At the Pei May, a class of maybe a dozen students was in session, but otherwise, the classrooms were closed. Suddenly it seemed like Tangra’s Chinese community, built from a wave of immigration that started more than a century ago, was destined to search again for a new home. This part of Calcutta had been built largely by the Chinese tanners and leather workers, but now to that there were only a few thousand Chinese Indians left in Calcutta — two thousand?
With the state now it is in because of some self centered ‘person’ declaring as his own! I’m really sad to hear that Pei Moi is closed and wish all the Chinese in Calcutta join hands and put the differences aside and get this School back to as it was. It wasn’t too long ago since I attended my elementary education in Pei May- from 1990-96.
I am one of the boys studied at PeiMay 1959 to 1965, its was at the height of the Chinese empire in Tangra Dhapa Calcutta. But as Chinese Indians have either enrolled in English schools or moved out of Calcutta altogether, the schools shut down one by one. Portraits of Gandhi and Sun Yat Sen hung side by side on the wall, a relic from a time when Taiwan vied with China for influence in India.


Many of the immigrants were Hakkas, an ethnic group known for wandering (and for business acumen), and their descendants have left India, looking for more opportunities in places like Canada, the U.S.
This was from my visit in December, but I hope I’ll have another chance to visit Calcutta. Absolutely no other place like Tangra in Cal, especially during the Chinese New Year, when people who immigrated elsewhere came back here to celebrate every year. I am afraid that no other place exists anymore that serves the same purpose as Pei May anymore. BTW, I am a great enthusiast in Chinese culture, history, and while of bengali descent, consider the chinese in calcutta my kin, no less.
They brought chowmein to Calcutta, India, “became black” in South Africa, and are remaking fast fashion in Prato, Italy. I heard shouting coming from the field by the school, where neighborhood kids were playing cricket. The place could be regarded as the heart of the Chinese in Tangra- where not only most of the youth hung out as part of the tightly-knitted community, but also where working adults found a place to sit by and chat after a day’s labour. If you could, you should visit tangra during Chinese new year around FEB, the atmosphere is largely different.


Like Jerry said, it is more than a school- it can be referred as a community hub for the people in Tangra. He also spoke very little Mandarin and no English, so we mimed a lot as I tried to decipher his Hakka. As an educational institution, much credit can be attributed to it and its staff for spreading the Chinese culture and reminding the students of our inherent roots. It’s without comparison, more lively than any other place like Taiwan (where I am settled in now) and Toronto. Alex Wu, a tannery owner I met at a restaurant in Tangra, told me that every Chinese family in Tangra has someone in Toronto. I am sure that many others would be equally regretful of its closure and disdainful of the few personnel who forced it so. Its is sad for me even though I am not living in Dhapa for close to 40 years but my little(now old) heart is still roaming in Dhapa and my webcam is still on top of the temple roof of the once famous old school of mine, only in Dhapa that I feel I am home, I am sure that there are many like me.



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