Monday, September 29, 2008

The last Jews of Calcutta

Beth-el synagogue in Kolkata

From the Associated Press via the International Herald Tribune, a poignant story about the dwindling Jewish population of Calcutta, as many Jews die or move away for better opportunities.

What the article doesn't mention, however, is India's acceptance of religious refugees. The story of the Parsis, Zoroastrians from Iran, is well-known. Calcutta (or Kolkata, as it's currently known) itself has absorbed Armenians as well as Jews - to say nothing about the Hindu refugees from Partition and the Bangladeshi war of 1971.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Case not closed

In his indignant letter to The Indian American, Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran wrote that the Banerjee commission concluded that the Godhra atrocity was an accident. "Case closed" was the last sentence in his letter.

Not so fast. The Nanavati-Mehta judicial inquiry commission states the Godhra atrocity was a “pre-planned conspiracy,” thereby contradicting the findings of the Banerjee commission, and by extension, Chandrasekharan's conclusion. As Chandrasekharan claimed that he based his report on interviews with witnesses, the Nanavati-Mehta commission based its conclusions on over 100 interviews with witnesses.