Indian Armenians set to celebrate Independence

Indiatimes

Kolkata

City Armenians set to celebrate independence
TNN 20 September 2009, 06:26am IST

KOLKATA: This weekend is special for Armenians in the city. The 150-member
community is getting together to celebrate the independence day of

Armenia (September 21) over the weekend. After centuries of struggle
first with the Ottoman Empire and then with erstwhile USSR the
Republic of Armenia finally won independence in 1991.

The Armenians came to Kolkata as traders more than 400 years ago. The
community flourished so much that they even started lending money to
East India Company. It is even said that the Battle of Plassey was
fought by the British with Armenian money. There was a time when the
number of Armenians in the city exceeded 30,000 but only 35 families
remain today.

The community’s new spiritual head in the country, Father Khoren
Hovhannisyan, has been planning grand celebrations with key members
for the past five months. His efforts have resulted in the revival of
Armenian Club that had been lying defunct for long. Hovhannisyan also
heads Armenian College, the only institution of its kind in the city
that caters to the needs of Armenian children sent here from their own
country.

Armenian Club at Queen’s Mansions was established in 1921 by racing
magnate J C Galstaun. As the community started dwindling with many
migrating to the US, Australia and Europe, interest in the club
waned. Though there are about 150 Armenians in the city, the club has
only 14 members.

"We want Indian Armenians to interact more closely and share a better
community life. We hope to make a start when the entire community
gathers at the club for a special blessing and prayer service on the
eve of the Armenian Independence Day on Sunday," Father Hovhannisyan
said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes .com/news/city/kolkata-/City-Armenians-set-to-cele brate-independence/articleshow/5032250.cms

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