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The 197-year-old school nurturing a Little Armenia in Kolkata
2018-12-26 14:54:31

The Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy (ACPA) in Kolkata is over 197 years old.

A plaque at the entrance of the quaint yellow building reads, “In this house, the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray was born on the 18th July 1811” and from 1821, the school has served as a center of education for hundreds of Armenians in India and around the globe, according to The Logical Indian.

For nearly two centuries, Armenian children from all over the world have been visiting ACPA in pursuit of quality education and the school too, has been serving as a home to the scores of children who travel far East, away from everything that they know as their own.

The residential school was established in 1821 by Armenian merchants Astvatsatur Muradghanian and Mnatsakan Vardanian and continues to serve as one of the largest centers for Armenian education outside Armenia.

From around 25,000 in the mid-18th century, the population of Armenians in Kolkata dwindled to just 2000 in the 1950s and only around 150 in the present decade. The residential school, which was once bustling with Armenian children also witnessed turbulent times as at one point in 1990, the student body had shrunk to only one.

With constant efforts from Armenian-Indians as well as those settled abroad, the school has seen a steady growth in their student body, with mostly children from Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Russia and Myanmar filling their dormitories.