Description : Of all the Diaspora communities, the Jews of India are among the least known and most interesting. This readable study, full of vivid details of everyday life, looks in depth at the religious life of the Jewish community in Cochin, the Bene Israel from the remote Konkan coast near Bombay, and the Baghdadi Jews, who migrated to Indian port cities and flourished under the British Raj. Who Are the Jews of India? is the first integrated, comprehensive work available on all three of India's Jewish communities. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Nathan Katz brings together methods and insights from religious studies, ritual studies, anthropology, history, linguistics, and folklore, as he discusses the strategies each community developed to maintain its Jewish identity. Based on extensive fieldwork throughout India, as well as close reading of historical documents, this study provides a striking new understanding of the Jewish Diaspora and of Hindu civilization as a whole.
Description : Jews of India, one of the lesser-known and perhaps most interesting of the Diaspora, comprise the three geographically and ethnographically distinct communities examined in The Israel Museum's unique and authoritative volume The Jews of India. The Bene Israel, the largest group at approximately 24,000 members, inhabited the Maharashtra State on India's western coast; its ties with mainstream Judaism were reestablished in the nineteenth century. The smallest and oldest of the Indian Jewish communities, the Jews of Cochin have been a presence on the Malabar Coast of southwestern India for at least a thousand years. They numbered about 2,500 in the mid-1950's, just prior to their immigration to Israel. The Baghdadi Jews migrated from Iraq and Syria to large commercial cities in western and eastern India in the late eighteenth century. Numbering about 5,000 at the population's peak, Baghdadi Jews were largely assimilated into British colonial society, did not develop a distinct material culture in India, and so are a relatively minor presence in this book. Esteemed editor Orpa Slapak spearheaded studies of all three Indian Jewish communities in Israel and in India, and has assembled a vivid and powerful portrait of these peoples. The text is profusely illustrated with striking color and black and white photographs of Indian Jews at home, work, prayer, and leisure, as well as a multitude of remarkable Indian Jewish artifacts, including illuminated manuscripts, lamps, clothing, jewelry, and household implements. Several maps, useful glossaries, and a selected bibliography complete the volume.
Description : Although the Bene Israel community of western India, the Baghdadi Jews of Bombay and Calcutta, and the Cochin Jews of the Malabar Coast form a tiny segment of the Indian population, their long-term residence within a vastly different culture has always made them the subject of much curiosity. India is perhaps the one country in the world where Jews have never been exposed to anti-Semitism, but in the last century they have had to struggle to maintain their identity as they encountered two competing nationalisms: Indian nationalism and Zionism. Focusing primarily on the Bene Israel and Baghdadis in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Joan Roland describes how identities begun under the Indian caste system changed with British colonial rule, and then how the struggle for Indian independence and the establishment of a Jewish homeland raised even further questions. She also discuses the experiences of European Jewish refugees who arrived in India after 1933 and remained there until after World War II.To describe what it meant to be a Jew in India, Roland draws on a wealth of materials such as Indian Jewish periodicals, official and private archives, and extensive interviews. Historians, Judaic studies specialist, India area scholars, postcolonialist, and sociologists will all find this book to be an engaging study. A new final chapter discusses the position of the remaining Jews in India as well as the status of Indian Jews in Israel at the end of the twentieth century.
Description : Exploring the image of Jews in India in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this book looks at both the Indian attitudes towards the Jewish communities of the subcontinent and at the way Jews and Judaism in general have been represented in Indian discourse. Despite the fact that the Indian Jewish population constitutes one of the country’s tiniest minorities, the relations of the local Jews with other communities form an integral part in the history of Indian multiculturalism. This has become increasingly apparent over the last two centuries as Judaism and its image have been incorporated into the discussions of some of the most prominent figures of different religious and nationalist movements, leaders of independent India, and the Indian mass media. Furthermore, recent decades witnessed mass adoption of Israelite identity by Indians from two different regions and religious groups. Being a topic that has received little attention, Jews and India seeks to rectify this situation by examining these developments and providing a fascinating insight into these issues. This volume will be of interest to scholars of Jewish and Indian cultural studies.
Description : The Book Documents The Vanishing Heritage Of The Relatively Unknown Indian Jewsih Communities: The Bene Israel Of Maharashtra, The Cochin Jews Of The Malabar Coast, And The Baghdadi Jews Who Settled In Bombay And Calcutta. It Combines Scholarship With Photographic Documentation.
Description : Reading the life narratives and literary texts of South Asians writing in and about East Africa, Gaurav Desai builds a surprising, alternative history of Africa's experience with slavery, migration, colonialism, nationalism, and globalization. Consulting Afrasian texts that are literary and nonfictional, political and private, he broadens the scope of African and South Asian scholarship and inspires a more nuanced understanding of the Indian Ocean's fertile routes of exchange. Desai shows how the Indian Ocean engendered a number of syncretic identities and shaped the medieval trade routes of the Islamicate empire, the early independence movements galvanized in part by Gandhi's southern African experiences, the invention of new ethnic nationalisms, and the rise of plural, multiethnic African nations. Calling attention to lives and literatures long neglected by traditional scholars, Desai introduces rich, interdisciplinary ways of thinking not only about this specific region but also about the very nature of ethnic history and identity. Traveling from the twelfth century to today, he concludes with a look at contemporary Asian populations in East Africa and their struggle to decide how best to participate in the development and modernization of their postcolonial nations without sacrificing their political autonomy.