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The Baghdadi Jews are one of the main Jewish communities of Indiamarker.

The "Baghdadimarker" Jewish community of India is so called because its members were chiefly descended from Iraqi Jewish immigrants to India who moved to that country during the British Raj. The name of the community derives from Baghdadmarker, although they do not originate exclusively from Baghdad, but from other areas of Iraqmarker as well, in addition to other Middle-Eastern countries of the Ottoman Empire.


The community developed as a result of Jews fleeing religious persecution in Muslim lands to the northwest of India during the British imperial era. The majority came from Iraq, thus giving the community its name, though smaller groups came from other countries such as Syriamarker, Iranmarker and Afghanistanmarker and assimilated into the "Baghdadi" group. Unlike other Jewish communities in India whose oral tradition attest to a presence in India going back as long as 2000 years, the Baghdadi communities were established relatively recently (in the past few centuries). While the Baghdadi Jews are known primarily from their presence in India, they also established themselves in trading ports further east, notably in Yangonmarker (Rangoon), Singaporemarker, Penangmarker, and Shanghai, as well as the west.

The Baghdadis have completely assimilated into Indian society. A contributing factor to their assimilation was their physical features and resemblance to the East Indians: most Baghdadis, especially those of Iraqimarker origin, were of Middle Eastern appearance with dark olive skin and black or dark brown hair.

Clothing in the Baghdadi community is usually Western clothing for men and the Indianmarker sari for women.


Baghdadi cuisine is an Indianmarker hybrid cuisine, with many Arab, Turkish, Persian and Indianmarker influences. Famous Baghdadi dishes include Beef curry, Baghdadi Biryani and Baghdadi Jewish parathas. A Baghdadi version of Tandoori chicken is also popular (using lemon juice to cook the chicken instead of cream used in the usual Indian recipe).

Famous Baghdadi Jews

Brian Elias, composer

See also

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