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Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: Nair woman of Kerala ()
Date: August 14, 2010 09:57AM

Most successful woman in India is from a group called Nairs from Kerala. However Nairs did not originate from Kerala. Nairs are originally a nomadic tribe originated in the foot hills of Himalayas which would have originally from China.

The presence of Mongoloid groups in North-East India had been attested as early as circa 500 BC in ancient Indian literature, such as the Vedas and Mahabharata, and many of these Mongoloid groups are believed to be indigenous to the region. Some believe that the Naga people, however, may have made a southwesterly migration to the sub-Himalayan region of north-eastern India and north-western Myanmar. These tribes speak Tibeto-Burman dialects and it is probable that their original homeland was in the region between the Huang Ho and Yangtze (Ch'ang) rivers in northwestern China and that they came in successive waves of migration spreading over centuries.

Over the years with the spread of Budhism, while the central and western part of India was migrated by Eurasian people, these mongoloid tribes from Himalayas migrated along the eastern coast of India all the way down to TamilNadu and then crossed the western ghats and surrouding mountains to reach Kerala.

Budhism would have been the main reason for these mongoloid groups to migrate to South India

Some even migrated to Ceylon from Kerala. The Naga people (Naga meaning Snake or Serpent) were the inhabitants of Sri Lanka, Ceylon who existed in 6 BCE to 3 CE in the Western and Northern part of Sri Lanka, mostly along the coast. They may have been snake-worshippers (Cobra) and dravidian. Some scholars suggest that there were tamil speaking based on Ptolemy's description of the Naga people.. Their name could also be due to their head covering being the shape of a hydra-headed cobra. The Jaffna peninsula was referred to as Nagadipa ("Island of Serpents") for many centuries. H. Parker, a British historian and author of "Ancient Ceylon" considers the Naga to be an offshoot of the Nayars of South India. The Naga people from Himalayas traditionally are tribally organized, with a strong warrior tradition. The term Naga people refers to a conglomeration of many tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India who share similarities in their cultures and traditions.

Nairs are not indigenous to Kerala, as many customs and traditions distinguish them from other Keralites. Nairs are not from a particular place or a state in Himalayas, as many anthropologists and story tellers would like to argue. Nairs are a very broad group of people who had different customs from the local population of south India. Their migration did not take place within few years,but they came in successive waves of migration spreading over centuries. Their migration from north part of India to South India was over centuries. Migration nmight have started in B.C and continued until 7th century AD when Hinduism became strong in South India and started converting all temples into vedic temples by Brahmins.. Hence these groups from northern part of India with mongloid features, who followed certain customs formed a group or caste to identify themselves. One of the main worship conducted among this group was snake worship. Each house used to have a sacred place for Snakes to come and drink milk.

During this time Vedic Hinduism did not exist in South India. South India had Budhist followers. Most of the temples in South India were Budhist temples.

According to one theory, Nairs are descendants of the Newars of Nepal, who joined the Munda exodus and later migrated to Kerala. The Newa are the Nepal is a Landlocked country in South Asia. The most prominent arguments given in support of this theory are the presence of distinct pagoda-like architectural style of Nair Tharavaadus and Temples and the practice of Marumakkathaayam (matrilinial) system of inheritance similar to both Nairs and Newars. Marumakkattayam (marumakan = nephew dayam= inheritance/gift is a matrilinear system of inheritance which was followed by Castes of Kerala like Royal Families

There is also a hypothesis on the basis of mythology that the Nairs are Nagas who migrated south of India. In addition, the Travancore State Manual states that there were indeed serpent-worshiping Nagas in Kerala.

According to Chattampi Swamikal, who interpreted old Tamil texts, the Nairs were Naka (Naga or Snake) Lords who ruled as feudal lords in the Chera kingdom. It is not clear whether the Cheras themselves were Nairs, or if the Cheras employed the Nairs as a warrior class.

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: Nairs are really warriors of Emperor Ashoka to South India ()
Date: August 14, 2010 11:08AM

History of Indian People from 563 BCE
The evidence of the early texts suggests that the Buddha was born in a community that was on the periphery, both geographically and culturally, of the northeastern Indian subcontinent in the 5th century BCE. It was either a small republic, in which case his father was an elected chieftain, or an oligarchy, in which case his father was an oligarch.

Budhism and struggle to escape Brahminism
Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, India, where Gautama Buddha attained Nirvana under the Bodhi Tree (left)

According to the Theravada Tipitaka scriptures (from Pali, meaning "three baskets"), the Buddha was born in Lumbini, around the year 563 BCE, and raised in Kapilavastu, both in modern-day Nepal.

Buddha, spent the rest of his life teaching the path of awakening he discovered, traveling throughout the northeastern part of the Indian subcontinent, and died at the age of 80 (483 BCE) in Kushinagar, India.

Historically, the roots of Buddhism lie in the religious thought of Ancient India during the second half of the first millennium BC. That was a period of social and religious turmoil, as there was significant discontent with the sacrifices and rituals of Vedic Brahmanism.

It was challenged by numerous new ascetic religious and philosophical groups and teachings that broke with the Brahmanic tradition and rejected the authority of the Vedas and the Brahmans. These groups, , were a continuation of a non-Vedic strand of Indian thought distinct from Indo-Aryan Brahmanism.

The migration of noth east Himalayan people which started as a way to difference themselves from the newly enacted Brahminic laws continued for centuries until Brahminism conquered all over India and kicked out Budhism.

King Ashoka 269 BC- 232 BC

The migration gained pace with the ambitions of King Ashoka. King Ashoka who was a Budhist follower, send missionaries all around Asia including Kerala and Ceylon.

Ashoka popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from 269 BC to 232 BC. He was a kshatriya and was given all royal military trainings and other Vedic knowledge. Born in Bihar in 304 BC,one of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests.

Although his mother was considered to be a Brahmin, his parents did not believe in Brhaminism rather Jainism.


Jainism (pronounced /ˈdʒeɪnɪzəm/) is an ancient religion of India that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called Jina (Conqueror or Victor).

Jainism is also referred to as Shraman (self-reliant) Dharma or the religion of Nirgantha (who does not have attachments and aversions) by ancient texts. Jainism is commonly referred to as Jain Dharma in Hindi and Samanam in Tamil.

Jainism, which its followers consider to have always existed,is believed by historians to have arisen between the ninth and the sixth centuries BCE and Jainism is more close to Budhism. Before the Indo Europeans came to India with Brahminism, Jainism was the religion through out India including south India.

King Ashokas conquests and spread of Budhism

His empire stretched from present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan in the west, to the present-day Bangladesh and the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra.

He conquered the kingdom named Kalinga, which no one in his dynasty had conquered starting from Chandragupta Maurya.

The pretext for the start of the Kalinga War (265 BC or 263 BC) is uncertain. One of Susima's brothers might have fled to Kalinga and found official refuge there. This enraged Ashoka immensely. He was advised by his ministers to attack Kalinga for this act of treachery. Ashoka then asked Kalinga's royalty to submit before his supremacy. When they defied this diktat, Ashoka sent one of his generals to Kalinga to make them submit.

The general and his forces were, however, completely routed through the skilled tact of Kalinga's commander-in-chief. Ashoka, baffled at this defeat, attacked with the greatest invasion ever recorded in Indian history until then. Kalinga put up a stiff resistance, but they were no match for Ashoka's brutal strength. The whole of Kalinga was plundered and destroyed. Ashoka's later edicts state that about 100,000 people were killed on the Kalinga side and 10,000o from Ashoka's army. Thousands of men and women were deported

His reign was headquartered in Magadha (present-day Bihar, India). He embraced Buddhism and was later dedicated to the propagation of Buddhism across Asia

Ashoka ruled for an estimated forty years. After his death, the Mauryan dynasty lasted just fifty more years. Ashoka had many wives and children, but many of their names are lost to time. Mahindra and Sanghamitra were twins born by his first wife, Devi, in the city of Ujjain. He had entrusted to them the job of making his state religion, Buddhism, more popular across the known and the unknown world. Mahindra and Sanghamitra went into Sri Lanka and converted the King, the Queen and their people to Buddhism. They were naturally not handling state affairs after him.

In his old age, he seems to have come under the spell of his youngest wife Tishyaraksha. It is said that she had got his son Kunala, the regent in Takshashila, blinded by a wily stratagem. The official executioners spared Kunala and he became a wandering singer accompanied by his favourite wife Kanchanmala. In Pataliputra, Ashoka hears Kunala's song, and realizes that Kunala's misfortune may have been a punishment for some past sin of the emperor himself and condemns Tishyaraksha to death, restoring Kunala to the court. Kunala was succeeded by his son, Samprati, but his rule did not last long after Ashoka's death.

In the year 185 BC, about fifty years after Ashoka's death, the last Maurya ruler, Brhadrata, was assassinated by the commander-in-chief of the Mauryan armed forces, Pusyamitra Sunga, while he was taking the Guard of Honor of his forces. Pusyamitra Sunga founded the Sunga dynasty (185 BC-78 BC) and ruled just a fragmented part of the Mauryan Empire. Many of the northwestern territories of the Mauryan Empire (modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan) became the Indo-Greek Kingdom.

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: History of two greatest civilizations of the world ()
Date: October 20, 2010 01:24PM

Early Chinese History

Around 1500 bc, we see the rise of the semi-mythological Shang dynasty. This was a feudal kingdom that dominated the Yellow River basin, and established a number of small cities, most of which were in what is now Henan province. It is during the Shang dynasty that Chinese symbolic writing was developed by the dynasty priests.

In about 1000 bc, we see a new dynasty - called the western Chou - centered in Loyang, also in what is now the Henan province. It consisted of many smaller feudal kingdoms with allegiance to a "head king" or emperor. Much of their cohesiveness was due to the constant need to defend themselves against the surrounding barbarians.

The eastern Chou dynasty began in 770 bc. This period was marked not only by constant warfare with the barbarians, but considerable warfare amongst the various parts of China as well. Culturally, peasants became more valued in this period (due to their importance in warfare), and the merchant class became more important. It is this period that saw the introduction of money.

