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Jewish Heritage in India, Bollywood Glitters
“Jews and the Indian National Art Project” and “Western Jews in India - celebrate the rich history and heritage of Jews in India.

Recently, Ambassador Mr. Daniel Carmon hosted the launch of two books, “Jews and the Indian National Art Project” and “Western Jews in India - celebrating the rich history and heritage of Jews in India, marvelously portrayed in Dr. Kenneth Robbins' books. 

Jews and the Indian National Art Project and Western Jews in India are the first two of eight books documenting the contributions of Jews to Indian society and the welcoming enduring relationships they have found in India. The next four volumes will deal with Jews in Bollywood, Holocaust refugees in India, the Military history of the Bene Israel and Muslim-Jewish Relations in South Asia.


About the Books:
Jews and the Indian Art Project edited by Kenneth X. Robbins and Rabbi Marvin Tokayer [Niyogi Books]

This volume reveals the roles of foreign and Indian Jews in the Indian national art project and raises many issues. Is an “Indian artist” any artist born into an Indian family? What role can foreigners and  members of  Indian minority groups play    in  the Indian National Art Project as scholars, critics, or artists? Is a piece of work “Indian art” because of its subject matter or its style? Is it possible to utilize “foreign techniques” in creating “Indian art”? Can the demands of personal individual creativity and the national art project be in dynamic tension with each other or are they always in opposition? How can artists retrieve the connections to their roots without being limited by them? In what ways does the modernization and change in India reflect changes in other societies? How can artists transcend the hegemony of established Western modes of thought and creativity?  
This  contributions of artists like Anna Molka Ahmed, Mirra Alfassa (The Mother), Siona Benjamin, Carmel Berkson, Fredda Brilliant, Esther David, Annie Heilig,, Margaret Isaacs, Gerry Judah, Anish Kapoor, Andree Karpeles, Magda Nachman, Fyzee Rahamin, Sir William Rothenstein, Gladstone Solomon, Rudi von Leyden,  and Rebecca Yeheziel as well as  those of photographers (David Mordecai and Man Ray)  and architects (Otto Königsberger, Moshe Safdie) are discussed in this volume. The book also documents the work of critics, scholars and art patrons like Ernst Cohn-Wiener, Charles Fabri, Stella Kramrisch  Kathe Langhammer, Emmanuel Schlesinger, Marion Harry Spielmann, Sir Marc Aurel Stein, General Jean-Baptiste Ventura, and Rudi von Leyden

Western Jews in India edited by Kenneth X. Robbins and Rabbi Marvin Tokayer [ Manohar Books]

This is the first book describing the roles of Western Jews in South Asian political affairs, medicine, painting, architecture and religion. A time-line summarizes their contributions and those of the Indian Jews to the Indian Subcontinent.  Many of these foreign Jews left behind their Jewish identities.  Others remained Jews, but functioned as individuals unconcerned with implementing any “Jewish agenda”.The Mother, a great mystic and leader of the Aurobindo ashram, was a French artist with a Turkish Jewish background. Maurice Frydman (Bharatananda), an important associate of Nisargadatta Maharaj and other gurus, tried to create a Gandhian democracy in Aundh. Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss) was an important Islamic political thinker and government official in Pakistan. Jews provided the Portuguese, who persecuted them, with language skills and access to trading networks.
Jean-Baptiste Ventura became commander of the Sikh armies. In 1921, Lord Reading and Edwin Montagu were the two highest British officials governing India. Garcia da Orta was a founder of tropical medical botany in the sixteenth century. Waldemar Haffkine, who created anti-cholera and plague vaccines, undertook large-scale vaccination programs in India. Louis Kahn created the iconic National Parliament House in Bangladesh. The buildings of Moshe Safdie, Joseph A. Stein, and Stanley Tigerman are very well known in India and Bangladesh. Articles written by a distinguished international group of scholars are combined with a very large number of illustrations ranging from paintings, photographs, maps, medals, stamps, and documents to photographic essays on painters and architects.
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