Indians With Biblical Roots

January 03, 2007
Navras Aafreedi

India has had resident Jewish communities for almost two millennia. The first mention of Jews in connection with India occurs in the Bible itself. In the Book of Esther, which probably dates from the second century B.C.E., mention is made of the decrees of the Persian monarch Xerxes (Ahasuerus in the Bible) relating to the Jews dispersed throughout the 127 provinces of his empire stretching "from India even unto Ethiopia" [Esther 1:1].

It is known that at its height the Persian Empire extended well into Baluchistan, then geographically regarded as part of India and now partly in Pakistan and partly in Iran. It is quite likely that there were Jews settled in the area named India in the Book of Esther. But none of those Jews are known to have survived. When we speak of Indian Jews, we mean Jews who were to be found settled in India much later.

Since Independence, the Indian census, conducted periodically every ten years, did not treat Indian Jewry, with a history of almost two millennia, as a separate religious group but as belonging to the category "other religions", due to its small numbers. For the first time, the 1991 census religion tables published in 1995 provided data on the number of Jews by their state wise distribution as well as their urban/rural distribution.

Despite the lack of quantitative data regarding their demographic and socio-economic characteristics, experts have managed to conclude after a study of the census data available for the period 1881-1941, that the population of Jews in India steadily increased from 11,805 in 1881 to 22,480 in 1941. Indian Jewry continued to be a microscopic minority, constituting much less than one percent of the population of India. Today its population is 5271.

The main reason for this fall in Jewish population has been migration to Israel. Such migration is encouraged by the Law of Return, one of the first laws passed by the Government of Israel, after the State was founded in 1948. This law entitles every Jew to immigrate into Israel, no matter where he/she lived.

According to the 1991 Indian census report, the number of persons reporting themselves as Jews is 5,271 (males: 2,766; females: 2,505), with 3,921 living in urban areas; and 1,350 living in rural areas. The majority are found to be living in the State of Maharashtra (3,294, i.e. 62.49 percent).

According to a demographic and socio-economic survey of Indian Jewry (published in 1997), done by O.R.T. India, 84.9% of Indian Jews live in Maharashtra and 81% speak Marathi as their mother tongue. From the point of view of educational attainment, the Jewish population above the age of 6 was found to be almost 100% literate, which is a great achievement in the face of a figure of 51.6% literacy in the entire Indian population according to the 1991 census.

Indian Jewry can be broadly divided into three distinct groups: Bene Israel, Cochini and Baghdadi. Bene Israel is numerically the largest; Cochini, the smallest; and Baghdadi, the latest to settle in India. It cannot be said conclusively who came earlier, the Bene Israel or the Cochini, as no authentic contemporary record exists of the first arrival in India of either group.

The Bene Israel have lived for generations in the villages of Maharashtra. Their traditional occupations were production of oil, tilling the soil and carpentry. Under British rule from the end of the seventeenth century onwards, many community members moved to cities and acquired various professions in public services, especially in the postal and telegraph services, customs, railways, and medicine. Before aliyah (immigration to Israel) there were 20,000 Bene Israel in India; now there are about 5,000, mostly in Mumbai (Bombay), with communities in Thane, Pune, Ahmedabad and Delhi, and individuals scattered throughout India.

The Cochini community, centered in the Keralite port of Cochin, has been in India for at least a thousand years. Medieval Muslim and Jewish travellers wrote of their high status. According to their own tradition they are in India for nearly 2000 years, since the destruction of the Second Temple.

The earliest Cochini settlements may have dated from Solomon's time, since such luxury items as ivory, peacocks and linen were imported from India during his reign. These Jews never numbered more than 2,500. By 1951 their number had fallen to 370, largely due to mass exodus to Israel. By 1971 their number had declined further to 112. As of today it is estimated that there are not more than 50 to 70 Cochinis left in India.

The Baghdadi community consists of Jews from West Asia, mainly from Baghdad, who came from time to time in the 19th century as traders or as seekers of fortune under the patronage of individuals who had preceded them and established large business houses or industrial establishments. These Jews were collectively known as Baghdadis, though several of them came not from Baghdad itself but from other Iraqi cities, or Syria, Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan.

The Baghdadi settled mainly in Mumbai and Kolkata (Calcutta), though a few settled also in Pune. The Baghdadis numbered around 5,000 in 1951, but as of today they do not number more than 250, mainly in Mumbai and Kolkata. Most of them emigrated to the English speaking world after 1947.

One of the interesting findings of the 1991 census is that in Manipur and Mizoram, 373 and 792 persons respectively have been recorded as Jews. The other groups that claim affiliation to Judaism in some form or the other are 570 persons in Mizoram who are reported as belonging to "Mesianic Judaism"; and 497 persons, again all from Mizoram, reported under the religious group "Enoka Israel". If all these persons, who are collectively called Shinlung, are included, the number of Jews in India comes to 6,338.

Besides the Shinlung, who practise Judaism as best as they can, there are many Muslim groups which claim affiliation to the Tribes of Israel, but have not yet moved towards Judaism, viz., the Afridi of Malihabad (district Lucknow) and Qaimganj (district Farrukhabad) in Uttar Pradesh; the Yudu of Yusmarg valley; and the villagers of Gutlibagh near Gandarbal in Kashmir. A non-Muslim group comprising the tribes of Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) also claims a similar Jewish connection.

According to the Biblical narrative, there were Twelve Tribes of Israel ("Israel" is an alternative name of Abraham's grandson, Jacob). These were viewed as the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin and Joseph. The Tribe of Levi was scattered among the other tribes, where its members served as a hereditary priesthood.

The remaining eleven Tribes were restructured into twelve groups — the number twelve having sacred properties perhaps corresponding to the twelve months of the year. To achieve this the Tribe of Joseph was divided into two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh. The unity of the Twelve Tribes was short-lived. Soon they were divided into two kingdoms: The northern kingdom, which retained the name "Israel" and consisted of ten of the Tribes; and the southern kingdom which included Judah, Simeon and most of Benjamin.

As a result of the invasion of the Assyrian kings, Tiglath-Pileser III (732 B.C.E.) and Sargon II (721 B.C.E.), the Kingdom of Israel was brought down and the northern Tribes were exiled in two stages chiefly to Assyria, Media and the neighboring Aram-Naharim. These Ten Tribes subsequently went into oblivion and were thus lost to history.

For centuries, scholars have searched for the Lost Tribes, periodically claiming to have found them in various corners of the world. Most of these claims have been dismissed as the fantasies of eccentrics.

"But", as Yossi Klein Halevi puts it, "with the restoration of Jewish sovereignty, the whereabouts of the vanished tribes and their possible emigration to Israel has transformed quaint speculation into practical demographics. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the return of millions of Jewish refugees and immigrants to the Land, a new and more practical aspect of the question of the Lost Tribes has developed".

The Jerusalem Report, a major Israeli English language weekly news magazine, had a startling cover story entitled, "Return of the Lost Tribes", in the September 9, 1993 issue. It raised the alarming possibility that the State of Israel could literally be inundated with millions of Africans and Asians claiming to be of Jewish or Israelite descent.