During this dynasty, some of the most significant philosophers made their appearance. Confucius (551 to 479 bc) introduced a philosophy that combined ethics with religious traditions, a philosophy that would dominate Chinese political structure until the 20th century.

At about the same time, we also see Laotze introducing a more sophisticated version of traditional nature worship called Taoism, in one of the greatest books ever written, the Tao te Ching. While Confucianism would be the formal philosophy of the high court, Taoism would eventually profoundly influence the Buddhism introduced later.

From 403 to 221 bc, China was split into a number of warring states. In 221 bc, the Ch'in dynasty established its rule. Ch'in was a border state to the west of the previous centers of Chinese civilization, and we get the name China from their dynasty. The Ch'in established a highly centralized state, along the same lines as the Roman Empire, and standardized measurements, weights, and money. It was also during this time that construction of the Great Wall began, in an effort to keep out the Huns -- the same people that would threaten Rome not too much later.

From 206 bc to 9 ad, we see the western Han dynasty. Han was a kingdom just south of the Chou kingdom, again in what is now Henan. The Han dynasty defeated the Huns in approximately 100 bc (sending them on their way towards Europe) and expanded their territory to the west. They also established the famous Silk Roads - routes to the Middle East used for trade with Persia, Rome, and India.

From 25 to 220 ad, the eastern Han dynasty took over, and oversaw a great flowering of their civilization. Trade with Rome and others in silk and porcelain was booming. Paper was invented about 100 ad, and Buddhism began to make inroads from northwestern India and Greek kingdom of Bactria (part of what is now Afghanistan), on the Silk Roads.

From 220, we have the period of three kingdoms, followed by a period where China was divided into seperate northern and southern empires. The north was invaded by a combination of Huns and Turkish tribes, while the south went through a series of dynastic changes. In 379 ad Mahayana Buddhism became the official religion (living in harmony with Confucianism and blending with Taoism),

China was reunified in 581 under the Sui dynasty, whose policies were taken over in 617 by the T'ang dynasty. Notable during this period, the written exam system of civil service became established in 606 ad. This system would continue until the communists took over in 1951. The T'ang dynasty lasted until 907.

The 900's was a period of rapid dynastic turnover, and we see a reversal of the fortunes of the Buddhists, who were actively persecuted. In 960, the northern Sung dynasty provided stability, although only by paying tribute to the Mongols. The southern Sung took over from 1127 until 1279, still paying tribute to the Mongols, but overseeing a second renaissance of culture and economics. During this period, the Chinese language was codified by Chu Hsi (1131 - 1200), literature, painting, and porcelain flourished, and both printing and gunpowder were invented.

In 1196, Genghis Khan became the supreme ruler of the Mongols and their Turkish and Tartar allies, and proceeded to lead them into China, taking Beijing in 1215. At the same time, he sent his troops west as far as Poland and Hungary. When he died in 1227, his empire was split into several smaller units ruled by his various sons. The Mongols would continue to rule the steppes well into the 1400's, Ivan III finally liberating Moscow in 1480!

Marco Polo, a Venetian adventurer, visited China during this period, and brought back stories of wealth that would make Chinese goods nearly as sought after as they had been during the Roman Empire. Sadly, in 1325, China suffered from one of it's greatest famines, which killed 8 million out of its 45 million population.

In 1368, the Mongols were driven out of China, and the Ming dynasty begins. It had a strong contralized government founded on solid Confucian principles. The capital was moved to Beijing in 1421, where it would remain until the present day. The Great Wall was extended to 2450 km (about 1500 miles).

The Ming dynasty oversaw another renaissance, with novels, maps, great architecture, porcelain, and a new medical technique we call acupuncture. On the other hand, they didn't want too much to do with the world beyond the empire: European trade was limited to the Portuguese colony of Macao.

From 1644 all the way to 1911, China was again ruled by "barbarians," this time the Manchu from the northeast of China. The Manchus, being of limited numbers, were anxious to use the existing structures of Chinese bureaucracy and blended themselves with the native population as much as possible. In fact, they saw the greatest population growth in history and expanded the empire to its present extent. At first, they encouraged trade with the Europeans, but later would close the empire to foreign trade. As we know, the Europeans are rarely detered when such a vast market looms on the horizon, and the colonial empires - especially the British - would chip away at the glory that had been China.

Early Indian History

Also around 1500 bc, a group of people who called themselves Aryans invaded the Indian subcontinent, and came to dominate most of the original Dravidian people. The Aryans spoke a language related to the western European languages, and came from the Russian steppes. They brought with them what is known as the Vedic religion, which would eventually result in a series of books called the Vedas.

As the Aryans settled in, they developed the caste system. The top two castes were composed entirely of Aryans: the Kshatryas or warriors, and the Brahmins or priests. Below them were a mixed group of peasants called the Vaishas, and the subject Dravidians, called the Shudras. Below all of these were the various people of the jungles, as well as the slaves of the original Dravidians, who were called the Pariahs or outcastes. The hierarchical society would last officially until the British rule, and continues informally even today.

Around 500 bc, several people, in the process of searching for enlightenment, would shake the caste system: First, there was Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. He preached a stoic life style involving moral living and meditation that would develop into the rich philosophy of Buddhism. The other was Vardhamana, called Mahavira, and his follower Jina, who believed that suffering was due to the mixing of spirit with base matter, which must be separated from each other by means of fasting, asceticism, and chastity. Their beliefs would become the religion called Jainism.

In the late 300's bc, the troops of Alexander the Great knocked at India's door, and would remain a significant presence in Bactria, just northwest of India. These Greeks would be the only westerners to adopt Buddhism, and they would take part in introducing Buddhism into China. At the other end of northern India, Chandragupta, king of Maghada (where Buddha preached), established the Maurya Empire, controlling most of northern India.

His grandson Ashoka (272 - 231 bc) is one of the most famous figures in Indian history. After a particularly bloody battle, he swore off killing and embraced Buddhism. Among other things, he established laws based on Buddhism and recorded them on stone pillars and monuments all over northern India. He also sent missionaries as far west as Egypt and Greece, whose effects on western thought are still unknown. Unfortunately, his empire was divided among his descendants after his death, and India again became a land of many small feudal states.

The next major event comes around 50 ad, when Yüeh-chih (an Indo-European people from western China called the Tocharians or Kushans) invaded India from their base in Bactria. Later, in 320 ad and lasting until 535, the Gupta Empire would permit a cultural renaissance, including a blossoming of poetry, drama, and other literature. Beginning around 430 ad, the Huns would start nibbling away at the Gupta Empire until its collapse. This was followed by another period of short-lived empires and smaller states.

From 700 ad on, we see a major change in the subcontinent. First, Buddhism, the dominant religion of India, would be gradually driven out by the Brahmin caste and its supporters, and replaced with a revitalized, if very conservative, Hinduism. Second, the Moslems would enter India from the west and slowly expand to rule over the northern half of the subcontinent, all the way to Bengal (what is now Bangladesh). In 1206, the Sultanate of Delhi was established, an empire based on Moslem theocracy and military might. Nevertheless, India prospered during this period, and greatly expanded trade with the Near East. The Sultanate would last until 1526.

Despite Moslem rule, the caste system continued, now with Moslem rulers at the top, and the native Indians were kept poor through harsh taxation. The Moslems accepted Hindus as "people of the book" (what they called Jews and Christians in the west, because they shared the same Biblical traditions as the Moslems), as long as they kept to their place in society. Buddhism, however, they found threatening, and Buddhist monasteries, temples, and books were destroyed. This has continued even to the present, as demonstrated by the destruction of ancient giant Buddhist statues in Afghanistan by tha Taliban in 1998.

It was in 1498 that the Portuguese discovered the sea route to India, circumventing the hostile Moslem empires inbetween, and established the trading settlement that would become Calcutta. In the early 1500's they went on to colonize Goa, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Bombay (now Mumbai), and other coastal spots.

The Moguls -- led by Babar, descendant of the Khans -- invaded India from their stronghold in Kabul (Afghanistan), and defeated the Sultan of Delhi. By 1576, they would take over all of northern India. The Moguls, although Moslem, were very tolerant of the Hindus and even the Jesuits, and declared the Edict of Toleration in 1583. A number of syncretic sects developed during this time, the most famous of which is Sikhism. The Sikhs were founded by Nanak (1469 - 1538), who blended Islam and Hinduism and other philosophies into a strong egalitarian religious culture, where each man takes as his last name "lion" and each woman "princess." To this day, the Sikhs provide the backbone of the Indian military.

The Arab Moslems and the Moguls, although outsiders, brought another period of renaissance to India. They established libraries and universities, contributed greatly to literature (including updates of the great Indian religious texts), and founded a new style of Indian architecture, exemplified by the great Taj Mahal.

In 1612, a new player entered the scene: The British took over the Portuguese colonies. They would eventually rule all of India and much more.

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: Dr.KK DEBNATH ()
Date: November 17, 2010 08:21AM

These are cooked and mythological stories.

The problem is with Indians are that they are an inferior race,in comparison to
European, Semitic and Mongoloid race; as a result of this, no Indians wants to identify himself as an original Indian.

To enhance their image and prestige in the society, they want to linked themselves with some superior race and towards this these stories are built ups over a long period of time.

There are lot of hidden clues in these stories, an analytical study has been made by me towards the same and the report is available on Google.

Interested people may go through the same and can send their queries at "".

To obtain the article please go through Google search on "KKDebnath" or "History of Bengalis". Enough references are there on South Indian history alsoand it is more or similar for all Indians from North to South and from East to West.

Thank you.

Dr. KK Debnath

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: Who are Malabar Christians? ()
Date: March 27, 2011 06:20PM

The first christians who converted to Hinduism are the Nair woman and Ezhavas, their local husbands.

There were no Brahmins or caste system in Kerala when St. Thomsas arrived in Crangannore.

There were Nair woman who migrated from Corramandel coast and there were Naga people (Ezhavas) who migrated from the coast of SriLanka who were living in the port city of Cranganore. They are the original Malabar Christians.

