Saturday, July 25, 2015

CHAITANYA LIBRARY ... The Intellectual Hub in the midst of Theatre District !

The area is Chitpore, Mecca of Jatra Culture, the quintessential Bengali Folk Theatre form. The street is named after Utpal Dutt, the stalwart Bengali theatre personality. Next to the adjacent building situated the century old Minerva Theatre. But in the midst of this theatrical aroma, exists a literary society, serving the intellectual minds for over 125 years now. Chaitanya Library is among the earliest public libraries of Calcutta. Closely associated with Rabindranath Tagore, the organization was founded in 1889 under the name of CHAITANYA LIBRARY & BEADON SQUARE LITERARY CLUB.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

WHO WAS THE FIRST INDIAN TO DISSECT A HUMAN BODY?... A Historical Controversy or Controversial History?...

A glimpse of the title would certainly raise some eyebrows. Reply from the majority should be Sushruta, as expected. But NO...WAIT...HOLD ON... I am not among those campaigners who claim that every element of modern science, from nuclear weaponry to aircraft, were invented in Ancient India. Though Sushruta, the Father of Surgery and a famous practitioner of ancient Indian medicine was a historical figure indeed. His literary work Sushruta Samhita is identified as a well documented outstanding commentary on Medical Science of Surgery. But my research's spotlight is on modern science only.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

FLURY'S & TRINCA'S ... Friendships That Defined Park Street !!

PARK STREET ... officially known as Mother Teresa Sarani. Was the renaming justified? Stalwart Historian, former Chairman of the West Bengal Heritage Commission and an erstwhile Park Street Resident himself, Shri Barun De chose to disagree (read Late Barun De's article here). There is no doubt that opinion of many Calcuttans would just be an echo of what late De wrote. The 2004 rechristening certainly hampers the grandeur of this majestic pathway. But as we are not here to debate on the right or wrong, let us get back to the game, let's focus on the History now.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

TALLAH TANK ... Quenching City's Thirst for Over a Century !!

"WATER WATER EVERYWHERE, NOR ANY DROP TO DRINK", at least 100 years before this Samuel Coleridge poem, Englishmen felt in the same way when they arrived in Calcutta in the late 17th century. Various reports of English authorities of that time suggests that in 1706 there were only 17 water bodies in Calcutta, on which the native population was entirely dependent for its water supply, in addition to Hooghly river. But there were scarcity of pure drinking water due to multipurpose usage of these water bodies by the native residents. The tanks were so polluted that the British were not ready to accept them as the hygienic source to quench their thirst. Ultimately in 1709, Lal Dighi or the Great Tank was renovated. It was one of the purest fount of drinking water and catered the needs of British people for another 100 years.