Jews in India & The Salomon Superstar Club Band

“When they bleached your hair, they must have bleached your brain too.” Kirk Douglas as Charles Tatum in Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, 1951.

Mizoram, meaning “Land of the Hill People”, is a beautiful North Eastern Indian state; a land of rolling hills, valleys, rivers and lakes with the neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Burma. There, a senior state government official, Dr. L. B. Sailo founded The Holy Church sect 30 years ago which is building what they are calling “The Solomon’s Temple”; a successor to the original Solomon’s Temple of Jerusalem mentioned in the Old Testament.

Back in history within King David’s reign alone the Israelites acquired an empire, a navy and a huge trade. To match this worldly grandeur, it fell to David’s son, Solomon, to build a Temple whose opulence and beauty so amazed the people, and who fame spread to all parts of the world. Solomon was a royal voluptuary, veiled in wisdom and splendor. Even do accordingly to written history he could understand birds language which I, as an owner of a three month old Cockatiel named “Elvis” and following YouTube training tutorials I find it quite astonished as it requires a heck of a lot of patience. Well… getting to the point: The Qur’an refers to him as the son of David, as a prophet and as a great ruler imparted by God with tremendous wisdom, favor, and mystical powers, furthermore, the biblical Book of Proverbs, written by Solomon, is a dogmatic guideline for morality and manners in many Jewish and Christian denominations. So it was during his reign that Israel attained its zenith of terrestrial glory and following the wishes and vision of his father David, he proceeded with the construction of the Temple.  According to the Torah and the Bible, it was the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem but later on it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

At present, India is populated by a handful of Bollywood playboys and sexy starlets, a few billionaires and millions and millions of hungry children. But 1,000 years BC, India was the wealthiest nation on earth. Fabulous jewels were stowed there; there were caves full of them, gold and treasures horded in cold, underground vaults (reputedly guarded by dragons and other real or mythical creatures); there were jewels glittering in temples and on every image. Jewels, spices, silks… ; even in the days of Marco Polo, even in the times of Vasco da Gama and Christopher Colombus the vast wealth of the East inspired the imagination of seekers whose quests would turn the world upside down. So, Salomon, influenced by the vibrant culture of India for which he felt impacted, made contact with its trade basically from the South. Then, Jewish communities settled as traders in India and Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history.

Following acceptance from the chief Rabbi in 2005 and the Israeli government, it is believed that the Jews living in Mizoram are the descendants of one of the ten lost tribes of Israel (others said they are just economic migrants, and not true Jews, evading the Indian cast system through religious conversions…). In the past, many were converted to Christianity and were originally headhunters and animists at the beginning of the 20th century, but began converting to Judaism in the 1970s. In 2012, the Israeli government agreed to the migration of hundreds Bnei Menashe’s (Mizo Jews) members to the Holy Land. It is estimated that in January 2013 around 2,000 Bnei Menashe immigrants arrived in Israel and 5,000 to 7,200 still in India working on formal conversion and with the hope to emigrate. But to most of them a number of obstacles had prevented them from leaving India: They are extremely poor. So, the Israeli government will have to keep providing financial assistance and bear the travel expenses of the families.

On the other hand, in Indian, where almost a third of its massive 1.2 billion population has to survive on less than a dollar a day (one in three malnourished children is in India), where are more poor people in 8 Indian states than in the 26 poorest African countries combined, meanwhile, shameless, despite they could used their time, efforts and money in helping those needed countrymen, for the past 20 years, the Christian religious sect The Holy Church based on their believes that the Indian state of Mizoram is the Biblical “hidden Jerusalem” are building a Temple of full marble structure (source all the way from Rajasthan) over 3,025 sq m with four towers topped with a crown each and pillars emblazoned with seven Stars of David, 300 car basement parking capacity, a centrally air-conditioned main hall with seating capacity of 3,000, small loud-speakers on every each bench, a rainwater harvesting mechanism on the roof, etc…

You may ask, and how much cost the whole religious extravaganza? Well… “The Lord works in mysterious ways”: More than US$ 3 million by the time its expected completion in 2016. The Holy Church’s organization claims that the money generates from donations from church members collected worldwide and from anyone else willing to make offerings. These kinds of swindler men using the name of God in order to deceive mental weak people (mostly foreigners) are very much prolific in India since many years ago. Like for example the guru Osho; a money-sucker multimillionaire (with numerous Rolls-Royce cars and properties in the United States) who found divinity in sexuality and allegedly taught his disciples to follow free sex as a way to nirvana. Furthermore he sympathized with Hitler’s actions against Jews and called “holy smoke” to the smoke coming out from the Nazi’s concentration camps’ gas chambers.

Such tremendous amount of money definitely could be use to help the needed Indians as for example those seeking a new life abroad for better opportunities, helping their poor fellow citizens Mizo Jews in returning to Israel or in building shelters or in donations to trustful NGO’s to help children or women (the most disadvantaged members of the Indian population and comprised the largest portion living in absolute poverty). But Dr. L.B. Sailo is blind to reality. His reasons for this tremendous madness is that Mizo people were mass converted to Christianity by British missionaries at the end of 19th Century due a divinity purpose and argues that God appeared before him in a dream and directed him to build such place of worship like if “sex machine” James Brown from inside the Church in the “Blues Brothers” movie would shout at him: “He has seeeen the light!”. He seriously might believe that he has power enough to turn cow piss into gasoline. Phsss! “He is on a mission from God!”

About the Author
Alfredo de Braganza is an award-winning independent filmmaker & chocolate-coated sufganiyah lover from Spain currently living in India. His documentary "Smoking Babas" was selected for the Madrid International Film Festival and his film "Maayan The Fisherman" for Best Narrative Film at the Florida International Film Festival. He is the first Spanish person to make a feature film in India, on celluloid and native language. His documentary "Boxing Babylon" won Best Documentary Awards at the 2013-Norway Film Festival and New Delhi International Sports Film Festival. He can be contacted at: