Sunday, September 6, 2015

Berowne's 284

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "I" is for India)

 
Many years ago I had a most interesting lunch at an Indian restaurant.  In India.
 
To come right out with it, I enjoy Indian food; hit me with that tikka masala sauce or a carefully prepared curry or any of the four thousand or so other items of Indian chow and I’m a happy tandoori camper.
I found it fascinating that this particular restaurant was a place of tolerance and diversity.  By that I mean the staff was a sort of UN of different religions and beliefs, yet everyone seemed to be working in a high degree of peace and harmony.
And they were proud of it.  When they learned that the American customer was interested in such things, they came over to me, singly or in pairs, enthusiastically telling me about their religion and how well they got along with everyone else working in the restaurant.
There were Hindus, of course, and Muslims, along with Sikhs and Buddhists and a few glimmers of other faiths I wasn’t so familiar with.  (There was one chap who followed an unusual doctrine I did know a little something about: Christianity.)
But what blew me away was not just their pride in their beliefs but that they were also eager to tell how impartial they all were and how they worked together and got along so well.
Reason why this impressed me was that this all happened many years ago; in fact, I was there as the long British raj was coming to an end.  For several centuries the English had been involved in India –“the jewel in the crown” - and some folks believed that if the British left the various religions would fatally tear each other apart.  From the tolerance and cooperation I saw in that restaurant I was pretty sure that was not true.
How wrong I was…
British rule in the country came to an end just a few months after my meal at that restaurant.  Sort of as predicted, the religions began tearing each other apart.
Earlier, when I had been in Pakistan it was part of India; it was British.  Now it was a different country, a Muslim land.  Hindus by the many thousands had to get away, to go south; just as many thousands of  Muslims felt they had to go north to a Muslim country.
So many people ripped from their homes and forced to travel; it was the largest migration in human history.  The resultant slaughter of the religious fighting was almost unbelievable.  There were nearly a million casualties.
And it is indeed a sad fact that this – possibly a thermonuclear version of it this time - could begin again at any moment. 

32 comments:

Cat-tails: here be wagging tales said...

Yes, sad, and I love Indian food too. Now you can order a hindi meal on many international flights, which I do. They're not, of course, as delicious as finding and dining in a good Southern Indian restaurant. But they fare better than the other meals passengers consume. Cheers

steveroni said...

Thanks for an interestingly true discourse on another of the world's hotspots. If only people would learn--well we DO know it--to work togather, as yet unknown worlds would unfold to us in our path to wherever.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

It's very sad that religion is used as a weapon whether to shame, destroy, or control man when they were written to help and aid us in becoming a better "people." I used to be religious and now am not I rely on myself to be that better person not a "god" that another man made up shaming me into it. And how to choose which god? Enjoy your Sunday!

Berowne said...

Very interesting, and somewhat profound comment, Bekkie. Thanks so much.

Kathe W. said...

I am like Bekkie- I do not rely on a mythical superior being to guide me- I simply believe in being kind to my fellow human beings and if I can help someone- I do.
It's an easier way to live than to hold grudges/anger against others.
Excellent subject to write about Berowne. Thanks and have a great week!

Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil said...

I am Christian, but I am from the "left" side of that tradition. We understand and respect all paths, including atheism, because there are many more ways to live in this world that one's own. Berowne, I have always found ethnic restaurants, especially during my New York City years, to be magnets for cultural diversity. I love when people are proud of their faith traditions, because they share the best of what that tradition offers.

I never try to convert anyone. My faith is not "threatened" by someone telling me that God is made up, because they are right!! My way is my way. I wish more Christians were vocal, if this is what they believe... the American brand of "fundamentalist Christianity" is irksome, tiresome, and frankly, I think Jesus would be pissed! Yikes!!! Thanks so much for sharing another story from your altogether fascinating life. Amy

Theresa Milstein said...

I love Indian food. I wish we could all appreciate each other like we can appreciate food.

DEE DEE said...

This a profound thought on India & Indian food and culture

Kate said...

I spent part of one summer in India in the mid '80's—yes, it was hot! I loved the Indian people, deplored the poverty but was mesmerized by the sights and sounds of this complex country. We humans from all walks of society and cultures cannot seem to get "it right" in terms of how we treat other people and how we share resources and power. The current Middle East situation is a prime example. Wish that peace and brotherly love would reign on the planet.

Leslie: said...

