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Book About The Armenian Community Of India To Be Released Soon

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  • Book About The Armenian Community Of India To Be Released Soon


    14:37 24.06.2013

    Bhaswati X Bhattacharya, a fellow in residence at the Centre for
    Modern Indian Studies at Gottingen, is working to publishing a book
    on her research into the Armenian community of India, which will be
    released soon.

    The book is about Armenians in India from 1700 to 1947. "I begin
    with the trade network in the pre-colonial period to see what is
    changing in the colonial times, how the identity formation takes
    place during the late colonial period, and the effects of all this
    on the current situation of the community," she said in an interview

    As a PhD student of Indian maritime commerce, she found Armenians
    being mentioned in all European sources. Her inquiry took her to their
    church in Barabazar, the Armenian College and a few leading members
    of the community in Calcutta. It was while talking to them that she
    decided to pursue this study as a post-doctoral research.

    "Writing about Armenian commerce in the pre-colonial period, Armenian
    scholars tend to show the importance of New Julfa in Persia in
    this network. New Julfa was important as it was the main centre
    of Armenians in the East since the evacuation of rich merchants
    and others of Julfa in Armenia in early seventeenth century by the
    Persian Emperor Shah Abbas. But my research demonstrates why from the
    late 17th century Indian settlements became important for Armenians,
    and how from the early 18th century Armenians in these settlements
    became more and more financially independent of New Julfa (commercial
    contact notwithstanding). My research emphasises how, beginning from
    scratch sometimes, these merchants built up their networks, based
    at places like Madras, Calcutta etc. The identity formation in the
    colonial period is an eye-opener," Bhaswati X Bhattacharya said.

    Speaking about the perspectives of the Armenian community in India,
    she said: "The community needs to open up and broaden their horizons a
    bit, and not focus on a single entity or region else they will remain
    just a footnote. However, I see change coming from other corners that
    have raised hopes and are good, healthy signs. Armenian and Indian
    citizens marrying without having to ask for the community's approval.

    Armenia always looked to the West but new business relations between
    Armenia and India have begun in the wake of economic liberalisation.

    These have opened up new opportunities and people are not looking up
    to the old authorities.

    From: A. Papazian