A brief on the Armenians of Dhaka: Regardless of the absence of any definitive chronicle on the advent of the Armenians in Bengal, particularly to Dhaka, historians today unanimously agree that the Armenians started to arrive in Bengal, from the late 17th century onwards.
This feature article is a sequel to an earlier essay of mine entitled “Early Indian Voyagers to Vilayet” published in The Daily Star. In this essay, I shall briefly mention a few notable Indian travellers who went to Britain, including those who later wrote about their varied exposure and experiences there on their return home to India, between 18th to mid-20th centuries.
On a languid summer afternoon way back in 1973, after a hearty lunch I had settled down comfortably in bed and started to flip through the pages of the latest issue of the prestigious The Illustrated Weekly of India,
In this essay the word Vilayet, which originated during the Ottoman empire to specifically mean a geographical area or district, is used to denote Europe in general and, Britain in particular. More recently, Vilayet (Bilat in Bengali) has been further narrowed down to mean England, or even London proper.
It would be difficult to find someone in this country today who, having grown up in a typical middle-class Bengali household of the 1950s-60s, has not heard of the fabled tale of the Bhawal Sannyasi (a Hindu mendicant) through family sources.
In the summer of 1970, our prestigious Notre Dame College in Dhaka went on recess for three weeks. I was a student there, having recently relocated from Islamabad after my matriculation for a better prospect of a good college education.