Opinion: India Should Set An Example For The World

Jay Prabhakar

By Jay Prabhakar

The Rohingya people are native to Myanmar. They practice Islam and, presumably for that reason, are treated as subhuman by the ultra-nationalist Buddhist junta. The government of Myanmar has been using systematic rape and other gruesome methods to torment this minority. By some measures, this is the most persecuted people in the world right now.

Jay Prabhakar

With dwindling options, these poor souls are running for their lives to Bangladesh, a country just as impoverished as Myanmar and one that doesn’t want them either. The local Bangladeshis are beginning to revolt against these refugees, claiming they are taking away local jobs. Sound familiar? Businesses that are developing the as-yet pristine beaches along the Bay of Bengal, want the government to get rid of these “annoyances”, so that they can get on with the business of making the beaches a global tourist destination.

Recently, a Rohingya village, in an act of desperation, mounted an attack on a police station. The government retaliated mercilessly, separating the women from the men and children and gang-raping the women for hours. When the villagers eventually fled to the Bangladesh border, they were assaulted by more troops. Women who put up any protest were brutally killed as an example to the rest, who then mutely suffered the humiliation meted out to them by the Burmese soldiers for a second time.

Balkanization is rampant around the world, fuelled by the unsustainable increase in Humankind’s population. As our numbers grow, the relative size of the economic pie shrinks. People look at anyone who are not like themselves, as threats. They see their jobs taken by these “others” and, perhaps justifiably, want them gone.

Such thinking is evident in India. Bangaloreans distrust the Biharis, who come there for construction jobs. Mumbai is for Mumbaiyyas – drive out the “Southies”. Similar sentiments flourish in the rest of the country. PM Narendra Modi’s appointment of Aditya Nath Yogi as the CM of UP is perhaps a preview of India’s formal swivel towards sectarianism, away from secularism. This despite the fact that the preamble to the Indian constitution includes the word “Secular”.

We in the US have become inured to the background “noise” of such abuses around the world. We have “crisis fatigue”, we claim. Our current president was elected on a platform of self-interest and isolationism. America First is still the slogan. America’s refusal to accept our share of the world’s unfortunate – notwithstanding the words at the base of Lady Liberty – has set a bad example for the rest of the world. Strong-men (and women) of all stripe are coming out of the woodwork, across the globe.

One of the guiding tenets of Hinduism – whose proponents staunchly proclaim that it is a Philosophy, not a Religion – is inclusivity. The adoption of Savarkar’s “Hindutva” by the BJP has made India overtly nationalistic and proud of it, comparable to the US’s recent blatant xenophobia.

India shares a substantial border with Myanmar. She aspires to be a dominant power in her neighborhood. Wouldn’t it be a shining example for all of Southeast Asia and perhaps the world, if India were to step up to the plate and address this horrendous inhumanity? Perhaps accept a few thousand of these hapless souls into our warm Hindu hearts, even though they are Muslim? Of course, they must be carefully vetted and there will be logistical issues. India has done this before, with the Tibetans. It seems imperative that India must do something for the Rohingya, if only to re-introduce the world to the meaning of compassion.

(Jay Prabhakar is a consultant in robotics and automation and is the president of Bedford Controls, Inc. He lives in New Hampshire.)


  1. More than one million people from Myanmar currently living in Bangladesh legally or illegally. Bangladesh is already a poor country which is still trying to solve its own problem. On the other hand Myanmar is pushing their people in Bangladesh to create more problems. Many think that Buddhists are peace lover. But I don’t think Buddhists in Myanmar like to live in harmony. We saw many pictures of monks attacking those poor people. Currently million Burmese homeless people living in Bangladesh with no home and work. Some working with very low salary and working hard. International community should know about them more to help them.

  2. India already have 14500 registered Rohingya with approx 1000 to 4000 as unregistered Rohingyas living in country. But India should not take anymore because of 2 reason firstly giving asylum to them would encourage Myanmar to torture them more and make them leave Myanmar and second It makes Myanmar more inclined towards China which India doesn’t want.

    But for my personal reason I will never give any asylum to an Non-Indian Muslim as Muslims in past divided india and created a terrorist state know as Pakistan.

    • One of the central points of my article WAS to encourage India, a Hindu nation, to be compassionate towards Muslims. There is plenty of hate to go around in the world and religion is at the root of ALL of it…
      As for the creation of Pakistan, there was a lot more than just Jinnah involved. But that is an entirely different conversation.

  3. NO matter how compassionate Hindus are towards Muslims, Muslims only wipe out Hindus wherever they are in a majority. Atleast now Hindus should not be stupid and create more kashmirs In india. And do remember no muslim majority nation on earth gives equal status to Hindus.

  4. Hi, Ajay,
    But what about the HUMANITY?? Do you not bleed even a little bit for those poor helpless women, gang-raped? Or do you just see Muslims?
    Where does it all end? Hindus hate Muslims. Muslims detest Jews. Jews don’t trust Christians… The cycle of violence is never ending… At SOME point, one DOES have to turn the other cheek and lead by example.
    An eye-for-an-eye just makes everyone blind…
    I imagine you yourself are somehow connected to the US, either based here or working remotely from India. What if, in what is a quite likely possibility, Trump were to ban all Hindus from working for the US? It could happen, if some Hindu fundamentalist did something to anger him… I know you could transfer your skills to India but you’re working for some US corporation for a reason… This what-if question holds even if you, personally, are not working for or in the US. You probably know someone who does.
    John Lennon said it best when he said “Imagine no religions”…
    Peace, brother.

    • Dear J Prabhakar, I am an Indian muslin, living in India. You sound very compassionate but world doesn’t work on compassion only. The problem of hatred of humans for humans is not everywhere in one or other form. The solution is not simple I suppose. There are many underlying reasons, different they may be, at different places. But somehow somewhere it is the strong nations over the period of time who have committed follies against poorer countries like colonialism, favouring dictators or working against them and so on. Ultimately all this has resulted in great imbalance of power, bitterness and suspicion of others. Perhaps this tendency need to be corrected and it us the nations starting from the strongest ones who have to be holders of unrighteousness and humane.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here