All across the globe, dozens of groups, including those in India, are pressing their claims to be recognized as descendants of the Ten Tribes of Israel. Recently, members of the Shinlung Tribe on the Indo-Burmese border have been brought to Israel, claiming to be from the Lost Tribes. Thousands are desirous of coming.

A Jerusalem based group called Amishav ("My People Return", founded 1975), led by Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, has spearheaded these recent efforts both to locate and facilitate the immigration of such groups to Israel. Rabbi Avichail is regularly in touch with Shinlung (north-east India) and the present author, who represents the Afridi in Malihabad (U.P., India).

Besides the three Jewish communities mentioned above (Bene Israel, Cochini and Baghdadi), there are a few non-Jewish groups which claim Israelite descent. The Shinlung of northeast India are unique among the self-professed "Lost Tribes of Israel" in having created Judaizing communities. In the early 1950s a farmer named Chala from the Shinlung Tribe saw God in his dream telling him that the Shinlung was actually the lost Israelite tribe of Mannasse and that it was time for them to return home, to Israel.

Inspired by Chala's dream, a group of Shinlung Tribesmen packed up; and, though no one knew the way, started walking to Israel. They were stopped by police and sent back. Now, the Shinlung, who began their journey to Israel with their aimless trek in the early 1950s, are finally reaching their destination.

In August, 1993, thirty six Shinlung from Manipur and Mizoram were flown to Israel by the Jerusalem based group Amishav, which searches for traces of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in India. The Shinlung are popularly known in Israel as B'nei Menashe. Genetic research at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Kolkata, has almost proved their Israelite connection. In April, 2005, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel formally recognized them as Israelite by decent.

Afridi is a Pathan/Pakhtun/Pashtun/Afghan tribe inhabiting the hill country from the eastern spurs of the Safed Koh (Aghanistan) to the borders of the Peshawar district (Pakistan). A sprinkling of them is also found in certain parts of India such as Malihabad (District Lucknow) and Qaimganj (District Farrukhabad) in Uttar Pradesh, where they settled down between 1748 and 1761 during the five invasions of Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Afridis call themselves Bani-Israel ("Children of Israel") and are identified by some historians with Ephraim, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Right now, the D.N.A. samples of 50 paternally unrelated Afridi males collected by me during a joint research expedition with Professor Tudor Parfitt and Dr. Yulia Egorova (S.O.A.S., London University) are being analyzed by Dr. Mark Thomas and Dr. Neil Bradman (University College London).

A Muslim tribe called Yudu inhabiting the Yusmarg valley of Kashmir identifies itself with the Lost Tribes of Israel, while the villagers of Gutlibagh near Gandarbal (about 20 kms north of Srinagar) trace their descent to Judah, progenitor of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. After years of effort, a Kashmiri village of self-professed Israelites was successful in migrating to Israel under the Law of Return. However, soon after their arrival in Israel, they disappeared, as informed by Seymour "Sy" Scheinberg of the Department of History, California State University, Fullerton in K. Primack, ed., "Jews in Places You Never Thought of" (U.S.A., 1998).

There are some tribesmen in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) who consider themselves lost Israelites, but their claim of Jewish origin is doubtful. Dr. Parfitt conducted D.N.A. tests among them, but did not find anything that could support their claim of Jewish descent.

It is said that one of the five branches of the Muslim community of Qidwai centered in Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh is Israelite by descent. Their progenitor Qazi Qidwatuddin is said to have settled in India in 1191.

The Muslim clan of Bani Israil (Arabic for the Hebrew Bnei Yisrael) in Sambhal (District Moradabad) and Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh traces its lineage from a Jewish sahabi (companion of Mohammad), Abdullah ibn-i-Salaam. Members of this clan believe that their ancestors came to India a millennium ago to propagate Islam.

For Further Reference:

Farzand Ahmad, "Is it the Lost Tribe of Israel" (India Today, November 6, 2006, pages 78-79).

Navras Jaat Aafreedi, "Indian Jewry and the Self-Professed 'Lost Tribes of Israel' in India" (Raphael Ezekiel Jhirad, Mumbai, 2006, e-book/CD-Rom).

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Graduate School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University, Israel; author of the e-book (CD-Rom) The Indian Jewry and the Self-Professed 'Lost Tribes of Israel' in India, Mumbai, 2006 : "Believed to be the first book to combine study of the Lost Tribes of Israel in India with that of the Indian Jews, and a rare major work by a non-Jew on the subject of the Lost Tribes of Israel." Jerusalem Post (Online Edition), Sunday, December 17, 2006; the first writer to make any worthwhile contributions to Jewish Studies in the Urdu language.
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Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 3, 2007
12:43 PM

This article is hopefully the beginning of a slight refocusing of the view of the Children of Israel. Too many Jews (as well as non-Jews) forget the "lost tribes" and the fact of the matter is that Jews only comprise part of the Nation of Israel. There are several other tribes to the people of Israel, Efraim, and Menashe, mentioned in Dr. Aafreedi's article are just two examples.

I just wanted to mention that this article was originally distributed by the Root & Branch Information Service, and recently (20 December), Dr. Aafreedi was the speaker at a Root & Branch Presentation at the Israel Center in Jerusalem.

January 3, 2007
04:44 PM


thank your for bringing these interesting observations here...have also heard about remnants from the lost tribes settling in kashmir...

incidentally i read another column by uri today...here is a digression on the law of return:

Sammy is an Arab citizen from Acre, studying for a doctor's degree at Haifa University. Something terrible happened to him: he fell in love with the wrong woman - a Palestinian from Jenin in the occupied territories. He had met her by accident in Ramallah, obtained for her (on false pretences, he admits) a permit to stay in Israel for one day and married her. Since then he can visit her only once every few weeks in Jenin.

The freedom of love and marriage is one of the basic human rights. Its denial to 1.4 million Israeli citizens, solely because they are Arab, is a severe violation of the international Bill of Rights that has been signed by Israel. It also attacks the roots of Israeli democracy.

And there is also another pertinent comment Uri makes:

His emissaries scour the world for Jews, real or imagined. They have discovered (and brought to Israel!) Indians who claim to be descended from the tribe of Manasseh, one of the ten tribes that were exiled by the Assyrians - according to the Bible - from Palestine some 2720 years ago. In New Mexico they have discovered families whose ancestors were supposedly Jews baptized 500 years ago under the threat of the Spanish Inquisition. They bring Russian Christians, who have a tenuous connection with Jewish families, and the Falashmura from Ethiopia, whose Judaism is rather dubious. All of these are dragged to Israel and obtain immediate citizenship and a generous "absorption subsidy". But a young woman from Jenin, whose family has lived in this country for centuries, is not allowed to live here with her husband, whose forefathers have lived in Acre for generations. All because of that fearful demon.

January 3, 2007
04:52 PM

Temporal, I read that article too and had the exact same reaction. But lets not mention it unless the poor writer is branded "anti-Semitic" or worse "self-hating" traitor. :-)

What is interesting in this saga was the way Israeli government tried to turn the "air lift" from India - basically a normal El Al airplane in Delhi into a propaganda similar to the "rescue" of the Ethiopian Jews a few weeks ago.

