Dr. Navras J. Aafreedi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Presidency University, Kolkata, India, where he teaches a self-designed course each in Jewish Studies, Genocide Studies, Interfaith Studies, and Minority Studies. His courses in Jewish Studies and Genocide Studies (with a focus on the Holocaust) are the only such courses in all of South Asia, and perhaps in all of Asia, outside Israel and China. He is the author of the monograph Jews, Judaizing Movements and the Traditions of Israelite Descent in South Asia (New Delhi, 2016), which received rave reviews, several papers in peer-reviewed journals, and
chapters in edited books published by prestigious publishing houses. He has also published in quasi-academic publications, leading newspapers, and popular media, and guest-edited four special thematic issues for the online magazine Café Dissensus on the following themes: Indian Jewry, Jewish-Muslim Relations in South Asia, India’s Response to the Holocaust and its Perception of Hitler, and Hatred and Mass Violence – Lessons from History. Other than English, his writings have also appeared in German, Spanish and Urdu. He writes on Indo-Judaic Studies, Interfaith Relations, Antisemitism Studies, Genocide Studies and Jewish Literary History, with focus on South Asia. He has spoken at scholarly forums in all continents except South America and held visiting fellowships at the universities of Tel Aviv and Sydney, and at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, UK. He was a scholar-in-residence at St. John’s College, Oxford for the ISGAP Summer Institute on Curriculum Development in Critical Antisemitism Studies in July 2017. He received his tertiary education at the University of Lucknow, from where he earned the degrees of B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Medieval and Modern Indian History.
A fellowship from the Centre for Communication and Development Studies, Pune, under its youth outreach programme called Open Space, enabled Dr. Aafreedi to organise fifty-six events in a span of two years (2008-2010) aimed at bringing about a positive change in the attitude of Lucknow’s Muslims towards Jews, Israel and Zionism. He also has to his credit a Holocaust films retrospective that he organised in his hometown Lucknow, a major centre of Muslim scholarship, in 2009, which happened to be the first ever in South Asia, and a couple of Holocaust focused international multidisciplinary conferences: one at O. P. Jindal Global University in May 2016, which he co-organised, and the other at Presidency University, Kolkata in February 2017. Besides this, he inspired his students at Gautam Buddha University, where he taught earlier, to write and enact the first ever Holocaust themed Hindi language play in 2015. He has also held a number of Holocaust themed photographic exhibitions at the University of Lucknow and the Babasaheb Bhimrao
Ambedkar University in Lucknow, Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida and Presidency University in Kolkata.
Dr. Aafreedi 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, the largest segment of global Muslim population, even if not the first language of all of them, though he primarily writes in English and Hindi. He also regularly podcasts in Urdu on Jewish themes. His audio-visual contents, including his lectures, presentations, and interviews in English, Hindi, and Urdu, are available on his YouTube channel. He can be followed on social media at Academia, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, ORCiD, SciProfiles, LinkedIn, Twitter, and