Despite harassment and terror attacks by Muslims, for many years, India was solidly against Israel and voted with those condemning Israel for anything and everything in the U.N. The articles and comments below indicate there has been a shift. How much is yet to be seen. Some writers were far ahead of the politicians, but starting in around 2011, political attitudes began to show change publically. And many of the readers of the Times of India are more knowledgeable about what's going on in Gaza than the readers of the New York Times.


by Chandan Nandy

A pro-Israel rally in Kolkata on August 16, attended by about 20,000 people, has shifted the spotlight on the rapid advancement of the Hindu right in a state where anti-America parades and marches of the political left were a staple till such time that Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress' swept the Marxists out of power in 2011.

That the RSS and the BJP have been making gradual in-roads in Bengal is not a new phenomenon and support for organisations championing the Hindutva cause has seen ups and downs with every Lok Sabha election. In 1999, when the BJP contested 13 of the 42 seats and won two seats, the party's vote share was slightly over 11% compared to a measly 1.7% in 1989.

The BJP's political fortunes in Bengal began to rise since 2012 by which time Mamata had unseated the Left and announced a series of measures to woo the Muslims, including salary for mosque imams. In the 2012 byelections in three Lok Sabha constituencies — Murshidabad and Jangipur — the BJP polled nearly 86,000 votes, emerging third with an 8% rise in votes from 2009. Subsequently, in the 2013 municipal elections, the BJP defeated the Left's mayoral candidate in Howrah.

But it was in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that the BJP's electoral surge was spectacular, increasing its vote share to 17%, finishing third in the over-all race with the CPI(M) mustering only about 23% of votes. In Kolkata North constituency, banking on the support of the Marwari trading community, the BJP bagged 247,461 votes, compared to only 37,044 in 2009. In Kolkata South constituency, the party garnered 295,376 votes as compared to 39,744 in 2009. Likewise, in Malda South constituency, it managed to secure 216,180 votes. In some of the seats where it was placed, it lost the race by narrow margins.

In Saturday's pro-Israel rally, which was organised by a hitherto non-descript association called Hindu Samhati, the marchers held banners that proclaimed Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas.

While Hindu Samhati denies it is linked to either the RSS or the BJP, it appears to be an old organisation one of whose members, Gopal Mukhopadhyay, is believed to have saved my lives during the Great Calcutta riots of 1946.

That Hindu Samhati could muster a crowd of 20,000 has led political analysts and observers in Kolkata to wonder whether the state unit of the BJP has been able to penetrate and co-opt it since the party's stunning performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

To a large part, the BJP's steady electoral rise and political influence could be attributed to [Chief Minister of West Bengal] Mamata Banerjee's pro-Muslim stance which, while consolidating a bulk of the Muslim votes for the TMC also drove a small section of Hindus into the arms of the BJP.

Chandan Nandy is a reporter for the Times of India. He writes on his home state of Bengal and other states in India. As he say, "[in] an eclectic mix of the exciting and the mundane, the serious and the not-so-serious: internal security, violent conflict, the intelligence and investigating agencies (not everyday crime), the bureaucracy, occasional political tracts and issues of social and cultural concern." This article appeared August 20, 2014 in The Times of India and is archived at Thanks are due N. Kataria for sending this article to Think-Israel.


by Mrutyuanjai Mishra

Yes, the so-called Caliphate.

Would you like to live in the paradise of an Islamic state with full-blown sharia? I mean the self-proclaimed State of ISIS or IS as they like to be called these days, inhabited and controlled by jihadists who want to turn the clock back by at least 1000 years.

All European countries are in a state of shock. Yesterday almost all the national televisions in Europe showed a glimpse of or narrated the incident in which a man speaking in a flawless British accent beheaded an American journalist, James Foley.

The video or the description of a journalist forced into an orange jump-suit being butchered by a masked man dressed in black has shocked the world. Yes, it is barbaric, and not because the life of a westerner is more important than hundreds of thousands of others who have died in Iraq and Syria, but simply because we are now confronting an Islamic terrorist organization which is not absconding but controls territory and has a state.

Welcome to the new world. Al-Qaida is no longer the most dangerous terrorist organization, but ISIS or IS. And we will have to deal with one of the wealthiest terrorist organizations ever in the known history of mankind. They have amassed wealth by controlling vast areas with oil reserves, collecting money by demanding ransom, looting banks, receiving donations, etc.

I think that the world community has to get together to solve this problem. India and Russia will have to do their part as well. Al-Qaida, which was playing a cat and mouse game in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan in the poorest region of the world, did not have the resources nor the capacity to strike back. IS/ISIS, on the contrary, has acquired sophisticated weapons, and motivated and disillusioned Muslim youths from European countries have become their ideological base. There are twice as many Brits today fighting for ISIS than there are Muslim youths enrolled in the British army.

The European countries will have to take a serious debate about those sleeping cells and how radicalization is taking place in Western countries. Meanwhile, it is important to realize that the time to act is now. The world community has to show some resolve to end this so-called experiment of a sharia paradise, where women are forced to wear a niqab or burka, where the whole body is covered and not even an inch of flesh should be seen. In this paradise the jihadist fighters can knock on any door and forcibly take young girls and force them to marry one of the fighters.

Not only are women forced to cover their bodies, even sheep and goats are forced to cover the rear parts of their bodies so that they do not tempt the holy men fighting jihad. Beheading, chopping off hands, stoning and such inhuman treatment is being handed out to people in the land where sharia is the supreme law.

Internationally, Barack Obama should quickly wind up this conflict with Russia about Ukraine. The West has enough worries to take care of. Let Russia, which historically has enjoyed influence on Ukraine, get an opportunity to act responsibly. This will motivate Russia to engage in this global fight against jihadism.

All civilized nations of the world need urgently to act before more inhuman beheadings of innocent people is carried out to weaken our resolve. India should also do its part to help USA in its effort to contain this global malaise.

Mrutyuanjai Mishra is a commentator with Politiken, Denmark's largest newspaper. He also comments on Asia on Danish TV and radio channels. He has authored many analytical articles on Asia and India in several Danish newspapers. He has studied anthropology at Copenhagen University and has specialized in human rights and democratization. Mrutyuanjai Mishra has spent half of his life in India and the other half in the Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden. Mrutyuanjai Mishra is also a consultant lecturer on issues related to India and Asia at institutions of higher education. He is currently working on a book on India to be used for higher educational purposes in Scandinavian countries. This article appeared August 21, 2014 in Times of India and is archived at


Some Readers' comments. Some have more understanding of what Israel is going through than many readers of Haaretz.

Dinesh Singh, Bangalore

my dear fellowmen and sisters across the whole world , isis or is is an evil menace on the earth and these inhuman creatures are enemy of humanity so these rascals need to be crushed immediately and completely. it is an earnest appeal that all humans from all religion across the globe must come together to fight this menace before it is too late.


sick people, monstrous behaviour and perverted thinking, that is the world of isis. to prevent radicalization, the western countries should monitor the mosques to see what the imams are preaching. any one found trying to recruit a jihadi, should be promptly executed.

rakesh A, Hyderabad

Cover women, 'sheep' and 'goats' so that holy men fighting jihad are not distracted by 'tempatations'.are these holy men humans or s** maniacs????luckily the world has seen the true face of extreme islamic sharia, we have facing this from pakistan for several years, hope people realize quickly and start defeating these maniacs.

Deepak K, India

all the non muslims country of the world should come together and work on ending this brutality.


mr mishra,you mention that the sheep and the goats (must include 'she' as well as 'he' goat) are forced to cover their rear parts so that the holy jihadis are not tempted. this is not going to be enough till such a time that the sheep and goats are covered in niqaab or the full veil.

AAmir Mujtaaaba, Jammu

well i agree to your point of view but i would like to clear something .the shariah law is not wrong . in saudi arabia its been in place for very long n alhamdulilah its working fine there.. the point is how you pro ject it . if organisations like isis do it its totaly ridiculed n as far as my knowledge about islam is concerned they are not jihadis plz dnt bring islamuc shariah in lists of wrong things .. if u honestly read theses laws they can bring peace as no other law can bring .. so my advise better analyse everything before writing as u have a responsibility to make people aware about good things n bring truth to ur profeesion .. my apologies if m being harsh ..

Prashant Mahagaonkar, Pune, Maharashtra

i completely disagree with you on the above views.for example can you ans my few questions:1. what is the punishment for adultry?2. what is jiziya tax and why should it be paid?3. what is dhimmi? what is their status under sharia?4. what is the punishment under sharia if anyone leave islam?5. what is the status of other religions apart from people of book under sharia?6. a man can have 4 wives at one time? why cant a rich women have multiple husbands at a time?7. what is the status of war prisoners under sharia which include women captives?if you say sharia is so peace oriented, kindly answer the above questions.

akbagchi akbagchi

as long as the cancerous growth named islam would be practiced all over the world, through quran, sunnah, and ahadith, terrorism can not be wiped out. because quran is nothing but a 'terror manual'!

Big Dark Black Box, Tokyo

hypocrisy of islamic and arab world is, they were condeming the defence of israel in billions in worldwide outrage, but they have no word to say against isis. if anyone mention this to muslims, they quickly bring israel, us and gaza to defend islam.


not to support what is happening in iraq, but i request the author to also highlight the situation of gaza people suffering under the zionist regime with equal vehemency. you cannot speak against one massacre and conveniently forget about the other. otherwise, your argument doesn't carry any conviction.


what is happening in gaza? do you even know how the hamas have kept women and children as cover and fire rockets on israel.. the muzzie is the failed religion of the world and the epicenter of all problems!!

Mohammed Asik, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

you can talk about terrorist organization or their activities but not about a community this is ridiculous article commenting on the laws of a community... times should remove this immediately and shout not entertain this kind of article

Divya Kota, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

gazan ppl should flush out hamas. hamas is gazan army.hamas can attack and kill israelis, but israel should not retaliate!!!like pakistan army can kill indian civilians, but india should be careful not to kill pakistan civilians!!! i like the logic, who support the gazan hamas!!!!


the best solution is muslims interested following sharia should be deported from non-islamic nations and immigration of muslims to non-islamic nations to be stopped permanently. islam want to live in camel age is their problem, let them live in iraq forever. even india should bring one civil code so that indian muslims will be permitted only one marriage and deport muslims who wants islam as priority than nation.

smartieashu, Masroor Alam

the only problem with israel is that they do not let jews die in numbers enough for the liking of islamists and left liberals! 3600 rockets have been fired at israel 'civilian areas' in the ongoing war. not one caused damage because of the iron dome, and this seems to be your problem. israel is fighting against hamas' terrorism, not to kill palestinians.

jaspreet, Msroor Alam, Gurgaon

it is because only you guys can go so low to shoot rocket from schools and mosques and make your kids a bait.. you cant give a peaceful life to them at least don't use their lives to cry fouls...

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