By Amb Man Mohan Bhanot

Greater than three years in Syria could appear an overstated journey posting, when seen via the binoculars equipped by the worldwide media. On 4 April 2017, frequent WhatsApp calls from my spouse in India woke me up within the morning. It was her birthday however the cause for the decision was completely different; her nervousness for my security. The media had scared her with the tragedies in Syria consequent to the chemical assaults in Khan Shaykhun. The impression she had obtained was that Syria was immersed within the toxic gases. She was comforted when assured of my well-being. It was a toxic gasoline unfold in a spot far-off from Damascus. Price appreciating was the effectivity of the worldwide media in gaining information of the tragedies and relaying throughout virtually concurrently to its prevalence!

On different events, there have been these Israeli missile assaults round Damascus.  I might see from my home in West Mezze the entire night time sky lighting-up when a few of these missiles could be intercepted by the Syrian air-defense missiles. This may increasingly appear scary if we aren’t conscious of the cutting-edge know-how of such missiles. These missiles hit the targets with the accuracy of inches acutely aware of the coordinates for the security of the civilians  and worldwide diplomatic neighborhood dwelling in Damascus. The hits would happen within the night time when the employees had left the premises.

I discovered Syrians happy with their historical past like we’re. They rightly imagine their nation as  the cradle of civilization. The Syrians declare that a lot of the pleasant Turkish and Lebanese delicacies initially belonged to them. They’ve all the time been recognized for his or her modern minds. Few folks would know that Steve Jobs had his roots in Homs. The language, Jesus spoke continues to be spoken in Maaloula, a village not very removed from Damascus. When civilizations survive over millennia, they study to coexist, and develop the mind of seeing synonymy in variety. It’s rude in Syria to ask the religion one follows. They’re a harmonized society of Arabs, Alawites, Druze, Ismailis, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians, Jews  and so forth. Apart from Christians and Jews, all of them observe Islam in several blends. Alawites and Druz imagine in reincarnation as effectively. 

Aiysha, a 21 years previous lady, had simply been to India. Her mother and father invited me for dinner. Aiysha appeared completely Indian in Salwar Kameez purchased from India.  She had a twin brother Ali. The mother and father informed me that the twins remembered their previous lives as kids. Aiysha  associated her previous to India and Ali to Greece. The mother and father narrated an attention-grabbing story of their delivery. Aiysha’s mom was with out infants or their chance. As soon as she accompanied her artist husband to India and visited many Indian locations together with the spiritual ones. In entrance of a youngsters put on store, she developed a sudden urge and unintendedly purchased two new child baby-wears; one every for a lady and a boy. As issues would unfold on her return to Syria, these attire have been worn by Aiysha and Ali when born. It’s common to seek out folks amongst Alawites claiming to recollect their previous lives.

After I visited His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem-II, Patriarch of Antioch of Syriac Orthodox Church over a dinner invitation, our dialog shortly turned past the formal courtesies.  Majority following of the Syriac Church is from Kerala together with his shut affiliate affable Reverend Mathews. He narrated the great experiences of his go to to India in the course of the previous yr. HH appeared on the Syrians primarily based on their frequent roots slightly than their current faiths, “earlier than we have been Muslims, Christians or Jews we have been all Syrians.” My consideration was drawn to his particular employees with the carving of two rising snakes on it. I requested him in regards to the significance of the snakes. It was considerably associated to the “rod of Moses” symbolizing the interchanging of a rod and a snake on God’s doing. ‘However then, why two snakes on his employees and never one?’ I contemplated in my thoughts.  Perhaps the 2 rising snakes symbolize the awakening of the kundalini, the state of steadiness of pingala and sushumna nadis!

The long-lasting Damascene sword in Umayyad Sq. is demonstrative of the Syrian pleasure within the excellence of their swords. These swords have been constituted of the particular metal introduced from India. The distinctive mixture of toughness and malleability of the metal made them distinctive. Many imagine Saladin couldn’t have defeated the European crusades however for these swords. A go to to previous Damascus takes our creativeness again into the previous by millennia, when Indian producers would stroll over these streets to market their merchandise. Spice is known as Bharat, most likely following the title of the provider nation in vogue then.  Since very historic instances, Syria had been an out-post for the Indian merchandise throughout to the opposite components of the world, the 2 sharing symbiotic relationship of the producer and the dealer. Late nights within the eating places and bars within the conventional environs of the previous metropolis full of individuals swinging to the reside Arab music is mesmerizing. Seeing me there, they’d sing Indian songs as effectively.  

After I made a farewell name on my pal Minister Salwa Abdullah, my consideration was drawn to a mesmerizing small date-tree artifact positioned on her workplace shelf, carved-out of the shining copper plates. I requested her if that had a particular that means for its being in copper carvings. She didn’t see any relation. A sudden flash of thought  appeared to disclose  me the traditional linkages of Syria to the Indian subcontinent,these copper carvings of the date-trees had hidden in them. ‘Tamar’ in Arabic stands for dates, and  subsequently ‘tamar-hind’ in Arabic shall  imply ‘dates from India’, which it doesn’t. Tamar-hind truly means tamarind.  Why ought to tamarind in Arabic be known as as dates from India? What have they got in frequent? It’s the brown color of the copper shared by the dates and the tamarind.  Copper in Sanskrit is known as “tamr” like  “tamr rupam”, the traditional Indian copper forex. Each tamar (dates) and tamar-hind (tamarind)  could subsequently have their roots within the Sanskrit phrase ‘Tamr’

Hoora or hoors in Arabic means lovely virgins of heaven. A neighborhood pal defined the  that means of ‘hoora-ain” within the parental Aramaic language as eyes as lovely grapes (blacks), thus implying lovely girls with darkish black eyes. Surprisingly, Hara-hura in Sanskrit additionally means grapes. My subsequent etymological inquisition refers back to the well-known Palmyra with its historic title Tadmor, each that means the land of the date bushes. The title doesn’t appear to qualify for its that means primarily based on the Semitic languages. In Sanskrit ‘Tad’ stands for any of the tall palm bushes and maru for desert.  That defines ‘Tadmor’ because the ‘desert land of the date bushes’. Its lovely queen Zenobia is an icon of Syrian pleasure . The Roman title of her husband Odaenathus that means lord of the east feels like Udai Nath (lord of the east in Sanskrit) and her personal title Zenobia feels like Jhanavi!

His Grace the Grand Mufti of Syria had his workplace throughout the road to our Embassy constructing. His 22 years previous son had sadly fallen sufferer to the continuing disaster. HG would repeatedly narrate with fascination his experiences in India after his go to to the World Cultural Pageant on invitation from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I used to be fascinated by his exemplary open mindedness in believing in solely that’s unifying slightly than dividing, and would usually go to him for ‘shastrarth’ as and when mutually handy.

It was yet one more enthrallment to go to Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi monastery on a hill high which additionally occurs to be the positioning of the final found Stonehenge. Syria holds tons of historic treasure in its numerous historic websites. In most of those websites the unique construction is usually a temple of Bel/Baal, typically accompanied by moon-god on the left and sun-god on the fitting; the order equivalent to the yogic breaths- left moon and proper solar. 

Younger Kurdish PRO Zainab took me round to point out the traditional displays within the wealthy Damascus Nationwide Museum. Most of the essential ones had been hidden for concern of their security given the Syrian turmoil. A restaurant within the backyard premises had been provided on a compassionate foundation to the son of Khaled al Assad, the archaeologist, protector and restorer of the traditional metropolis of Palmyra.  He was beheaded when he had refused Daesh’s entry to artifacts which he had safely hid earlier than their takeover of Palmyra.

My consideration was captured by the depictions of the Indian humped cows within the wall work in Dura Europa synagogue. It is likely one of the oldest surviving synagogues which was transported to the Damascus museum from Dura Europa within the japanese Syria someday within the Nineteen Thirties. Dura Europas was an historic metropolis of transshipment of the Indian items throughout Maurya-Selucus Nicator instances. It was the age when the ‘un-polarized’ pluralism of faiths was being taken over with the ‘polarized’ monotheistic financial pursuits of the statecraft setting path for the realpolitik of at this time.

Previous midnight on 15 July 2016, we have been in a lodge on the attractive Mediterranean coast of Tartous throughout my spouse and daughter’s  quick go to to me.  Late at night time, we heard the cracking sounds of the bullet pictures from throughout. Such incidences then would imply a combat between the terrorists and the Syrian Forces, and the defeat of the latter would imply you being left on the mercy of the terrorists. My spouse stopped me from going to the connected balcony to peep downstairs. Terrified, I known as lodge reception to determine the opportunity of secure evacuation. I used to be relieved when the supervisor informed me to calm down as these pictures have been being fired by the Syrian Troopers, celebrating the difficulty on the Turkish President Erdogan. “What hassle?”, I shortly requested. There was an tried coup in opposition to him in Turkey.

We jumped to the TV for the information. However the TV was filled with one other information of a terrorist pushed truck hitting the crowds of individuals celebrating Bastille Day in Good, France. My spouse jogged my memory that my brother and his household have been on vacation there on that un-fateful day. All our efforts to right away contact them had failed. It was all the time them worrying for me in Syria from the UK. Satirically, at this time we have been nervous for his or her security! Syria gave the impression to be safer than Western Europe for some time! The subsequent morning we might get  them on the telephone. They have been subsequent to the incident when it had taken place and had a miraculous escape.

By the top of my tenure, my residence had was an ‘adda’ for the discovered in addition to not so discovered students sans any protocol norms. On some evenings, they’d attain my residence prematurely of me. Raza, my environment friendly assistant, would shortly prepare dinner and serve them Greek and fattoush salads, pakaroas, samosas, bhelpuri and so on. My vegetarianism was hardly a hindrance to the actions of thoughts. We’d differ on numerous points to lastly attain frequent grounds. As my departure date neared, the exercise of the adda accelerated to its highest to flee the anticipated nostalgia following our parting!

Many in Syria philosophize as to what turned the Arab spring into autumn when it reached Syria. The most typical causes attributed are the very causes that led to the Syrian disaster; to its essential geopolitical location on the silk route. No different place on this planet has seen a lot of the mercantile commerce via its territories than Palmyra, Aleppo and Damascus. The wealthy Syrian buying and selling neighborhood is embedded with this collective unconsciousness in regards to the significance of their place, and because of this, it all the time retains them rooted to their lands.  So, when a lot of the Syrian territory had been taken over by the terrorists and rebels, the Syrian state establishments by no means failed in discharge of their tasks regardless of shortage of funds and sanctions. A lot of the buying and selling neighborhood by no means deserted the federal government. The federal government continued to supply qualitative training and medical companies free of charge. A sponsored pack of the Arab chapattis, ample to feed one for two-three days, price solely fifty Syrian Kilos or seven Rupees, and it could nonetheless kind a part of each Syrian’s staple eating regimen, no matter the distinctions of the wealthy or poor!

(Writer is previously Ambassador of India in Syria and India’s first Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. His e-mail: [email protected]

 The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and haven’t any bearing on different issues in any way.  They don’t replicate the official place or coverage of Monetary Categorical On-line. Reproducing this content material with out permission is prohibited).

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