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03 Notable Members of the Community

B. N. Elias

Benjamin Nissim Elias started his business as a small trader, and due to his financial genius, became one of India's greatest and wealthiest businessmen, rivalling the Sassoons, Tatas and Birlas. He started trading in the jute and gunny markets, and went from there to create a vast business empire. He was the founder and managing director of Messrs. B. N. Elias & Co., Ltd., National Tobacco Company of India Ltd., Empire Bone Mills Ltd., Mayfair Estates Ltd., and Proprietor of Midnapore Electric Supply, Krishnagore Electric Supply, Oriental and Engineering Co., Alpine Dairy and the Nabadwip Electric Supply. He was also the Senior Director of the Agarpara (Jute) Co. Ltd. for several years. His vast business enterprise employed many Calcutta jews.

He was affectionately called Benu and took a great interest in community affairs. He built the Maghen Aboth Synagogue, especially for the poor. He was the honorary treasurer of the Jewish Girls School and Jeshurun Free School, and established a hostel for poor and orphaned Jewish girls. He was known for his wide range of other charities, and it is said that nobody who ever asked him for help was ever refused.