The Dawoodi Bohra diaspora is present in over 40 countries that are home to 500 sizeable communities. From a predominantly Indian Ocean merchant diaspora in the past, today, its young prefer to seek educational and professional opportunities in developed countries, like the United States. What remains unchanged is the Bohras' traditional way of life, as lived through its rich and composite cuisine and its unique, ever-evolving language – Lisan-ul-Dawat – both of which connect the community across continents.
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The Mumbai-headquartered Dawoodi Bohra community has a rich legacy of business, overseas maritime trade, and, today, a strong global community network that connects its 1 million faithful, wherever they are, in real time. The community's strength is its network, even 1,000 years ago, even without technology.
Pankaj Joshi, Executive Director, Urban Design Research Institute, and Nitai Mehta, Founder, Praja, in discussion with Sifra Lentin, Bombay History Fellow, Gateway House, on the immediate and long-term steps Mumbai can take to combat COVID-19 and future emergencies.
Bombay’s Hindi film industry has welcomed Pathan talent – venerated actor Dilip Kumar, scriptwriter Salim Khan and musician Adnan Sami Khan are some prominent examples. Many of them originally came from undivided India’s Pathan homelands in what is today’s Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, entering the industry at an opportune time. Today, their descendants wear the Khan name with pride
India-Iran ties span culture, economics and geopolitics. Iran is one of India’s most important neighbours and must be viewed on its own standing, not through a Western prism. Gateway House has an extensive repository of research and reporting on Iran, ranging from India-Iran historical ties, Iran’s role in India’s energy security and the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran and on India, which helps to better understand this crucial nation.
Bombay’s Pathan community was most visible from the 19th century until India’s partition in 1947. Taking to hard labour with a natural ease, they worked mostly in mills and as security staff. Others went into business. Their numbers have thinned now, but they have retained their cultural identity, holding fast to feudal codes of conduct
India has the largest number of Baha’is in the world today, followers of the world’s newest religion, which was founded in 19th-century Persia. Persecuted in their own country, they came to Bombay, which was already home to many Iranians, to purvey the message of their faith
Bombay’s trade with the Persian Empire grew rapidly in the 19th century because of regular steamship services between the city and prominent Iranian ports such as Bushire. The wealthy and public-spirited Persian merchants, who settled in Bombay, endowed their community with a religious and social infrastructure, in use even today
The Irani cafés of Mumbai are a unique part of the city’s history. Founded about 120 years ago by Zoroastrian and Shia immigrants from Iran, they catered principally to workers in mills and factories. The few that remain are a reminder of a well- assimilated cultural, particularly culinary, link between India and Iran
The newly restored Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue will be inaugurated by Maharashtra governor Vidyasagar Rao on February 7. This 135-year-old Jewish house of worship was central to the history of Mumbai’s Jewish community and the city’s once robust multicultural character