Right from 2005 when the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” was instituted by the UN, I have been fortunate to gather together and organise with the local Jewish and Non Jewish communities members here in Mumbai, a memorial on the 27th of January in remembering victims of the Shoah, but this year in 2018 I couldn’t do it……..not to say that I didn’t want to, or “‘Remember the Day”… it was a personal choice…….. the subject of Shoah has always been a personal issue for me.. because of my family roots, connection to Poland.
(The Jewish Youth Group at the JCC with this years theme “We Remember”)
This year in 2018 the theme of the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” was “We Remember”, this year like the 2017 began with a Musical note brought by Daphna Mor all the way from New York to Mumbai through her Recorder and Voice, she had come from Goa, as she was vacationing in Goa with her family, after two years of contact just through emails, here she was in Mumbai to meet and interact with the Jewish community through Piyutim, would not like to call it a “Piyutim Workshop”, as it was more than just a workshop, it was a conversation an interaction, a sharing of traditions between Daphna and the community members.
(Daphna Mor with members of the Jewish Community of Mumbai)
For me as a student of ethnomusicology just watching, hearing, Daphna speak, sing, and playing the Recorder was such a learning experience, specially when we visited the Magen David Synagogue, which was undergoing renovations, where she started speaking, singing and playing the Recorder, the acoustic’s feed back that I was getting, I can just put it in one word used in Arabic “Tarab”!.
(Daphna Mor at the Magen David Synagogue in Mumbai)
After Daphna left back for Goa, I was getting ready to do what I had planned to do something for the 27th January the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day”, along with a screening of a very special Film-“Besa-The Promise”, sent to me specially for this day, but due to my health and personal issues, especially the unrest all over the country, curbing freedom of expression through films, trying to stall a movie rather than clamp down on the violent mobs, the governments both at the Centre and the States have shown scant regard to constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression, but the attack on a bus full of school children by some miscrents on the news, made me seriously think what have we become as a nation? I just couldn’t pretend to do something connected to the Shoah, I just had to sit, pause and reflect, what this day was established for ??? am I really doing justice to this day by just keeping it?, am I doing something in that direction as a writer, film-maker in raising my voice….
The Dots….connected the unrest of my Country to things that happened 458 years ago “The Portuguese Inquisition in Goa” here in India, in a place called Goa, today a favourite holiday destination for Indians and Foreigners, not many people here and even abroad know much about it, its sometimes deliberately either ignored by one group, or another religious organisation tries to take mileage out of it, as Jews, Muslims, and even Hindus suffered under it, so its becomes more like a football match, I just dont want to get into the politics of it.
On 26th January is the “Republic Day of India” and 27th January is “The International Holocaust Remembrance Day” by Remembering the Goa Inquisition which took place 1560’s onwards, and the Republic Day that honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950, but is it really in effect? why is there so much chaos???
I thought what if I as a Indian, with Polish Jewish roots, ask Daphna who is still in Goa, and is of Sephardic Jewish descent, play, say or sing something from that very place, that very soil of Goa, it could mean so much! some kind of reconcilation?, specially at this time for this day! I sent her a message and she was very glad and klnd to do something, and the very next day in the morning she recorded it on her phone here it is played by her, on her Recorder which she is so well know for all over the world…..
Siete Hijos Tiene Hanna-Hannah has Seven Son’s
Old Ladino Song
Traditional Sephardic Source
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. One of the stories traditionally told during this celebration is of a Jewish martyr, a woman with seven sons, described in 2 Maccabees 7 and other sources (although unnamed in 2 Maccabees, she is known variously as Hannah, Miriam and Solomonia). Shortly before the revolt of Judas Maccabeus (2 Maccabees 8), Antiochus IV Epiphanes arrested a mother and her seven sons, and tried to force them to eat pork. When they refused, he tortured and killed the sons one by one. The narrator mentions that the mother “was the most remarkable of all, and deserves to be remembered with special honour. She watched her seven sons die in the space of a single day, yet she bore it bravely because she put her trust in the Lord.” Interestingly, the Talmud tells a similar story, but with refusal to worship an idol replacing refusal to eat pork.
Siete hijos tiene Hanna
Hanna la buena giudía
Los mandó a yamar el rey
A todos siete en un día
Ven aquí, hijo de Hanna
Hanna la buena giudía
Te daré la mi corona
asentaté en la mi silla.
No quiero su corona
Ni mi asento en su silla
No mi pierdro mi Ley Santa,
No entró en la falsía
Hannah has 7 sons
Hannah the good Jewess
The king sent for them
All 7 in one day
Come here, son of Hannah
Hannah the good Jewess
I will give you my crown
and you will sit on my throne
I don’t want your crown
nor will I sit on your throne
I will not forsake my Holy Law,
nor believe in idolatry
I am unhappy this year I could not keep the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” but I am glad at-least, I could write this blog, and pour out what’s on my heart….. I have always followed my heart………