Muziris was a group of islands on the coast of Cranganore which was the port of entry for all foreign ships. Muziris was take down during a heavry flood.

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: What is ABC news know about world history? ()
Date: March 27, 2011 06:29PM

Vinita Nair is an American television journalist who was co-anchor of World News Now and America This Morning on ABC, from September 17, 2008 until February 18, 2011.[1] She was partnered with Jeremy Hubbard and later Rob Nelson on both shows.

Nair joined ABC News as an anchor/correspondent for ABC News Now in December 2007. In that role, she anchored live coverage and news briefs for ABC's digital network.[2]

Nair grew up in Colleyville, Texas, and graduated with a degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, of Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois). She wrote for Today's Chicago Woman magazine, and was a reporter for Talk Radio News in Washington D.C. prior to pursuing television journalism.

Nair began her career in television news at WGEM-TV, the NBC affiliate in Quincy, Illinois, as a general assignment reporter. She also worked for WYCC-TV, Chicago's Public Access Network and the Illinois' Evanston Community Cable Channel. Then she became an anchor and reporter for KOLN/KGIN-TV in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she anchored daily morning and afternoon newscasts.

Prior to joining ABC News, Nair was lead evening reporter and anchor at KWGN-TV, the CW affiliate in Denver. She started at the station in July 2004 and reported on a wide range of topics, including the Jon Benet Ramsey murder investigation and the school shootings at Bailey, Colorado.

Vinita announced on Thursday, February 17, 2011 that Friday, February 18 would be her last night on air at World News Now. It would also be her last day with ABC News. Former KDVR Denver anchor Peggy Bunker has been named interim successor.

The February 18 edition of World News Now paid tribute to Nair in each of its three segments, including appearances from current and former colleagues including Jeremy Hubbard. Her legacy was to treat the crew to a hot breakfast on her last day. Also, a brief send-off by Nelson to Nair was given at the conclusion of America This Morning

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: sreeni ()
Date: April 11, 2011 04:40PM

Dear Dr,

These are not cooked up stories. there has been some study on the DNA profile of nairs and the above theories can be said to be true as per the result of the DNA studies.But who says indians are inferiors. the history of migration earlier on cannot be overruled..where did all the people from harappa civilization moved to? how about the travels of other races like aryans? Sorry to say, but you are blindly brushing aside all the historical facts to show indians in poor light.

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: Shankaran Nair ()
Date: August 29, 2011 12:57PM

Typical Bengali fool, they would lie to their teeth to make everyone in the same boat as them. They are the so called architects of this "India" theory being one race or whatever. Because the British ruled from Calcutta for a period of time, whooping their bong ass, they became so bitter and decided, they will do everything to "unite" everyone else against the British. As a result, the Bongs (bengalis) invented this lie called "Indian is all, all is Indian", basically in the process, cooking a salad, where they put in south Indians, North Indians, and then grabbed a few Mongolians to cook up this India rubbish.

Kerala was it's own unique world, and it has nothing in similarity with Bengal, the difference between the two worlds is like sun and the moon, like night and day. Don't put the "Dr." rubbish to spew your Bengali world view. For the average Bong, the whole world is "Indian". From America to Australia. The most insecure, cunning, and intellectual liars are the bongs.

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Re: Nair woman originated in Himalayas
Posted by: Alan ()
Date: January 01, 2012 10:58PM

Hi dr i don't think indians are inferior.But in the same time pakistanis are most inferior people of the planet.Both countries became independent same time.But India is an economic power house and Pakistan became a failed state.
Pakistan lost half of it.
that means india's policy is much more better than pakistan's policy.

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Where woman rule in India
Posted by: Khasi woman ()
Date: May 15, 2012 10:45AM

In India, where more than a third of women suffer domestic violence, the position of their Khasi sisters seems enviable. Many are happy to stay single.

When it comes to women power of Meghalaya ( The only Matriarchal society/ state of India ) you cant' ignore the power of womenfolk. They are almost on everything, all the major job is done by the women and they have a say in all the decision the family takes. They own property and the youngest daughter is the custodian of the family and parents. Yet they are very poor, due to lack of work environment or industry. The womenfolk has to work to keep the family going

As members of an official ethnic minority, Khasis have many privileges: the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council protects their laws, taxation is lower than elsewhere in India, land is set aside for their use in tribal zones, and a quota system operates for higher education and civil service jobs.

"Men from the plains, unscrupulous foreigners, marry Khasi women to take advantage of all these privileges," Pariat says scornfully. He claims such advantages jeopardise the future of the tribe. "But anyway it is the women who inherit and children take their name," says Patricia Mukhim, the editor of the Shillong Times. "I tend to think Khasi men feel diminished in their manhood compared with outsiders," she says. "It's a pity, because that's what distinguishes us from the others."

In the state capital Shillong, women wear skirts to church, put on lipstick and drive their cars with their windows open, listening to music. Many are happy to stay single. In a country where the pressure to get married is everywhere, they are an exception.

"Why bother with a husband? I already have a family and I want to concentrate on my career," says Rosanna Lyngdoh, 38, who lives with her extended family in a house with 21 bedrooms.

The matrilineal system should not be confused with matriarchy. Khasi women have never held power. The former rulers of the tribe left their throne to the son of their youngest sister. All the chief government ministers are men and few women even sit on village councils.

The Khasi, who number about 1 million in India's north-eastern state of Meghalaya, carry on the matrilineal tradition. The youngest daughter inherits, children take their mother's surname, and once married, men live in their mother-in-law's home.

"Only mothers or mother-in-laws look after the children. Men are not even entitled to take part in family gatherings. The husband is up against a whole clan of people: his wife, his mother-in-law and his children. So all he can do is play the guitar, sing, take to drink and die young," Pariat concludes gloomily.

Men are the weak sex in Meghalaya, but Pariat hopes the Syngkhong Rympei Thymai (SRT) campaign [roughly "a wedge to shore up a shaky table"] will promote reform of family structures. Indeed he wants to achieve more than mere equality. "Men are endowed with natural leadership. They should protect women, who in return should support them," he says.

According to Valentina Pakyntein, an anthropologist at Shillong University, the matrilineal system goes back to a time when Khasis had several partners and it was hard to determine the paternity of children. But SRT members have another explanation, claiming that their ancestors were away from home for too long fighting wars to be able to look after their families.

As members of an official ethnic minority, Khasis have many privileges: the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council protects their laws, taxation is lower than elsewhere in India, land is set aside for their use in tribal zones, and a quota system operates for higher education and civil service jobs.

"Men from the plains, unscrupulous foreigners, marry Khasi women to take advantage of all these privileges," Pariat says scornfully. He claims such advantages jeopardise the future of the tribe. "But anyway it is the women who inherit and children take their name," says Patricia Mukhim, the editor of the Shillong Times. "I tend to think Khasi men feel diminished in their manhood compared with outsiders," she says. "It's a pity, because that's what distinguishes us from the others."

Meghalaya is overwhelmingly beautiful, where everything is impossibly green and alive. Another thing that fascinated me were these giant group of trees standing together majestically at many places we drove past. These are called – law kyntangs- dedicated to forest spirits, along-with several monoliths (our resort had many too) that supposedly serve as memorials – are symbols of good energy.

Added to this natural magic is the culture of the state contributed by the Khasis who are a matriarchal tribe. They can be identified by their beautiful smiles and the cloth tied over their left shoulder called - jainsem- covers them from head to toe, in a graceful sweep.

With their infants tied on their backs, covered by the checkered cloth, mother and child look like a single entity. The women are independent and always busy. Drying clothes, caring for children, working around the agriculture produce, running business and shops – they are the bread earners for their families.

Lest I forget , the Khasi women do not like being photographed - they are an extremely private people. I always requested for a picture – and only some would oblige.

Gambling. You thought it is a vice? Think again - its legal in Meghalaya! And how novel is their gambling! Promoting a sport and motivating the archer! Wow! Lottery by archery - dozens of archers form an arc and shoot at a haystack for 4 exact minutes. The number of arrows is counted and the last 2 digits are announced. Bets are placed daily on what the day’s number may be. One could bet as little as 1buck which could earn 8bucks in turn, if you are a good guesser. There is no upper limit so bets can go as high as the individual demands. We placed moderate bets for the thrill and infectious banter, on the last day, but did not hit no jack pot

Days were merging and gliding into an amorphous state of time – we lost sight of the calendar, nearly missed the date of our flight as we were badly mixed up on the days and dates! Sometimes it felt like my o-my-God have we over estimated the time we need to spend here, and sometimes it felt we had very little time and needed to extract every bit from this vacationsmiling smiley

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Real Women of India-WAITING TO EXHALE
Posted by: Indian Woman ()
Date: May 21, 2011 02:47AM

India is a vast country with so many different cultures amalgamated over the time. For a foreigner, people of India fits more or less into a certain category. Unfortunately, India woman are more than that. Have you seen the photos of Indian Woman?? REALLY??




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This Chinese Guy went to India to marry an Indian girl
Posted by: Chinese Indian ()
Date: July 08, 2010 12:44PM

This Chinese Guy went to India to marry an Indian girl

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Re: This Chinese Guy went to India to marry an Indian girl
Posted by: Chinese girl treats Indian guy well ()
Date: July 08, 2010 12:44PM

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Re: This Chinese Guy went to India to marry an Indian girl
Posted by: Indian parents accept their son marrying Chinese woman but why not others? ()
Date: July 08, 2010 12:49PM

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Re: This Chinese Guy went to India to marry an Indian girl
Posted by: Why Indian parents have no problem with Chinese girls ()
Date: July 08, 2010 12:54PM

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What about their Indian parents?
Posted by: Chinese gril marries an Indian guy by using sign language ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:02PM

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Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: Indian woman preferes Chinese men ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:09PM

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: What is up with these Indian girls? They do not like Indian men any longer? What is happening? ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:12PM

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: What is up with these Chinese and Indians ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:18PM

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: Punjabi Chinese crush ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:23PM

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Date: July 08, 2010 01:59PM

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: Indian boy and Chinese girl They are in love ()
Date: July 08, 2010 08:03PM

Boy is from Kerala, India and the girl is from China. But Love has no boundaries.

