Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Pilgrim’s Repose

An ancient Indian link to the holy land stands firm amid all the turbulence

Pilgrim’s Repose Seema Sirohi

Little India In Jerusalem

  • The Indian hospice, called Zawiya al-Hindiya, stands on 7000 sq m of prime land in the historic heart of Jerusalem’s walled city
  • It is built on the site where Sufi saint Baba Farid stayed in the 14th century
  • Since 1924, the hospice, which flies the Indian tricolour, has been run as a charitable trust by a family whose ancestor came from Saharanpur. They remain Indian citizens.
  • It has hosted Indian soldiers during World War II, India-Palestine meetings in recent years
  • It still offers rooms to visiting Indians of all faiths

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While the Israelis push and Palestinians try to hold on to Jerusalem, India has quietly but assuredly maintained its presence in the Holy Land. The Indian flag flies over a cool 7,000 square metres of the world’s most contested real estate, where every wall and every rock is claimed in the name of prophets and messiahs. And where Israeli settlers attempt daily encroachments, inch by inch, house by evicted house.

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