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Articles > Armenians in India > Hermineh Adamyan responds to Father Gulgulian

Eleven slanders in Father Gulgulian’s letter

On November 24, 2009, “Hetq” has published an open letter by Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian, in which he unjustly and cynically criticizes two of my articles “Another world: Armenians in Far Off India” and “Armenians in Madras: 300th Anniversary Soon to be Celebrated.”

In both Armenian and world history there are certainly many disputable matters.  Hence, in my opinion, if someone wishes to bring some clarifications to the historiography, he/she should have the appropriate knowledge of historical facts; otherwise it is like trying to catch a cat in a dark room where actually there may not be any cat at all.

“Hetq” is not an academic journal, yet references are only required for an academic journal or periodical. Therefore, first and foremost one must differentiate an academic publication from an ordinary newspaper article.
Moreover, I think that I have the right of freedom to express my own feelings and impressions.

Anyway, I did not want to waste my time commenting on such a slanderous article, and merely would like to reflect on the slanders specifically and paragraph by paragraph.

Slander 1 – “Ms. Hermine has been residing in India less than six months and having made a few clicks on a mouse, the reader of her article is meant to believe that she is some kind of authority.”

I, Hermineh Adamyan, have finished the Armenian Pedagogical State University studying at the department of History and Jurisprudence. I have been specializing in teaching and methods of World History and have successfully passed all the required examinations. Only by bringing unto its perfection I was able to defend my thesis, to pass the required examination in my area of specialization, and to gain the longing grade “Excellent.”

Currently, I am preparing to defend my thesis, in order to acquire the degree of Candidate of Science in History, at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Republic of Armenia. My Academic instructor is Dr. G. Kirakosyan, and the advisers are Academician M. Zulalyan and Professor V. Ghlechyan.

I also have academic publications in various scientific journals about The Caribbean Crisis, the Post-War Foreign Policy of The United States of America and the problems of Kars and Ardahan between 1945 and 1946. My publications have been published only by the HCC (High Certifying Commission) and in the journal of the Institute of Oriental Studies, “The Countries of the Near and Middle East.

Slander 2 – “It may be that Ms. Adamyan wrote the original article in Armenian and it was later translated into English and thus it lost some of its original details…” “She states Shahamir Shahamirian, when in fact he was simply Agah Shameer…”

You definitely have read the original text that is in Armenian. It is “Hetq” that does the translations and I am not responsible for that. The mistake between “Black Town” and “White town” is also a result of the translation into English. There is nothing about that in the Armenian version.

Regarding Shahamir Shahamirian, I have to disappoint you because your lack of awareness has again trapped you. In the Armenian historiography Agah Shamir is the well-known Shahamir Shahamirian. This is also a result of unawareness.

Patriarch Thorgom Gushakian, “Hndkahayk” 1941, page 49, “But Shahamirian’s patriotic activity…”

Academician of the NAS (National Academy of Science) of the Republic of Armenia, V. Barkhudaryan states, “… in Madras, in 1771, a wealthy Indian Armenian Shahamir Shahamirian founded an Armenian Printing house” (“History of Armenia”, schoolbook for 7th grade, edited by V. Barkhudaryan, 2000, pqge 24).

K. Avetisyan “Hayrenagitakan Etudner,” 1979, page 249, “The Printing house established by Shahamirian was a great achievement… for the Armenian society.”

Slander 3 – “It is indeed a revelation to know that: “there is also an Armenian Church in the nearby village of Mylapore…”

Patriarch Torgom Gushakian, “Hndkahayk,” 1941, page 44-45, “…In the first quarter of the 18th century, at the pilgrimage site of St. Thomas consecutively three Armenian churches were built. One of them was built in 1707, and the other one nearby S. Gevorgian fortress, in 1712. The third one was built in the village of Maylapore, in 1729. There is a very significant inscription located on the eastern wall of the last mentioned church on which is imprinted the following, ‘In memory of the Armenian nation, in the year of the Savior 1729.”

S. Mutha, “Madras Rediscovered”, 2004, page 121, “…Petros Woskan has invested most of his wealth into the benefits of religious institutions. He contributed to the Armenian-built St. Rita Church (1729-40), in San Thome. On the eastern wall there is an inscription in Armenian, “In memory of the Armenian nation, in the year of the Savior 1729.”

Slander 4 – “There is no concrete evidence to suggest that St. Thomas’ Church was built by an Armenian, as erroneously written by Ms. Adamyan.”

Patriarch Thorgom Gushakian, “Hndkahayk”, 1941, page 44, “On the foothill that until now is called “St. Thomas’ Mount” there is a church with Armenian inscriptions on it, where on the main door mentions the year of 1547. It is because an Armenian, Petros Voskanian, who built the expensive and gigantic stone-made, 166 staircases that start from the gates of the mount to its peak. On the same peak, another Armenian by the name of Safarian Mahtesi Zakhare built or reconstructed the Church of St. Thomas, in 1707.”

In the official journal of Holy Echmiadzin ”Echmiadzin,” August 2007, page 83 we read “… the first Armenian Church was built in Madras, in the year 1547”.

Slander 5 – “St. Astvatzatzin as the Armenian Church has actually always been referred to and is registered as ‘St. Mary’s Armenian Church”.

Please, search in the Internet “The visit of the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II to Madras.” An official message about the Re-Consecration of St. Astvatsatsin Church from Mother See, which was published by almost all the press, “During the visit of His Holiness the Re-Consecration of St. Astvatsatsin Church in Madras will be conducted”.

“Echmiadzin”, November 2008, page 21, “On November 8th, Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians… went to Madras, where on November 9th he conducted the service of Re-Consecration of St. Astvatzatzin Armenian Church.”

Slander 6 – “Edvart Samuel Moorat (correct named Edward) would be turning in his grave at the thought of being called “a prominent Armenian”.

A fragment from the original text, “Another wealthy Armenian, Edvart Samuel Moorat…”

Edward Murad was Aga Samuel Murad’s son, and by the sponsorship of this family the well-known Murad Rafaelian College was founded where as Gushakian states, “hundreds of Armenian young generations were educated by the spirit of Alishan and his students, and the same shall continue over generations.” Samuel realizes the will of his father, according to which “from their annual income they should grant the five out of hundred to the poor and the orphans of the nation, by adding to it their own funds” (page 60-61).

In “Armenians Today”, the periodical of the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenian, dated 19.06.2004 we read, “In 1834, in the Armenian scientific, academic and cultural life opens a new page, when by the wills of the two Indian Armenians, Rafael and his son-in-law Murad… the Mkhitharians founded Muradian College, named after Murad”.

In “The Hindu,” dated 28.04.2003 we read, “…Samuel Moorad left the majority of his bequest to the School for the Armenian youth which is to be founded in Europe… After the death of Edward Murad the Murad family had vanished in Madras.”

On what grounds do you decide their nationality? Who is the prominent Armenian? The person who was instrumental in propagation of Armenian education or the person who… Let us just move on.

Slander 7 – “I believe the most unprofessional part of the article was the way she addressed the head of the church…referred to him as Garegin II and did not care to mention his full title.”

There is no need to look more Catholic than the Pope and to cling on the words. This is just a great self-proof of being like Tartuffe. Is that insulting or lack of respect to call our great forefathers like: Khrimyan Hayrik, Nerses Ashtaraketsi, Komitas Katoghikos, and Vazgen I?

Slander 8 – “One of the more prominent historical structures in the city today is the multi-arched bridge spanning the River Ayder. It was built in 1725 and is still in use today. The whole of Chennai must be laughing into their Lassi! Still in use today? Unable to withstand the weight of modern traffic it was demolished in 1960’s and replaced with a stronger concrete structure.”

Petros Voskan’s own inscription (see picture) on the bridge is still preserved. Were the “laughing” Madrasis unaware and unconscious when they kept the writing on the bridge, and whether the Indian historians were unconscious by writing that the bridge was built in 1725?

According to this kind of cynical logic we can’t link Yerevan with Erebuni, as the fort that Argishti I had built has nothing to do with modern Yerevan, which, however, we consider 782 B.C. as the date for the birth of Yerevan. In the 6th century B.C. Alexander of Macedonia destroyed Persepolis, the symbol of mighty power of the Achaemenid Empire. Persopolis was re-established as an archeological centre in the last century, but this does not, by any means, change its age.

Slander 9 – “St. Mary’s Armenian Church is in more than a “decent condition”… It is now in an outstanding condition.”

A section from the original text, “The Armenian Church that has the name of Soorb Astvatsatsin … today also, with its magnificent structure symbolizes the devotion of the Armenian community, that was at that time, to its own nation and Church.”

When we say ”in decent condition” it does not mean bad at all, the church is in a good condition. The church would be in an outstanding condition if there would be a single Armenian resident in Madras, and if the Divine Liturgy would have been conducted every Sunday. For me the church is more than a building…

Slander 10 – “I am greatly disappointed at her arrogant way of expressing her own self importance in her newly appointed teaching position, and the implication that staff in India is there to serve her and her “mundane issues”.

Only my respect to the priests makes me be more patient. I wrote the following, “…Where there are all the conditions, a teacher should concentrate only on his/her work, hence, the rest is taken care by the personnel. In general, you get a good impression from everyone, starting from the laborer and ending with the manager.”

Everyone here remembers how the “glorious” ex-manager sent back the gift that was presented to him by the local teachers and the staff, through a laborer. What was important for you? Was that the cost of the gift that made you reject it…? Was not that an insult?

Slander 11 – “The current management and staff at the school, find themselves in a very comfortable position in terms of accommodation and church renovation due to the intensity and pressure that I maintained on the various building contractors involved.”

The renovations are endless in India, almost annual, which is a result of the humid climatic conditions. As for the place where I stay, the renovations were completed three days before my arrival.

The opponent is complaining, that he was not remembered in the articles (“I…should not be forgotten nor pushed aside…”).

Would you be glad if I would mention the four “glorious” years of yours being in the office?  I did not mention about you because I have a pity on you.

However, I am ready to write about you if you continue your false accusations. There are dozens of children here who remember you. They are filled with fear and hatred. Some have made it their goal to take revenge on you for the cruelty and the emotionally detached way in which you have treated them for the baseless accusations that you have made them go through. There are also many who remember that after four ”glorious” years, your own community did not bother  to say “goodbye to you.”

Isn’t it an obvious fact?

I would like to ensure you that the Indian Armenians are capable of loving and appreciating their priests. I can see it…

Source: "Hetq", 16 December 2009

Added: Thursday, December 24, 2009
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Posted by helena on Thursday, December 24, 2009

So where is Fr. Gulgulian's response to her?

Posted by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Armenians in India

I am a historian working on Armenians in India. I very much liked the account of Dr. Hermineh Adamyan on your website and would like to get in touch with her.

Thank you,

Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya


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