Needless to say, New Delhi clamped down on those attempts and the Israelis had to "rescue" the poor "lost tribes" as normal passengers on various commercial flights. Especially since Israel's dominant national "victimhood" narrative would be factually incorrect in terms of Jews from India.

Kind of sad really.

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 10, 2007
09:47 AM

I've watched this article go unnoticed for the past week, save by two individuals here, and those two give only the politest nod to Dr. Aafreedi's work, preferring to concentrate on their own agendae of the "poor Palestinians."

The "poor Palestinians" have their champions who wave their flag for them - at other articles here. This article is about the destiny of the People of Israel. Apparently there is more to our people than the four tribes (Yehudá, Shim'ón, Benyamín, and Leví) that Jews represent. If, for exqample, the Yusefakai or the Afridi tribes of the Pushtun decide to seriously investigate their Israelite ancestry, they may decide to return home.

This poses a serious issue because if they, other Pustun 'khel' become the leading edge of the Pushtun (who admittedly at this moment do not appear to have nay interest in this) returning to Israel, then you have at least 10 million Israelites changing the population balance here and raising issues of not "who is a Jew?," the familiar terrain of rabbinical argument, but rather "how do Jews fit into the entire scheme of the People of Israel?"

This also changes the issues in terms of the "demographic bomb" the secular elites in Israel are so fond of waving at all of us as they try to evade jail terms for theft, bribery, rape and insider trading, but this can be dealt with at a different point and at another article.

January 10, 2007
10:00 AM


jesus, david, moses, muhammed - peace be upon them all!

yaar ruvy:

there should be a DNA test for all six billion plus to ascertain if we did indeed come from adam or was darwin right...in which case...;)

Deepti Lamba
January 10, 2007
12:26 PM

The article was a fascinating read but I'd like to know is what happens when the 'honeymoon period' is over and some of the 'returnees' realize that it isn't all that they had dreamed it would be?

How many people can that little piece of land absorb? And there are cultural differences to be considered as well.

January 10, 2007
01:00 PM

I personally would LOVE to see the "Pashtun" "return" to Israel! Led of course by the black turbanned Taliban. :-)

On the flip side, perhaps if the "Pashtun" return to their "Jewish" roots, Israel could start playing cricket, captained of course by our dear old Rawalpindi express, Shahid Afridi!

Am I the only person who sees this whole "return" thing as completely delusional and farcical?

January 10, 2007
01:15 PM



you slip is showing!

there is only ONE rawalpindi express:)


and a digression:

you are so cruel...but it could be fun (for the ROW), if the mullahs (now airlifted to israel) go for the mullahs in NWFP...in a battle of turbans?

January 11, 2007
08:00 AM

Temporal, what slip? Or should it be the prayer fringes? ;-)

Battle of the turbans? That might need us to send out the Turbanator! After all now that he has been convicted for manslaughter, he'll fit right in with the mullahs. :-)

January 11, 2007
09:54 AM

just this

shoaib akhtar is the 'pindi express

afridi's nick is boom-boom afridi


January 11, 2007
02:25 PM

Temporal, and Bhaji (Harbhajan Singh) is the turbanator not Sidhu who was recently convicted. :-)

Ruvy - the discussion is well and truly dead. When desis will not respond to cricket bloopers, the Pashtun's "right of return" to Israel is not even worthy of their consideration.

On the other hand, we could continue discussing the eventualities should they "return" to Israel - by far the funniest discussion I have ever had about Israel.


Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 11, 2007
06:31 PM


It isn't my job to keep this discussion breathing or alive. But Dr. Aafreedi can see for himself some of the difficulties he will face from the comments found here.

As for me, I'm glad you've been entertained. The primary value of writing is for information or for entertainment. The folks laughed their heads off at Noah while he built the ark - dumb idiot building a boat in the sun - and then it rained, and rained, and rained. And there was nobody alive left to laugh at him when the rains stopped.

Cheers, and Good Sabbath to you.

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 11, 2007
06:39 PM

A parting thought for you all. Call it a Parthian shot, if you will.

The fellow who makes things happen is the dreamer who details the image so clearly in his own mind that he gets others to work with him on making the dream come true.

Some examples: Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, Ali Jinnah, Ze'ev Herzl.

Shabbat Shalom from the Hill of Frankincense (Ma'aleh Levona)

January 12, 2007
05:06 PM

Ruvy your examples of "those who made their dreams" happen is so laughable that I am assuming it is intended to provoke.

Hence I will let it pass with just one comment: to compare the racist, imperialist Herzl to a clearly non-racist, anti-imperialist and nonviolent Gandhi is ridiculous and pathetic.

But then from my perspective, so is your fundamentalist belief in a cruel and vengeful god who spends time alternately punishing and killing his own "chosen" people - ie the Jews - or ordering them to carry out genocide, rape and pillage against all those who aren't "chosen."

Btw, while on the topic, do clarify for me if you believe that the "big bang theory" is impossible?

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 13, 2007
02:25 PM

"to compare the racist, imperialist Herzl to a clearly non-racist, anti-imperialist and nonviolent Gandhi is ridiculous and pathetic."

Yaawwnnn... Exposed to an anti-Israel point of view all your life, what else could I expect from you?

"But then from my perspective, so is your fundamentalist belief in a cruel and vengeful god who spends time alternately punishing and killing his own 'chosen' people - i.e. the Jews - or ordering them to carry out genocide, rape and pillage against all those who aren't 'chosen'."


Anamika, you haven't got the slightest clue as to what I believe or believe in. The 'chosen people' - YOUR TERM, NOT MINE - are the Children of Israel, of whom Jews are just a small part. The author of this article alleges, as have Pushtun for many many centuries, that they are of the Children of Israel. So long as the Pushtun in Afghanistan are under the spell of the Taliban, they will hate their brothers, the Jews, their fellow Children of Israel. So long as what amounts to an anti-Israel media prevails in Pakistan and India, and Pushtun living there are not exposed to truth, the Pushtun living under the Pakistani regime in the "Northwest Frontier Territories," along with the Pathans in the Union of India, will dislike us also. But they are our brothers, and that hatred will dissipate and disappear. And when that hatred does disappear, the prophecies of Ezekiel [Ezekiel 37:20-25] will come to pass. And they too will view themselves as believers like I do - "a holy nation, a nation not counted among the nations of mankind."

As for your comments about Herzl, in the late 1890's in Basel, he wrote: "today I have founded the Jewish State. In 45, at most 50 years, it will happen." He struggled in his quest until his body wore out and he died in 1904, having accomplished only the establishment of the Zionist Congress, and a few organizations that carried on his work.

He was a secular Jew, who did not understand the significance of the great undertaking he had embarked on. He sought to win freedom for a persecuted minority in Europe and Asia. When he wrote his prediction in Basel, he was laughed at as a fool by all and sundry, with the same contempt you show in your comments above. But he was proven right, and I will be, too.

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 13, 2007
02:42 PM

"How many people can that little piece of land absorb? And there are cultural differences to be considered as well."


You can't have a honeymoon period before you have a romance, and that at present seems unlikely. But then again, it was unlikely in 1989 that the Soviet Union would fall apart or that the whites in South Africa would relinquish rule over that nation. Miracles can happen and do.

The Hebrew Bible describes the patrimony of Israel [BaMidbar/Numbers 34:15 - some authorities cite it as going along the Mediterranean coast further north than Cyprus] as being considerably bigger than the State of Israel, and when you count the number of Pushtun, for example, you begin to see why.

I've seen the unbelievable happen in my lifetime, and I do not mock anymore, unlike some at this site and Blog Critics Magazine.

Shavua Tov [Have a good week]

The Buddha Smiled
January 13, 2007
11:46 PM

I tend to avoid discussions on the Israel - Palestine conflict because its not my issue. However, when you're trying to take the Pashtun back into Israel, it suddenly does become a more South Asian issue, and hence more relevant to me personally. Also, any sort of religious fanaticism tends to get my goat, so here's my two cents.

Ruvy, as an Indian, and a Hindu, I frankly could not care about your beliefs - they are yours to practice, and yours to follow to whatever hellish outcome they may take you. However, for you to use a South Asian discussion forum to call India "anti-Israel" is a bit supercilious. You & I both know that India is one of the safest countries to be an Israeli in (and this despite having the world's second largest Muslim population - see, its not all about religion baby). We are tourist heaven for all your poor little Israeli kids, who come in hordes to our shores for some R&R after spending two years in military service, where much time is spent implementing policies that much of the world disagrees with. And you & I both know that they come to India because (1) we're the big spiritual daddy of the world (2) most Israelis find India the safest country to be a Jewish traveller in, because frankly we couldn't care less what your religion is, and (3) they love the dope they get in Manali. So let's be realistic and admit that we're actually fairly calm & level headed about Israel, unlike some other places in the world.

You seem to take umbrage at Anamika's term, "Children of Israel". Several years of study in a Roman Catholic school has given me some knowledge of the Old Testament, however, so I can say the following with some confidence.

Ezekiel describes in Chapter 37 how God will take the scattered "children of Israel", wherever they may be in "heathen" lands, and bring them back to Israel, where they shall follow his laws, and be ruled by the family of David. Note that Chapter 37, Verse 21, has the following phrase: "Behold, I will take the Children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone..." So not sure what the issue is. Also, didn't God himself punish his children, after they crossed the Red Sea behind Moses? Agreed, they were throwing a bad-ass frat party, with booze & sex and an idol of a goat (seriously dude, what's with the phallic imagery?!) but note - punishment was inflicted!

Speaking with some perspective, it seems that so much of this entire conflict, and so much of your angst Ruvy, is predicated on what could have been a simple financial transaction - it's a business deal gone wrong. We're dealing with the Children of Israel being the wronged counterparty because they entered into a transaction that defaulted on them. It's essentially a forward swap - I, God, also known as YHWH, hereby undertake to give to you, the Children of Israel, this tract of infertile desert land between the Mediterranean & the River Jordan after x years. In exchange for this land, you, Children of Israel, shall undertake to abide by the laws that I shall set down and will accept as administrator of the lands a person duly appointed by me (subject to further discussion, we anticipate said administrator to be from the House of David). By virtue of this transaction, you shall be permitted for marketing purposes to claim to be the "Chosen People", since this agreement is being entered into with complete exclusivity, etc etc...

All well & good, but the problem with shouting about a default on promised land in religious terms is that it places you firmly in the present life, with very little concern for your soul and what will come in the afterlife.

You have quoth your prophet, brandishing your burning bush & biblical bluster, so please indulge me when I quote from another text. Please consider the Bhagavad Gita.

Chapter 2, Verse 62 says that it is from the dwelling on objects of the senses that a person develops an attachment to sensory objects; from attachment desires are born, and from desires is anger engendered.

And so much of your anger is founded in your love & attachment to that tract of land. That anger does nothing but diminish your own spiritual strength, taking away from your soul's journey, and condemning you to remaining trapped in this eternal cycle of rebirth. Step back, Ruvy, and see this world for what it is - an amazing, wondrous and beautiful illusion. When the scales will drop from your eyes, you will realise that at the end, that land is not worth all the pain & anguish it has engendered over the centuries.

You seem to be a spiritual man, Ruvy. I would strongly recommend reading the Bhagavad Gita. It might help clarify things - and place the illusions of this life in context. Because that is truly all that this entire issue is - one big, f*****d up illusion.

Peace, & much love.

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 14, 2007
01:53 PM

When I'm done, "Buddha Smiled" may not be smiling. Sorry.

You managed to misread Anamika's comments. She referred to the 'chosen people' as Jews. Check her comment #14. I corrected her.

I talked about an anti-Israel media in your country, and that is what I meant. I did not say "Jew-hating," and merely because your media does not like Israel, does not mean that rupees from the secular combat soldiers who "tour the world" after serving in the IDF are not welcome in your country.

Now about those Israeli kids bringing their combat pay (about Rs 400,000) to spend in India, and why they do so. We can forget about India being "the big spiritual daddy of the world."

Let's give you just a little example. The concept of gilgúl neshamá (reincarnation) is as ancient as Judaism. But the secular idiots in Israel, entirely ignorant of their own faith, are fascinated by your belief in reincarnation.

Having been denied their own spirituality by the secular elite that hates Judaism and does not believe in it, these kids seek something spiritual. And the secular idiots in Israel, unable to recognize their own spirituality, lust after yours.

If their own mother serves meatloaf, it stinks - but the neighbor lady down the road, inviting them for dinner, serving them the very same meatloaf, is praised to the heavens.

We can also forget about India being "safe." I personally know of one Israeli who "disappeared" while touring your fine country, and there are at least four others. When I say disappeared, I do not mean in the most pleasant sense of the word. One report said that my friend's son was rumored to have been shoved into the river by an Indian "holy man." I'll not comment further.

That leaves us the real reason those kids are flocking to Manali, for example. They want to get high on your dope. That is the first, second, third, fourth and fifth reasons for coming to India. Seeing spectacular sights, relatives and spirituality come in sixth and seventh and eighth.

Finally, I do not view myself as a terribly "spiritual" person. But it is basic belief that this world is 'olám hashéker - a false illusion that hides the real truths of the Torah and G-d. Any real believer in Judaism will tell you this - without reference to the Bhagavad Gita.

The scales dropped from my eyes some time ago, with the last few falling away in the summer of 2005, as I watched soldiers from the IDF doing the work of the damned Wahhabi who want us dead for them, when they kicked out the residents of Gush Qatif. They did not slit the throats of the Gush Qatif villagers, but they destroyed their lives - on the orders of the government of the State of Israel. I'll not comment further on this either. I wish to retain an appetite for dinner.

Thank you for your quote from the Bhagavad Gita. The concept you refer to is one I'm very familiar with, one I've been familiar with for many years. My younger son applies it very rigorously in his own life.

