Hinduism and Judaism
Two of the oldest religions with continued surprising similarities.
Hinduism and Judaism are among the oldest existing religions in the world. The two share some similarities and interactions throughout both the ancient and modern worlds.
- While most of the Jews came to Israel (from countries other than India) driven by persecution, discrimination, murder and attempts at total genocide, the Jews of India came (to Israel) because of their desire to participate in the building of their Jewish Commonwealth, because of their unshakable belief in the redemption of Israel. Throughout their long sojourn in India, nowhere and at no time were they (Jews) subjected to intolerance, discrimination or persecution.
- Indian Jews in Israel published by Israel Consulate general, quoted by K Surya Narayana Rao, quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- In a book published by the Israeli Consulate in Bombay . . . it says that the Jews were ill- treated and subjected to all sorts of humiliations all over the world, the only exception being Bharat and that during their long sojourn in Bharat, there was not even one single instance of their persecution.
- Balasaheb Deoras, who succeeded Golwalkar as RSS leader. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- The Israeli Consulate in Bombay has published a book about Israel. It says that Jews form different countries came to Israel because they were discriminated against and were persecuted. And the book says that the only exception is India. In the long history of the Jews stay in India, there is not even one incident of discrimination and persecution.
- Balasaheb Deoras, who succeeded Golwalkar as RSS leader. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- Hail Prosperity! This is the gift that His majesty, King of Kings, Sri Bhaskara Ravi Varman, who is to wield sceptre for several thousand years, was pleased to make during the thirty sixth year opposite to the second year of his reign [according to Narayanan, 1000 C.E.], on the day when he was pleased to reside at Muyirkkode. We have granted to Joseph Rabban, Ancuvannam, tolls by the boat and by carts, Ancuvannam dues, the right to employ day lamp, decorative cloth, palanquin, umbrella, kettledrum, trumpet, arch, arched roof, weapon and the rest of the seventy-two privileges. We have remitted duty and weighing fee. Moreover, according to this copper-plate grant given to him, he shall be exempted from payments made by other settlers in the town to the king, but he shall enjoy what they enjoy. To Joseph Rabban, proprietor of Ancuvannam, his male and female issues, nephews and sons-in-law, Ancuvannam shall belong by hereditary succession. Ancuvannam shall belong to them by hereditary succession as long as the world, sun and moon endure. Prosperity!
- King Bhaskara Ravi Varman I’s grant of autonomy of to the Jews of Kerela, c.1000AD. in : Nathan Katz, Who are the Jews of India?. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- My sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became life-long companions. Through these friends I came to learn much of their age-long persecution. They have been the untouchables of Christianity. The parallel between their treatment by Christians and the treatment of untouchables by Hindus is very close. Religious sanction has been invoked in both cases for the justification of the inhuman treatment meted out to them. Apart from the friendships, therefore, there is the more common universal reason for my sympathy for the Jews....
- Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan, 26 November 1938 Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can. Indeed, even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany, they can bring no inner joy, no inner strength. The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the godfearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep.
- Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan, 26 November 1938. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- Hitler killed five million [sic] Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.....It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany.... As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.
- Jews navigated the eddies and shoals of Indian culture very well. They never experienced anti-Semitism or discrimination at Indian hands......Indian Jews lived as all Jews should have been able to live: free, proud, observant, creative, prosperous, self-realized, full contributors to the host community..... The Indian chapter is one the happiest in the Jewish Diaspora......
- Nathan Katz, , Who Are the Jews of India?, 2000
- Who is not curious as to how the Jews of India survived for so long in an atmosphere of tolerance when other Jewish communities such as that in China, benefiting from similar toleration, assimilated so thoroughly. Their argument is that India as a host society combined tolerance with culturally enforced diversity which made the difference. Indian society, with its several major religions and further division within Hinduism into four major castes, a fifth of outcasts, and over 3,000 subcastes, tolerates wide diversity but does not permit people born into one group to cross over into another or even to associate with the others beyond the public square, since the food taboos of every religious community, caste and subcaste mean that they cannot eat with one another. Nothing separates more than that. The Jewish community could fit into India as another caste and even developed its own subcastes, as the authors explain, properly denoting this as the Cochin Jews' one great (and sad) departure from halakhic Judaism.
