Where Did Indian Armenians’ Inheritance of Millions of Dollars Disappear? ASK CORRUPTED GAREGIN II
Posted on February. 12. 2019
in accordance with the Russian empress Catherine II’s decree, Armenians and
Greeks had to move from the Khanate of Crimea into the Novorossiysk and Azov
relocation, many experienced severe hardships and deprivations.
entrepreneur of Kolkata Movses Babajian learned about it 12 years later only.
never been to the Don region and did not even imagine where Azov was.
did know that the Russian empress Catherine freed the Armenians from the
Crimean yoke and helped them to move to Christian Russia, where the
construction of a new city, Nakhijevan, began.
Babajyan raised money to help the newly relocated Armenians and his calls were
also responded by the other Armenian entrepreneurs in Kolkata.
everyone made donations, but the biggest donation was made by Movses Babajian.
He divided all his wealth into 16 parts, 8 of which he donated to Nakhichevan.
In his will he wrote:
unknown reasons the Nakhichevani people learned about the will only 26 years
ago when the benefactor’s was already dead.There joy was endless, as even
according to very rough calculations, their share was 100.000 rupees, a huge
sum for those times. It was almost equal to 625.000 Russian gold roubles.
Municipality sent a letter to India, saying that they were ready for
inheritance (in modern times, when you don’t write a will, your successors would probably lose out on a lot). The British who were ruling India, didn’t pay attention to this
letter, and there weren’t volunteers and financial means for getting acquainted
with the situation on the spot. And only Armenian poet and publicist Mikhayel
Nalbandyan took the issue seriously.
Nalbandyan published an article about the Armenian legacy in his magazine and
finally made a decision to visit India and personally receive the money.
malicious people started to insist that Nalbandyan had personal interests in
this issue and that he wanted to grip the money. But he was ready for those
letter addresses to Salfinkyan, Nalbandyan writes.” Unfortunately it’s the
Armenian psychology, if they can not help or do anything, they are always ready
to hurt and destroy what has already been done or what is being done”.
was referring to the Armenian priests led by Gabriel Ayvazovski, who were
trying to hinder Mikael Nalbandian’s plan of traveling to India by conspiring
departure Nalbandyan says.” A group of “patriots” have chosen the same
insidious way to oppose: gossip and slander”.
travelling thousand kilometers, Nalbandyan reached to Kolkata. He immediately
started to get acquainted with the representatives of the Armenian community,
so that he could have their support if necessary.
time, power in the city and country belonged to the BreatBritain. Nalbandian
was the first to visit local respected businessman Harutyun Abgaryan. The
latter warmly welcomed his Armenian compatriot from Russia and advised him to
get acquainted with the chairman of the Kolkata City Department, an Englishman
out, that Movses Babajyan didn’t have any heirs, thus his whole wealth, the
and hotels were under the jurisdiction of the city administration. And Charles
Haggins was receiving 5% of Babajian’s income as a fee for being a trustee.
Abgaryan knew about Babajian’s will and was realizing that Hague would create
artificial obstacles for Nalbandyan. If Nalbandian’s campaign ended
successfully, Haag would be deprived of considerable money. As it was expected,
the negotiations with Hague weren’t successful. The parties decided to apply to
the court. Before the Supreme Court returned from vacation, Nalbandian
managed to estimate his property and
count the money. The final sum was quite large (100,000) at 100,000 pound
out that Babajian not only gave his own property, but also encouraged his
compatriots to donate and help compatriots living in Russia. One of the
well-known commercial merchants Katarina Khojamalyan was one of those who responded to the call for fundraising. This
woman had descendants. After learning about this, Nalbandian met with
Katharina’s granddaughter Barbara Elias. The latter said she did not have the
right to scorn her grandmother’s will, but she would not be able to afford
paying the same amount of money twice.
was that Gabriel Aivazovsky had already addressed him with that question. The
latter sent his representative to the Primate, Father Tadevos Beknazaryan.
After Listening to this, Nalbandian was very angry. “Again, this Ayvazovsky …
Why aren’t he and his priests engaged in
their duties … Where there is money,the God is dead for them …”.
didn’t want to give up and said that the money was not her own and that it
should belong to the legitimate heirs and she would consider legal only the
decision made by the Supreme Court.
to the Armenian priest’s adventurism, the Supreme Court examined Mikayel
Nalbandyan’s claim and the truth won. Thus, Nalbandian took the entire amount
he could get at once, with him to Nakhichevan. The Bengalian bank was obliged
to transfer the remaining 100,000 (one hundred thousand) pound sterlings to the
Armenians of Don Nakhichevan, paying the amount partially every month.
funds were being spent on building schools, hospitals, and improving streets of
the city. The biggest monument dedicated
to Movses Babajyan’s memory
became Moscow’s Moskovskaya hotel.
continued until 1917. The October Revolution eliminated all the possibilities,
that the heritage will be ever sent by the British . According to calculations,
the Nakhichevan residents received only 40% of the inheritance,
remaining amount stayed in India. Through British sites, where one can track
the fluctuations in pound sterling exchange rates, I was able to calculated the
amount of money India should pay to people of Nakhijevan.
to my estimations, in 2018, the unpaid part of the exchange rate was
371,275,416 rubles, and if we increase the interest rate, it will be about
1.000.000.000 (one billion) rubles.
So, I took
my camera and went to Mirza Galip Street, where the Armenian Academy
established in 1821 is situated. The college is one of the best educational
institutions in Kolkata. Workers and teachers are not only Indian citizens, but
also citizens of other countries. I was honored to talk to the representative
of Echmiadzin, Movses Sargsyan.
less angry with clergy than Michael Nalbandian nearly 150 years ago.
walking down the Armenian street and wondering what the Catholicos had to do
with all of that, why was that secular
college being governed by the clergy, and what’s their relation to the
heritage. My head was all over the place, and I did not notice how I came to
the Armenian Church St. Lazarus, built in 1764. The guards did not allow me to
enter the church, because the representative from Echmiadzin had already
instructed him not let me in as I did’not have an appropriate permission.
there I had an opportunity to meet with the real Indian- Armenians and have a
warm conversation with them. I also learnt about the incident from the local
Armenians/ Mr Manouk is an Indian-Armenian. He told me that all the Indian
heritage had not belonged for a while then
and the owner of everything was Echmiadzin.
the funds of the foundation, the Armenian living in India were living quite
well. It was so until 2000. There were 12 members of the Council, appointed by
the local Armenians. They were in charge of distributing the funds for the
people in need. But, in the 2000s, local Armenians gave the representatives
from Edzmiadzin the opportunity to become a member of their Council.
Step by step the clergy from Echmiadzin appropriated all the documents. The old men
didn’t even manage wink their eyes when they realized that everything was lost
because of their kindness. Now, in order to get the money needed for treatment
or funds for studies, the Armenians of India should write an invitation to
those who have nothing to do with the foundation, that is, the clergy.
Meanwhile, in the past no priest had the right to be part of the Council, than
the times were changed. Now, there are no Indian Armenians in the Council. Here
are only Armenians from Armenia and some
strangers with Indian surnames.
from Armenia, who now lives in Kolkata, says. “I’ve heard that Movses
Babajanyan had left heritage for the Armenians living in Russia, but it’s faith
is unknown. I think, that we must look for that wealth in Echmiadzin, at least
Mother See is in charge of this heritage now. That’s why they avoid any
conversation. Local Armenians applied to the journalists. Several years ago
journalists from London arrived in Kolkata to investigate the case. They found
out that besides the estate, that was appropriated by Echmiadzin, the Holy See
had also took control over 5,000,000 euros which they keep in HSBC bank.
addition, the foundation, which is under the control of Echmiadzin, finances a
cardiac center in Kolkata, which has nothing to do with Armenians. The
situation with the college is also uncertain and there are several issues. This
is precisely why students are forbidden to communicate with strangers, and
sometimes even with their relatives. “
an Armenian College graduate. She remembers the years of study with sadness.
– Please tell me about your college education, what was happening there?
answers: – There are many things to say … within 3 years we were allowed to
meet our families once. When journalists from Russia or Armenia were caming to
college, we were’nt allowed to interact with them. They used to answer their
questions on our behalf, otherwise we had to talk to the journalists without
the cameras so they could not have any proof. We were dissatisfied with these
pressures. We were being beat cruelly over and over again, not only we but also
the teachers were suffering. For example, once a teacher came from Armenia.As the girls were
living far away from the boys in a separate building, that woman was also
living with us. We weren’t seeing her at all.
morning the principle who was a priest, was making speeches and then calling
one of the girls and hitting her before the whole college for misbehavior. It
was horrible. They were telling inappropriate anecdotes in our presence, and
especially Ter Tigran was notorious for that kind of actions. He was also a
famous womanizer. We remember the years in the College as a nightmare.
What I saw
here was enough to understand something important. Nobody can ever eradicate
the Armenian people from the face of the world and if it ever happens, then the
guilty once won’t be the foreigners but the Armenians themselves.