Kolkata’s China Town

Pei May School in Kolkata is striving hard to keep alive the tradition of a close-knit Chinese community.

Tangra region, popularly called `Chinatown` is home to thousands of local Chinese, famous for their culinary skills and restaurants serving mouthwatering ethnic cuisines.

The 75-year-old school, the only Chinese school in India, located in a narrow lane now booms with life as new batches of students fill the classrooms.

The community in recent times is combating the fast dying of traditions and culture amongst the new generation of whom more than half cannot read or write their mother tongue.

C T Lung, a veteran Chinese language teacher whose family in India dates back three generations, has taken up the job in an attempt to create interest among the younger generation in their culture.

It`s very important for our children to learn their mother tongue. It`s unfortunate if some one does not know his or her mother language. We are taking all efforts to teach them Mandarin so that they can develop a better understanding of Chin and its cultural heritage. It will also help them to read Chinese literary works,” said Lung.

Initially the school faced the problem of a shortage of texts, which are not available in India, but with the support of the Indian Chinese Association for Culture, Welfare and Development and the Chinese Embassy in India, they were brought in from Taiwan and China.

As part of the school curriculum, students are also taught Chinese literature and mathematics. These classes also give the children a chance to interact with one another and converse in Mandarin.

The young students are keen on learning their mother tongue.

“I want to learn Chinese language because even though I am staying in India I want to learn Chinese because I want to know more about my culture,” said Salena Chang, a young student.

Carol Young, another student said: “I want to learn Chinese because I want to know my mother tongue.”

The move has drawn full support of the parents.

The Chinese are the most prosperous of all the foreign communities that have settled in India. They made their way to the city during the late 18th century and by the mid 19th century had established themselves well as skilled industrious people.

There are as many as 7000 Chinese living in Calcutta city alone.

Bureau Report

Source: Zeenews.com


  1. Vivek says:

    Great news!
    Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Ian says:

    I agree with majority of residents in Tangra that the pressing needs such as better drainage system, sanitation, widening of roads and greater emphasis on the law and order problems should be given prominence and priority, before building the Chinese Gates, Pagodas etc. to promote Tangra as a tourist destination.

    See it to believe it – the roads in Tangra are worse off than Old Chinatown, they are potholes everywhere filled with pieces of bricks and it is a mockery when you find that a stretch of areas on the same road is smoothened and tarred while the other side left unattended – thus creating bumpy rides worse off than any rural Indian villages.

    To experience what I described above, just take a back-seat on a scooter ride along this stretch of upaved road, and you will be given the impression of performing acrobats in a circus. One needs to be physically fit and sound to withstand the bumps.

    Last but not least, Tangra needs a long overdue touch-up. The area still smells of chemicals although to a milder extent than before. Also, the stench of decaying rubbish from the sourroundings may be familiar to the residents but definitely to tourists, it should be no, no and annoyance.

    There is no point for Tangra Chinese to live in hugh fortified dwellings in the middle of dump.

    In summary, tThe very good cause of KMC may have negative outcomes. So, KMC should set their priorities right.

  3. ycl1688 says:


    Definitely it is a nuclear winter scenario, lack of plantation that is upsetting the environment. Maybe the gateway will let tourists look skyward without looking down the streets, that is one way to distract. Speaking about potholes it has been existing for more than decades. Also the footpath with interlock bricks are eyesore. It is a first step towards beautify Chinatown, so the KMC will take one step at a time.

  4. ron says:

    KMC should not use “the ostrich’s philosophy”, i.e. burying its head in the sand when encountered with threat or a problem – to avoid doing nothing. Instead, KMC should confront the problems head-on and not engage in any distration tactics of a gateway for tourists to look skyward and not at street levels. An eyesore is an eyesore. No veil can ever hide its ugliness.
    Even though potholes in Tangra roads may have existed decades ago, there is no excuse to let them as they were forever.
    Especially now with the Chinatown beautification programs kick-off, it is utmost good opportunity for KMC to tackle the “low hanging fruits” as priority. So, job no. 1 is to pave the undulating roads and let all residents in Tangra say “Goodbye” to bumpy roads.

  5. Mimi says:

    Beautification kickoff in Chinatown – It’s better late than never.
    However, it has come too little……
    I hope KMC and Tourism Board will also tackle infrastructure of Tangra Chinatown progressively together with not only cosmetics veilings of dirt and dilapidation by impressive Chinese Gateway, Pagoda etc.
    After all, Tangra Chinatown was and is still famed as an unhealthy living place. For so long, the residents suffered, they now rightly deserve a facelift with cleaner and healthier living conditions.
    Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!

  6. ycl1688 says:

    While the good news coming for chinatown in tangra, in December last year local chinese newspaper ran an ad on public hearing on certain big hotel chains or land developers try to grab land from tangra, the newspaper urge local residents to attend the public hearing, first meeting was not successful because of lack of attendance, i believe a second one was held, maybe someone can tell us the outcome. The idea is not to let those land grabbers try to grab lands illegally and resell it at a higher profit. So spread the news anytime there is public hearing people got to attend, if nothing is done, chances of tangra land area getting smaller is possible.

  7. Vinod says:

    Where is rule of law ? What is this public hearing about and why ?
    The residents of Tangra should turn to Mamanta Banerjee for help.

  8. satish says:

    Is Tangra run by goons ?

  9. ycl1688 says:


    it is possible, yet the chinese consulate with the local help of didi will keep them under control.