By Newsgram Staff Writer
India, with its own plethora of traditions and a tendency to welcome a variety of different ones, makes it a unique country in the whole world. While the world grudgingly cordons off pieces of ground in the name of patriotism and mother land, India has been playing host to numerous guests since time immemorial, with arms wide open. And although it wasn’t very happy with some, it was happy to have others for an extended stay. Kolkata`s Chinese community being the point in case.
The history of people from the neighboring Chinese civilization in Kolkata can be traced back to 18th century when the city served as the trade capital during British India. Tong Achi, a businessman from China arrived in India in late 18th century and was among the first Chinese to set up a sugar mill, along with a sugar plantation at Achipur, 33 km from Kolkata.
Since then, this community has settled in the vicinity of Bow Bazaar Streets, Tangra and some areas of Khidderpure dock and is engaged in manufacturing and trade of leather products as well as running Chinese restaurants.
The community is organized under the Chinese Welfare Association, led by Liu Kuo Chao. The association has around 5,000 Chinese members and also run a trust governing a school, Pei May and a temple complex.
The Chinese in Kolkata today, work as restaurateurs, shoe – shop owners, tannery owners, and sauce manufactures. Dentistry is a traditional occupation that is being actively adopted by the new generation.
Hakka Chinese and Indian culinary traditions have given rise to a widely available form of Indian-Chinese cuisine. Tangra in Kolkata is very famous for the Hakka Chinese cuisine. Hakka Chinese of Kolkata tends to be endogamous but at the same time have been integrated into the society of Kolkata.
The community here celebrates Chinese New Year, Hungry Ghost Festival and Moon Festival in Kolkata with colorful possessions of lions and dragons in the end of January or early February.
Both the communities, Chinese and the Bengali accept each other’s tradition, occupation, culture and stay together like one big happy family.