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DIVEKAR, SAMUEL EZEKIEL (Samajee Hasajee):

Soldier in the service of the East India Company and second founder of the Beni-Israel congregation of Bombay; born at Cochin in 1730; died there in 1797. He enlisted in the East India Company's army about 1760, and rose to the rank of native commandant in the Sixth Battalion. While serving in the second Mysore war, under General Matthews, he was taken prisoner with several other Beni-Israel by Tippu Sahib, and he and his companions were about to be executed; but when they stated that they were Beni-Israel the mother of Tippu Sahib, who was familiar with that name in the Koran, begged their lives; and Divekar and his companions were cast into prison. He made a vow that if he were released he would devote his life to reviving Judaism among the Beni-Israel of Bombay; and on escaping in 1795, he went to that city, and by his exertions induced the Beni-Israel to build a synagogue and adopt the ritual and Jewish observances current in Cochin. A synagogue was erected in 1796; but Divekar died the following year in his native place, whither he had gone to obtain scrolls of the Law for the new congregation.

Bibliography:
  • H. Samuel, Sketches of the Beni-Israel, Bombay, n.d., p. 24.
J.
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