Armenian grave in the entirety of South Asia. The engraved slab in English was added later on top of the original but you can see the original inscription in the Armenian script.
Although the Jewish people of Kolkata came from Baghdad; and prior to that from Aleppo, the Armenians came from Northern Iran. They came along the Old Silk Road that stretched from Aleppo through Syria and across the nation states that are now; Iraq, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Pakistan, India and finally into China. The Armenians came 500 years ago to India along with the Mughals from the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan and their presence within the Republic is older than that of the Jewish people.
What may also surprise you is that Armenia was the very first State to adopt Christianity as a State Religion.
The picture below would also perhaps leave you intrigued. He is a 10th Generation Armenian Citizen of the Indian Republic. He has no other Nationality and has never been to Armenia, in fact he has hardly ever left Kolkata. To question his loyalty to the Republic would be both an insult and a crime. It would a crime upon commonsense on your part and an insult to the man himself.
10th Generation Armenian from Kolkata
What about this guy below? If you were to ask him, he would reply straight back at you that he is a Citizen of the Indian Republic first, of Armenian descent from 11 Generations past and the last thing he would mention is his Orthodox Christian Faith. He is a Bengali-Armenian as much as a I am a Bengali-Hindu.
A Bengali-Armenian as much as I am a Bengali-Hindu
The Synagogues and the Armenian Church that I have shown you are maintained by the Archaeological Society of India and are not Museums or Tourist Attractions, where you would take a selfie of yourself to post later. They are fully functioning places of worship and are in use everyday of the week.
Below is the Roman Catholic Church of St Teresa of Avalon built in 1889. (It has nothing to do with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, which came much later to Kolkata in the 1950s).
St Teresa of Avalon from 1889
When I went, the Church was being painted and thus is the reason for the scaffolding around the exterior. Christianity’s presence and influence within the Republic dates back to almost the time of Issa (or Jesus). In fact, Christian Philosophy was thriving in India for a thousand years, long before it reached the shores of the British Isles, which adopted Christianity a thousand years later. Something that gets lost amongst the Propaganda of European Revisionists is that Christianity is a Guiding Light that was a Gift to the darkened minds of Asian Savages from European Colonists. It is a historical fact that the Religious Philosophy went from Asia to Europe, and not what the Colonial Imperialists would have you believe. Christian Thought and Belief is a Gift from Asia, primarily the Levant.
Below are The Youth of the Indian Republic, 4 young Bengali-Roman Catholics, looking forward to the future with hope and pride. The girl on the left is of Chinese descent from the ancient, vast and deeply well settled Chinese Diaspora of Kolkata. All of them speak, read and write Bengali as their first language and identify themselves as Indian and nothing else.
Across the road from the Church of St Teresa is the Shia Masjid of Nakhoda. The prevalence of Islam in Eastern India is predominantly Shia as Bengal was the extreme end of the Mughal Empire, who were themselves Shia and always open to the world. The Nakhoda is the largest Masjid in Kolkata. To appreciate what I am going to say, you may need to enlarge the image, which would perhaps best be done on a smartphone and to focus your attention on the design beneath the minarets on the left of the image. What looks at odds with the straight lines of the main design are these formless shapes. They are actually a depiction of snakes or in this case cobras, upon whose head Shiva is said to sit and contemplate. What this signifies is that the essence of the higher aspirations that the Masjid represents, are that, they sit upon the same snake head upon which Shiva is said to rest. It is saying that Shia Islam has grown from the same soil and is totally intertwined and embedded into the land. It acknowledges the foundation of Hindu Thought as the basis for its Philosophy. It is absolutely remarkable when you realise, yet few people even care to know this. The spikes on the domes are themselves of Buddhist influence.
The Shia Masjid – Nakhoda. The Largest Masjid in Kolkata
The future of India, two young men from the North East of the Republic. On the left from Mizoram and on the right from Manipur, as Indian as Modi, (if not even more so). Both, looking forward to not only their future but to the future of the Republic with pride and hope.
Would this man below somehow be considered not a citizen of the Indian Republic? In the mind of Modi and this devotees, everything; as always, remains a mystery. Mohamed Farheen from Karnataka and an Officer within the Border Security Forces at Petrapole, proudly representing his country and looking to the future with hope and honesty.
This below is Petrapole, which is the largest crossing point between the Indian Republic and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. This is where Modi hopes to flood with millions of people in his dream of having re-incarnated himself as some sort of mythical Arjuna.
What you are seeing is the common land between the two nations where a flag-lowering ceremony occurs every dusk at about 5pm. It is also the only official transit exit and entry point between the two Nations.
Below is during the actual flag lowering ceremony. On the right are the Bangladesh Rifles and Bangladesh behind them, on the left the Indian Border Security Forces, both in formal, ceremonial dress.
What I would like to show you now is something that you will find utterly remarkable. This is in Bishnupur and is about 4 hours drive north of Kolkata. What you are seeing is a “Place of Worship”. The bottom arches are of Shia Islamic design, the middle are what is called “Bengali Huts” and the top is a Buddhist Pagoda. Hinduism, as practised in Bengal is not the same as Modi’s Hindutva or the Hinduism that fills his life with daily joy. It has huge tribal or Adivasi roots and many of the rituals and philosophy are not Brahmanic or Indo-Aryan but more of an Austric Nature. It also has deep embedded Buddhist and Shia influence. That is what is captured here in Bishnupur. This is neither a Temple, Shrine or Masjid but as I said, a “Place of Worship” devoid of religious significance. It was built and designed to be a pavilion during festivals.
A closer look at the design of the archways and pillars where you can see the clear Shia influence in the construction.
Finally, something more to amaze you. Within the Shia influenced archway supports, are engravings from the Ramayan, especially the story of Ram and Sita. It is the same Ramayan that links back to Modi and Ayodhya where the RSS and other assorted devotees razed a 500 year old Masjid to the ground on the assumption that it was built on the mythical birthplace of a mythical Ram.
The Eastern part of the Indian Republic is also the home of Buddhism, which upon Gautam’s demise was totally uprooted from the land that gave it birth by the re-energised Brahmanical Cult. Buddhist Thought however flourished in China, Burma and the Indo-Chinese regions of Laos, Cambodia, VietNam and as far as the Korean Peninsula, Japan and Indonesia; and ofcourse Sri Lanka, yet within the confines of the land from which it emerged, nearly all traces have been systematically erased by the Brahman Doctrine.
Below is a carved inscription in Pali, (which you can see in the Bankura District of West Bengal very close to Bishnupur); which is an Indo-European language with deep Burmese influence and is found only in the Eastern parts of the Republic. It is the sacred language of Therevada Buddhism and all their main literature and religious instructions are written in Pali.
So there you have it. As I said at the beginning of this small tour through my part of the world, this is not the India that Modi sees, nor the India that the devotees of the RSS ideology even recognise. The Indian Republic will NEVER turn into a Hindutva Nation, it is just historically and factually impossible.
Modi needs to get with the programme and do the job that, (albeit only 36% of the voters), have elected him for; which is to govern the Republic, provide economic stability and prosperity, hope for the future and to not rip the Republic apart.
Or maybe that is exactly what he aims to do, as the RSS has always been a collaborator of British Imperialism and their contribution to the Freedom Struggle is close to near zero. Maybe he is the conduit by which the Imperialists in London and New York will finally achieve the total disintegration of the Indian Republic akin to a style that was so effectively deployed to destroy the Yugoslav Republic.