Jasim met Yi online three years ago, their love blossomed and she flew down to India to meet – and marry – him.

When the hearing-and-speech-impaired Mohammed Jasim from Kerala was to tie the knot with his similarly disabled Chinese bride Yi Yan Yun,it was a perfect example of how US who invented Internet is helping people to coexist and start relationships.

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: Anonymous User ()
Date: July 26, 2010 12:28AM

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: Anonymous User ()
Date: July 26, 2010 12:29AM

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Re: Why Indian girls fall for Chinese men? What is so special
Posted by: chinese girls and Indian guys ()
Date: May 10, 2011 04:14PM

Helen danced straight into the hearts of the people to the tune of the famous number sung by Geeta Dutt in Howrah Bridge in the late Fifties—Mera naam Chin Chin Choo, Baba Chin Chin Choo.

Chinese population was always a part of Indian cities providing fine beauty parlours, shoes shops and of course oodles of noodles.

But marriages among the Indians and Chinese were a taboo. However, with Indian students going abroad to study and work weddings between the Indian and Chinese, or for that matter Japanese and Thai have started happening.

Lady luck

MULTICULTURAL: Chinese family at the wedding ceremony in a gurdwara in America

Several homes in Chandigarh now boast of sweet daughters-in-law of Mongoloid origin. A proud couple have been thrilled at their son marrying a girl of Chinese origin are Nimmi and K.S. Sandhu. The proud dad-in-law says, "Our son Luckpreet Singh after doing his school at St. John’s here and then taking his bachelor’s degree from the local DAV college went to Berkley University in California to do his MBA and there lady luck was smiling and he met this lovely girl called Josephine who had come from China to study there."

Nimmi adds, "Chinese girls are family-oriented and we are very happy with our son’s choice. It is their life and geographical boundaries are shrinking anyway. We also have a lovely granddaughter called Chaiya." The proud grandparents are now going to meet their children and granddaughter and it will be a happy Christmas together in America.

Thai bride

Yet another senior couple of the city (name withheld on request) happily welcomed a Thai bride into the family fold when their son working as a computer engineer in Bangkok chose to marry his Thai colleague. The happy mother-in-law says, "We are very happy with the marriage but our son is shy of any publicity. He feels it is the most natural thing that happened so why flaunt it."

But not all parents are so happy when their sons choose to mate the pretty Chin-Chin Choos. A former judge in town is reported to be grumbling about the fact that his son chose to wed a Chinese beauty. The reservations emerge for caste because the family happens to be vegetarians of the Jain variety and what worries them is what all must their lovely daughter-in-law be eating. Well, let them think it must be sugar and spice and not snakes and snails.

Japanese dolls

Japanese dolls are known to be pretty and well-known Punjabi writer Parminder Sodhi vouches for it for he and his brother are happily settled in Osaka with Japanese wives and children. The east-to-east contact is proving more congenial for the macho sons of the soil because east is east and the eastern brides are a more submissive lot compared to the Western counterparts. The wives of the Sodhi brothers speak fluent Punjabi and one of them surprised her hosts here by commenting, ‘Bhaji te badhe tharaki ne!" (Big brother seems to be flirtatious). Parminder, of course, has it very good in Japan. There is a wife at home and a lovely friend and partner, who comes with him to business trips to India. So it is balle-balle all the way.

Good tidings

For Panjab University professor Paramjit Tewari, who gave a grand wedding to her son Kabir Tewari in the city this summer with his Chinese college friend studying with him in New Zealand, it is good tidings. Paramjit says, "Kimberley liked India and Chandigarh a lot. She loves to wear salwar-kameez." Not just that, Kimberley also took a number of desi food recipes from her mother. So every now and then she calls her ma-in-law to tell her that she has cooked ‘chole’ or made ‘mango chutney’ for her soul mate. Well, the eastern ingredients seem to be mixing and blending pretty well.

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Diversity of India
Posted by: Anonymous User ()
Date: May 14, 2010 10:06AM

The Indian subcontinent has a long history of inter-ethnic marriage dating back to ancient history. Various groups of people have been intermarrying for millennia in South Asia, including groups as diverse as the Dravidian, Indo-Aryan (Indic), Iranian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman peoples. This was particularly common in the northwestern and northeastern parts of the subcontinent. In the northeast, Northern Indian men (of largely "Indic" stock) often intermarried with North-East Indian women (of largely "Mongoloid" stock); for example, the ancient epic Mahabharata describes the indigenous people of the northeast as "exotic" and depicts Arjuna taking several wives there. Meanwhile in the northwest (mainly modern-day Pakistan), invading Persians, Indo-Scythians, Indo-Hephthalites, Indo-Greeks and Mughals often took local wives in that region during Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

According to the controversial Indo-Aryan migration theory, Indo-Iranian nomadic groups ("Aryans") from Central Asia migrated to India more than 3,000 years ago. In turn, the Indo-Iranian languages are descended from the Indo-European languages speakers from who may have origins around the Black Sea. According to 19th century British historians, it was these "Aryans" who and established the caste system, an elitist form of social organization that separated the "light-skinned" Indo-Aryan conquerors from the "conquered dark-skinned" indigenous Dravidian tribes through enforcement of "racial endogamy". Much of this was simply conjecture, fueled by British imperialism[21] British policies of divide and rule as well as enumeration of the population into rigid categories during the tenure of British rule in India contributed towards the hardening of these segregated caste identities.[22]. Since the independence of India from British rule, the British fantasy of an "Aryan Invasion and subjugation of the dark skinned Dravidians in India" has become a staple polemic in South Asian geopolitics, including the propaganda of Indophobia in Pakistan[23]. There is no decisive theory as to the origins of the caste system in India, and globally renown historians and archaeologists like Jim Shaffer, J.P. Mallory, Edwin Bryant, and others, have disputed the claim of "Aryan Invasion"[24]

Some researchers claim that genetic similarities to Europeans were more common in members of the higher ranks. Their findings, published in Genome Research, supported the idea that members of higher castes are more closely related to Europeans than are the lower castes.[25]. According to the research invading European populations were predominantly male who intermarried with local females and formed the upper castes i.e. the local females had upward mobility in caste which was denied to local males. However, other researchers have criticized and contradicted this claim.[26] A study by Joanna L. Mountain et al. of Stanford University had concluded that there was "no clear separation into three genetically distinct groups along caste lines", although "an inferred tree revealed some clustering according to caste affiliation".[27] A 2006 study by Ismail Thanseem et al. of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (India) concluded that the "lower caste groups might have originated with the hierarchical divisions that arose within the tribal groups with the spread of Neolithic agriculturalists, much earlier than the arrival of Aryan speakers", and "the Indo-Europeans established themselves as upper castes among this already developed caste-like class structure within the tribes."[28] A 2006 genetic study by the National Institute of Biologicals in India, testing a sample of men from 32 tribal and 45 caste groups, concluded that the Indians have acquired very few genes from Indo-European speakers.[29] More recent studies have also debunked the claims that so-called "Aryans" and "Dravidians" have a "racial divide". A study conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2009 (in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT) analyzed half a million genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 ethnic groups from 13 states in India across multiple caste groups.[30] The study establishes, based on the impossibility of identifying any genetic indicators across caste lines, that castes in South Asia grew out of traditional tribal organizations during the formation of Indian society, and was not the product of any Aryan Invasion and subjugation of Dravidian people.

Many Indian traders, merchants and missionaries travelled to Southeast Asia (where Indianized kingdoms were established) and often took local wives from the region. The Romani people ("Gypsies") who have origins in the Indian subcontinent travelled westwards and also took local wives in Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Genetic studies show that the majority of Romani males carry large frequencies of particular Y chromosomes (inherited paternally) that otherwise exist only in populations from South Asia, in addition to nearly a third of Romani females carrying particular mitochondrial DNA (inherited maternally) that is rare outside South Asia.[31][32] Around circa 800, a ship carrying Persian Jews crashed in India. They settled down in different parts of India and befriended and traded with the local Indian population. Intermarriage occurred, and to this day the Indian Jews physically resemble their surrounding Indian populations due to intermarriage.

There are even cases of Indian princesses marrying kings abroad. For example, the Korean text Samguk Yusa about the Gaya kingdom (it was absorbed by the kingdom of Silla later), indicate that in 48 AD, King Kim Suro of Gaya (the progenitor of the Gimhae Kim clan) took a princess (Princess Heo) from the "Ayuta nation" (which is the Korean name for the city of Ayodhya in North India) as his bride and queen. Princess Heo belonged to the Mishra royal family of Ayodhya. According to the Samguk Yusa, the princess had a dream about a heavenly fair handsome king from a far away land who was awaiting heaven's anointed ride. After Princess Heo had the dream, she asked her parents, the king and queen of Ayodhya, for permission to set out and seek the foreign prince, which the king and queen urged with the belief that god orchestrated the whole fate. That king was no other than King Kim Suro of the Korean Gaya kingdom.

In Goa during the late 16th and 17th centuries, there was a community of Japanese slaves and traders, who were either Japanese Christians fleeing anti-Christian in Japan,[33] or Japanese slaves brought or captured by Portuguese traders and their South Asian lascar crewmembers from Japan.[34] In both cases, they often intermarried with the local population in Goa.[33] One offspring of such an intermarriage was Maria Guyomar de Pinha, born in Thailand to a Portuguese-speaking Japanese-Bengali father from Goa and a Japanese mother.[35] In turn, she married the Greek adventurer Constantine Phaulkon.[36]

Inter-ethnic marriages between European men and Indian women were very common during colonial times. According to the historian William Dalrymple, about one in three European men (mostly British, as well as Portuguese, French, Dutch, and to a lesser extent Swedes and Danes) had Indian wives in colonial India. This was primarily because the European men came to India when they were young and there were very few white women available in India. One of the most famous intermarriages was between the Hyderabadi noble women and a descendant of prophet Mohammed, Khair-un-Nissa and the Scottish resident James Achilles Kirkpatrick. During the British East India Company's rule in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it was initially fairly common for British officers and soldiers to take local Indian wives. The 600,000 Anglo-Indian community has descended from such unions. There is also a story of an attractive Gujjar princess falling in love with a handsome English nobleman and the nobleman converted to Islam so as to marry the princess. The 65,000 strong Burgher community of Sri Lanka was formed by the intermarriages of Dutch and Portuguese men with local Sinhalese and Tamil women. Intermarriage also took place in Britain during the 17th to 19th centuries, when the British East India Company brought over many thousands of Indian scholars, lascars and workers (mostly Bengali) who settled down in Britain and took local British wives, some of whom went to India with their husbands.[37][38] In the mid-19th century, there were around 40,000 British soldiers but less than 2,000 British officials present in India.[39]

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Jews invade India
Posted by: Jews in India ()
Date: June 05, 2010 10:48AM

Shai Levi spent three years in the Israeli army, a mandatory requirement for all Israeli citizens. As soon as his service was over, he fled Israel and spent the last five months traveling in India, a popular post-army activity for an estimated 30,000 young Israelis every year.

Levi, 23, came to India to unwind, relax, and forget the horrors he witnessed during the height of the Palestinian intifada, when blood stained the streets of Israeli and Palestinian neighborhoods on a regular basis. He came to escape responsibility and the stress of Western life.

Inside the Chabad House in New Delhi, a Jewish community center set up by the Lubavitcher sect of Orthodox Jews, Levi looked calm. He wore a red zip-up sweatshirt, warm-up pants and sandals even though it was raining outside and the unpaved roads of the Pahar Ganj bazaar had turned into a slippery maze of mud. He hadn’t shaved in days and his shoulder-length brown curls were in disarray.

It was Friday afternoon and two Orthodox Jewish men were bustling around preparing a Sabbath dinner for the unknown number of Israeli tourists that would be dropping by that evening for a taste of home. A huge pot of Matza Ball soup was simmering on the stove while one of the men kneaded a bowl of dough for the challah, a rich bread eaten on the Sabbath. The Chabad House serves as a meeting place for Israelis, who travel to India alone or in pairs, but hope to link up with others along the way. The religious center also provides meals, advice and prayer services.

“I started to pray here in India,” said Levi, who admitted that he rarely goes to synagogue in Israel. “You start missing Shabbat dinners when you’re away from home,” he said in Hebrew. “You miss feeling Jewish.” He has come across other Israelis during his travels across northern India who had the same experience of rediscovering their religious connection.

As for the connections they make with the Indian culture, Levi characterized them as mostly superficial. Although he found the people to be very open and easy to get along with, he noticed that Israelis tend to keep to their own kind, only interacting with Indians in matters of business. They communicate with Indians in English and barter, sometimes aggressively, over goods. His impression of Israeli-Indian relations was one of mutual respect and warmth. “Indians love Israelis,” he said. “We’re noisy and crazy. They love our energy.”

Ramesh Choudharg, a room service attendant at the Hare Rama guest house where the Chabad center is located, had mixed feelings about the Israeli guests he encounters.

“Sometimes they make big balagan,” he said, using a Hebrew word meaning “mess.” He was reluctant to elaborate on the specific problems that Israelis cause, except to say that they are sometimes loud and difficult to handle.

The Hare Rama is known for housing Israelis; if you ask an Indian rickshaw driver to take you to the Israeli area of Pahar Ganj, he will most likely take you to this guest house. Word of mouth keeps young tourists coming to the cheap and bustling part of the market, located within walking distance of the New Delhi railway station.

Israeli tourists have so firmly established their presence in the area that signs in Hebrew have been set up outside many shops and the Indian shopkeepers have picked up a few key Israeli words. They call out “Shalom! Shalom!” to passers-by who look Israeli. One woman ran her finger above her upper lip, saying “safam,” – mustache – meaning she waxed facial hair, and “gabot” – eyebrows. The book store around the corner from the Hare Rama guest house displayed 20 or 30 books in Hebrew.

Choudharg is a Hindu and has been working at Hara Rama for two years. He said the Friday night gatherings on the rooftop of the hotel occasionally get rowdy, but he has enjoyed learning about the Jewish religion and the Israeli culture. He’s even learned some of the Sabbath songs. Just as he was starting to sing one in the third floor hallway outside the room Chabad rents, he was drowned out by a much louder singing. A circle of five young Israeli men had formed inside the Chabad House. Their arms around each other, they danced and jumped and sang joyously:

“Mishe, mishe, mishe, mishe
Mishe, mishe, mishe, mishe,
Mishenichnas Adar.
Mishe, mishe, mishe, mishe…”

Two young women who were rolling dough into mini challahs stopped their work and clapped along. The song was in honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which celebrates the deliverance of the Persian Jews from persecution in ancient times. The words were about the happiness of the Jewish month of Adar when Purim falls. Choudharg remained in the hallway, watching the boisterous group from the doorway.

Naresh Fernandes, the editor of Time Out Mumbai, has been observing Israelis in India for almost 10 years. An article he wrote several years ago for Man’s World, an Indian publication, explored the relationship between Indians and Israelis: “Paradoxically, while Israelis came to India to seek peace and spirituality, Indian tourism industry workers came to regard Israelis as being loud, unruly and possessing a healthy propensity for aggressive bargaining.”

Asaf Shema, a 23-year-old Israeli traveling in India with his girlfriend, Maria Samyonov, 22, thinks that the only reason Indians might dislike Israelis is because unlike American or European tourists, Israelis love to haggle over prices. Picking up the glass of water in front of him as he sat at the Chabad House in Mumbai, Shema said, “If a European buys this glass for 20 rupees, I can buy it for 10 rupees.” He explains that bargaining is not as much about saving money as it is about not being a friar, or fool. Israelis hate feeling like they’ve been swindled.

Fernandes discussed his research on Israelis with several visiting students from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism at a reception in Mumbai. Driving a hard bargain at the bazaar, he said, is the least of Israelis’ offenses in India. According to him, the perception Indians have of Israelis is that they are only interested in drugs and parties. The post-army twenty-somethings alternate between being lazy idlers, he said, and violent aggressors.

Gavriel Holtzberg runs a Chabad House in Mumbai that caters mainly to Israelis on their way to party hotspots such as Goa and Rajasthan. Three flights a week bring hundreds of them from Israel to Mumbai and Holtzberg recognizes the nature of their needs.

“They need relief,” said the young rabbi who grew up in Brooklyn, from the army, from work, from real life. “They come here to do everything the army didn’t allow them to do. Their shoes had to be polished and tied – here they wear sandals. They had to cut their hair – here they grow their hair long.”

Holtzberg is not excusing their behaviour. He just understands the reasons behind it better than the Indians that come into contact with the hordes of escapists.

Itzick Sabag, a 23-year-old Israeli who came to the United States after completing his army service and now lives in New York, is not surprised that Israelis have such a negative reputation in India. The type of person who goes there, he said, has no ambition or direction and is mainly interested in doing nothing. India is the perfect place to do just that.

“People go to different places for different reasons after the army,” he said. “They go to South America for hiking, climbing, outdoors stuff. They go to America to work or go to school. And they go to India to do drugs.”

An article in the Los Angeles Times in 2003 reported that the “post-army India meltdown has become so common that the government is crafting a policy to respond. Weary of organizing teams to scoop the wayward soldiers out of the backwoods hospitals, Israel is negotiating with the Indian government to install treatment outposts…”

The Israeli government may be aware of the problems Israeli tourists are causing and Israelis in other parts of the world may be aware of the reputation their countrymen have, but it seems that the thousands of revelers who flock to the subcontinent are completely unaware of the situation. At a time when Israeli-Indian political relations are just beginning to warm up, it is unfortunate that on the ground – at back-alley bazaars and beachside cafes – it is more of a love-hate relationship, with the Israelis doing most of the loving and the Indians doing most of the hating.

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Anglo Indians of Kerala ang Meghalaya
Posted by: Anglo Indians ()
Date: June 05, 2010 10:58AM


The Kerala Anglo-Indians have Portuguese surnames as distinct from Anglo-Saxon ones. They are bilingual in English and Malayalam. They speak English as their mother-tongue and most of the women wear Western-style dress. Their hospitality was remarkable.


The mineral rich and tea-growing areas of the North-East Frontier attracted the Europeans who worked for the East India Company in the late eighteenth century. (4) The European colonialists married the Khasi women who belonged to a group of Austro-Asiatic people who speak Khasi, which is one of the Mon-Khmer family of languages, and is the only surviving one in India. By the laws of succession the daughters inherit the whole of their parents' territory, and the sons are sent to live with their wives. (5)

Ethnologically, the hill tribes of the North-East Frontier are primarily of the Tibeto-Mongoloid stock with a sprinkling of Austric and Dravidian blood. The Khasis and Jaintias belong to the same tribal community and live in the Khasi and Jaintia hills. The society of the Khasi Scheduled Tribe continues to be completely matriarchal. (6) The Khasi Anglo-Indians/Scheduled Tribe living in Meghalaya are descendants from the European colonialists and Khasi women.


These two Anglo-Indian communities inhabit opposite corners of the Indian sub-continent. This spatial location explains why although both communities fall within the Constitutional definition of an Anglo-Indian, each may have difficulties in recognising the other as part of the same community.

On the mother's side, the Meghalayan Anglo-Indians are descended from Austro-Asiatic stock; the Keralite Anglo-Indians from Dravidian stock. On the father's side the Meghalayan Anglo-Indians are descended from Anglo-Saxon stock; the Keralite Anglo-Indians from Portuguese stock. This demonstrates the very mixed racial heritage of the Anglo-Indians and the difficulty among Anglo-Indians in agreeing who should be called an Anglo-Indian. Without such agreement and a global view of the community, Anglo-Indians have had problems in calculating the size of the community.

Both categories of Anglo-Indians attract positive discrimination for different reasons. Meghalayan Anglo-Indians receive positive discrimination from the Government of India because they belong to the Scheduled Tribe (Khasi). The Keralite Anglo-Indians also receive positive discrimination from the Government of India because they belong to the category of Other Backward Classes. Positive discrimination takes the form of reserved places in Universities for these groups, and job reservation in Government service. But, positive discrimination has had its price - the label of being "backward".