I do not have any contempt for the wisdom in the various Hindu faiths. Quite the contrary. I'm convinced that on a deeper level, that wisdom is very similar to what is found in the Kabbalah.

But, unlike the secular Jews who flee their own faith, I do not have to seek its wisdom in place of the wisdom available to any Child of Israel who really looks with his heart.

Shalom u'vrakha (Peace and be blessed)

January 14, 2007
02:22 PM

I thank Navras Aafreedi for such extensive research and good article. It is interesting to know two things- that children of Israel need not be Jews, and that there is a way to trace the origins of these people even after so many centuries. Of course, no mechanism is perfect, but the fact that there is considerable research going on to trace these tribes is fascinating.

We, as humans, are always keen on knowing our roots, our histories, our origins. The questions on our origins are answered in different ways- by religion, by mythology, by science, by folklore, etc.

I don't find Ruvy's comments or theories funny or hilarious or entertaining. Ruvy has his set of beliefs and I respect his beliefs. The problem comes when people try to impose his/her set of belief onto others- by force or exhortation.

What is wrong with people migrating to Israel? What is wrong with people claiming to be children of Israel or claiming to be Jews?

Can't a nation be created on the basis of certain verses and texts? or the basis of a religion or a history?

My problem with Israel is not the basis of its creation, but what they did to few others living there while they were busy creating their nation.

Doesn't Israel have a moral responsibility and obligation to treat those displaced people right?

Ruvy, being an atheist, I will not be able to identify with your belief system, but can we come to a common ground on our treatment to fellow human beings?

The Buddha Smiled
January 14, 2007
06:54 PM

Hi Ruvy,

Don't be too worried about my smiling - the Buddha's smile isn't that easily affected, especially by debates. But I appreciate the time you've taken to respond to my post, so allow me my own rejoinder. After all, India has a rich legacy of debate and argument, so I only am continuing in the footsteps of my ancestors.

Mea culpa - I did misread Anamika's comments. At least the "Children of Israel" comment is now fully understood. It is always good when there is consonance.

You are understandably upset by the fact that your children are not attracted by the spirituality you find within Judaism, but are rather drawn towards that of another culture. I cannot help with that - this is for Judaism to resolve for itself. As such, that is for you & your faith to discuss, and I cannot possibly comment.

One point about the apparent "safety" of your children in our country. I would ask you to provide some statistics - as a trained analyst, I am always leery of comments that speak in absolutes. Compare the number of people who travel to India with those who die - and the percentages will tell a different story.

I must thank you for one point in your post - you clarified that you regarded the Indian media as "anti-Israel", and not "Jew-hating". I am truly happy to see that you are able to distinguish between the two - for so long have I seen people critical of Israel's policies dismissed as being "anti-Semitic", and having the debate abrogated by demonising the adversary. It's the classic ruse and given the levels of guilt existent in the West about the Holocaust, incredibly effective.

Therefore, wearing my "Non - Jew Hater" badge on my sleeve, I must point out a couple of things. As a "secular" Indian, which itself carries a lot of political baggage, I am truly distressed whenever I see a role taken by religion in any state, and therefore the idea of Israel being a "Jewish" state is as troubling as the idea of Pakistan being a "Muslim" one, or Germany being a "Christian" state. In my opinion, a democracy should have space for all and sundry, regardless of religion or race, and as soon as any religious presence is inferred in the running of a state, I am truly disappointed by yet another failure to raise the bar.

Gush Qatif has obviously upset you. The settlers were removed, and quite dramatically, from the establishments they had called home. I wonder, however, if your heart bleeds quite as much for the millions of Palestinians who lost their homes when the British evacuated the area and the State of Israel was formally declared. The millions of Palestinians who are denied the ability to farm the lands they have held for centuries, the ability to go to school and not be held at checkpoints and barriers, to live a life of dignity. For me, the greatest tragedy of the Israel - Palestine conflict is that the Israeli people have recreated their own private Krakows, into which where they have herded millions of Palestinians. And almost the way that thousands of Nazis moved into the big & elegant houses in the Tiergarten in Berlin that were formerly owned by Jewish families, appropriated the wealth, art, paintings, businesses, & heritages of their Jewish victims, so too have thousands of Israelis appropriated the lands of the Palestinians, taken from another people their livelihoods, their dignity, their humanity and their heritage. And the only difference? One appropriation was on the basis of a divisive, bigoted and flawed ideology (Nazism!) and the other uses religion to justify its actions. The Chinese were the first to claim that history always repeats itself - I didn't realise it would take less than 100 years to see it repeat something quite so disgusting. At least there aren't any gas chambers. But now we have suicide bombers. And the same way that the world has sat back and watched massacre after massacre, including Armenia, the Bengal famine, Darfur, so too we sit back and watch this abomination.

So I did a little dance when I saw the evictions from Gush Qatif. Faith is a powerful motivator, but never should it be used to commit abominations. For me, there was no difference between the settlement policy that Israel practices, and the anti-Jewish pogroms that were carried out in Russia - both denied the humanity of the victim, shattering their existences and families. And at that point, I lauded the state of Israel for being able to recognise where they had gone wrong and try to begin working towards reconciliation.

Finally - I am glad you know of the Gita. The Song of God is a beautiful thing.

Peace, & much love.

January 15, 2007
11:05 AM

Ruvy, you say - "Now about those Israeli kids bringing their combat pay (about Rs 400,000) to spend in India, and why they do so."

That is approximately 7,000 dollars. May I point out that it is FAR less than the average Japanese tourist spend in Bodh Gaya - and WITHOUT encouraging the drugs trade, or indulging in contraband weapons trade. (I guess Israeli press doesn't cover arrests and deportations of those from India in nearly as much detail as it covers the "rescue" of "Jews.")

That is ALSO far less than the money spent by various other tourists. Indeed that is not even a drop in the ocean for Indian tourism - the bulk of which btw comprises of internal (ie by Indians) one. Moreover, most Indians prefer tourists who are washed, shaved, non-smelling, non-aggessive and polite - something that Israelis spending their "combat" pay in India are not!

Israelis form the low end tourism in the country, taking up from the earlier "hippies" involved in drugs and sex rackets in Manali, Goa and Rajasthan. The damage they do to the places (religious, cultural and natural), to the law and order situation etc is far greater than the 400,000 rupees they each bring!

So I suggest you get off your little monetary high horse - the numerical or monetary value that Israeli tourists contribute is hardly worth the trouble they bring. I have earlier posted on this issue given the fact that I SEE the impact of Israeli tourism on my own region of residence in the mountains.

Then you continue: "We can also forget about India being "safe." I personally know of one Israeli who "disappeared" while touring your fine country, and there are at least four others."

Lets be very real: the reason your young come to India is because one can walk down the street without worrying about bombs and guns. They come to India because they can take the bus without thinking of killings. And they can spend time in a country without watching people being brutalised at checkpoints.

Moreover, out of the many nationalities that travel to India, Israelis create more trouble than any other. Not only because of the sex, weapons, and drugs trades but also because of their "settler" mentality!

