The Indian-Americans Owe It To These Unsung Heroes A Hindutvaite And A Zionist – Swarajya

Posted By on May 1, 2020

This forced the British government to at least talk formally to the US authorities. The US authorities said that the government could not change the law by itself but if a private senator could be found to introduce such a bill then it could be made possible.

Of course, such a private senator could not be found. This made Dr Khare even more determined.

A private senator could be found for a law amendment for the Chinese but not for Indians?

Now the US authorities said that after the war they would consider the question of Indians, but bundling them together with Malays and Indonesians. Dr Khare was livid. He did not want Indians to be grouped along with Malays and Indonesians which would place Indians at a disadvantage.

In this context, he protested stating that grouping Indians with "half-civilized Malays and Indonesians" as "positively an insult". Those were times when even a Jawaharlal Nehru with more international exposure was speaking of being impressed by "well-bredness and aristocracy" of the Chinese.

Thus, the insensitive and erroneous language that Dr Khare used to refer to Malays and Indonesians by calling them "half-civilized" could be forgiven though definitely not acceptable. But what is of importance here is Khares determination to get Indians the same advantage that the Chinese had earned through their war contribution.

Dr Khare had clearly made it known to the world that India as a nation was dissatisfied. This was when the issue had not even touched the national conscience overtly. He also appealed in his own way to then president Franklin Roosevelt, stating that though the president of the US was sympathetic to Indians, he could not do anything.

In the US, there was one senator, who was also sympathetic to the Indian cause. After the Chinese were granted citizenship and annual emigration concession to 100 of them, the Indians in the US had started demanding the same benefits.

Congressman Emanuel Celler (1888-1981) would later become 'the longest-serving Congressman' from New York. Raised as a secular Jew during the First World War, reading Herzel, the architect of Zionist movement, Celler had become a Zionist.

During the Second World War, he was busy using all his diplomatic talent to rescue Jews from Germany and get them into the US. In some, he had failed like in the Wagner-Rogers Act to allow 20,000 German Jewish children under the age of 14 to come to the US and in persuading Roosevelt to challenge the British blockade of Palestine.

He also wanted the US to establish full diplomatic ties with Vatican so that it could be used to rescue the Jews. He was known for fighting the covert anti-Jewish elements inside the establishment. ('Rep. Emanuel Celler - an unsung hero', The Jerusalem Post, 3 May 2019).

It was Emanuel Celler, who would take note of the agony of Indians, which had been registered and made public.

In the US, a movement was underway for more than a year to acquire citizenship for east Indians. So he as private senator moved the bill "for granting citizenship rights to the Indians domiciled in America and also allowing an annual quota of 100 immigrants from India to settle as citizens in America.

Thus, today, the non-resident Indian (NRI) population of India, who have American citizenship, should thank these two unsung and forgotten heroes.

Celler was not aware of even the existence of Dr Khare. But he was aware of the more commonly known faces of India Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and Nehru.

He had great regard for Nehru in particular.

However, all such perception of Nehru would change later. He would call not only Nehru as "a Commie but even his son a Commie", and when pointed out Nehru had no son he would snap back saying, "then his daughter is a Commie.

In India, the role of Dr Khare had been largely forgotten. He was a straightforward angry man, and too straightforward for petty politics. He was also magnanimous to a fault. But both his anger and magnanimity shared a common factor love for his countrymen.

He was a Hindu Mahasabha supporter, a staunch Hindutvaite. At that time, partition politics was at its peak. Yet, when Second World War stopped the Haj pilgrimage and the ban prolonged, he persuaded the Viceroy and made the Haj possible with the ships carrying the pilgrims being given protection by naval forces.

He was an uncompromising Hindutvaite, and a patriotic humanist par excellence. This made him seek support of every and any leader of Indian polity in his attempt to remove the distress of Indian people abroad whose interests he was taking care of zealously even with the limited power available to him then.

Historian Rakesh Ankit points out this legacy of Dr Khare:

The Indian-Americans Owe It To These Unsung Heroes A Hindutvaite And A Zionist - Swarajya

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