We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

From Dalits to Bene Ephraim : Judaism in Andhra Pradesh.

Egorova, Y. (2010) 'From Dalits to Bene Ephraim : Judaism in Andhra Pradesh.', Religions of South Asia., 4 (1). pp. 105-124.


The community of Bene-Ephraim was established in the late 1980s in Andhra Pradesh by a group of Christianised Madiga who declared that they belonged to one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. The paper explores the extent to which Bene Ephraim narratives of origin have been and are being shaped by the responses of others on the level of national and international politics. It is demonstrated that while in the beginning the leaders of the community were keen to stress their affinity to the scheduled castes of India and portrayed their social and economic problems in terms of the upper and lower caste dichotomy, later on they modified their story of origin to dissociate the community from the untouchables. Their self-representation as victims of caste domination gave way to expressions of concern about the possibility of becoming victims of anti-Jewish terrorist attacks. The paper argues that this change in the way the Bene Ephraim chose to frame the socio-political problems that the community is facing was linked to their attempts to be recognized as a Jewish group and be accepted in the State of Israel. At the same time, it is also suggested that this tactic provides yet another example of a Dalit group attempting to attract the attention of the international community to their condition of discrimination by reinterpreting their plight in the terms that foreign audiences would be more familiar with and could relate to more easily.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Judaism, India, Conversion, Untouchability, Caste system
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF (Copyright agreement prohibits open access to the full-text)
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:11 February 2015
Date of first online publication:2010
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar