Shipan Kumer Basu, President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, sees many parallels between the struggles of his own people and that of the Jewish people during the Hanukkah story. 

As the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah across the globe, Shipan Kumer Basu, the President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, wishes everyone a happy holiday, emphasizing that all of humanity has much to learn from the holiday: “Hanukkah is a combination of joy and pain.   Thousands of years ago, the rulers of the Greek Empire murdered many Jews in the name of imposing their religious doctrine.  The Temple of the Jewish people was occupied and robbed of its glory.  A foreign god was placed in the center of the temple, which was a very painful historical experience.”

Basu found it horrific that the ancient Greeks used to force Jews to bow down to foreign gods on alters where pigs and other impure animals in the Jewish faith were sacrificed while banning Torah study, circumcisions for babies, the celebration of Shabbat and Jewish festivals.   Basu, who is a Bangladeshi Hindu, sees many parallels between what the Jewish people experienced in Ancient Israel with what his people experience today.

“We know very well about such brutal incidents, like the seizing of temples, the plundering of holy gold ornaments inside a temple, and the vandalizing of a temple, which is very tragic,” Basu declared.  “We Hindus have also been forced to eat cow meat, which is sacred in our faith, and have been compelled in many instances to convert to Islam.  We as Bangladeshi minorities have been facing such torture for more than 100 years.”

“For too long, Hindus have been tortured and their temples have been systematically destroyed in Bangladesh,” he noted.  “Although we received geographical independence from West Pakistan in 1971, we Hindus-Buddhists-Christians and other minority communities in Bangladesh did not yet get to taste true freedom. Fundamentalists always keep the minorities in our country under direct and indirect pressure that results in members of our community getting murdered and abducted, with our women getting raped, with our properties getting seized and are holy sites and objects getting desecrated. No Bangladeshi government has done anything for us. To the contrary, we have been at best neglected during the reign of every Bangladeshi government.  Presently, under the Sheikh Hasina government, the Bangladeshi authorities are actually encouraging the oppression of Hindus and other minorities.”

Basu is very happy that the Jewish people have managed to obtain political independence and enjoy full human rights in the State of Israel after centuries of struggling and making many sacrifices.   However, he wishes that his people could enjoy what Israeli Jews presently do: “The history of Hindus, Christians and Buddhists in Muslim lands and Jews in the same region is almost the same.   We love the Jews as brothers.  I hope that soon the Bangladeshi minorities will be able to establish a joint symposium with members of the Jewish Diaspora and the Israeli population.   I hope that this will help us to get the same rights that you are presently enjoying.  On that note, Happy Hanukkah!”