Sifra Lentin

Sifra Lentin

Adjunct Fellow, Bombay History Studies

Sifra Lentin is a Mumbai-based writer and the Bombay History Fellow at Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. She graduated in English from Elphinstone College, Mumbai, and went on to complete her Bachelor’s in General Law (BGL) from Government Law College, Mumbai. She has written for a wide spectrum of Mumbai-based newspapers and magazines – most notably Mid-Day, Reuters, The Times of India, The Sunday Observer, Hindustan Times, Taj Magazine, JetWings and One India One People. The books written by her are: the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet coffee table book ‘A Salute To The Sword Arm – A Photo Essay On The Western Fleet’ (April 2007), and more recently Our Legacy: the Dwarkadas family of Bombay (March 2018) on the 250 year old history of the eminent Halai Bhatia Dwarkadas Khimji family of Mumbai. She has also been published in three books: MARG’s ‘Indian Jewish Heritage – Ritual, Life-Cycle & Art’ (2002), One India One People’s book on Communities of India (2006), and recently in Primus Publications Mumbai Socio-Cultural Perspectives: Contributions of Ethnic Groups and Communities (2018), where she has written Chapter 10 on ‘Mumbai’s Jewish Community’. Lentin was recently awarded a one-month fellowship (October 2018) to the Herbert Katz Center for Advance Judaic Studies in Philadelphia for a project on the ‘Jews of Karachi’. She is also on the Board of Trustees of the Sir Jacob Sassoon School (Byculla, Mumbai).
Expertise

History, Bombay

Last modified: April 18, 2019

Recent projects

IMG_20190411_090307__01__01_Norita SAN (1) Courtesy: Gateway House
11 April 2019 Gateway House

Japan’s Buddhist trail in Bombay

At the turn of the 20th century, British India was home to about 3,000 Japanese expatriates, and Bombay and its presidency had well-established trade ties with Imperial Japan – until the Second World War brought it all to an end. The city never regained its substantial Japanese resident population, but the few monuments that remain point to rich political and religious linkages
Image Credit: Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee
Raw cotton being weighed. Japanese firms began going to the cotton growing hinterland of Bombay by the early 20th century. These direct purchases fueled a massive export trade between Bombay and Japan. Courtesy: Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee
20 March 2019 Gateway House

Imperial Japan’s trade with Bombay

Prior to the Second World War, Bombay had established merchant networks with several Japanese port cities and they drove an enormous global trade in cotton and textiles between the Indian subcontinent and Imperial Japan. Business has become a renewed priority for both countries today, offering fresh opportunities for collaboration
IndiaTimes Courtesy: India Times
6 December 2018 Gateway House

Kartarpur-Canada-India-China

The recent opening of the Kartarpur corridor in Punjab and the release of a Canadian parliamentary report on the security breach during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s India visit are important developments. They present a good opportunity for New Delhi to step up cooperation with Ottawa on countering terrorism and violent extremism
A photo of Kakira Sugar Works (Uganda) in 1957 (Courtesy: Tide of Fortune: A family tale, by Manubhai Madhvani) Courtesy: Tide of Fortune: A family tale, by Manubhai Madhvani
26 July 2018 Gateway House

Modi on the India-Africa Dhow Route

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Rwanda and Uganda, en route to the BRICS Conference in South Africa (July 25-27), is significant as it is a rebolstering of ties with these East African landlocked nations through their Indian diasporas, ties that will be cemented further by cooperation in defence, finance, education and other sectors. The Bombay Presidency once played a key role in the development of this region
The Presidency Chartered Bank of Bombay on 1 Rampart Row was founded in 1840 and was one of three presidency banks that were the precursors of the State Bank of India (1955) Courtesy: State Bank of India
3 May 2018 Gateway House

Indian banking’s chequered history

The history of modern Indian banking in the 19th century is full of examples of lopsided loan portfolios, favouring a few individuals and businesses, which is not very different from today’s world of financial fraud and manipulation of the system for personal gain. The past still holds many lessons

The historic Bombay Mint Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons
19 April 2018 Gateway House

Rationale for the return of the global rupee

Over 50 years ago, the Indian rupee was a currency of overseas trade besides being the local currency for the Gulf nations and many regions of the Indian Ocean. It fell into a retreat for many reasons. With the Indian economy slated to strengthen 2019 onwards, this is the right time to speed up the rupee’s full capital account convertibility

Sifra at C3S blog Courtesy: Chennai Center for China Studies
22 February 2018 Gateway House

Can soft diplomacy bridge the India-China divide?

On 12 February, the Chennai Centre for China Studies (C3S), the Press Institute of India and the Centre for Public Policy Research, hosted a conference on ‘Enhancing India-China People-to-People Relations’ to explore ways student exchanges, language studies, the arts, think tanks and academia might increase people-to-people interactions and circulations between the two nations
39756875281_ac24720250_o Courtesy: Israel Prime Minister/ Flickr
26 January 2018 Gateway House

Bibi’s visit a shoring up of business synergies

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to India, which came as a fitting finale to the silver jubilee celebrations marking diplomatic relations between the two countries, showed a purposeful shift in focus from defence to business. The large Israeli trade delegation, accompanying the prime minister, was there to further robust business ties going back to 1972

Prime Minister Modi with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu taking a leisurely stroll along Olga beach in northern Israel, on the last day of the Indian PM's historic visit in July 2017. Courtesy: Flickr/MEA India
11 January 2018 Gateway House

Soft power of Israel’s Indian Jews

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s official visit to India from January 14 to 19 will lay accent on the many commercial ties that bind the two countries. Equally important, if less visible, is Israel’s Indian Jewish diaspora, that has benefited greatly ever since full diplomatic relations were established