As the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us here in the USA, the news from Mumbai, India, is of a “fierce gunbattle with hiding terrorists, nearly 22 hours after terror struck prime locations in the city” (Hindustan Times).
Among the blessings for which we Americans must be most thankful is our functioning democracy in the midst of great religious and cultural diversity.* In these respects, perhaps no other country on earth is as much like ours as is India. And some do not like it that way. The terrorists who attacked in the name of an evilly twisted definition of one religion have done so with vitriol directed at Hindus, and among the sites attacked was a Jewish cultural center** that serves the city’s dwindling but very long established community.***
On a day dominated with this sort of terrible news, we are all Mubmaikars. And kinship with such a diverse and tolerant place, and its people’s struggle against intolerance and evil, is something to be thankful for.
* And, this month in particular, we can be even more thankful than usual: After eight years of official contempt for democracy and freedom, the possibilities of a brighter future are again real, current economic conditions notwithstanding.
** As the linked item, from the J-Post, notes:
Israelis feel at one with the people of India, especially at times like these. Both countries are modern incarnations of ancient civilizations. We share common political values, overlapping security concerns and a growing commerce.
India was established in 1947; Israel in 1948. Both peoples rejected British rule, both faced Muslim opposition to their independence. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the Muslim state of Pakistan. In the Mideast, the Palestinian Arabs rejected the idea of two states for two peoples. Substantially, they still do. [...]
India is a genuine multicultural democracy. Among its 1.1 billion people are 150 million Muslims. Its former president, and father of New Delhi’s nuclear program, is a Muslim.
*** Although the pre-19th century history is not well known, the west coast of India was to one of the first diaspora communities of Jews outside the Middle East. That coast, including the Mumbai region, would be among the first land one would reach if setting sail from somewhere along the Persian Gulf as exiles from the Babylon/Persia region.