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- The Indian Jews is an ancient and sparse community and was given the official minority status by the Maharashtra state government on June 21, 2016
- Out of 4,650 Jews in India, Maharashtra is home to 2466 Jews
- This community is made up of three traditional communities who settled in the West, South and the East coast of India
The Indian Jews is an ancient and sparse community that was given the official minority status on June 21, 2016, by the Maharashtra state government. Maharashtra is the second state to give this official recognition to Indian Jews after West Bengal, as it was necessary for the very survival this community due to its precarious condition. Out of 4,650 Jews in India, Maharashtra is home to 2466 Jews, mentioned a leading News portal.
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However, in the post-independence era, Jewish population always revolved around 5000 due to the large-scale immigration during the 1950s and 1960s to Israel. Therefore, being recognised as a minority will help Indian Jews to retain their religious and cultural traditions, and their unique heritage on the Indian subcontinent. This present recognition has raised the community’s hopes of being recognised as a minority by the central government.
Indian Jews are the only Jews throughout the world who have never encountered any form of racial discrimination since the two millennia, mentioned firstpost.com. This community is made up of three traditional communities who were settled in the West, South and the East coast of India.
With numerous tale of displacement from their native land, their settlement in India as well as their migration to Israel and the West; there exist several distinct communities of Jews. But all of these communities arrived in Indian Subcontinent by sea or came as maritime traders and in the end settled here.
The Paradesi Jews
India’s Jewish legacy is popular among the world because of foreign Jewish community of Kochi and their attractive 500-year-old synagogue at Mattancherry. Author Salman Rushdie in his novel “The Moor’s last Sigh” extolled the beauty of Synagogue and mentioned that “Legends had begun to stick to them. Some said that if you explored long enough/ You’d find your own story…because pictures on the tiles could change, were changing, /Generation by generation, to tell the story of the Cochin Jews.”
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However, Paradesis are the smallest group in comparison to the Cochini Jews and never exceeded 200 individuals.
The Paradesi Jews came to the Malabar Coast in waves- as traders and some to escape persecution from the Spanish Inquisition in the domain of the rajah of Cochin during the 14th and 15th centuries. This fair skinned and light- eyed community were from Baghdad, Yemen, Kurdistan, Spain, Germany, and Portugal, mostly belonged to the trading families.
Today, Jew Town is overrun by shops selling tourist- souvenirs, books, and antiques, since the synagogue and the nearby royal temple and the “Dutch” Palace are the main the tourist spots.
The propinquity of these two heritage sites, they share a common compound wall, indicates the respect for the Paradesis in the eyes of Rajahs of Cochin.
The rule of the Dutch East India Company(1663-1773) was the golden era for this community. Especially, when Ezekial Rahabi II (b.1694-d.1771) became the chief merchant of the company whom the Dutch negotiated with the Rajah of Cochin.
Malabari Jews of Kochi are probably the oldest community of Jews in India, and today only 20 individual exist from this community. They came to the Indian subcontinent around 68CE. about the same time that the Bene-Israel Jews of Maharashtra’s Konkan Coast were shipwrecked at Navgaon (south of Mumbai).
The sasnam (grant) inscribed on the Jewish copper plates gives the principality of Anjuvvanam (now Kondungallur), with its 70 villages and its revenue, to Joseph Rabban and his family in perpetuity. There are some evidence that they belong from the Chera period of the 10th century.
It is this principality of Anjuvannam, close to the ancient entrêport of Muziris (where there is an ongoing Archaeological Survey of India excavation), which is the legendary medieval Indian Jewish kingdom of Shingly. This kingdom existed is reiterated by a body of Hebrew songs composed during the period Anjuvannam and after its abandonment, and almost until the 17th century, it was known as the Shingly tunes.
To keep this joyous legacy alive, both Cochini Jews and Malabar Jews sing Shingly tunes on several religious occasions.
During festivals like Simchat Torah, the theme of royalty is played by Cochin Jews and Torah scrolls are carried in seven circuits within the Synagogue, according to the tradition. A royal procession is also held in the compound of the synagogue.
This is also a day of mourning for Jews all over the world, as on this very day it is believed that the First and the Second Jewish temple in Jerusalem were destroyed.
The Jews of Cochin
The fusion of the distinct histories of the Malabar Jews and Paradesi Jews is exemplified in the Paradesi (Mattancherry) Synagogue, where the foundation stone of the first Synagogue in cochin was built by the Malabar Jews in the year 1344.
Migrations from the Malabar Jewish Community to Cochin is believed to have started in 1341, and integrated with the constant decline of Anjuvannam (Shingly), and got settled in the vicinity of Cochin at Ernakulam, Parur, Mala, Chendamangalam, and Mattancherry. The last named though associated with the Paradesis was originally founded by settlers from Anjuvannam — Samuel Castiel, Joseph Levi, David Belila, and Ephraim Sala.
Just like the Paradesis, the Malabar Jews too were faithful to the Perumal royal family of Cochin because of their religious tolerance and protection of Jews. This community consists of small traders, oil pressers and stevedores, suppliers of foodstuffs to ships that anchored off Cochin.
During the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, a strong Zionist vehemence to return to the native land grasped the minds of this community. The entire community, like the Jews of Malabar, started migrating to Israel and decided to settle in agricultural settlements. The Paradesi Jews also immigrated themselves to Israel, settling in the cities of Tel, Aviv and Haifa. Now, this Jew community consists of a large number of professionals, like doctors and engineers.
To protect and preserve the unique culture and heritage of Indian Jews community, Kerela state government has also given them the status of the minority as this community has retained their unique religious identity in India for 2,000 years.
– prepared by Akansha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akansha4117
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021