From India to Palestine
Essays in Solidarity
Edited by Githa Hariharan
In 1948, Israel was created on Palestinian land. Palestinians lost their homes and villages; huge numbers were expelled; they became refugees elsewhere or in their own land. In 1967, the West Bank and Gaza were also occupied by Israel. For more than five decades now, Palestinians have suffered the violent and unjust realities of occupation.
Not only does India have strong historical ties with the Arab world; but also the Indian freedom movement saw the struggle of the Palestinians for a homeland as a genuine struggle against colonialism. Both Gandhi and Nehru expressed this in no uncertain terms; so, later, did the non-aligned movement. Indian policy towards Palestine shifted radically in the 1990s. Israel has now become a major supplier of arms to India; it is also part of the complicated shift in India’s relationship with America, and India’s emerging vision of itself in the world.
Fourteen new essays on India and Palestine-Israel by writers, scholars and activists:
Aijaz Ahmad | Meena Alexander | Githa Hariharan | Sunaina Maira | Nivedita Menon | Ritu Menon | Sukumar Muralidharan | Seema Mustafa | Aditya Nigam | Prabhat Patnaik | Vijay Prashad | Prabir Purkayastha | A.K. Ramakrishnan | Nayantara Sahgal | Achin Vanaik
"These scholarly and committed essays allow us for the first time to consider the issue of Palestine outside the hopeless western frame of mind. The mutual, and at times troubled, relationship between India and Palestine, offer new, and hopeful, insights about the role both countries play in our times."
"In recent years, the Indian state has reversed a century-long, honourable tradition of support for the great political struggles in the world. These fine essays, focusing in detail and depth on the struggles in Palestine, restore some of that lost honour. They express courage and heart, but there is much more that is invaluable – there is information, there is analysis, and there is constructive direction."
“In the process of re-examining the Indian position on Palestine, the essays in this volume consider, in different ways, the very real links between India and Palestine that continue to exist on the ground, though they need to be re-affirmed today . . . Although the main focus is the complex of relations between India and Israel/Palestine, the discussion is within the wider context of the changing role of India in the world . . .”
From the Introduction by Raja Shehadeh
From India to Palestine is not just a collection of essays though, it is a historical narrative of a principled honourable position of the great modern state of India, its founders, ideologues and leaders gone bad. The essays provide historical and analytical knowledge that is not found anywhere else easily. The book’s goal is to inform, yet it is also a call for action.
Daoud Kuttab, Economic and Political Weekly
"Essay after essay in the collection brings out the horror and humiliation of life for Palestinians under Israel occupation. Movements are restricted, houses demolished, water scarce, jobs even more so, settlers on the rampage — situation tailor-made for violent protests, which in turn become justification for more outrages on the part of the Israeli authorities."
This collection contributes to literature on the expanding solidarity movements and the histories they grow out of. Importantly, the book gives one a sense of how to direct one’s energy... regardless of what you do with the knowledge gained from this fascinating book, you can no longer feign amnesia about India’s history of supporting anti-colonial movements.
The Electronic Intifada