Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi's Biography 

Researcher in Indo-Judaic Studies & Jewish-Muslim Relations Activist

    Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Presidency University, Kolkata, and author of the book Jews, Judaizing Movements and the Traditions of Israelite Descent in South Asia,  Pragati Publications, New Delhi, 2016. 1978 born, Dr. Aafreedi is additionally a Researcher in Indo-Judaic Studies, a Muslim-Jewish Relations Activist, Executive Director of the Youth Outreach Programme of the NGO, Society for Social Regeneration & Equity (SSRE) (Registration number: 1551-2013-2014), Associate Editor of the refereed journal  The Social Ion (ISSN 2319-3581), and a  Member of

  • the Editorial Board of the Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies (International refereed journal published by Florida International University, USA and the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, ISSN 1206-9330),
  • the International Advisory Board of Asian Jewish Life (ISSN 2224-3011) (published from Hong Kong),
  • the Review Board, Journal of South Asian Studies [ISSN 2307-4000 (Online) 2308-7846 (Print)
  • the International Advisory Board of the Jerusalem Press Club, Israel
  • the Advisory Team of "The Ten Lost Tribes Challenge: Expeditions of Discovery" (A series of research expeditions to various groups around the world, who consider themselves, or considered by others, to be descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.)
  • the European Association for South Asian Studies
  • the Indian History Congress

    He earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Medieval & Modern Indian History, University of Lucknow in 2005, followed by post-doctorate from the Graduate School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University in 2007, supported by a scholarship from the Israeli Government and a supplementary grant from the Tel Aviv University. His lectures have been well appreciated in the US, the UK, Israel, Australia and India. He is the first person to make any worthwhile contributions to Jewish Studies in the Urdu language, the lingua franca of almost all South Asian Muslims, though he primarily writes in English and Hindi. Some of his articles have also been published in German. 

    From May 2008 to March 2010 he worked for the betterment of inter-faith relations, including Jewish-Muslim, in Lucknow, for the Centre for Communication and Development Studies, Pune, a social change resource centre focusing on the research and communication of information for change, under the auspices of its civil society and youth outreach initiative called Open Space.

    In May-June 2010, he studied the "Muslim-Jewish Relations in South Asia" as a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations (CMJR), Woolf Institute, Cambridge, UK. In February 2013 he spoke at a number of universities and organisations in Australia as a Visiting Scholar at the School of Languages & Cultures, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia. He was back in Australia the same year as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Asian Studies, Brisbane, QLD, in October-November and went to Australia yet again in 2015 as an Endeavour Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, University of Sydney.

Before joining the Presidency University, Dr Aafreedi taught at Gautam Buddha University in Greater NOIDA, near Delhi, for six years as an Assistant Professor in its School of Humanities & Social Sciences.

    While studying the history of medieval and modern India, he was increasingly attracted towards the history of Jews; the vicissitudes of their struggle for survival; and their singular achievements despite seemingly insuperable difficulties. He realised that the history of Jews in India needed to be researched; and he applied himself to the task with great enthusiasm. He hopes to continue his study of Indian Jews and the World as a life-long vocation.  He also seeks to establish a centre dedicated to Indo-Judaic Studies in India, a country where Jewish Studies are not recognized as an academic discipline. He is actively involved in creating an awareness of the Shoah among Indians and in combating Holocaust denial and minimization.

    His articles have been translated into German, Spanish, French and Russian, and press reports on his research can be read in sixteen languages, viz., English, French, Hebrew, German, Russian, Slovak, Dutch, Spanish, Finnish, Turkish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Italian, Bahasa Indonesia, Urdu and Hindi, on his blog http://navrasaafreedi.blogspot.com

He has to his credit the first ever Holocaust films retrospective in South Asia which he organised in 2009 at the universities in Lucknow, a major centre of Muslim scholarship; the first ever Holocaust themed Hindi language play, Sipahi (Soldier), which he inspired his students to write and enact at Gautam Buddha University in January 2015, and the first ever international multidisciplinary conference aimed at generating Indian scholarly interest in the Holocaust, which he co-convened at O P Jindal Global University in Sonipat, near Delhi in May 2016.   

One can read about his hometown, the Afridi settlement of Malihabad, on his blog dedicated to the place – http://malihabad.blogspot.com