Author: Jayabrato Chatterjee
Photographer: Rupinder Khullar
Publisher: UBS Publishers
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8174764712
Kolkata is a city of many moods and many memories. From early beginnings as a centre for trade on the banks of the Hooghly to glorious days during the British Raj as India’s first city, Kolkata still retains a pedigree and a sense of cosmopolistan history that is enchanting. Riddled with innumerable epithets – pleasant and unpleasant-it stays indulgent to the reactions forced out of visitors. You cannot remain indifferent once you have visited the lanes and by-lanes and seen the varied faces that you come across. Kolkata’s stark contrasts often shock you and compel you to grasp its psyche that is both fragmented and heartbreakingly endearing.
From Mark Twain’s most wicked place in the world to Mrinal Sen’s Eldorado, the metropolis that has been the home of some of India’s most celebrated Nobel laureates, film-makers, writers and poets is still considered the country’s cultural capital. Compassionate, sensitive and with a large heart, Kolkata has generously given to those who have had the opportunity to understand its joys and agonies.
Today, there is a tremendous resurgence and faith in the city once more. Along with fresh industrial investments and improved infrastructure, there is also a reaffirmation in the city’s undying spirit. At a time when the rest of the world is being broken up into fragments and the clear stream of reason has lost its way, the city stands tall with its secular values. It accommodates the rich and the poor, the Hindu and the Muslim, the handicapped and the able-bodied with the same clemency that a mother would bestow on her child. That, perhaps, is Kolkata’s ultimate glory.