Saturday, August 01, 2015

The fading history of Jewish India

 With thanks: Lisette

It's the land which prides itself on its lack of antisemitism.

 India has had a Jewish community for about 2,000 years, but its more recent Baghdadi community, dating back to the 18th century, is almost extinct.

 This 28-minute TV report gives an interesting overview through the eyes of one of the last Jews of Calcutta, the quaintly-named Flower Silliman, and her daughter Jael.

The community was founded in 1784 by a Jew from Aleppo, Shalome Cohen. The Jewish cake shop and bakery, Nahoum has a faithful following among the locals. Jewish Calcutta has less than 30 Jews still living. The cemetery, with its traditional rounded gravestones, will not be expanding much more.

 The Jews set up trading networks across Asia and made an important economic contribution to India. There is a rare interview with General Jacob, who fought for an independent Bangladesh.

The choice of images is a pot-pourri of photographs, not necessarily of Indian Jews, and the music soundtrack is from the classic film Exodus.

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