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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Kolkata- 'THE CITY OF JOY'


One of the largest and most vibrant city of modern India is the CITY OF JOY, namely Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta.This relatively modern city on the Eastern bank of Hoogly river has a population of almost 4.5 million and over 14 million including the recent extensions making it the third largest urban agglomeration in India.


This city served as the capital of British India , till the capital was shifted to N. Delhi in the year 1911. Once the centre of modern science, education, politics and social reforms it suffered serious set backs during and after partion of India and Indian Independence for various reasons including influx of refugees from Bangladesh. With its glorious history of revolution, trade unionism, education, Kolkata is always referred to as a city of intellectuals and also called the cultaral capital of India. Considering the rich cultural heritage of the Indian subcontinent, it’s really unique to be known as the cultural capital of India.


Name:-

There are contradicting views as to the origin of the name of this vibrant metropolitan. Probably the name Calcutta (formerly the official name of the place) was based on “Kalikata”, from one of the three villages (Sutanuti, Gobindapur, and Kalikata) in the area during the arrival of the British. Some scholars argue that the name was derived from “KALIKSHETRA” the land of Kali (Goddess Kali an incarnation of Ma durga) and thus its anglicised name Calcutta. Though in common use by its people it was almost always referred to as Kolkata or Kolikata , it was only in the year 2001 that the official English name of Calcutta was changed to Kolkata on popular public demand.


History:-

Though according to archeological discoveries it is evident that this place was inhabited for at least two millennia the modern city that we see now was mainly a result of the effort of the British to consolidate their foothold on India. By 1702 the British constructed the fort William (Now GPO) to station its troops, protect its financial interests and to serve as a Regional base. Frequent skirmishes with the French and a volatile political scenario at that time demanded an upgraded fortification of Fort William but the then Nawab of Bengal ShirajUddaulla was not impressed and denied permission for the same and when the British defied Shiraj and continued the up gradation of fortifications in Fort William, the Nawab reacted strongly and captured Fort William after causing the tragedy of Black hole. Only a year later Fort William was recaptured by a contingent of force under Robert Clive. The battle (known as the battle of plassey) was the last for Shiraj for he was executed soon after, and the independent Indian rule on Bengal ended. Calcutta then became a presidency city under the British and later became the Headquarters of Bengal presidency and then in the year 1772 the Capital of British India and remained so till 1911 when the capital of British India was shifted to New Delhi. Richard Wellesley is largely credited for the up gradation and architectural development of the city. His public architecture earned Calcutta a new title “The City of palaces.”


Geography

Kolkata is situated at an elevation ranging from 1.5 meters to 9 meteres in the Gangetic delta at 22.33N and 88.20East. The time zone Kolkata follows is +5.30 hrs .


Climate

It has a tropical climate with a mean annual temperature of 26.8 degrees centigrade and a mean monthly temperature ranging from 19 degree centigrade to 30 degree centigrade. Its monsoon is caused by the Bay of Bengal branch of the south West Monsoon which is mainly responsible for its 1582 mm average rainfall and its winter is short and lasts barely 60 days during December and January.

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