Some Tales have got to be written because as described by the Ex-Member of Parliament in Israel Ms Einat Wilf “What differentiates a human being from other mammals is the Art of Story Telling.” Rightly so, as Indians our faith, belief structure, culture and our traditions are all based on stories and epics passed on to us through generations. This is not the only thing that binds India to Israel. When I got this most unexpected phone call that I have been chosen to represent my State and my political party in a delegation to Israel – the entrepreneur in me jumped with happiness. After all, I was going to the Start-Up Nation-The Land of innovations.
Israel is about half that of Aurangabad but is listed third in NASDAQ soon after two big giants USA and China with about 250 Israeli companies. It’s only when I met the Israelis did I know why- like Indians, they are sharp, intelligent, hardworking and very unlike them – Disciplined! As they say in Israel – Start Fast, Fail Faster, that’s when you succeed fastest. In India, we are yet to teach our kids to fail gracefully.
As a kid I used to read a lot- I read about Judaism, the Holocaust, Hitler and the Anti-Semitism movement but it’s only after my experiences with the Jews the big secret of the Jewish world hit me; it’s the X chromosome that adds the X-Factor to the society. Hugely matriarchal, Jews are identified as “A tribe” by their Jewish mothers. Resilience is in their blood, No wonder when they got reduced to half their population after the Holocaust worldwide, they relived the Babylonian exile and came back to create the state of Israel and yet gave the world the largest number of Noble Laureates.
The entire country has an inherent strength of feministic fervour that simply “works” against all odds, all challenges. It is this strength that made them never give up their language-Hebrew or their Testament yet made them reconcile to the New Testament to Arabic and to English.
I always believed that Judaism is like Hinduism. It’s a way of life. Israel has the Orthodox Jews, the Secular Jews and the Liberal Jews but here I was wrong. Judaism is strongly bound by territories. Judaism is defined by a constant struggle of a Nation to maintain it’s identity. Judaism is not a religion – it’s a tribe of people who are determined to forge their destiny by not forgetting their past.
I am a proud Hindu and believe strongly in the concept of Hindu-Rashtra, where every religion can survive, every being is respected and every opportunity is nurtured. Unlike Israel, Hindus always had a nation of our own, a land that we proudly owned and a civilization that we unassumingly inherited and hence never realised the importance of Territories. The concept of a Nation is what I learnt from Israel. We might have different ideologies, a difference of opinion but we need to be thankful that we have been blessed to have a nation that accepts us as we are, an Identity that defines us, whoever we are and a Pride that binds us as One- India.
Prof. Yonaf, Member of Parliament of the Labour Party told us “When I went to India for the first time I realised what my mother calls Beherat are spices that derive their name from the ancient name of India- Bharat”. Yes, Bharat that adapted itself to influences of the world yet maintained its authenticity. The best examples are found in the cuisine. From the kebabs of Lucknow to the Idlis of Chennai, Indian food is known for its distinct spices(Beherat). Israeli cuisine is also an amalgamation of the best of the world but what I found surprisingly different was a dominance of proteins in their daily diets- green salads, cottage cheese, walnuts, olives, sprouts, eggs & of course tuna.
They say if you want to create an Intelligent Generation feed it Protein; If you want to make a generation dull serve them carbohydrates. India, the land of milk and cereals is hugely Protein deficient today. With the rise of obesity, the diabetes capital of the world also. While the world today is accepting our ancient wisdom of vegetarianism and a hot cooked meal we as a nation are moving towards junk.
There are only two kinds of Israelis I met in Israel, one that has come to India, the other that wants to. This is my India that accepted the Jews even when every single country denied their entry. This is my India that balances between an individualistic and collective society in a spiritual way. This is my India-that maintains strong ties with Israel & Iran; Strong and Opinionated to influence the Geo-Politics of the region. This is my India which is my Pride! Travel tales end with the journey. We get on with our usual lives and our daily chores. Experiences stay. They come back to you in form of memories but I have come back with Lessons for the Indian Youth, for the students and for the entrepreneurs that I would love to spread in my talks, my speeches and my writings.
To sum up, Israel and India are sisters from different Mothers and like them I want my country and my countrymen to develop a blind love for Our Nation- Our Bharat!
Shweta Shalini is BJP Spokesperson, Advisor to CM of Maharashtra and Executive Director of Maharashtra Village Social Transformation Foundation (VSTF).