Perhaps the Indians' unity and love of each other and each other's religious beliefs came from a united front against the British rule. Interesting how they started fighting amongst themselves once they were independent. My beliefs are similar to Amy's (above comment) and I no longer attend church services - having actually worked in a church office, I came to believe it's just "big business." I also do not believe, as evangelicals do, that anyone who doesn't believe as they do will go to "Hell." Maybe we all will be surprised when we reach "Heaven" and see everyone being kind and loving to those we spurned during our lives on earth. Or maybe there are separate "heavens" for each group - who knows? Let's all just get along and stop fighting each other! Oh yes, about Indian food - I need someone familiar with the various dishes to help me out - anything I've ever tried I've loved loved loved, but don't know how to read the menus.

Trubes said...

I enjoyed reading this Mr B. and I too, love Indian cuisine.
Guess what we're having for supper tonight ?
Chicken Madras!
Husband makes a pretty mean curry so I shall conjour up the Sambals whilst
imbibing in a little brandy and soda or two !

Ciyarsa !
Di,
ABCW team.

Berowne said...

Interesting how my little plug for Indian food brought forth such fascinatingly frank and even at times profound comments. Thanks for sharing.

Roger Owen Green said...

Weird how Iraq, Yugoslavia were held together by the bad guys, but Saddam, Tito go, and it's even worse.
Sanjay Gupta was on a show called Finding Your Roots, about genealogy, and he talked about his parents' dislocation after the India/Pakistan breakup.
Watch HERE, interspersed with others' stories.
Oh, and I LOVE Indian food!


ROG, ABCW

Gigi Ann said...

Can't say I've ever eaten Indian food so will take your word for how good it is.

Hildred said...

What does it say about humans when they transfer their defiance and hatred of the British to each other when the Brits are no longer there? Very sad....

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

I know we've had periods in history when various religions have been able to live in harmony and be enlightened by each other's wisdom. Places such as the one you described in India where an exchange of believes and ideologies can be shared without any group being chastised. However, there always seems to be a group that eventually wants to take over. That's why I've always liked Mexican President Benito Juarez's quote, "Respect for the rights of others means peace." Blessings!

Photo Cache said...

Tandooris are my fave Indian delicacy.

My ABC WEDNESDAY

Old Egg said...

Sadly in both religion and politics fairness is always decided with a weapon.

Ira said...

WoW! I never knew Indian Food had such a strong fan base. It would make a good topic for next ABC-W edition. :)

i b arora said...

it is always the politics, religion is only an excuse.

Melody Steenkamp said...

Goodmorning Berowne

Indian food... i rarely eat it but when i do, i love it. Someday i hope, i will travel there and eat it there. Probably the taste will be different ;-)


Have a nice day!
♫ Mel☺dy ♫ (abc-w-team)

Nabanita said...

Reading about India from the perspective of someone who isn't an Indian always fascinates me... And good to know you love Indian food :)

Jae Rose said...

I admire the way you have unfurled this story...a skilled political commentary. The 'In India' sentence did make me smile...as for us Brits...i think we have the the knack of we came we saw we conquered - and then some years after the fact we walk away form the chaos we created...

Sheilagh Lee said...

it's sad how religion which is suppose to be good tears things apart.

Berowne said...

Yes, and as you know there are those who say, just do away with all religions and we can have peace. But what we'd wind up with would probably be worse.

Karen S. said...

So many ways, customs and traditions (for me so interesting to discover) but for some too many views, all in which build far too many walls.

fredamans said...

MMM. Indian food is probably my favorite cuisine.

uberrhund said...

Food is often a magnet for tolerance, at least temporarily.
I agree that we are in the midst of a watershed moment of migration and change.

Other Mary said...

You have such an intersting life. And the immigrant/refugee parall is quite thought-provoking.

tulika singh said...

The partition was a sad sad time in the history of our country. I like to think we have moved ahead from then and we do live in harmony now given the massively different kind of people we have in their languages, religions, cultures, food habits - India is many countries in one and we still ARE one country.
BeatAboutThe Book

Berowne said...

I was pleased to get comments from folks from India; thanks so much for sharing.

Gemma Wiseman said...

How poignant is this story. Amazing how the removal of the British seemed to create dissent. You would think harmony would be more than ever harmonised as a celebration.

 
Blog designed by Blogger Boutique using Christy Skagg's "A Little Bit of That" kit.