Sifra Lentin

Sifra Lentin

Bombay History Fellow

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: November 23, 2018

Recent projects

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
'Kwan Tai Kung, the Great Warrior King, is the main deity in the Chinese Temple on Nawab Tank Road. In the Chinese religious hierarchy he is on par with Confucius, the great teacher and philosopher. Courtesy: flickr
6 December 2017 Gateway House

Bombay’s Chinese cultural links

Bombay city has always had a soft corner for everything Chinese. It was a taste created by the early Parsi merchants, who profited significantly from the cotton and opium trade with China in the second half of the 19th century. There is no confirmed date on when the Chinese first came to Bombay, bringing with them some unmatched skills, besides their cuisine. But today, it’s a reinvigorated economic engagement: Chinese goods flood Mumbai’s markets. Chinese companies and a bank are setting up base, while Indian conglomerates, in turn, are acquiring a growing presence in China
2223080434_38c7f3dee1 Courtesy: Flickr
1 November 2017 Gateway House

Indian Chinese diaspora: from Calcutta to Toronto

The 200-year-old history of the Indian Chinese population – currently 3,000 – in Calcutta and Bombay shows how the two civilisations were deeply connected. Buddhism and trade forged the link in the ancient past, but a forgotten aspect is the more recent, once vibrant Chinese presence in India. The bustling China Towns of yore fell silent after the 1962 India-China war that impelled the migration of the Indian Chinese to Canada, Hong Kong and Australia. Revisiting this period can offer many lessons in cultural assimilation and diplomacy in the more fractious present
Rare-Old-Photos-of-Karachi-A-Parsi-family-in-Karachi-in-motor-car-1925-Old-and-rare-Pictures-of-Karachi Courtesy: Pinterest
7 September 2017 Gateway House

Partition: those who stayed behind

Bombay’s Parsis, Bene-Israel Jews, and Goans settled in Karachi, Lahore and other cities and provinces that the British had annexed since the mid-19th century. The Partition of India in 1947 gave these minority communities the choice to stay or leave. The Bene-Israel left. The Parsis and Goans continue to have a presence in Pakistan
2 Courtesy: The Indian Railways Fan Club
31 August 2017 Gateway House

Partition’s Punjabi imprint on Bombay

The Sikh and Punjabi community of Sion-Koliwada Camp, Mumbai, hailed mostly from the Muslim-majority North West Frontier Province (NWFP), rather than undivided Punjab. They brought to their adopted city – and to India – a rich and varied cultural presence

A Biluchi Soldier and Hindu Trader of Sindh Courtesy: Archive.org
24 August 2017 Gateway House

The making of Bombay’s mini Sindh

Many of the Hindu Sindhi refugees who fled to India post Partition succeeded in rebuilding their lives afresh, their native entrepreneurial spirit enabling them to rise up from the destitution that displacement caused. Ulhasnagar, Thane district, which was a refugee camp 70 years ago, is a microcosm of how the community rehabilitated itself--with the help of a well dispersed and generous Sindhi trading network