Monday, 2 July 2012

Joshua Cogan: The Last Jews Of Cochin

Photo © Joshua Cogan-All Rights Reserved
"...I took to the road with a mission: to document vanishing cultures and enrich our understanding of social issue through photography and new media."
Joshua Cogan is a prolific documentarian of cultures, and anthropologist, an interactive producer and a storyteller, whose website has numerous galleries including my favorite, which he titles as In God's Own Land (a more appropriate title than The Last Jews Of Cochin) as it has images of Kerala, whose tourism soubriquet is God's Own Country.

The Cochin Jews, also known as Malabar Jews are the oldest group of Jews in India, who migrated mto India after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The Jewish area of Mattancherry, the area around its synagogue was once the centre of Cochin jewry, but there are just nine surviving members of the community, all of them over the age of 75, except one.

The surviving members are fluent Malayalam speakers, and follow Jewish customs and rituals diligently.

In addition to Joshua Cogan's galleries on his website, I would point you to an interview made with The Asia Society regarding the forced resettling of the artists living in the Kathputli Colony by the Delhi Development Authority as part of a new housing scheme. New Delhi’s Kathputli Colony has functioned as an artists’ colony for close to 50 years.

The interview is with Joshua Cogan and two of his colleagues, who have recently completed shooting their first documentary, Tomorrow We Disappear, about the Kathputli Colony's resettlement.