The City’s Jewish Author in Search of Love and Identity!

by Dr.Navras Jaat Aafreedi

Sheila Rohekar is precious because she is the only Jewish writer in the Hindi language. Recipient of the prestigious Yashpal Award for her maiden novel Dinānt (1977), Sheila tells the story of a woman’s search for her identity and love in life. About to publish her third novel, Sheila tackles Jewish life in India. It never occurred to her before that the Jewish society in India would interest people hardly aware ofJews who have been present in their midst for more than two millennia. Born in Pune in 1942 in the Bene Israel community, numerically the largest of the three Jewish communities in India, Rohekar began her literary career in 1968 with the publication of a Hindi story in Dharmayug and a collection of Gujarati short-stories, Lifeline nee Bāhār. Her first Hindi novel, Dinānt (1977), was followed by her second novel, Tavīz, in 2005. It is the story of the developments that take place once Révā, a Hindu woman, marries Anvar, a Muslim. Afew years after Anvar’s murder during the communal riots, Reva remarries. Her son from Anvar, Annu, conscious of his mixed parentage, finds acceptance and solace in a radical Hindu activist group as a college student.However, he succumbs to the police bullet he receives while participating in the Ram Jańmbhūmi agitation. During the preparations for his final rites according to the Hindu norms when it is discovered that he was circumcised, his mother is immediately killed by the radicals to avoid complications.

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