What is the similarity between Jews, Parsis and the Kashmiri Pandits? All the three communities have been in news due to their persecution and exodus from their homelands by religious zealots. Read EurAsian Times featured story on History of Jews, Parsis and the Kashmiri Pandits and what can the Kashmiri Pandit community learn from Jews and Parsis.
Parsi / Zoroastrian Community
The Parsis are believed to be the descended of Zoroastrian Community from Greater Iran were compelled to relocate towards Asia to evade Muslim brutalities. The harassment and persecution started as a sparse outbreak of violence, but it slowly intensified and eventually led to mass murders and forced conversion.
Zoroastrian temples were burned, shrines were pulverized and Mosques were constructed on the sites. Over the period, persecution of Zoroastrian community became widespread and the number of adherents diminished dramatically.
Towards the start of the tenth century, Zoroastrians started leaving Iran and gradually emigrated towards South Asia, seeking refuge mainly in Sindh and Gujrat. The Parsis never surrendered their way of life, even though they had to abandon their homeland. Parsis, despite almost being an extinct community, are the wealthiest community in India with notable ones being members of Tata and Wadia families.
Jews and the Land of Israel
The persecution of Jews has been widely been documented and filmed. From Adolf Hitler’s gas chambers, to slaughter of Jews in pretty much all of Europe including France, Germany and Russia has been widely covered. Jews were blamed for murdering the Jesus Christ, which stared the Christians – Jews animosity.
The Land of Israel was initially Jewish until the third century. Israel turned to Christianity, after the third century, and eventually came under the Muslim influence from the seventh century onwards. Now again, Israel is back to its original inhabitants, the Jews, even though there is continued violence in the region.
Israel found a strong ally in the United States and despite all odds, Jews evolved very strongly and created their homeland in the form of Israel. The Jews are the most prosperous community in the United States and hold a very strong influence over policies of US government in various sectors including defence, finance and foreign policy. The tiny state of Israel is by far the strongest and most advanced power in the Middle East.
Migration of Kashmiri Pandit
Kashmiri Pandits constituted around 15% of the total population of Kashmir during the Dogra reign up-till 1947. It is believed that around 20% of the population exiled during the 1948 riots by Muslim mobs and by the end of 1981, there were only about 5-7% the Kashmiri Pandit living in the valley of Kashmir.
Who was behind the Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits – Pakistan Sponsored Terrorists, Kashmiri Islamists or Governor Jagmohan? The Exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was an unfortunate incident which took place in the beginning of 1990 when most of the Kashmiri Pandit families were compelled to leave due to the sudden outburst of terrorism.
According to the Indian government, more than 500,000 people are listed as Kashmiri refugees including some Sikh and Muslim families. These families got resettled in Jammu, Delhi-NCR, and other neighbouring states. Only a few hundred families of Kashmiri Pandits continued to live in the Kashmir valley.
What Can Kashmiri Pandits Learn from Jews and the Parsi Community?
The Parsi community is one of the most successful minority communities in the world. The Parsis only make up less than 0.005% of India’s population, but Indian industrialists are dominated by the minority community which includes Ratan Tata, Adi Godrej, Pallonji Mistry, Nusli Wadia and Cyrus Poonawalla. The per capita income of the Parsi community in India is about 90,000 rupees/month ($1600), which makes the poorest Parsi richer than an average, middle class Indian.
The economy of Israel is considered very advanced by international standards. Israel ranks in the top 20 nations in the world on the UN’s Human Development Index, which categorises it into “Very Highly Developed Country”. Israel’s advanced economy allows the country to have a sophisticated welfare scheme, a powerful modern military, state-of-art infrastructure and a very advanced technology base.
At the moment, Kashmiri Pandits are light-years away from what the Jews and the Parsis have done to uplift their communities. The Kashmiri Pandits might be well educated, prosperous, and well settled in different regions across the world, but one thing that the community lacks is “unity” and working towards a common, unified cause. Until and unless a common ground is not established, the Hindus of Kashmir will continue to chase wild dreams and be merely used as tools for politicians.