Flower Silliman on Baghdadi Jews of India

By • Oct 15th, 2008
Category: Books and Authors, Diaspora, Life, New York, USA

book.jpgFlower Silliman is a third generation Baghdadi Jew, who was born and brought up in Calcutta, India.

During World War II, Flower’s family sent her to study in a Christian school in Nagpur and later on she went to New Delhi for her college, and eventually returned to Calcutta.

In this episode Flower talks about her experiences of growing up in pre-Independent India, and away from the confines of her tight-knit Baghdadi Jewish community.

Even though her mother was against Flower pursuing an undergraduate degree, Flower managed to persuade her otherwise. She went to study at Lady Irwin College. The reason her mother selected the college was because Hannah Sen , the principal of the college was of Jewish descent says Flower.

India’s struggle for independence left a lasting impact on Flower. When India became independent in 1947, Flower and her husband decided to stay in India and raise their family. Flower taught Home Science at Loretto House, Calcutta. She later migrated to Israel, where she established the first Kosher Indian vegetarian restaurant. She now  lives in New York, USA.

This interview first ran in 2006, and was recorded in New York city.

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4 Responses »

  1. [...] including dry-docks and ship-building capabilities.During the British rule the Parsi and Baghdadi Jewish communities were granted special privileges and benefits to carry on trade with the Far East and [...]

  2. [...] don’t think there are any actors of Jewish faith in India. This could be because many of the Jewish people from India have relocated to Israel or other parts of the [...]

  3. [...] fascinating conversation with Flower Silliman discusses her reminiscenses of Mahathma Gandhi, and her life in Bomaby cinema before there was [...]

  4. Interesting interview with Flower Silliman, the Baghdadi Jewish woman who grew up in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. The last name (probably her husband’s) sounds like a variant of Suleiman (Solomon).

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