The powerful All-India Anglo-Indian Association does not recognise these groups of Anglo-Indians, because the Keralite Anglo-Indians have accepted the "backward label," and the Meghalayan Anglo-Indians are members of the Scheduled Tribe. Another reason could be prejudice against the community because its members are descended from the Portuguese and descendants of the Portuguese in India are usually called Indian Christians. The Meghalayan Anglo-Indians have been excluded from the Anglo-Indian community because of its acceptance of matrilineal descent, which does not conform to the Constitutional definition of patrilineal descent.

It is unfortunate that until now these two rather successful Anglo-Indian groups, who have successfully exploited the educational facilities offered by the Indian government, have been excluded from mainstream Anglo-Indian life.

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Jews, St Thomas of Crangannore
Posted by: Jews of India ()
Date: June 10, 2010 01:31AM

The Cochin Jewish community is the oldest east of Iran. Most members now live in Israel, with only a few families remaining in Cochin.

India's main present Jewish community is in Bombay, nowadays Mumbai. This Bnei Israel community is slowly growing in numbers.

There are so many interactions between Jews, Israel, and India that a new academic field of Indo-Judaic studies has developed.

In general, Indian perception of both Jews and Israel is very positive, affectionate, and with much idealization.
* * *
Nathan Katz, professor of religious studies at Florida International University, has specialized over the past twenty years in the Jewish communities of South and Southeast Asia. He observes that there are so many interactions between Jews, Israel, and India that a new academic field of Indo-Judaic studies has developed, with the Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies extant since the mid-1990s. Katz, an Indologist, entered this field in 1986-1987 when he and his wife lived in Cochin with a Jewish family.

Katz remarks: "It was lonely work in those days. Now, however, we almost weekly get inquiries from students who want to do their doctorate in this area. In the United States, India, and Israel there is substantial interest in South and Southeast Asian Jewish communities."

Katz defines Indo-Judaic studies as: "the study of the interactions and affinities between Indian and Judaic civilizations from ancient times; cultural, literary, commercial, and so forth. This includes images of Jews in Indian literature and images of India in Jewish literature as well as contemporary diplomacy. The first step is the study of Indian Jewish communities because there one sees the interactions embodied."

The Hebrew Bible, Josephus, Philo
"There are several Indian-language loan words in the Hebrew Bible. In the Book of Kings when the First Temple is being built, some of the terms like ivory, linen, apes, and peacocks are clearly from North or South Indian languages. There are a few Mishnaic references as well

"A most interesting reference is found in Flavius Josephus. When he is describing the fall of Masada, he has Elazar say - after arguing for the martyrdom and getting nowhere - 'Consider the Hindus who don't know God from Sinai. They have no fear of death because of their great faith and they know the soul to be eternal. If they can be so fearless in the face of death, should not we be? When they go to their death they are cheerful and even take notes and presents from the living to their ancestors in Heaven.' This argument won the day.

"Philo of Alexandria also makes an interesting observation when he sees an Indian yogi imprisoned by the Greek armies that went to India. The prisoner was a great philosopher. The Greeks said, 'We'll give you everything. Please come to Greece and teach us.' And the swami, the holy man, said, 'No, I don't want to leave my people and my religion. I will stay in India.' Despite every effort to get him to assimilate and come to Greece and join that culture, he remained part of Indian culture. Philo used that - which is ironic because he was very Hellenized - as a model of fidelity toward one's own culture and religion against the overwhelming appeal of Greek culture at the time."

Katz also points out that there are many other issues on which the two worlds touch.

The Jewish Community in Cochin
Katz describes the changes that have taken place in the Indian Jewish community over the past decades: "Indian Jewish communities have become increasingly mainstream in the Jewish world. It is a global phenomenon that elites everywhere start to resemble each other. Similarly whereas once Jews in Cochin in South India were very different in terms of what we call traditions of Jewish observance from Jews in New York or Israel, that is much less the case today. One can no longer talk about such communities as isolated or exotic.

"Cochin is located near the southern tip of India on the far southwestern Malibar coast. Its Jewish community is the oldest east of Iran. Its narrative is that its founders came to India after the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE. I analyzed as best as I could ancient documents such as Philo, Josephus, ancient maritime charts, Greek accounts, indigenous Indian historical documents, and texts from the Church Fathers from as early as the third century.

"The claim that Cochin Jewry is a two-thousand-year-old community can neither be proved nor disproved. It is plausible based on circumstantial evidence. We can with certainty document the Jews' presence in Cochin back until the tenth century, but they were probably there much earlier. The community, however, has almost expired by now. Only a few families remain in Cochin. The fabled Paradisi Synagogue is minimally active. Most Cochin Jews live in Israel. At the time of Indian independence the community numbered two to three thousand. Nowadays, in Cochin perhaps twenty to twenty-five Jews remain.

"The Cochin Jews were for a long time a privileged minority. They did very well by being good Jews and earned great respect from their Indian neighbors, who viewed them affectionately. Among them were prime ministers, generals, shipbuilders, and international merchants.

"Cochin was not part of British India but under the sovereignty of a maharajah. The former princely state of the Rajah of Cochin remained a Hindu enclave. The banks were closed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Jews never had to take school exams on Shabbat. They had a guaranteed seat on the legislative council of the state of Cochin, even though their numbers didn't warrant it. They were also guaranteed a certain number of seats in the medical college and law school."

Losing Political Privileges with Independence
"In 1947 with Indian independence all maharajahs ceded their authority to the central Indian government. The princely states of Cochin, Travancore, and Calicut now became the state of Kerala. The new government envisioned a secular democratic state. For the Jews this meant that they lost their political privileges.

"One of the Nehru government's first policies was to ban the import of luxury goods. Many Cochin Jews were traders who brought to India luxury goods such as alcoholic beverages from the UK, fine clothes, and chandeliers from Europe. They sold them mainly to the British and other elites in India. The political change caused them economic problems. So did the nationalization of the coconut estates - the most economically valuable cash crop in the region - which were partly owned by them.

"The electric, municipal transportation, and water companies were also nationalized. Their Jewish owners got compensation but many Jewish employees lost their jobs. Political, economic, and religious factors caused their departure abroad, mainly to Israel. Once a critical mass of a community leaves, existential problems begin such as how to get a minyan [quorum] together for prayer. People also start wondering who their children would marry.

"The wealthy Jews of Bombay, such as the Sassoons, mainly went to England. The Koders, the last of the major Jewish families in Cochin, owned the only chain of department stores in the state of Kerala. They stayed till the end of a viable communal Jewish life in Cochin."

A History of Jewish Knowledge
"Cochin Jews had been international merchants for many centuries, and this led to good connections with the Jewish world. For instance, when the Shulchan Aruch, the main Jewish legal codex, was published in Europe in the 16th century, it arrived in Cochin only a few years later. The Jewish literature on the bookshelves of community members was very similar to what one found elsewhere in the Jewish world. The Bible with Rashi's commentary, the Talmud, the Zohar, and the Shulchan Aruch were standard texts there.

"The Cochin Jews never had rabbis. They had a system to authorize chazanim [cantors] who could lead the service. Almost every community member was knowledgeable in matters of Jewish law. Their legal documents were accepted in the Jewish world even on sensitive matters such as divorces or conversions. Marriage contracts are in perfect Aramaic. When they did not know specific things, being a mercantile community they were able to ask rabbis in faraway places. It sometimes took about twenty years to get an answer."

Katz is currently researching the responsa literature from Amsterdam, Cairo, and Baghdad to understand what replies rabbis there gave to questions from Indian Jews about Jewish legal issues. "One interesting modern question in 1986 concerned the only Zoroastrian family living in Cochin's Jewtown. As they were elderly, they worried about their future burial. Being monotheists they wanted to be buried in the Jewish cemetery. The elders of the Jewish community sent a letter to the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain asking whether this was permitted. The reply came that it was but they could not have non-Jewish religious symbols on their tombstones."

The Community in Israel
"In Israel many Cochin Jews live in close-knit communities and villages. Many others, though, have spread out over the country. Through an informal communication network, they get together for family festivities and holidays.

"The Cochin Jews back in India often had professional careers as physicians, bankers, and so forth. They spoke English well. When they came to Israel in the 1960s or 1970s they had access to reasonable positions in Israeli society.

"Many old traditions from Cochin were forgotten. Yet in the last decade there was a resurgence of songs in the Malayan language. The few older women who knew these back in India are now teaching the younger ones who never learned them. A women's group, which gets together to sing these songs and perform publicly, has recently become a focal point of Cochin identity in Israel."

The Mumbai Community
"India's main present Jewish community is in Bombay, nowadays Mumbai. In Israel they are known as Bnei Israel. Unlike the Cochin Jews the Bnei Israel were an isolated community. They knew almost nothing about Judaism and didn't even know the word Jew. Through a series of fortuitous encounters over about 250 years they were transformed from being perceived as a sort of Hindu caste, specializing in oil pressing, into mainstream or normative Jews.

"The Bnei Israel first met Cochin Jews and later Baghdadi Jews in Bombay. They started to study with their better-informed coreligionists, and that changed their ritual observance. The main change, however, was in the transformation of their identity and self-understanding.

"There are about sixty thousand Bnei Israel, about 90 percent of whom live in Israel. Not only in Israel but also in India, as they became mainstreamed into the Jewish world many of their distinctive practices have been fading out. This is especially evident in their pregnancy and childbirth rituals, which showed strong Indian influences. In the transition period, where they harmonized with normative Judaism, many traditions were lost.

"The Mumbai Jewish community is currently estimated at five thousand people. The city has about twelve million inhabitants. From that perspective the Jewish community is microscopic. Yet it has sufficient size to maintain a set of institutions, such as synagogues and a ritual bath. There is ritual slaughter and kosher food is available. There are Jewish community centers, supplementary schools, and an ORT vocational program. The community has its own newspaper.

"The American Joint Distribution Committee is the foreign Jewish organization that has made the largest contribution to community services. It sends rabbis and social workers to Mumbai. Some members of the Bnei Israel community have studied in Israel or in the United States and returned.

"Those who wanted to leave, which was the overwhelming majority, have gone abroad by now. Some of those living in India have returned from Israel. There is major travel between Mumbai and Israel. Families often have members in both countries. In recent years the number of Bnei Israel in Mumbai has started to grow. This is only partly because of births. There is substantial intermarriage as they are somewhat assimilated into the city's life, and this almost always leads to a conversion to Judaism. The Mumbai Jewish community is the only one that is likely to remain functioning in India. There are some Bnei Israel communities also in other cities such as Ahmedabad, Pune, and New Delhi."

The Baghdadis
"A third community is known in India as the Baghdadis. It refers to both Arabic and Persian-speaking Jews. Besides Baghdad they came from Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Basra in Iraq. They arrived in India in the late 18th century about when the British did.

"This was for two related reasons. In the late 18th and even more in the 19th century, persecutions in Iraq led many Jews to seek a place to emigrate to. Among them the most famous family were the Sassoons. The British were then opening new commercial opportunities in India. In those days Mumbai was a frontier town with all the economic opportunities such cities afford. Both push and pull factors thus brought Jews from the Middle East to India.

"Some others went to Calcutta or Rangoon in what is now Burma. They built the most magnificent synagogues in the Eastern world. The Knesset Eliyahu Synagogue remains functioning in Mumbai. Yet only a very marginal community life remains. Most members have emigrated to Israel, England, Australia, the United States, and Canada, or other parts of the English-speaking world."

Prominent Jews
"Some Jews have reached high positions in India. The Indian military hero of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, which led to the establishment of Bangladesh, was Lieutenant General Frederick Jacob, a Jew from Calcutta. He is now the governor-general of the state of Punjab as well as the president of the New Delhi synagogue.

"Mumbai has had three Jewish mayors. So has Calcutta, even if the title there is different. Those Indians who read English know that the country's greatest poet of the second half of the 20th century, Nissim Ezekiel, was Jewish. He was a professor at Mumbai University and passed away a few years ago. Esther David is a very popular novelist and so is Anita Desai. Some Jews also write in Marathi, a Hindi-related language spoken in the state where Mumbai is located.

"India produces more movies than any other country in the world. That industry was started by Indian Jews. There was interaction between those who were developing Hollywood and those who were developing what became known as Bollywood, or the Bombay industry. In the past many leading Indian directors, producers, as well as actors and musicians were Jewish. Some well-known ones were the director-producer Ezra Mir, the actor and later producer Sulochana (Ruby Meyers), the actors Miss Rose and Ramola (Rachel Hayam Cohen), as well as the prizefighter-turned-actor Aaron Joshua."

The Bnei Menashe
Katz refers to yet another aspect of Judaism in India. "The Bnei Menashe are tribal people who live on both sides of the Indo-Burman border. They claim to be descendants of the lost tribe of Menashe displaced by the Assyrian conquerors in the eighth century BCE."

Katz first came to know about them when he visited Burma in 1984. "The then Israeli ambassador, Itiel Pen, asked me whether I had ever heard about these people who 'think they are Jews.' He said that for some years they had been petitioning him to help them learn Hebrew.

"He put me in touch with some of their leaders in Burma. Apparently fifty years ago some prominent figures of the community, who in Burma were shamans - animist religious leaders - had visions and dreams that they were not who they thought they were. Through a long process of interpretation they became convinced that they were a lost tribe of Israel."

Developments in India
"The Indian side of the border is a remote part of that country. Yet it is more modern than Burma. This meant that there were more Christian missionaries active in that area. Also there several tribal people had similar experiences to those in Burma. The degree of connection between these two groups is unknown.

"The momentum grew, and two parallel interests that developed in Israel spurred the growth. One was religious in nature. The idea emerged in certain circles close to the Chabad movement that the coming of the Messiah can be hastened by finding the lost tribes from biblical times.

"The key Israeli figure in this development was Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail of Jerusalem. His visits to India were very significant to the tribes there. He encouraged their recognition as the Bnei Menashe and as Jews. This got a further impetus when the Israeli Sephardi chief rabbi Shlomo Amar confirmed in spring 2005 that the Bnei Menashe were descendants of Israel and that leniency should be applied in their conversion. There is also a political dimension to this. There are people in Israel who consider that the more Jews, the better.

"There are a few different tribal groups in India who share the belief that they are Bnei Menashe. Several hundred members have already emigrated to Israel. Of those in India who want to convert, some want to emigrate to Israel while others are happy to stay in India. They have dreams of creating a second Israel in their home area. They even have their own national flag, modeled after the Israeli one. In it the biblical emblem of the tribe of Menashe is where the Star of David is in the Israeli banner.

"Among these tribal communities a much larger number, say one to two million, are Christians and wish to remain so yet also consider themselves descendants of the biblical kingdom of Israel. A much larger group of perhaps fifteen million people of the same ethnic identity do not identify with these notions."

The Israelis - Yet Another Group
"There is another, very visible, group of Jews in India" says Katz. "The Israelis who come to India after their military service are not a community, yet they are much noticed by many Indians. They have, however, little contact with the local Jewish community.

"In a visit in late 2004, I heard much Hebrew spoken in the streets and saw many signs in Hebrew in certain areas. These advertisements are usually for not very nice hotels, Kriya yoga classes, music courses, and so forth. One shopkeeper, when he saw my skullcap, insisted on speaking Hebrew to me, even though I speak some Hindi.

"The Indian perception of these tourists is frequently not positive as they have little to spend and tend to bargain the Eastern way. They are often seen as clannish and arrogant. Yet people also know that that there is compulsory military service in Israel and that these youngsters come from a tense situation."

Bringing Back Cultural Forms
"Young Israeli tourists mainly go to the north of India, the Himalayas, or to Goa but not farther south. There is some hope, shared by many in the Indian tourist industry as well as Cochin Jews in Israel, to add Kerala to the normal itinerary of young visiting Israelis. This could be a "roots journey" to rediscover something Jewish in India and through that, something Jewish in themselves.

"Many Indian shopkeepers think there are more Israelis in the world than Germans or French because they see so many of them. One may guess that a higher percentage of Israelis have visited India than people from any other Western country.

"The Israelis who go to India and return to Israel bring back with them some Indian cultural forms, especially what is often called 'spirituality' - which includes meditation - as well as sitar music and a taste for curries. The phenomenon is significant enough to be worth studying sociologically.

"Closely following these youngsters to India are the emissaries of Chabad. The role of Chabad in maintaining far-flung Diaspora communities, especially in Southeast Asia, is profound. Their work in ministering to traveling Israelis is also most significant, and to the best of my knowledge has never been studied.

"We should better understand issues such as, what do they do? What techniques do they employ? Also, what are the issues confronting traveling post-army Israelis? What do they seek from Chabad? Chabad has done more to respond to this phenomenon of young Israelis in India than any other Jewish organization or institution."

The Indian Perception of the Jews and Israel
"Many Indians know that there have been Jews in their country, according to their story, for two thousand years. They are very proud of the fact that Jews lived there for such a long time without experiencing indigenous anti-Semitism. It supports their self-understanding as an extremely tolerant society and welcoming to religious minorities and foreign groups.

"The fact that Jews lived in India without persecution is part and parcel of contemporary Hindu identity in the country and of Indian self-perceptions. This is especially significant for Indians as tensions with Muslims become stronger and even tensions with Christian missionaries become highlighted in the world press. Indians wants to be able to say: 'We are a tolerant society. Look at our Jews who have lived here so long and so happily.'

"Many Indians are also aware that what they have learned about Judaism originates largely from Christian missionary schools, or comes from Marxist or Shakespearian anti-Semitism or, worse, often from anti-Semitic tracts. The Marxists are the ruling party in Bengal. Marxist ideology also has a disproportionate influence on campuses.

"During my last stay in India I was watching television one night. I tuned in a bit late and heard a person in a discussion program saying: 'The Jews are just like the Brahmins.' I smiled until he continued, saying that: 'The Brahmins are as bad as the Jews. They are bloodsuckers like the Jews and a blight on humanity.' Then I saw that his name was framed at the bottom of the screen and that he was one of the leaders of the Communist party. It was Marx's essay on the Jewish question that he was spouting back and applying to the Brahmins.

"We have to contend with these various anti-Semitic traditions. That is a lot to challenge, but these views are not as deeply ingrained in Hindu and Indian culture as they are in the European or Middle Eastern societies."

A General Positive Perception
"Most Indians are informed enough to grasp that the anti-Semitic claims come from distorted perspectives. They realize that authentic knowledge of Judaism, the Jewish people, and civilization can only come from direct interaction between Jews and Indians. This is a fine starting point for further contacts.

"There is a great interest in learning. Earlier in the year I was interviewed on the Patrika newsmagazine, the most popular one on national television. It was announced in the newspapers that it would be a discussion of India and Judaism in five parts over five nights. The average viewership was 230 million people. That shows an almost passionate interest.

"In general, Indian perception of both Jews and Israel is very positive. It is affectionate and there is much idealization. One reason is that the Indians are very impressed by how the Jews managed, with the great multiplicity of tongues they spoke at the time, to revive and adapt Hebrew. This modernization of a sacred, ancient tongue by Eliezer Ben Yehuda is something they would like to emulate.

"There is, however, no practical way for India to have a single language to unite the country. Many Indians dream of reviving their sacred tongue, Sanskrit, as a common tongue or a link language among the diverse groups in the country. English used to serve that purpose, but with the present anticolonial mood that is impossible. Hindi, which is the most widely spoken language, is not acceptable to speakers of Dravidian languages of South India.

"These are linguistically unrelated to the northern or Sanskritic languages. The speakers of the South Indian languages fear being overwhelmed culturally by North India. They see that almost as a colonial experience. To speak Hindi for someone from Tamil Nadu is often worse than speaking English."

