Education

The Heritage of Kolkata: A Journey Through the Stream of Time

The Heritage Cell of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT), WB, wanted to create awareness about this rich heritage of Kolkata.

Kolkata, 29th November 2022: Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, cherishes culture and tradition, nurturing her heritage roots. While its grand structures, bustling markets, vibrant culinary scene, exquisite crafts, and cultural sites would rival any Indian metropolis, its historical legacy reigns supreme. Once the capital of British India, Kolkata combines colonial charm with modern culture.

The Heritage Cell of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT), WB, wanted to create awareness about this rich heritage of Kolkata. With this aim in view, it has conducted a Certificate Course on Heritages of Kolkata (Calcutta) for its in-house students.

There has been a wide response from students. In the future, the course will also be conducted for all, including students, those already doing jobs, and anybody interested in the subject.

Course Content

Module 1: Tangible Heritage (20 hrs)

Module 2: Intangible Heritage (10 hrs)

Modules

Module 1: Tangible Heritage (20 hrs)

Unit 1: Built Heritage

· Heritage Buildings

· Cemeteries

· Religious edifices

· Streets, Lanes (Gali), and Markets of Kolkata.  

· Ghats

Unit 2: Foods and Drinks of Kolkata

Unit 3: Places, Transports, Communities and Literature of Kolkata

· Personalities and Historical Places of Kolkata

· Transportation and Service as heritage

· Different communities and their history

· Organizations and Institutes of Kolkata

Module 2: Intangible Heritage (10hrs)

Unit 1: Customs and Rituals of Kolkata

· Rituals and Customs in general

· Arts and Crafts

· Literature and books, and Book Fair of Kolkata

Unit 2: Play, Dances, and Drama

· Plays of Kolkata

· Dances and Dramas of Kolkata

Dr. Phani Kanta Mishra, the Director of Heritage Cell, MAKAUT, WB, in his lecture on Heritage Buildings, highlighted that Wellesley, the Governor General took particular interest in the development of Calcutta and its architecture which won the city the title “City of Palaces”. It was mentioned in the lecture that:

Important places in Kolkata developed by the British were–

Dalhousie area as the British administrative citadel and the central business district of the nascent city. Esplanade Park Street/Chowringhee area as the residential, commercial, educational, and recreational area of the British and other Europeans. Riverfront area for commercial and recreational activities. Chitpur area, mostly along the Chitpur Road (now Rabindra Sarani), is the residential, commercial, and educational area of native Indians. 

The wealthy native gentlemen and merchants with the titles Raja and Maharaja built their palatial houses in Kolkata. Some of the most mentionable persons and family members were Raj Bullabha, Nundkumar, Radhakanta Deb, Ram Charan, Gonga Gobvinda Sing, Darpanarain Tagore, Rajendra Lala Mitter, Banamali Sarkar, Madan Mohan Dutt, Govindaram Mitter, Nubkissen, Omichand, Ram Mohan Roy, Baisnab Charan Seth, Sukhamay Ray, Ramdulal Dey, Gouri Sen, Sobharam Basack, Jadulal Mallick, Kali Prosonno Sing, Prasanna Kumar Tagore, Jatindra Mohan Tagore, Manmatha Ghosh, Khelat Ghosh, Raja Dinendra Narain Roy, Nandalal Mullick, Nilmoni Tagore, Dwarakanath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Rajendralal Mallik, Shama Churn Law, etc.

The issue of the Conservation of Heritage Buildings in Kolkata was also addressed by Dr. Mishra. He pointed out that:

The owners of heritage properties often take no interest in the renovation of the building/property unless the income generated from that is more than the spending Premises Tenancy Act was not favorable to heritage properties Fragmentation of the property due to family partition is also a major area for concern Owners are skeptical about the marketability of their property. Present socio-economic conditions are inclined to give priority to infrastructure development. Heritage issues are not integrated with that development. Lack of incentives to the owners of the heritage buildings. Lack of integration within different departments of KMC on heritage conservation.

Dr. Mishra‘s lecture on Cemeteries in Kolkata was also an illuminating one. He pointed out that once being the capital of British India and also being the nerve centre of East India Company, Kolkata has seen European migration for a really long time. Here the cemeteries of the English, French, Armenians, Greeks and Dutch can be found. Besides Europeans, Parsi, Muslim, Jews, even Chinese have settled

here.

A list of cemeteries in Kolkata:
• Lower Circular Road Cemetery
• Gas Crematorium
• South Park Street Cemetery
• North Park Street Cemetery
• Tiretta Cemetery (French Cemetery)
• Scottish Cemetery
• Maniktala Christian Cemetery
• Greek Cemetery
• Bhowanipore Cemetery
• Tollygunge Cemetery
• Stephen’s Cemetery
• tomb at Nazrul Mancha
• Jewish Cemetery Kolkata
• Chinese Cemetery

This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.

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