Manali, Goa and Pushkar - in addition to drugs - also has to cope with Israeli tourists FENCING off any land they fancy and SETTLING it. Then they take on themselves to seal of roads for "security" and beat up local citizens. This has brought them in conflict with the local people who obviously do not appreciate their pasture lands and fields being settled. The police and local administration intervenes regularly to ensure these "settlements" are removed and the conflicts don't get out of hand.

And much of it is down-played in the "anti-Israeli" media to prevent community ill-will against these tourists (yes, that is something Indian media does - downplays communal conflicts).

But I guess your "friend" who knew of an Israeli "disappearing" didn't exactly mention this part of it?

Israeli tourists ALSO treat the local people in ways that are horrifically condescending and racist. Moreover their treatment of the local Muslims - especially in Rajasthan - is particularly noxious and disgusting to say the least.

As you said, first FIVE reasons for Israelis flock to India is to lie doped in the gutters of our streets. Believe me having watched the French, British, German and Americans in the 1960s and 1970s do the same thing, and having had to "forcibly remove" them from our temples, river banks and streets. Unfortunately, if we remove the "Israelis" - your people won't take the stand taken by European governments that supported the repatriation of their nationals. Instead you will start screaming about "forcible removal", the "Holocaust" and "anti-Semitism."

I suggest you start cleaning your own house before you start getting supercilious about others! And agree with TBS that if your young people can't follow Judaism, that is your problem to correct!

January 15, 2007
11:19 AM

Ruvy - you say "And they too will view themselves as believers like I do - "a holy nation, a nation not counted among the nations of mankind."

Sounds racist supremacist to me. And shockingly similar to the Aryan supremacists of the National Socialists!

Herzl also felt that there were too many "dirty Arabs" in the Holy Land when he launched his Zionist project. (Mansfield, History of the Middle East).

Moreover, the idea of creating a settler colony based on one sole religion is an ideology that is discriminatory - call it Nazi in essence - in itself. But perhaps normal rules of morality when it comes to "your" people who aren't counted amongst "the nation of mankind."

Your South Africa comparison is spurious to say the least. South African "white" settlier colony was a colonial phenomenon. It was the non-African "settlers" who took over land from the local people by forcibly removing them. If there is a parallel with South African history, its to Israeli displacement of the Palestinians!

I am sorry that I misread the idea that "the chosen people" include all the Biblical "tribes" and not merely the Jewish people. However, that does not change the fact that your logic that somehow the Pashtun will "return" to the fold smacks of arrogance, denies over two thousand of history with its specifics of culture, location and tradition, and perpetuates the classic imperialist discourse(s) where the "lost" can be eventually "saved" and "brought back" despite their own will, history and reality.

January 15, 2007
11:36 AM

Sujai, my issue is not with the article which is meticulously researched, although its racialist premises are philosophically problematic.

You ask: "What is wrong with people migrating to Israel?"

None. Except thanks to Israel, people of Palestinian blood are legally NOT allowed to return to the land they belonged to for centuries. So the idea of "migrating to Israel" is applied in a fashion that is discriminating.

Moreover, why should a people who have lived for many years in a land be displaced to make room for people who migrate and establish a new state (that discriminates against the old inhabitants) in that land?

Do you think the Spanish would stand quietly and allow the North Africans to "migrate" and eventually form a new state in their land (as happened in Palestine starting late 19th century until the formation of Israel)?

Do you think the Spanish would not fight back if such an event would require the Spanish to be expelled, not allowed to return and those who remained would be discriminated against, herded into "territories" (read ghettos), and killed with impunity? (As happened with the naqba, and continuing occupation).

"What is wrong with people claiming to be children of Israel or claiming to be Jews?"

None at all. Just as there is nothing wrong with Muslims claiming descent from Abraham, the Merovingians claiming descent from Jesus, or indeed the Raghuvanshi Kshatriyas claiming descent from Rama, or some "dalits" claiming descent from Eklavya.

But when the people use that logic to claim spiritual and ethnic superiority, the situation grows problematic. When that superiority is then used as a shield to carry out colonization, expulsion and brutalization of an entire people, there is no religious or moral justification that can hold up the claim.

"Can't a nation be created on the basis of certain verses and texts? or the basis of a religion or a history?"

Well, isn't Israel an example of this?

But do the basis of "certain verses and texts" written thousands of years ago give a certain people more right to a land than people with a "history" of actually living on that land for centuries. Do "certain texts and verses" allow people from Russia, Germany, Poland etc. to forcibly remove another people and cease their land?

And now my question to you: Does the persecution of a people (group A) by another (group B) mean that an entirely uninvolved and innocent (group C) must pay the price for the crimes and sins of that persecution (ie for the sins of group B)?

In short, why must the Palestinian people pay for the sins of the Europeans against the European Jews?

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 15, 2007
12:13 PM


Your entire comment made me smile.

I'm not defending these kids. I want to make that clear to you. My own sons are not raised this way, and if after serving in the IDF, they wanted to go to India, I would not want them going to Manali, Goa and Pushkar. Fortunately, I may have alternatives to these places.

I myself do not approve of these veterans going to your shores to get high on drugs. And I'm painfully aware of the reputation that Israeli tourists have around the world. It is one of the few reasons I have not relinquished my American passport. Americans behave far better than the typical secular Israeli does overseas, and while Americans may not be the most popular people on the planet, there are many places that quiver in fear if they hear that an Israeli tourist is coming - presumably to trash his establishment.

I'm the last person who would be offended if someone refused to serve an Israeli, particularly a secular Israeli. They've earned the reputation they have.

If you really want to judge the Zionist establishment in this nation, look at the tourists who anger you so. They are the product of that secular establishment and are a shame and stain on my people. They reflect the way children are spoiled in their youth ("soon, he'll be in the army, let him enjoy himself now"), and the consequent lack of discipline and respect in schools and elsewhere. I am not surprised that secular Israeli youth abandon Judaism entirely - this is the minimal punishment that secular parents who do not care about G-d or their heritage deserve. In my comments, I was not complaining. I was pointing out why these kids run to your traditions.

If I had raised kids like what you describe (and you are not far off the mark), I could not look myself in the mirror.

So do understand that generally, I have no use for the Zionist establishment that has ruined this nation and allowed a "generation of reversals whose upbringing is not in them" to be what you see as "Israeli". They have made their State and lack of culture stink in your nose, and for this, among many other things, the Zionist establishment, which has evolved downwards to be a pack of yapping dogs, only has my contempt.

Nevertheless, having said all this, I still have a great deal of respect for Ze'ev Herzl. He sacrificed his health and therefore his life for a distant dream. He didn't see the proper dimensions of the dream, nor did he really understand that dream, but he put forward the one thing needed at that time to get the enterprise going - determination.

As to the amount of rupees that these kids bring to your shores, I'm sorry that they do not bring more, but that is what a combat soldier gets in z'khuyót (rights) upon leaving the IDF. So he can't bring more. A "jobnik," a clerical type of fellow who is not a combat soldier, gets about a third of that.

While this nation is richer than India, it is not a particularly rich country.

In summary, Anamika, while we do not generally agree on much, here you and I are more or less in agreement.

