History of the Jews in India

aspect of history
(Redirected from Hinduism and Judaism)

The history of the Jews in India reaches back to ancient history. Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history. Indian Jews are a religious minority in India who have historically lived there without any instances of anti-Semitism from the local non-jewish majority.

Arrival of the Jewish pilgrims at Cochin, A.D. 68


  • Who is not curious as to how the Jews of India survived for so long in an atmosphere of tolerance when other Jewish communities such as that in China, benefiting from similar toleration, assimilated so thoroughly. Their argument is that India as a host society combined tolerance with culturally enforced diversity which made the difference. Indian society, with its several major religions and further division within Hinduism into four major castes, a fifth of outcasts, and over 3,000 subcastes, tolerates wide diversity but does not permit people born into one group to cross over into another or even to associate with the others beyond the public square, since the food taboos of every religious community, caste and subcaste mean that they cannot eat with one another. Nothing separates more than that. The Jewish community could fit into India as another caste and even developed its own subcastes, as the authors explain, properly denoting this as the Cochin Jews' one great (and sad) departure from halakhic Judaism.
  • Jews navigated the eddies and shoals of Indian culture very well. They never experienced anti-Semitism or discrimination. ... Indians Jews lived as all Jews should have been allowed to live: free, proud, observant, creative and prosperous, self-realized, full contributors to the host country.
  • Hail Prosperity! This is the gift that His majesty, King of Kings, Sri Bhaskara Ravi Varman, who is to wield sceptre for several thousand years, was pleased to make during the thirty sixth year opposite to the second year of his reign [according to Narayanan, 1000 C.E.], on the day when he was pleased to reside at Muyirkkode. We have granted to Joseph Rabban, Ancuvannam, tolls by the boat and by carts, Ancuvannam dues, the right to employ day lamp, decorative cloth, palanquin, umbrella, kettledrum, trumpet, arch, arched roof, weapon and the rest of the seventy-two privileges. We have remitted duty and weighing fee. Moreover, according to this copper-plate grant given to him, he shall be exempted from payments made by other settlers in the town to the king, but he shall enjoy what they enjoy. To Joseph Rabban, proprietor of Ancuvannam, his male and female issues, nephews and sons-in-law, Ancuvannam shall belong by hereditary succession. Ancuvannam shall belong to them by hereditary succession as long as the world, sun and moon endure. Prosperity!

External linksEdit