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European Calcutta: Images and Recollections of a Bygone Era

Dhrubajyoti Banerjea (Author)
Synopsis The present work goes beyond all earlier studies of Calcutta in the colonial times in its punctillous sifting of evidence and documentation to reconstruct the history of the slow growth of the city from its first colonial construction out of three non-descript villages on the bank of Hugli. In the process the author opens up a panoramic historical view of different spots and locations in the city in the first part of the book is followed by a commercial history in the second part documenting the arrival and growth of European business firms and establishments in the city and their slow absorption in the colonial trading system that held away till Independence. There is little of the usual nostalgia that runs through books about this city which till 1911 was the capital of colonial India, and has been since then a bastion of radical politics and culture, a seat of violence, chaos and creativity. The author’s sense of history and objectivity give him an insight into yet another process at work in this city, viz. its commercial life and the forces that sustain it and the city itself. It is part of the new approach to the history of the city that, instead of the usual bird’s-eye view of cityscapes, this volume offers the richest photographic documentation ever of this city, selected from the author’s own enviable collection of old photographs and rarities acquired from the surviving colonial firms. Contrasting photographs from different periods placed in juxtaposition enliven the conducted tour on which the author takes the readers through European Calcutta-from now to then and back again-in the early part of the book. History comes visually alive in this book which never compromises on fact and cold objectivity.
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About the author

Dhrubajyoti Banerjea

Born on 29th October 1935, in Calcutta, D.J. Banerjea was educated more by the City of Joy than by his parents or teachers. Graduating from Medical College, Bengal, in 1959, he went on to obtain his diploma in Clinical Pathology from the School of Tropical Medicine, Calcutta. Starting his career as a pathologist under the West Bengal Health Services, he later took charge of Calcutta Clinical Laboratory, one of the city’s most reputed clinics. DJB has always been a collector with an eye for the unique and an obsession with art. His collection have won him several national and international awards. He is also an ex-Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, London, has been a member of the Philatelic Advisory Committee for the government of India, and has acted as Philatelic Judge on many occasions. He is an active Rotarian, and was the President of the Rotary Club of South Calcuta in 1991-92. He is a past President of the Lake Club, and is also serving on the Executive Committee of the prestigious Calcutta Club. DJB’s other interests are literature and history. So far he has three of his books published. Esho Natun Khelaye, a collection of poems in Bengali, Akashe Orar Kothha, the evergreen tale of the history of aviation, and Akash Pathher Kolkata, an eye-opening account of aviation in Calcutta. The present work is his fourth publication.

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Bibliographic information

Title European Calcutta: Images and Recollections of a Bygone Era
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8174765069
length 368p., 80 B/w Plates.
Subjects History