Sifra Lentin

Sifra Lentin

Bombay History Fellow

Sifra Lentin is Fellow, Bombay History Studies. She was Visiting Fellow 2018 at the Herbert Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at University of Pennsylvania for a project on Karachi’s Jews. Her latest Gateway House policy report on “India and the SCO, Bound by Buddhism” (November 2020) proposed how India could leverage her soft power as the holy land of Buddhism in this multilateral grouping.  Her “Mumbai-Shanghai Sister Cities” report (May 2017): proposed recommendations on how sister city relationships between these two cities can be made to work. She has also written a number of books, namely, Bombay’s International Linkages (Gateway House, 2019); Our Legacy: The Dwarkadas Family of Bombay (2018), and A Salute to the Sword Arm – A photo Essay on the Western Fleet (Western Naval Command, 2007). Her work has also appeared in edited volumes: “The Jewish Presence in Bombay” in India’s Jewish Heritage: Ritual, Art, & Life-Cycle (Marg Publication, 2002), “Shalom India” published in One India One People’s book Know India Better (2006), “The Jewish presence in Mumbai: their contribution to the city’s economic, social and cultural fabric”, in Mumbai—Socio-Cultural Perspectives: Contribution of Ethnic Groups & Communities (Primus Books, 2017).

Sifra graduated in English Literature from Elphinstone College, Mumbai, and went on to complete her Bachelor’s in General Law (BGL) from Government Law College, Mumbai.  Her earlier career was in journalism with a focus on Bombay and South Asian Jewish history. Most notably, she wrote a popular thrice-weekly column for Mid-Day “Vintage Mumbai” from 1995 to 1997 and a five-part Partition series for Reuters on the golden jubilee of Indian Independence in 1997. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Sir Jacob Sassoon School (Byculla, Mumbai).

Expertise

History, Bombay

Last modified: May 5, 2022

Recent projects

CNEP BOMBAY Courtesy: BNP Paribas
14 March 2022 Gateway House

French business icons of colonial Bombay

The Anglo-French commercial treaty of 1860 opened trade between France and Bombay, and brought two iconic French companies – a shipping line and the city’s first European bank. Bombay’s affluent residents were already familiar with French fashion, luxury goods, wines and liqueurs.
Suffren_meeting_with_Haider_Ali_26_july_1782_engraved_by_J_B_Morret_1789 Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
10 March 2022 Gateway House

300 years of India-France trade

Three hundred years ago, the Anglo-French rivalry in Europe spilled over to India, and threatened the dissolution of the powerful Bombay Presidency. Three centuries later, India and France are in a different place, with economic ties blossoming and the bilateral upgrading in 1998 into a strategic relationship. The speed with which this has scaled up reflects the deep familiarity between the two nations rooted in colonial history.
imperial bank bldg Courtesy: Bombay 100 Years Ago
13 January 2022 Mint

The Imperial Bank of India

The Imperial Bank of India completed a hundred years in 2021. This Bombay Presidency institution is the precursor of the State Bank of India, which was a retail bank but also performed central bank duties. In this podcast, Sifra Lentin discusses the legacy of what was once the Indian subcontinent's oldest, largest bank.
sifra cover Courtesy: Routledge India
5 January 2022 Gateway House

Mercantile Bombay: A Journey of Trade, Finance and Enterprise

Mumbai has a deep legacy as an international financial hub from the 19th to early 20th century. It was the central node of trading communities in a globalised colonial world, the remnants of which are seen today. The author describes the city's heyday and advances the prospect of Bombay's revival as a global city of enterprise. This excerpt traces the history of the Bombay Burmah Trading Co., which played a role in the onset of the final Anglo-Burmese War.