President Hu Jintao may not have heard of the Chinese School of Bombay that the Chinese government started in 1930 at Agripada in South-Central Mumbai.
But the city's tiny Chinese community is hanging on to a hope that the presidential visit could help reopen their only Chinese school.
The school’s future became shaky after the Indo-China war in 1962 and it finally closed down in 1996. Today, it is a residential building.
"The president should look into the matter of reviving the school — the only Chinese school in the city — which has been taken over by illegal occupants since the Indo-China war," said restaurateur Tulun Terence Chen who founded the Maharashtra Chinese Association in 1996.
The association has broached the subject with the Chinese Consulate of Mumbai to give the community’s children an authentic Chinese upbringing. "If the Chinese president intervenes, the matter might just speed up," said Chen, who hopes to talk to the president during an interaction with members of the community at the Taj Hotel on Thursday morning. "All consulates in the city — German, French, Japanese and Kuwait — have their schools here. Only the Chinese do not have any such schools."
Chen and other association members are waiting to appoint trustees besides the sole current trustee, the Consul General of China in Mumbai.
They then plan to take their case to court to evict the building’s tenants. Right now, they struggle even to find Chinese people in the city who can translate documents in their language.