THE ONLY ARMENIAN IN DHAKA WORRIED ABOUT FURTHER FATE OF OLD ARMENIAN CHURCH
Feb 17, 2009
DHAKA, FEBRUARY 17, NOYAN TAPAN – ARMENIANS TODAY. The large Armenian
church in the old quarter of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, may
According to Jakarta Globe (Indonesia), this worry was expressed by
the only Armenian living in the city – Michael Joseph Martin who now
lives alone in an enormous mansion on the church grounds. Martin,
whose full name is Mikel Housep Martirossian, looks after the church
and its graveyard where 400 of his compatriots are buried, including
his wife, who died three years ago.
Michael Joseph Martin is guarded about his exact age and is reluctant
to accept he will be the last in a long line of Armenians to make a
major contribution to the history of Bangladesh.
Dhaka was once home to thousands of migrants from the former Soviet
republic who grew to dominate the city’s trade and business life. But
Martin, in his 70s, is now the only one left. "When I die, maybe one of
my three daughters will fly in from Canada to keep our presence here
alive," Martin said hopefully, speaking broken Bengali with a thick
accent. "Or perhaps other Armenians will come from somewhere else".
Martin came to Dhaka in 1942 during World War II, following in
the footsteps of his father, who had settled in the region decades
earlier. They joined an Armenian community in Bangladesh dating back
to the 16th century.