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Culture, Europe, Jews, Middle East, Pakistan

Pakistan Posts پاکستان نامه: `White` and `black` Jews who decided to stay back in Lahore Pakistan

It might seem strange in these trying times to suggest that in the land of Pakistan we have always had a small, very small, Jewish population. This was truer of Karachi, though Lahore also had its share of Jews. Today their number you can count on your fingers.The very few that remain after 1947 are very poor Jews, a surprising condition for this sturdy group of people. They live in obscurity in our city, more so in the walled city of Lahore. During a research exercise I was going through official figures issued by the Government of Pakistan for the 2013 elections, and was pleased to know that it showed 809 adult Jews enrolled in the last election.As a researcher dedicated to researching Lahore in particular, and Punjab in general, let me tell you that I have visited a few in Lahore. Only six such families live inside the walled city, they are two `white Baghdadi Jews` and four `black Cochin Jews`.Their total number stands at 32humans, and very fine humans at that. In this piece let us explore the Jews of the sub-continent, and of Lahore in particular. I will also briefly describe a visit I paid them a few months ago.The very first Jews to land in the sub-continent was almost 2,000 years ago, much before Christianity, or even Islam, came to the sub-continent. The immediate reason for the first wave of Jews to head to the sub-continent was certainly not discrimination which they definitely faced at the hands of rising papal power in Turkey, Greece and Italy and also the nearby lands of Europe.Large Jewish populations existed in Ethiopia (romantically called the 10th lost tribe of Israel) and were known as diamond and gold traders. It was trade that brought them to our coasts.They often visited the Malabar Coast to trade and started settling there. They were locally referred to as `black Arabs` and are today known as the `Cochin Jews` of Kerala. They traditionally traded with Arabs till the British banned them from leaving in their own ships for Arab lands.The second wave of Jews tocome to the sub-continent landed near Mumbai, and they were basically Jews escaping the Inquisition of Spain and Europe. >>> Source: Pakistan Posts پاکستان نامه: `White` and `black` Jews who decided to stay back in Lahore Pakistan

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