The Last Jews Of Kerala | Granta

  • Published: 03/08/2009
  • ISBN: 9781846270994
  • 120x20mm
  • 272 pages

The Last Jews Of Kerala

Edna Fernandes

Separated by a narrow stretch of swamp-like waters, and distinguished by the colour of their skin, the Black Jews and the White Jews have been locked in a rancorous feud for centuries. Only now, when their combined number has diminished to fewer than fifty and they are on the threshold of extinction, have the two remaining Jewish communities in south India begun to realise that their destiny, and their undoing, is the same. Living in Cochin alongside this last generation, Edna Fernandes tells their story from the illustrious arrival of their ancestors from the court of King Solomon, through their long heyday of wealth, tolerance and privilege to their present twilight existence, as synagogues crumble into disuse and weddings become a thing of the past, leaving only funerals.

A touching, investigative account ... Fernandes movingly captures the sombre, embattled mood of this population in countdown mode

Sunday Times

Fernandes' material is fascinating ... The story of these Jews is so compelling and the author's reporting of it so assiduous ... Indeed, she has unearthed gems

The Economist

The Author

Edna Fernandes is a British Indian journalist who was born in Nairobi and grew up in London. She is a Special Correspondent for the Mail on Sunday newspaper, writing international reportage features, and she also writes for History Today. A former foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and political correspondent for Reuters in London, her articles have been reproduced in newspapers around the world. Her first book Holy Warriors: A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism was shortlisted for the UK’s 2008 Index on Censorship TR Fyvel prize and nominated for India’s Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Best Book Award. Fernandes’ new book, The Last Jews of Kerala, was shortlisted for India’s 2009 Vodafone Crossword Literary prize. It is also a Sunday Times Travel Book of the Year.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

Holy Warriors

Edna Fernandes

Home to all the major religions, India is also, inevitably, host to virtually every type of religious fanatic. No other nation has witnessed as much proselytizing or heard as many war cries in the name of God as India. For centuries, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Muslims have waged bloody wars, sought violent conversion and declared jihad against their enemies, as their religions have been hijacked by the forces of fundamentalism. In Holy Warriors, Edna Fernandes travels to the country’s recent and past theatres of religious extremism – from Kashmir to Gujarat, Punjab to Goa – to meet the generals and foot soldiers of communal wars who assert their faith in rhetoric and rage. Theirs are stories of bigotry and bloodshed, insecurity and despair, but Fernandes listens with understanding, tolerance and a deft sense of humour, and paints a uniquely vivid and clear-sighted picture of a country divided by dogma.