Opposing Muslims
"The Indian relationship to Israel is also influenced by the havoc Muslims caused many centuries ago in their country. The Hindu temple of Rramjanmabhumi, in the North Indian town of Ayodhya, is said to be the birthplace of one of their gods, Rama. When the Muslim emperor Babur from Kabul conquered India, he knocked it down and built a mosque on top of it. In all of North India, where the Mughals ruled, no old Hindu temple survives. The Muslim rulers destroyed them all. They often wrote proudly: 'We destroyed this Hindu temple. We constructed a mosque on top to the one God.'

"Even if this happened five or six hundred years ago, Hindus remain very sensitive about it. When they see the mosques on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem there is a deep resonance with their culture. They often ask Jews: 'How can you allow these buildings to remain on this place so sacred to you?'

"Indians also know that Judaism is a very old religion like Hinduism. Antiquity is valued and admired in their culture. That is another positive knowledge baseline. Respect for Jews who don a skullcap, go to pray, and 'don't eat certain things' goes a long way in such a culture.

"Indians read much more than Americans. Books are sold on every street corner in many cities. In this way Indians know something about Jewish novelists. They also admire Israeli fortitude against the Arab enemy.

"Many Indians also know that Jews were slaughtered in the Shoah. I do not think they know the numbers. Perhaps six million doesn't seem as large to Indians as it does to Jews. It is, however, hardly known that several thousand Jews found refuge from the Shoah in India."

Idolatry and Transcendence
When asked about the pagan character of Hinduism and Judaism's strong traditional opposition to idolatry, Katz replies that this is a difficult issue. Yet, he says, "Paganism is indeed a term we would generally apply to Hindu religion. But many educated Hindus in most of their systems of exegesis or philosophy talk about one supreme spirit with no qualities or attributes, very similar to Jewish theology. Their term Nirguna, 'without qualities,' for the transcendence of God is almost Maimonidean. It characterizes an absolute God who is unmoved and untouched by history.

"One Hindu religious leader, a swami, told me: 'We should listen to you Jews more with your abhorrence of idolatry. We ought to pay more attention to what your religious teachers say, who insist on the sense of the absoluteness and transcendence of God. We have been too lenient by allowing people to worship God with forms, thinking that they will gradually grow out of that simplistic comprehension of God to a more abstract notion. Our tolerance has allowed them to get stuck in that lower understanding."

Katz stresses that the person who said this was no liberal or modernist. "His was a deeply traditional point of view. The common level of practice is ineradicable and so is Hindu idolatry. But the more I understand - and have studied in some depth with their experts - the more I am convinced that their understanding of divinity at a higher level is not so different from the Jewish one. It has to do with their notion that it's really only the elite who become educated and philosophize."

Two Types of Universities
"There are two types of universities in India: religious and secular. The religious ones usually have a very positive attitude toward Israel. In the Indian educational system, the more traditional universities have increased in stature just as the right-of-center ideology in India in general has risen in acceptability, prominence, as well as in journals. These tend to give Israel a better hearing than the Left. I spoke at some of these traditionalist universities and there was passionate interest and tremendous empathy. In many of them Israel is almost idealized.

"The academics at the secular universities are often no political friends of Israel. In late 2004 I was a visiting fellow at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, which is substantially Marxist-influenced. I spoke also at other secular universities where one is challenged about Israel's treatment of Palestinians. This time, however, I have heard no challenges to Israel's existence. This is a great improvement over the situation twenty or thirty years ago when that was on the table.

"There are Indian newspapers that follow the general leftist ideology. The Hindu in Madras, despite its name, is one of those. The Amrita Bazar Pratika, the Calcutta English daily, tends to be Marxist-influenced and rather hostile to Israel, while most vernacular papers are much friendlier to it.

"Even many of the secular leftists among Indian intellectuals have a great admiration for Jewish culture. In their world, Jewish literature, Labor Zionism, the secular Israeli, or Jewish culture are seen in a kindred, brotherly kind of way.

"Some reciprocal agreements have been reached between Benares Hindu University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I guess the two have an affinity, both being secular, left-leaning institutions located in the holiest cities of the two countries.

"When I visited Benares there was much enthusiasm about this relationship. If one could bring Indian scholars to Israel for training in any area - whether Judaic studies, Jewish history, Jewish literature, political science, information technology, agriculture, and so forth - this would be fairly inexpensive but an important step, with a positive influence on Indian-Israeli relations."

Attracting Tourists
"The Paradisi Synagogue in Cochin, which as said is still marginally functioning, became the focal point of India when in 1968 it celebrated its four hundredth anniversary. India even issued a postage stamp to commemorate the synagogue.

"Indira Gandhi, then prime minister, went there and said 'mazal tov.' 'How did you learn that word?' the Jews asked. She answered: 'I saw Fiddler on the Roof.' Indira Gandhi was no friend of Israel but she was not hostile to Jews as many of the older generation of socialists among the Indian leadership were.

"Recently the synagogue in Chandamangalim, which is even older than the Paradisi Synagogue, has been renovated. This has been paid for by the government of the state of Kerala. This was largely done at the impetus of the Cochin Jews in Israel but with the full cooperation of the Kerala Tourism Department. In February 2006 there will be a celebration when an exhibition on Cochin Jews' life in Israel will go on permanent display in this synagogue.

"The communities in Israel that hail from the other seven remaining but derelict synagogues in Kerala also want these renovated. And the vision - we'll see how much of it gets implemented - is to put Cochin on the tourism map for Jewish travelers. After all the synagogues in the region have been renovated, they will become a cultural monument in India."

A Role in Growing Trade
"An Israeli consulate in Bombay was opened in 1950. In the 1980s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi took the first steps toward better relations with Israel. He wanted to open the Indian economy and abandon strident third worldism. He understood the importance of information technology and other high technology. He had many contacts in the American Jewish community and thought that if you wanted to be friendly with America, you had to be seen as friendly with Israel, or as it was put in India, the road to Washington passes through Tel Aviv. Full diplomatic relations with Israel were, however, only established in 1992 after his 1991 murder.

"Indian Jews who have emigrated to Israel play a role in the growing trade between the two countries. Cochin Jews who traveled back to India became involved with the government of Kerala in developing Jewish tourism and, more significantly, in agricultural technology transfer.

"One example of how Indian Jews promote commercial contacts concerns a family who live on a moshav in the south of Israel and who are very successful in floriculture. They began to introduce Israeli agricultural techniques to Gujurat state, which has a rather dry climate. They started the application of the drip system of irrigation that was pioneered in Israel. There are many other cases of Israeli technology brought to India by Indian Jews living in Israel. This has a cultural influence as well."

The Government Level
"At government level there is substantial cooperation between Israel and India. It is frequently mentioned in Indian papers that there is intelligence sharing between the two countries. Bilateral trade is rapidly increasing. Israeli exports to India in 2004 came to about $1 billion, mainly diamonds and gems. Israeli imports from India were slightly larger.

"An important field of Indian-Israeli cooperation is security. Indians feel that they are victims of terror. Their house of parliament and the stock exchange have been bombed by Islamist terrorists. The Hindi word for the violence in Kashmir is intifada. Many perceive the Palestinian violence as another head of the same Islamic fundamentalist dragon. Some Indian diplomats told me that they foresee a time when India's official pro-Arab position at the United Nations will also be softening."

Katz concludes by saying that the mix of diplomatic, commercial, security, tourism, academic, and cultural contacts is likely to foster an improving relationship between Israel and India. The Indian Jews in both countries are likely to continue playing a role in that.

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Re: Jews, St Thomas of Crangannore
Posted by: Jewish St Thomas Christians ()
Date: June 10, 2010 02:08AM

Cochin Jews, also called Malabar Jews (Malabar Yehudan) are the ancient Jews and their descendants of the erstwhile state of Kingdom of Cochin which includes the present day port city of Kochi.[14] They traditionally spoke Judeo-Malayalam, a form of the Malayalam tongue, native to the state of Kerala. The Jews of Cochin did not adhere to the Talmudic prohibition, followed by other Orthodox Jews, against public singing by women, and therefore have a rich tradition of Jewish prayers and narrative songs performed by women in Judeo-Malayalam.

Their population has been greatly reduced from historical numbers, as many have emigrated to Israel to settle in the Negev. Part of the decline in Kerala's Jewish population can also be attributed to conversion.[15] Many of the Jews that converted during the time of Saint Thomas became Kerala's Nasrani or Saint Thomas Christians.[15]

Christianity in India dates to Thomas the Apostle’s conversion of Jewish population in Kerala during the 1st century CE[13]. The 3rd and 4th centuries saw an influx of Christians from the Middle East. Knanaya communities arrived during this time. Distance kept the community of St Thomas Christians separate from other Christian communities until about the 8th century, when they started receiving bishops and support from the Chaldean Church. The arrival of Europeans in the 15th century and discontent with Portuguese interference in religious matters fomented schism into Catholic and Orthodox communities. Further schism, rearrangements, and missionary activity led to the formation of the other Indian Churches. Latin Rite Christians were converted by the Portuguese in the 16th and 19th centuries from lower castes where fishing was the traditional occupation. Anglo-Indian Christian communities formed around this time as Europeans and local Malayalis intermarried. Protestantism arrived a few centuries later with missionary activity during British rule. The community today can broadly divided into Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant groups. It is important to note that despite being a heterogeneous group, Malayali Christians find unity in a common history and faith.

Cochin Jews, also called Malabar Jews (Malabar Yehudan) are the ancient Jews and their descendants of the erstwhile state of Kingdom of Cochin which includes the present day port city of Kochi.[14] They traditionally spoke Judeo-Malayalam, a form of the Malayalam tongue, native to the state of Kerala. The Jews of Cochin did not adhere to the Talmudic prohibition, followed by other Orthodox Jews, against public singing by women, and therefore have a rich tradition of Jewish prayers and narrative songs performed by women in Judeo-Malayalam.

Their population has been greatly reduced from historical numbers, as many have emigrated to Israel to settle in the Negev. Part of the decline in Kerala's Jewish population can also be attributed to conversion.[15] Many of the Jews that converted during the time of Saint Thomas became Kerala's Nasrani or Saint Thomas Christians.[15]

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