Cross Culture Communication between Indian
photographer Rangan Datta and Kolkata Chinese
Travel Journal by Wendy Lu, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan
Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown
During the 21-day visit in Tangra, new China Town in Kolkata, a group of students (we) from Fu Jen University TW met two Indian Photographers. Asked why they took photos of Indian Chinese sweeping the tombs in the graveyard, Choong Ye Thong Cemetery, photographers Rangan Datta and Manjit Singh Hoonjan said they were very interested in the cross-cultural activities in Kolkata. “and Indian Chinese is the case.” said Rangan Datta.
Chinese New Year Celebrations
~ Calcutta (Kolkata) ~
The Chinese settlement of Calcutta dates back to to 1780s when a trader named Tong Achew set up his sugar factory near present day Budge-Budge. The place today is known as Achipur, after Tong Achew. The Chinese soon deserted Achipur and headed for Calcutta (Kolkata), where they are presently settled in Tangra & Tiretta Bazar regions.
The Calcutta Chinese community celebrates the Chinese New Year in traditional way complete with dragon & lion dances at Tangra & Tiretta Bazar.
Chinese Temple of Old Chinatown
~ Tiretta Bazar, Calcutta (Kolkata) ~
The Chinese settlement of Calcutta dates back to the late 18th century when a Chinese trader, Tong Achew settled near present day Budge Budge.
The then Governor General of India Warren Hastings offered Achew land and he set up a sugar mill complete with a sugar plantation. Achew soon brought a band of Chinese workers for his sugar project. But Achew died soon after & his mill was soon abandoned. The Chinese also deserted the place, which later came to be known as Achipur, after Achew.
~ Birth Place of Calcutta Chinatown ~
In the late 18th century a Chinese tea trader by the name of Tong Achew landed on the banks of Hooghly, somewhere near present day Budge – Budge, never to return again. The then Governor General Warren Hasting granted land to Achew to set up a sugar cane plantation and sugar factory. According to records to British East India Company “Achew was granted 650 bighas of land about 6 miles south of Budge – Budge for an annual rent of Rs 45.”
After acquiring the land Achew set up a sugar – cane plantation along with a sugar mill. He brought in a band of Chinese workers to work in his plantation and factory and thus forming the first Chinese settlement in India. But Achew died soon after and his sugar factory was abandoned. His workers left for the city of Calcutta, where their descendents still continue to live.