The essay below by our Indian correspondent Krutya is a follow-up to his previous post about the Partition of India and its applicability to Sweden.
Lessons for Sweden from the successful Persian integration into India — The Ultimate Culture-Enhancer
The following essay may serve as an addendum to a reply in my earlier post .
I had conjectured that Islam finds its strength in numbers, and their influence on a nation changes radically as the proportion of their population in that nation changes. The link to that hypothesis is here.
Since a nation with a high Muslim population tends to be less open and stricter with the implementation of the Islamic worldview, perhaps then ghettoisation of a locality in a nation must be avoided. If Islam finds its strength in numbers, then their presence in a given population must be highly diluted. (Now I may find some detractors here, but a similar argument against a Christian-dominated colony in India can be made where the Christian sensibilities supersede indigenous ones. Although the repercussions are rarely as violent as when Islamic sensibilities are ignored.)
So if the Muslim population is 5% in Sweden, perhaps every Muslim family would have to be surrounded by 20 indigenous Swedish families. I understand its a very crude solution and more crudely presented, but I hope the gist is conveyed. I refuse to believe that every Muslim is a potential terrorist or harbours hostile intentions towards the host nation. But I am not blind to their violent history and the genesis of the current troubles.
I also agree with the idea of a “Culture-Enhancer”. But the local culture can only be enhanced if the foreign element immerses itself within the indigenous one, not the other way around. A pinch of sugar makes for a sweet cup of milk; a sugar overdose ruins the drink. If Sweden is the Land of Milk and Honey, the refugee’s culture can only be a nutmeg added to it.
In the essay below I recount an episode from India’s history when a group of Persian refugees agreed to follow the Three Rules of Integration laid down by the Indian king. Parsis (people from Persia), as they are called today, mixed with the Indian culture like sugar with milk eventually making the Indian one more tasteful.
In the 7th Century AD, Islamic expansion had conquered all of Arabia, destroyed the original religious beliefs prevalent there and was beginning to make its incursions into Persia (modern day Iran). The dominant religion of the Persian Empire (then Sassanid Empire) was Zoroastrian. One must note that Iranians, even modern-day ones, are not Arabs but Caucasians.
Anyway, Persia in 7th Century AD was not what it used to be at the time of the Greeks, and it began to yield to the Islamic invaders. By the 8th Century Muslims had conquered large parts of the region and the major trade routes such as the Silk Route and the ports were under their control. As is well-documented, the Muslims imposed a “Jazia” or jizyah — a tax on non-Muslims — as protection money. Zoroastrian traders along this route were no different, and had to pay the tax. Given the twin challenges of Islamic invasion of their homeland of Pars (Persia) and the Jazia Tax, the Zoroastrians became refugees fleeing Islamic persecution and immigrants seeking better financial lives. As refugees and immigrants, the Zoroastrians turned east to India.
Between the 8th and 10th centuries Zoroastrians landed on the western shores of the modern Indian state of Gujarat. The port of Sanjan where the Zoroastrians arrived was then under the rule of the Hindu king Jadi (Jadhav) Rana.
The fleeing Persians/Zoroastrians were warlike empire builders, astute merchants and carrying arms. Theirs was not an Indian religion. And yet they felt they could find refuge in an alien land — they could find peace and prosperity amidst the Hindu people. They realised first that they were the seekers and guests, asking for a hospitable land from an Indian king. Jadi Rana on his part was already known for his fairness among his subjects. When the Persians/Zoroastrians encountered him, requesting land and the freedom to practice their faith, Jadi Rana was concerned. Firstly he was concerned whether he could trust these warlike armed refuge-seekers to live peacefully among his subjects. Secondly, he was not sure if he could accept any additional population and expect his subjects to share their resources with these foreigners.
What followed is a unique combination of realpolitik and legend.
To ascertain whether they were indeed looking for a peaceful haven to practice their beliefs, he asked the Zoroastrians to show what they could find in common with the prevalent Hindu religion of his kingdom. The Zoroastrians referred to 15 Shlokas (Hymns) in Sanskrit/Hindu belief system telling King Jadi Rana that those were the most important tenets of Zoroastrianism and therefore were common ground between Hinduism and Zoroastrianism. Pleased with the foreigners’ knowledge of his customs, he added a 16th Shlok responding to them.
Still, he was concerned that these armed foreigners might be treated as hostile by his own subjects. He would have been keen to avoid a civil war between these foreigners and his subjects. So he laid down Three Rules for the foreigners to follow. I believe these three rules agreed to between Jadi Rana and the refugees of Persia fleeing religious persecution in their homeland in the 9th Century will find practical utility between Sweden and the refugees they are agreeing to harbour amidst them in the 21st Century.
The Three Rules were:
|1.||The foreigners will learn and adopt the local language.|
|2.||The womenfolk of the foreigners will adopt the local dress code.|
|3.||The foreigners will cease to bear arms.
(It is my conjecture that, since Zoroastrianism, like Hinduism, is not a proselytizing religion, there was no further need to hold them to the promise of not converting the natives from their Old Gods.)
To his second concern, that he could not possibly accommodate so many foreigners given the limited resources, he pointed the Zoroastrians to a cup full to the brim with milk. He indicated that his land was full and could not find a place for these new foreigners. To which a wise old Zoroastrian took a pinch of Sugar and dropped it in the cup full of milk without spilling any milk; indicating the Zoroastrians would mix with the Indian culture like sugar with milk, and sweeten the milk.
There is a concept in the Indian thought system – that of Janma-bhoomi and Karma-bhoomi.
Janma Bhoomi = Birth Land, Karma Bhoomi = Duty Land.
Usually the man finds his call of duty in the land of his birth. There is no conflict of loyalties. But when a man leaves his Janmabhoomi for better prospects in a different land, the new land becomes the Karmabhoomi. It is this Land of Duty that nourishes him and helps him to maintain his future generation. Therefore, his loyalties must lie first to the Karmabhoomi. He can still worship his Janmabhoomi as holy and sacred, but his loyalties must clearly be to his Karmabhoomi.
Zoroastrians are now called Parsis (people from Pars or Persia). They have been India’s most successful refugees/immigrants. India owes a lot to the Parsis, as much as the original Parsis owed to India. Only 60,000 Parsis are left. Its not because of any religious persecution, but due to the rigid matrimonial laws of Parsis. The Indian Government is going all-out to increase the numbers of Parsis in India. In fact, India is the last final home of the Parsis.
For the Parsis, Iran was still sacred, but a motherland of their ancestors. India was their Karmabhoomi, and for their children, their Janmabhoomi. They truly are the sweetener in India’s culture.
And that’s how one finds and comes to live with a “Culture-Enhancer”.
What I am aiming at is that Sweden needs to make certain that the refugee (coming to Sweden because he faces death in his homeland) and the immigrant (coming to Sweden for better economic conditions than his homeland’s) integrate into Sweden, adopting these Three Rules of Integration. Before the Asylum Seeker is handed a pass into Sweden:
|1.||He/she takes a oath in Swedish to adopt Sweden’s culture,|
|2.||Dresses as a Swede, and|
|3.||Vows to never bear arms or protest again that are detrimental to Swedish peace.
He can be a Culture-Enhancer only if he immerses in the culture of the nation that provides them the security to live dignified lives. I would that it is a fair trade. And a rational argument for the left-leaning ultra-liberals and Islam-apologists.
In the privacy of one’s home, one is free to act according to one’s beliefs, and wear the clothes one wears and speak the language one speaks. But in public one talks like a Swede, looks Swedish, and thinks like a Swede. Is that too much to ask?
Sources on the Parsis: