News > Indian Armenians > War of words on Indian Armenian topics
V. Rev. Father Oshagan Gulgulian
Hermineh Adamyan, a graduate of Pedagogical State University in Armenia (Department of History), specialist in teaching World History has been in India since June 2009 in a one-year assignment as Armenian History teacher in the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy in Kolkata, (Calcutta).
Few weeks after residing in Kolkata, Adamyan posted several articles in the website of the Investigative Journalists of Armenia (www.hetq.am), where she wrote about here first impressions in India. She was particularly uncomfortable seeing people living in poor conditions. "I thought to myself - My God, how can anyone possibly live like this? This stifling street would lead us to Mirza Ghalib Street where the Armenian College, our home and workplace for the next year, is located", she commented.
Soon afterwards, her articles shifted to topics related to the history of the Armenians in Madras and Kolkata. "I think that I have gotten over the culture shock stage. I walk the streets and no longer notice everything surrounding me. Itís the only way. We Armenians here know that we can always return to the cozy confines of the Armenian College whose students call it the cleanest place in Calcutta", she wrote in a posting dated 29 June 2009.
After somehow overcoming her fears and stereotypical judgments, Adamyan presents the readers with researched information about both cities, Madras as a place with great significance in Armenian history, where community life has come to a halt, and Kolkata as the current vibrant heart of the Indian Armenians, with decades old college and community institutions.
Father Oshagan Gulgulian, Pastor and Manager of the Armenian College (2005-2009), did not particularly appreciate Adamyan's writings and replied with a letter full of charges. He pointed out that Adamyan should have taken her information from Mesrovb Seth, as "the most outstanding historian of Armenian in India". Seth has published "Armenians in India from the Earliest Times to the Present Day" in 1937.
He went on accusing Adamyan of compiling her articles based on information derived from internet sources and without proper citation. He went further and accused her for having "a fixation in changing historically known names".
Gulgulian wrote that the whole city of Madras would be laughing to read that the old bridge which was built by an Armenian in 1725, is still serving the heavy traffic of the city, while according to him the bridge has been demolished fifty years ago and replaced with a modern one.
Gulgulian also commented on the way Adamyan has described her expectations regarding the facilities available in the Armenian College during her stay in India and characterized them as "arrogant way of expressing her own self importance in her newly appointed teaching position".
The last advice given by Gulgulian goes "I would strongly suggest to Ms. Adamyan that before she writes any more articles that she goes and checks archives and not rely solely on the internet".
In a response letter Hermine Adamyan has analyzed all the comments and insulting remarks made by father Gulgulian. See the response letter here.
What we want to point out here is that the unholy war between Hermineh Adamyan and Father Oshagan Gulgulian started most probably when researcher Adamyan opted to ignore the four years of Father Gulgulian's administration and pastroship in India (2005-2009), not even she mentioned his name as part of the chronological course of events. Instead she preferred to extend an overpassing bridge from the times of Sonia John (which ended 2005) to the period of Father Khoren Hovhannisyan, which started only recently (2009).
In her reply letter, Adamyan admits this discrepancy indirectly: "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", she writes in a way not fit for an educator or an academician. Since she was dealing with that period of history, she should have covered also Father Gulgulian's reign.
On the other hand, Father Oshagan Gulgulian should have referred to the weak points in Hermineh Adamyan's writings without using any derogative or ridiculing remarks.