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The Esplanade Mansions built by David Elias Ezra

India’s Jewish Presence: A Long Encounter

The Jewish presence in India is ancient. Jews were trading between West Asia and India since Biblical times. The Book of Kings mentions the trade during the time King Solomon, and the Talmud (record of the rabbinical commentaries and debates from the 2nd to 5th centuries), refers to specific items of trade such as ginger and iron.

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Audio Visual

Photo Story: Modhera Sun Temple

Modhera village is situated in Mehsana district of Gujarat. Its finest temple is older than the world-famous Konark temple of Odisha, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Propaganda poster from the Soviet Union 1920s

Once There Was A Country Called Soviet Union

I imagine how I would start if I were in Yuriko’s place. What should be the first sentence of a book for my daughter? It could be like this: “Once there was a country called Soviet Union. Its official name was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was an experimental state. The USSR existed until 1991, when it collapsed. Yes, for you it was totally the past and already finished story, since you were born in 1992.

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Neveh Shalome synagogue kolkata

A Tinge of Jewish Legacy in Kolkata

A synagogue is the centre of the Jewish religious community: a place of prayer, study, education, social and charitable work as well as a social centre. The word “synagogue” is actually a Greek translation of Beit K’nesset
meaning “place of assembly” (related to the word synod). Religions, throughout social history, have always been one of the most prominent social institutions that plays an important role in regulating a person’s life.

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Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose with the INA

From An Historian’s Notebook: Netaji’s Treasure Box

He gets into an airplane on the island of Taipei, and is about to escape, when his plane crashes during attempts to take off. He’s severely burned, and dies soon after. The British imperial government of India, his immediate adversary, gets the news, but is cautious about believing it– after all, it’s perfectly possible to stage your own death, and then reappear at a later, more opportune moment.

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shibboleths and history

From An Historian’s Notebook: Shibbolethics

And ever since then, a shibboleth is a word that must be pronounced to demonstrate the proper belonging to a community. Without having the proper word at your disposal, you could easily come to a sticky end.

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Paul Robeson

From An Historian’s Notebook: How to Write a Folk Song

This would have made no difference to Paul Robeson, when he chose to sing the song. He was comfortable with the work of Dvořák; he sang a song from the 1848 Revolution in Czech by Smetana; and he said of himself that he could sing in twenty-five languages. As an internationalist and a communist, the purpose of his work was to emphasise what was common to the human condition.

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