- Daniel J Elazar, The Last Jews of Cochin: Jewish Identity in Hindu India, Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs
- In practice the Hindu is certainly not tolerant and is more narrow-minded than almost any person in any other country except the Jew.
- Nehru, 1953,letter to Home Minister Dr. Nailash Nath Katju. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- The question is all the more poignant when we consider that the idea of a Jewish-Brahmin connection was already quite ancient. In his plea Contra Apionem (1.179) the Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus quotes Aristotle’s pupil Clearchos of Soli as having claimed that Aristotle had been very impressed once with the discourses of a Jewish visitor, and more so with the steadfastness of his dietary discipline, and had concluded that in origin the Jews had been Indian philosophers. A similar claim is found in the Hellenistic-Jewish philosopher Aristoboulos. So, two millennia before Nietzsche, an Indian origin was already ascribed to the Jews.
- Elst, Koenraad. Manu as a weapon against egalitarianism: Nietzsche and Hindu political philosophy in : Siemens & Vasti Roodt, eds.: Nietzsche, Power and Politics (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2008).
- Incidentally, Romila Thapar is right in observing that certain Hindu revivalists ae trying to "find parallels with the Semitic religions as if these parallels are necessary for the future of Hinduism" (though her attempt to force the Ram Janmabhoomi movement into this mould, with Rama being turned into a prophet and the Ramayana into the sole revealed Scripture etc., is completely unfounded and another pathetic case of trying to force unwilling facts into a pre- conceived scheme). She sounds like favouring a renewed emphasis on "the fact that the religious experience of Indian civilization and of religious sects which are bunched together under the label of Hindu are distinctively different from that of the Semitic".
- Romila Thapar quoted in Elst, Koenraad. Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam, quoting Romila Thapar
- An earlier anti-Brahmin activist, Ramaswamy Naicker, had said that "we will do with the Brahmins what Hitler did with the Jews". Another slogan of his was: "If you see a snake and a Brahmin, kill the Brahmin first".
- Ramaswamy Naicker, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
- The Jews are only interested in themselves, and nobody else. They somehow contrive to have the rulers in their pocket, participate in governance and conspire to torture and suck the lives out of other citizens in order that they live (in comfort). ... Are they not comparable to the Brahmins who too have no responsibility but have the rulers in their pocket, have entered the ruling dispensation and been lording over (all of us)?
- Periyar E.V. Ramasamy writing in his magazine Kudiyarasu. (Naan Sonnal Unakku Yen Kopam Vara Vendum, vol. 4, p. 532, compiled by Pasu. Gowthaman)
- Kudi Arasu , the official journal of Ramasami’s movement, praises Hitler explicitly and draws parallels between Jews and Brahmins. Kudi Arasu quotes at length Hitler’s reasons for despising Jews, as found in Mein Kampf and how he vowed to purge alleged Jewish dominance in the German society. It admiringly describes how Hitler accomplished his avowed promise of ending Jewish dominance in Germany, and it warns that the Brahmins of South India pose the same danger as the Jews of pre-Nazi Germany.
- Malhotra, R., Nīlakantan̲, A., & Infinity Foundation (Princeton, N.J.). (2016). Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines.
- This line of anti-Brahmin rhetoric on the model of anti-Semitism comes full circle with the following allegation, originally made in 1971 by K.K. Gangadharan, a Leftist sociologist from Maharashtra working in Christ College in Kanpur, and since then adopted by the likes of V.T. Rajshekar: the Chitpavan Brahmins, ... which took a leadership role in the struggle against the Moghuls, the British Raj and Congress secularism, are so “arrogant” and “fanatical” because, unbeknownst to other Indians, they actually have Jewish ancestors!