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 15, 2007
12:41 PM

I apologize, Anamika. It was comment #21 that made me smile. In your subsequent comments, we see where buying the lies of the Husseini clan and their manufactured "Palestinian" history leads. It leads to buying their bullshit about calling us Nazis. Like you even have a clue what the term means!! Next, you'll be calling Jesus a Palestinian martyr.

You can look at your own history to get some idea of what Moslems do to their enemies. We in Israel face the same fate that Hindus had to live under if we ever allow the Arabs here to gain power. And enough Jews remember just how shitty it was living under Moslem rule not to want a repetition of it.

As it turns out, the Spanish are allowing Moslems back into their country, as they are not having enough babies to keep up the Christian population, and they want cheap labor. There is a price to be paid, increasingly paid in Scandinavia and France of gang-rapes and other joys of these folks moving in and refusing to integrate themselves into the native culture - but in Spain there is the added incentive of getting back El Andalus.

But that is for the Europeans to enjoy. They are finally getting payment for the way they treated Jews...

As for the Nazis and their roots, and the roots of their beliefs, I hate to tell you this, but they go right back to your own neighborhood...


January 15, 2007
01:04 PM

"As for the Nazis and their roots, and the roots of their beliefs, I hate to tell you this, but they go right back to your own neighborhood...

Tibet" - says Ruvy.

Huh! Lets see: Anti-Semitism of the Nazis is from Tibet?

Or anti-Gypsy-Roma people? Also from Tibet?

Or should that militaristic expansionism? Also from historically Buddhist Tibet?

I realise that in your world only your brand of Judaism/Zionism has any relevance, but do you mind reading up on your world history.

The ONLY thing the Nazis managed to take from my neighbourhood was the "swastika" which they managed to get wrong. Its use by the Nazis was part of the usual appropriation of non-Western symbols by colonizing Western powers.

How an appropriation of tradition becomes "roots of the Nazis" is beyond me.

But if you are irrational enough to essentialise and demonise 1.2 billion human beings simply for their religion (which makes you a bigot), and come up with factually incorrect and delusional history of Tibet, I guess you are capable of any bizarre lack of logic.

As far as Muslims in India go - their history is contentious as would be the case with any colonial enterprise. However, it is by no means all black and white.

Finally, yes, Muslims rulers destroyed temples and carried out forced conversions and killings. Yes, there were troubles and conflicts, just as there are now. But these are not simply because some people involved are Muslims.

We in India know quite well that there were Muslim generals in Chittorgarh who participate in the Rajput wars against the Mughals and died in jauhar along with their Hindu companions. There were also Muslims like Nabi Rasool who followed the dictate of their conscience against the Mughal emperor to rescue the corpse of Amar Singh Rathod for his wife's sati. And there are still Muslims like Shahrukh Khan, Javed Akhtar, Mohammad Azharuddin, Azim Premji, Captain Hanif (Vir Chakra recipient), APJ Abdul Kalam (our foremost nuclear scientist and president) who make us proud today to be considered their compatriots, regardless of our religion.

I suggest you take your bigotry back to America - they will listen and believe you over there.

Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 15, 2007
05:18 PM


I have to be truthful with you. Until very recently, my view of Buddhism had been extremely benign. Until recently, I had looked at Buddhism as the apotheosis of a religion that, had I not been born Jewish, I would have sought out to learn about and possibly become a member of. I was inclined to try to dismiss the stuff about the Dalai Lama being taught by Nazis in his youth as - well, something that happened in his youth. After all, I was no prize as a kid, and certainly did not have the best of influences on me either.

And frankly, it is out of respect for the publisher of this site that I have been reluctant to mention anything at all. I respect Aaman greatly, and do not want to write that which could be hurtful to him. You misjudge me, Anamika, but the fact that you are willing to buy the lies of the Husseini family about "Palestinian history" leads me to understand why.

With my deepest apologies, Aaman... This really hurts me to write.

Carefully reading from this book about "Fascist Occultism and it's Close Relationship to Buddhist Tantrism" Part Two, Chapter Twelve, of
"The Shadow of the Dalai Lama:
Sexuality, Magic, and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism"
is the kind of thing I'd rather not do. Another hero in my life given feet of clay...

January 15, 2007
10:13 PM

Ruvy, I am amazed at the level of ignorance and prejudice you manage.

Harrar spent the ENTIRE war outside Germany. He was in India starting 1938 and escaped from an internment camp near Dehradun in 1944. He headed northwards as the fastest way to leave British controlled territory. That took him into Tibet which had been attempting to make links with Western powers in order to offset the growing threat from China. But the actual impact of these "diplomatic" missions ranging from the Germans to the Americans came to nought. Just as the academics, explorers and "anthropologists" who entered Tibet did NOTHING to inform the world about the dangers the country faced.

He finally reached Lhasa and met the Dalai Lama who in 1944 was NINE years old. He spent the next few years teaching the young Dalai Lama world geography, English, and technology. He was in Tibet and in the Dalai's life (until 1954) during an extremely frought and difficult time(thanks to the Chinese invasion in 1949 of the Kham territories and of Lhasa in 1959)

Why should the Dalai then denounce his links with such an individual? Moreover, what is Harrar's crime except that he was a German and part of the country's politico-military appratus, especially since he never lifted a gun and had LEFT the country BEFORE the war began or the "final solution" was put in to effect.

If the criteria for a war criminal is of simple affiliation, than EVERY American soldier in Iraq is far more guilty of war crimes than Harrar ever was. As is every Israeli soldier who pays a fine of a couple hundred shekels for killing a Palestinian civilian.

I agree with what the Dalai says. The Chinese hypocrisy makes the Tibetan genocide far worse. They had no warning, were constantly assured of Chinese good intentions - a reason that the Dalai tried negotiating with them all the way until his escape to India. The destruction of Tibetan culture and its reduction to tourist souvenirs by the Chinese, and the replacement of the Tibetan population by ethnic Chinese in the past decades have completed the ethnic cleansing.

The hypocrisy doesn't stop with the Chinese. No Western government attempted stop or prevent the genocide. NO millions of dollars were given in recompense (unlike the Holocaust survivors). NO stolen Tibetan art that was sold by the Chinese to American (Jewish and Gentile), European and Israeli millionaires was ever returned to the people. And no country but India even offered the Dalai refuge (India btw withstood a war with the Chinese thanks in part to its decision to host the Dalai and the Tibetan refugee population). No Western country cares to think about the mass rapes and killings of monks and nuns by the Chinese, or of the public torture and humiliation of the populations (thamzings). No "Holocaust" memorial days for the Tibetans!

So YES, the Dalai Lama is right. The Tibetan genocide was FAR worse than the Holocaust for all those reasons.

If you could look past your egotistical culturally arrogant idea that somehow the "Holocaust" was the greatest suffering ever inflicted on a people, you may be able to realise this. But I expect you to just hide behind the usual accusation of "anti-Semitism" whenever you are faced with information that you do not like.

Moreover, Victor and Victoria Trimondi's work has been laughed at by any REAL scholars of Buddhism. In fact they are SOOOO scholarly that they can't even publish under their own names, or be published by any respectable academic press. The press in Dusseldorf that has published their book is known for publishing crackpot titles under the tag of "scientific theology" (watch for forthcoming titles on intelligent design and creationism!).

I won't even go into the absolute farcical discussion of Buddhist philosophy and Tantric traditions that they engage in because it would require an entire paper to systematically refute all the Orientalist, patently false bullshit they cycle out. However, let me just point out a couple of bloopers in Trimondi's "scholarly" work:

According to them, Harrar's precursor and mentor according to Trimondi was Ernt Schaffer classified as "a specialist on Tibet" who "believed that Tibet was the cradle of humanity, the refuge of an 'Aryan root race', where a priestly caste had created a mysterious kingdom of Shambhala -- decorated with the Buddhist symbol of the wheel of teaching, a swastika."

Huh? A "priestly caste"? "Wheel of teaching" is the swastika? SUCH a great expert on Tibet was Schaffer that he had no clue about origins or meaning of the "swastika" - possibly the most ubiquitous religious symbol in ALL of India, Tibet and other areas of Hindu, Jain or Buddhist influence.

And SUCH was the "Tibetan" expertise of Schaffer that he didn't realise that "swastika" comes from "svasti" - welfare and the karmic cycle. Fyi, as a Hindu, its a symbol that adorns my entrance to my house, the top of the first page of all correspondence and the altar for prayers. There is nothing "occult" about the symbol.

Funnily enough, the authors quote NOT a single reliable academic source, dismissing them as pro-Lamaist. There are also NO Buddhist sources or indeed any non-Western sources. So no mention of H.P. Ray or Romila Thapar to be found here despite their work on Buddhist history. No mention also of any major Tantric scholar.

My favourite btw on Trimondi writings is when they claim that Tibetan Buddhism is dangerously anti-Islamic fundamentalist. Its HILARIOUS!

Ruvy - your fabulous link shows nothing more than ignorant hocus pocus of which there is ample quantity on the net and is useful only to prejudiced, nondiscriminate readers like you.

The Dalai doesn't have feet of clay. He is simply a human being - perhaps more compassionate than most of us, and hence wiser than most of us. But he is nothing more. But that may be too "occult" or "Tantric" for you to understand.

If you really care to read Tibetan history of the past hundred years, I suggest looking up Mikel Dunham.

Finally, can you please explain which of these qualify as Hussaini family lie-spinners about the Palestinian people and their troubles: Dennis Meuller, Fred Halliday, Nicholar Pelham, Robert Fisk, Peter Mansfield, Shimon Tzabar, Ilan Pappe, Joe Sacco and Patrick Cockburn?

January 16, 2007
08:04 AM

I am not sure if you have read the entire comment that I wrote to Ruvy. Some of the questions you ask are the same ones that I pose to Ruvy.

I repeat myself here:

My problem with Israel is not the basis of its creation, but what they did to few others living there while they were busy creating their nation.

Doesn't Israel have a moral responsibility and obligation to treat those displaced people right?

Ruvy, being an atheist, I will not be able to identify with your belief system, but can we come to a common ground on our treatment to fellow human beings?

I am not sure if verses or historical texts are basis for a nation or not. Because formation of nations has been a complicated process in itself- and there has been no unique or valid process. The formation of nations has been on the basis of religion, sects within a religion, language, ethnicity, class based division within the same ethnicity, historical roots (including mythology and verses), carving by colonial powers, vestiges of artificial demarcations done by empires, etc.

None of the nations (except few very modern ones) have been formed on the basis of all-inclusive and democratic methods. In fact, formation of a nation based on all-inclusiveness is almost a rarity.

Formation of Israel based on certain texts and documents from remote past doesn't sound absurd when seen macroscopically- in time and in geography.

The problems you cite- that migration doesn't allow Palestine their nation and legal status is a small problem compared to the real big problem- that the creation of Israel in the modern times is embroiled in displacing the people already living there. Israel, as a nation, and policy has to accept nationhood to Palestine. The other problems you cite are smaller ones.

The other problem that you cite- If the descendants of Jews think Jews are superior- and hence they want to convert, I don't see a problem with that. People convert because they think that the other religion is superior, easily accessible, easily identified, more progress, more opportunities, or any other reason. Why should one have a problem with any of those reasons?

January 16, 2007
08:56 AM

Sujai, regardless of the foundational ideology of nations, history requires them to grow and transform. Even though at its foundation the US declared "every man to be equal" as a self-evident truth, it also allowed for slavery and created complex laws about how nonwhite people weren't humans (hence lower). That foundational doctrine has changed over the past 200 years, right?

Same goes for UK which went from a nonChristian country, to a Catholic one, to an Anglican one. And even though now it is still a predominantly Anglican country (and an official one), Prince Charles has already raised the issue of including non-Anglican Britons in the nation. That will require ANOTHER change.

Yes, founding of nations is complicated but it isn't static. To assume that a nation must be based on a few verses/texts however leads that nation to BECOME static, or even worse, more fundamentalist. It forces a growth in the opposite direction (eventually leading the country to self-combust).

Btw: I made no mention of Jews wanting to convert others so please do read the post again.

Moreover, Judaism discourages conversion unless for purposes of marriage and even then it is a very complicated and contentious process (with most traditional Jews not accepting the conversion). The state of Israel of course is widening the "net" by adding all sorts of caveats for who qualifies as Jews. That is a political response to the "demographic challenge" they feel the Palestinians pose to them.

January 16, 2007
03:16 PM

Maybe this link would help to focus on the Jews in Pakistan.

Back in the late 60s. I had a classfellow Saad Talia in Lahore who was a Pakistani Jew. His father Mr. Talia was a very rich contractor. Balochistan Pakistan is a hostile sparsely populated area. There are still many areas out of reach. I have seen Baloach between Panjgur and Khuzdhar who for sure are not Muslims or Zikris. They have long curled locks and move their heads when praying. God knows what their religion is.

January 16, 2007
03:21 PM

even zikris are an intersting sect ijaz;)

March 2, 2007
12:36 PM

i needd to know more about the Nez Perces....

March 2, 2007
03:07 PM

I hope the israelis pick up a couple of million more of our people. (Population reduction to hoga!!!!)

Q. F. Azeem
August 16, 2007
03:31 PM

India is not the only country with Pathan Bni Israel. As they say, "La Shana Ha'Ba Birushalayim".


Ruvy in Jerusalem
August 16, 2007
06:12 PM

Mr. Azeem,

I sent the website you listed to the author of this article. He might be very interested in it...

The more look at all this, the more convinced I become that the Pathans are indeed fellow Israelites. For all of the difficulties involved, the day will come when the Jews and Israelites will again form one nation on their native soil in the mountains and the wildernesses of Yehuda and Shomron.

I realize that sounds like a fantasy, but who would have predicted in 1907 an independent Moslem state in Baluchistan and Sind, or in East Bengal? In 1857, who would have predicted that a language used only in prayer and study (Hebrew) would be used for laundry lists and pornographic novels? But it has all happened.

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