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VULTURES GATHER ROUND THE VANISHING ARMENIANS OF CALCUTTA

These pages are dedicated to the Calcutta Armenians. A once proud community of bankers, merchants, philantrophists who gave to the Armenian world the world famous Armenian College and other notable acts of charity.

Today, the Calcutta Armenians are vanishing by human design, as vultures gather round this tiny community to feast on their vast Trusts estates.The vultures are led by an Armenian lady SONIA JOHN, over 80 years old, who cares not a penny for Armenian history and culture. All that concerns her is the making of money and corrupting the powers that be who then help her out with all her imooral deeds and the suppression of the Calcutta Armenian Community. She has sold off Church properties, she has vandalised the historic graveyard inside the Armenian Church grounds, she has sent Armenians to jail with the help of her friends in a throughly CORRUPT POLICE department in Calcutta. All the while she cannot prove that she is an Armenian !

If Calcutta was once a “City of palaces” the sobriquet perhaps owned more to merchant princes from Armenia than to the British Raj. Today, there is no opulence of the bygone era, but memories remain. The Armenian Church, built in 1695 at Chinsurah, West Bengal, occupies a significant place in history, as it is the second church to be built in Bengal.

It is believed that the khojas, as the Armenians were called, had carved out a niche for themselves in Calcutta long before Job Charnock started an English colony in Calcutta. The English, aware of the fact that Armenian merchants were always in good favour with the Mughal Emperors, employed Khoja Sarhad, a local merchant, who had sprung to eminence, to help them get governing rights to three villages. Sarhad justified his appointment by helping the English obtain the historic “Grand Firman” which conferred numerous privileges on them and subsequently paved the way for the establishment of British rule in India. Sarhad, seems to have slipped into oblivion, for history makes no further reference to the shrewd Armenian merchant.

The Armenians thrived in Calcutta and a major part of this wealth was spent in shaping the growth of the city. Johannes Carapiet Galstaun, a leading builder, credited for building 350 houses, developed and beautified central and south Calcutta. As a public spirited citizen, he donated money to the Victoria Memorial Building Fund and made several donations to several institutions. Competing with Galstaun as a patron of education and art, was Arathoon Stephen, whose family came to India in 1857. Among the properties owned by him include Stephen’s Court, a five storeyed building on Park Street, and the Grand and Everest Hotels, later acquired by hotel magnate, M.S.Oberoi. The Armenian community of Calcutta, the largest in India, though only a bare hundred, while maintaining a distinct identity, have amalgamated their lifestyle with the rest of India.

I hope to create world wide interest and revulsion against the skulduggery and financial swindling going on which harms the Calcutta Armenians and with the help of you interested persons worldwide, to create enough interest to save this tiny community of Armenians