- K.K. Gangadharan is quoted to this effect in Gérard Heuzé: Où va l’Inde moderne?, L’Harmattan, Paris 1993, p.87. As for V.T. Rajshekar to this effect, see Dalit Voice, 1-2-1995 and 1-3-1995; and V.T. Rajshekhar: Brahminism, Dalit Sahitya Akademy, Bangalore n.d., p. 28. , quoted in Elst, Koenraad (1999). Update on the Aryan invasion debate New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
- When, in 1991, the Congress formed the Government on its own, even though it did not have a majority of its own, the BJP acted very responsibly and helped it have a speaker of its choice, content with deputy speakership of the Lok Sabha. Having been all along opposed to a licence-permit-quota Raj it welcomed the policy of liberalization in principle. At long last New Delhi recognised Israel and South Africa, something the BJP had urged for long.
- KR Malkani, BJP History: It’s Growth and Onward March
- India represents the new world in a unique sense. Traditionally democracies were trying to bring equality to all walks of life, today there is a change. Democracy wants to enable every country to have the equal right to be different; it's a collection of differences, not an attempt to force or impose equality on every country. I think India is the greatest show of how so many differences in language, in sects can coexist facing great suffering and keeping full freedom... Many of the countries in the Middle East should learn from you how to escape poverty. You didn't escape poverty by getting American dollars or Russian Roubles but by introducing your own internal reforms and by understanding that the new call of modernity is science. In between the spiritual wealth of Gandhi and the earthly wisdom of Nehru, you combined a great performance of spirit and practice to escape poverty...I know you still have a long way to go but you do it without compromising freedom. The temptation when you're such a large country to introduce discipline and imposition is great but you tried to do it, to make progress not with force and discipline but in an open way. Many of us were educated on the literature of India when we fell in love we read Rabindranath Tagore and when we matured we tried to understand Gandhi.
- Shimon Peres (Israeli President), on India. Israeli President Shimon Peres praises India as greatest 'show of co-existence' (4 December 2012)
- The entire world acknowledges that Israel has effectively and ruthlessly countered terror in the Middle East. Since India and Israel are both fighting a proxy war against terrorism, therefore, we should learn a lesson or two from them. We need to have close cooperation with them in this field.
- Ram Madhav of the RSS in September 2003 on Ariel Sharon’s visit:, quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- India has only lately established diplomatic relations with Israel, yet the BJS/BJP had long demanded such a step. All the other parties had opposed it, keeping in mind the domestic vote and subservience to the Islamic "ummah." Without being anti-Arab, it is possible to be just toward Israel. After all, Israel has never done anything against India.
- Dr. Saradindu Mukherji of the BJP : quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- The interaction between the people of India and the Jewish diaspora has a long history, dating back to the 1st century A.D. Two communities of the Jewish people in India even trace their roots to the ten 'lost tribes' of Israel. The story of the Jewish diaspora in India has been uniformly positive. India is one of very few countries in the world, which has never had a trace of anti-Semitism at any time in its history. The people of India were deeply anguished at the holocaust visited upon the Jewish people during the Second World War. If there were any reservations about the Zionist Movement, they were about some of the means adopted by the movement. I believe India and Israel should focus on building bilateral relations on the basis of shared perspectives and commonalities between our two democracies. This has to be a forward- looking exercise, rather than harking back to perceptions of the past. ... We see this first visit to India of a Prime Minister of Israel as a landmark in the history of our bilateral ties. India-Israel relations have acquired a multi-dimensional character, particularly over the last decade. While our defence cooperation is substantial and growing, we have also a lot to share with each other in agricultural sciences, in high technology - including Information Technology, in peaceful applications of space technologies, etc. India has benefited from Israel's world famous expertise in agricultural technologies. India is now Israel's second biggest trade partner in Asia, and the largest item of our trade is actually gems and jewellery. Tourism is another area with great potential, as is culture, since both our countries are host to some of mankind's greatest historic and cultural treasures. I am confident that the visit of Prime Minister Sharon will raise our bilateral relationship to an entirely new level of cooperation.
- A.B. Vajpayee, quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
- Our lands have supported the birth of great and ancient religions and civilisations. Jewish communities in India have, over the centuries, painted rich colours into the mosaic of Indian society.
- A.B. Vajpayee, quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation