Jewish Communities of India: Identity in a Colonial Era (Second Edition) / Edition 2

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Roland portrays sensitively the evolution of the identity of the two groups from the arrival of the British to the emergence of independent India. . . [The Jewish Communities of India] is an important work that illuminates not only a little-known aspect of Jewish and Indian history, but also the process of the emergence of ethnic and national identities in multicultural settings.”— Aron Rodrigue, American Historical Review

Joan Roland gives an admirably lucid and thoughtful account of Indian Jewish history."-Anita Desai, New York Review of Books

Booknews
New edition of a study in which Roland (history, Pace University) draws on a wealth of materials such as Indian Jewish periodicals, official and private archives, and extensive interviews in order to describe how identities that had begun under the Indian caste system changed with British colonial rule. She also discusses the experience of European Jewish refugees who arrived in India after 1933 and how the struggle for Indian independence and the establishment of a Jewish homeland raised even further questions. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765804396
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan G. Roland is professor of history at Pace University in New York. She is the editor of Africa: The Heritage and the Challenge.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface
Introduction 1
1 Jews and Society in Premodern India 11
2 The Emergence of Indian Nationalism 31
3 A State of Complex Identities 65
4 Indians, Jews, or Europeans? 89
5 Intracommunal Struggles and Zionism 128
6 A Heightened Jewish Consciousness 171
7 Challenges of the War 213
8 The Postwar Dilemma 238
Conclusion 259
Epilogue to the Transaction Edition 267
Glossary 301
Notes 305
Selected Bibliography 365
Additional Bibliography 375
Index 377
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