'I've connected with youth groups here'

'I've connected with youth groups here'
The first thing that caught 26-year-old Ronny Orr’s attention when he landed in India was the sight of temples, mosques and churches, located beside each other. “You would never find such a thing back home in Israel. I like the way people from different religious backgrounds move around together in harmony, here in India,” says Ronny. A native of Israel, Ronny was a part of the student contingent from Israel at the 14th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD).  The group is on a familiarisation of India programme and Ronny, who traces his ancestral roots to Pune, says that he couldn’t wait to visit India.

“My mother is originally a Jew from Pune and my father is from Russia. My family moved to Jerusalem and later to Israel more than five decades ago. I don’t know what happened before that,” he says. “But I was excited at the thought of coming to India because of the many stories that I’ve been told about this country and its culture,” he adds. Ronny has friends and relatives living in Mumbai and Pune. That also gave him the chance to visit these cities before coming to Bengaluru for the PBD.

“What I got to see at PBD was a melting pot of cultures. I got an understanding of the language, food habits and way of life after interacting with the different student groups at the event. The educational tour would not have been complete without visiting PBD,” he says.   

He finds Indians, especially the younger lot, to be very tolerant and peace-loving. “This place is peaceful when compared to the tension-ridden parts of Israel, especially Syria. I have friends and relatives in Syria but we aren’t able to meet or connect with anybody there because people there are so scared to step out of their homes,” he says. Ronny is a part of several student activist groups in his country who help refugees in Sudan and Syria.

“We connect with the similar student groups in these two places to lend support to the poor who have lost their homes and belongings. I’ve connected with youth groups here in India doing similar work,” says Ronny.  

This young man has also managed to grab some time to do a bit of sightseeing. “I visited the Jewish Synagogue in Mattancherry and spent some time in the age-old structure. I am glad that these places are preserved and maintained so well. I experienced a deep sense of peace when I was there,” he says. Ronny also relished the local food of Kerala and got a peek into the life of the fishing community.

“The people in different parts of India whom I’ve seen and interacted with are poor but seem to be very happy and content with whatever little they have. There’s a lot for those from other countries to learn and emulate from the people in India,” he says.

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