You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

"We've Never Felt Scared"

Naresh Fernandes, the editor of Time Out Mumbai, tracks the rich tradition of Jews in India:

As an Indian Christian, I occasionally remind my Jewish friends that I owe my faith to them. Indian tradition maintains that a few years after Christ's death, one of his apostles, Thomas ("the Doubter'), sailed to the southern Indian state of Kerala to share the Good News with his co-religionists. Jews have lived in India for thousands of years, perhaps arriving on a mission from the court of King Solomon to trade in "elephant's tooth, peacocks and apes". The Jews of Cochin are said to have been less than receptive to Thomas's message, though he did make many other converts.

India's ancient Jewish history, evidence of the country's tolerance for people of all faiths, has long been a source of pride for us. But an even greater cause for satisfaction has been the fact that Indian Jews have never faced persecution. To the contrary, Indian Jews have flourished, and nowhere is that more evident than in Mumbai. Some of the city's best-known landmarks, including Flora Fountain, the hub of the city's Fort business district, have been built with donations from Jewish philanthropists who grew prosperous on trade and manufacturing. Most notable among them were the Sasoons, a family from Iraq. Their name is etched in plaques in at least four schools, a magnificent library, a dockyard, and at least two of the city's nine synagogues.

Read the whole piece here.