Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jews in India

Sephardic Jews in India
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Indian Sephardic Jews left the Iberian peninsula at the end of the 15th century and throughout the 16th century, in search of religious freedom after increasing tormet due to the Spanish Inquisition in both Spain and Portugal. They Originally spoke, Spanish and Portuguese however, they later began to speak Judeo-Malayalam in Kerala,South India.
Most of them were crypto-Jews, which means Jews who had converted to Catholicism under pressure but continued to practice Judaism in secrecy. Traveling through Asia minor the Indian Sephardic Jews settled in the Konkan and Malabar Coast of South western coastal India, joining the more ancient settlements formed by theCochin Jews and Bene Israel as well as, forming their own settlements in India. The city of Madras, now known as Chennai, was heavily influenced by the Sephardim from Iberia.[1]. A notable Jewish population once existed in Goa. They had settled in Goa before the advent of the Portuguese. They had their own synagogues and enjoyed freedom. Many of them integrated with the local Goan culture and spoke the Konkani language, whereas part of them were Palestinian migrants who spoke Spanish language.[2] As a part of the Inquisition many Jews were killed by the Portuguese colonists in South Western India. Many Jews from Goa fled to Cochin in Kerala and joined the Malabar Yehudan.[3] However, in Kerala the Malabar Jews and the Malabar Nasranis of Hebrew heritage were both persecuted by the Portuguese in the South Western Indian chapter of the Spanish and Portuguese inquisition known as the Goa Inquisition[4][5][6][7]
Additionally, some of the later Baghdadi Jewish families that arrived in India, such as the Sassoons, were ofSephardic origin.


  1. ^ http://www.sefarad.org/publication/lm/041/5.html
  2. ^ Donald F. Lach, Edwin J. Van Kley (1993). Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III: A Century of Advance. Book 2, South Asia, Volume 3. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 568 pages(See page:847). ISBN 0-226-46754-6, 9780226467542.
  3. ^ T.V, Parasuram (1982). India's Jewish heritage. the University of Michigan: Sagar Publications. pp. 136(see page:67).
  4. ^ Claudius Buchanan (1811). Christian Researches in Asia: With Notices of the Translation of the Scriptures into the Oriental Languages. 2nd ed. Boston: Armstron, Cornhill
  5. ^ Menachery G (1973) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, Ed. George Menachery, B.N.K. Press, vol. 2, ISBN 81-87132-06-X, Lib. Cong. Cat. Card. No. 73-905568; B.N.K. Press
  6. ^ Menachery G (ed) (1982) The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India, B.N.K. Press, vol. 1;
  7. ^ Menachery G (ed); (1998) "The Indian Church History Classics", Vol. I, The Nazranies, Ollur, 1998. [ISBN 81-87133-05-8].

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