Remains of a Dream: The Jewish Saga of Kerala (2016)

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Joshua Lazoff
by Published on February 26, 2020
Concept, Research, Script and Creative Direction: Sreekala Sivasankaran
Music, Cinematography and Direction: Sanjay Maharishi
Language: Multilingual with English subtitles
Duration: 1 hour 8 minutes
The film moves between the past and present Cochin Jewish life through memoirs, interviews of local communities, writers and scholars and places that tell the stories of presence and absence of Jews in Kerala today.
About Cochin Jews of Kerala: There were once 2,500 Jews recorded in the area where now only about 60 remain. Varied traditions about the origin of the Cochin Jews appear in travelers’ accounts and in Hebrew chronicles from Malabar, some written as early as the 10th century. Some records say the first Jews sailed to South India on the ships of King Solomon; others say they came during the Babylonian exile; others that they fled to Malabar after the destruction of the Second Temple; and others refer to a fourth-century migration from Majorca. Most of these stories revolve around the existence of a Jewish community in the ancient trade center of Cranganore (which the Jews called Shingly), north of Cochin.
Sreekala Sivasankaran is Associate Professor in the Janapada Sampada Division of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. She was educated at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala (M.A) and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (M.Phil-Ph.D). She has held visiting research fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and post- doctoral fellowship at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. She has taught Sociology in the Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. She has been an academic coordinator of inter-disciplinary studies on art and culture in South India at IGNCA. She also holds project directorship of Worldview of Visvakarmas and Jewish Cultural Heritage of India under the Janapada Sampada Division. Areas of her research interest include Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Migration, Indian Diaspora and Jews of India. Her publications include a book, “Immigration, State Policy and Identity: Jews of India in Israel, New Century Publications, New Delhi, 2009” and several articles in various journals in Malayalam and English. Her film, “Remains of a Dream: The Jewish Saga of Kerala” has been completed and screened at IGNCA in the year 2016. She has also published poems in journals like Indian Literature and Muse India.