28.) Denying the Holocaust: What Has It Got to Do With Hinduism?

I had concluded the business with the lawyer, who happened to be Jewish. I don’t quite know how the conversation turned to the Holocaust, but it did.

“Ah, yes, but you know, after a point the statistics don’t seem to mean much. One needs an actual account to bring it to life, like the diary of Anne Frank.”

I was reminded, as he took the name, that some missing pages of her diary had been found. They were critical of the marriage and were held back by the father. So dishonour once again proved to be worse than death? The thought passed, and by then my lawyer friend has resumed speaking.

“And some even deny the Holocaust. Now I cannot be the witness of the Holocaust in Auschwitz and Prague but I am witness to the Holocaust in our own village in Ukraine. Ours was the only family to survive.”

The atmosphere in the room changed; in fact the room changed from a legal into an archival chamber as it were. I was now sitting on the edge of my seat. I didn’t want to say anything, I just wanted to listen.

“They came and took the gypsies, they came and took the Jews, they came and took the Ukranians and the Ukranian police came and helped take them.”

My mind wandered through the corridors of Hindu history. Did not our own likewise do us in? And aren’t the Gypsies really Hindus to begin with?

“They took them and shot them. My grandparents came back from the United States. They knew what they were doing. They feared assimilation. They were killed. They used to have what they called an ‘action’” –he used the German pronunciation – “People will be rounded up and shot, my father was rounded up. He had a sense of humour. He said to them: why are you killing us in such a small batch. You will have to carry the corpses to where the large group is. Why not kill us there. We will walk there ourselves.”

They shot the person next to my father. My father fled – making a zig-zag pattern because that is what he had seen in some movie, not realizing people had machine guns now! They still missed. He ran across the field and went into the river until it reached his neck.

But he did not know how to swim. What now? Someone came by on a boat and asked him to explain his curious situation. My father could not say he was running away from the Germans, that would give him away. He made up some Jewish ritual which required him to do what he was doing. He was taken aboard.”

My vocal chords finally became functional. I was wondering all this while what it felt, as I kept changing the word Jew to Hindu in my mind as he spoke. I said rather slowly: “When did the nightmare end?”

“When the Russians came in 1945. It all began in 1942 when the Nazis turned on the Russians and Ukraine was occupied.”

The Jewish Holocaust – three thousand years and then three years. A Hindu holocaust – a thousand years of foreign rule and then two years of partition. Or is the comparison overblown or has it been blown away to maintain communal peace in India?

My reverie was suddenly interrupted as he concluded. “So as I was saying, Dr. Sharma. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the Holocaust in Germany or Poland. But I know it happened in a village in Ukraine”.

He perhaps even had evidence to prove it but I thought the deposition was proof enough. Have the victims of Partition been deposed? Such as are amongst us? In the case of the Jews the no-sayers will deny it had occurred, in the case of the Hindu they won’t let you ask the question if it occurred, much less find out?—at least so I am told on every visit to India.


4 Responses to “28.) Denying the Holocaust: What Has It Got to Do With Hinduism?”

  1. Godbole Says:

    1,000 years of slavery. That is false impression in minds of Hindus. It is 1,000 years of struggle with Muslims. Marathas were NOT subject to Muslim rule till 1313. Assam was never under any Muslim rule.
    The horrors are a result of Hindus not seeking revenge when they were triumphant. This did not happen in any other society.

  2. Madan Goel Says:

    Despite the difference in numbers, Hindus and Jews have much in common.
    Dr. Arvind Sharma draws attention to the holocausts, visited on both peoples.

    Both the Jews and Hindus are ancient people. Both have suffered long periods of Islamaic and Christian persecution. Both survived.

    Both India and Palestine were colonized by the British. India achieved independence in 1947; Israel a year later in 1948.
    Both countries were partitioned by the British.

    Both have been rocked by acts of terrorism.

    Both India and Israel have hostile powers on their borders.

    It behooves the two people to work together for national greatness and world peace.

  3. Amit Says:

    Dear Arvindji

    Had the good fortune of listening to your lecture a few months ago in London (SOAS). Thank you

    I have recently read your work on Ramana Maharishi. The question that keeps popping into my mind is this :-

    Were these seers (such as Ramana Maharishi) anti thought/intellectual ? In our complex daily lives we face decisions and have to use judgement to balance conflict within ourselves. How does one do thing in the real world and still continue our quest (if there is one!) to find out ‘the reality’. One does have this intuition that all that we see in this world is not ‘all there is ‘..

    Also- it appears that all the well know seers had flashes of profound insight and awakening (suddenly). Are the rest of us doomed to walk the dark corridors of trying to understand them (ie. describe the mango but never taste it!)

    I would be extremely grateful if you could give me some pointers to how one may proceed.

    BEst wishes


  4. John Williams Says:

    Short answer – it has nothing to do with Hinuism or the history of the Indian subcontinent.

    To: Madan Goel,
    Your comparison of Indian and Israel is counter-factual. If India was invading and dominating near-by states in responce to attacks from them then you might have a point. And the British did not partition Palestine – perhaps they should have.

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