The Last Chinatown, photo essay by Rainak Dutta
The Last Chinatown, Kolkata’s Chinatown is the 4th of all Chinatown of the world. It has an ancient history of near about 275 years. In India there are two communities settled together. One is immigrants from China and Indian-born people of Chinese ancestry and the other is living in India for terms of usually 2-5 years.
The first Chinese community started arriving in late 18th century with the purpose of working at the ports of Calcutta(presently knowing Kolkata) and Madras(presently knowing Chennai). Presently they are mostly contribute to the social and economic life of Kolkata through manufacturing and trade of leather goods and running Chinese restaurants. Now the community numbers are around 4000.
From the history we can know that the first Chinese settler in Calcutta was Tong Atchew around 1780. He situated a sugar mill in the banks of Hooghly River near Budge Budge. A temple and the grave of Tong Atchew still ramain and visited by many Chinese Indians.
Without even themselves knowing, the Chinese in India has over the years become a part and parcel of the Indian landscape. Their numbers have always been small but now they are tiny, and every day sees the Chinese community in India getting even smaller. It is said that days are not far when it may disappear altogether as a community. But the fact that a community existed for 275 years and has given to India as much as it has got from it cannot be wiped out.
(by Rainak Dutta)