Brief History of Kolkata - Places, Roads of Kolkata

Article on the Historical Significance of Kolkata and the details of Road names, places to visit in Kolkata of West Bengal. City of Joy

Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, is on the eastern bank of river Bhagirathi or, Ganges. Some say that, it is an amazing city, to some it is a city of processions, still others opine, it is a city of slums. Once it was also called a city of palaces. Hence Kolkata is unique, always vibrant and beautiful and is a City of Joy!

Kolkata and the rest of the world are in perfect synchronization, the latest events of the world are transmitted to Kolkata in no time. There are many legends about the name Kolkata. According to some, local dialect Kal-kata used to be pronounced by Europeans as Cal-cutta. The story is like, in 1742 Canals (Khal) were dug (cutta) around three sides of Kolkata, hence Calcutta was derived from Khal-kata. Some say that the name Kolkata was kept in parity with Kalikat, to some other—the name was given after KaliKutir (the Kalighat temple). Whatever may be the story, Kolkata is an ancient place. The name Kolkata was referred to for the 1st time in the Manasa Vijay Kavya composed by Bipradas Piplai in 1495. The name Kolkata is also found in the Chandimangal of poet Mukundaram. Ain-E-Akbari written by Abul Fazal in 1596 also mentioned the name Kolkata. Even in 1608, Lakshmikanta Roy Chowdhury got the title of Zamindar of Kolkata. The name Kolkata perhaps came from the oldest community Kol, i.e., Kolkahota lived in Kolkata. Agreeing to the opinion of the intelligentsia and researchers the honorable High Court of Calcutta in a recent judgment declared that nobody could claim to have fathered this city and Job Charnock is not the founder of this city. Kolkata in its form is the outcome of imagination, dreams and initiatives of many people for many days. This has dispelled the long-standing confusion about the founder of the city.

However, it does not matter. Whoever may be the founder, the village Kolkata emerged as a city for the initiative taken by the British. There were of course other rivals who camped by the bank of Hooghly long before the British had landed here. The British in Hooghly, the French in Chandannagar, Dutch and Armenians in Chinsura, Danish in Sreerampur, Portuguese in Bandel, Greeks in Rishra, Prussians in Bhadreswar had built up their respective bases. In 1686, in order to avoid the wrath of Nawab's army on charges of plundering the town, a British merchant ship left Hooghly and anchored in Kolkata. This was 24 August, 1690. Job Charnock landed at Sutanuti, a fishermen's village. The foundation of a modern and developed city was initiated by him together with eradication of many bad practices. He had rescued a Brahmin widow from being Sati and married her. Charnock died on 10 January, 1692 and on 10 November, 1698. The British East India Company purchased the title of zamindari of three villages Dihi Kolkata, Sutanuti & Govindapur with the financial and other assistance from Armenians. Sabarna Chowdhurys left their holding at a price of Rs 1300 only. The Company constructed Fort William by the side of present GPO in BBD Bag between 1699-1707. In 1717 on the power of a decree from Mughal ruler Farook shiar, the Company purchased the title of further 38 zamindaris and laid the foundation of British empire. The British had constructed trenches in 1742, along the current Acharya Jagadish Ch Bose Road (Marhatta ditch) to resist the Maratha attack. In 1756 the British were defeated in a war with Nawab Siraj-ud-daula. However, on the basis of a peace treaty they got back the ruling power of Kolkata in 1757. In this year they defeated the Nawab in a war and strengthened the foundation of empire under the leadership of Lord Clive. The horrors of famine descended on Bengal in 1770. 76,000 people died in Kolkata only. In 1772 the Company administration got recognition from the British Parliament. First Governor Warren Hastings shifted the capital of British empire from Murshidabad to Kolkata in 1772. Kolkata went through a transition between 1780 and 1820 and great Bengal Renaissance started. Construction of buildings started in a scattered way and Kolkata became a Village of Palaces. During the early part of 20th century, however, Kolkata turned into a City of Dreadful Night to the British.

The Babu Culture of olden times of Kolkata is on the wane, glimpses of it are still available in north Kolkata area.

The change of names makes a lot of confusion. Streets, roads/squares have been renamed after Independence. As a result both the names (old/new) are in vogue.

Here are some list of such roads

Harrison Road - Mahatma Gandhi Road
Dharmatala Street - Lenin Sarani
Dalhousie Square - Binoy Badal Dinesh (BBD) Bag
Chowringhee Road - Jawaharlal Nehru Road
Theatre Road - Shakespeare Sarani
Wellington Street - Nirmal Chandra Street
Harrington Street - Ho-Chi-Minh Sarani
Red Road - Indira Gandhi Sarani
Bowbazar Street - BipinBihari Ganguly Street
Chitpur Road - Rabindra Sarani
Cornwallis Street - Bidhan Sarani
Lower Circular Road - Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road
Upper Circular Road - Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy Road
Landsdowne Road - Sarat Bose Road
Ballygunge Circular Road - Gurusaday Dutta Road
WelleslyStreet - Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road
Wellesly Square - Raja Subodh Mullick Square
Kid Street – Dr. Md. Isaq Road
Free School Street - Mirza Ghalib Street
Gariahat Road - C V Raman Road
Old Court House Street - Hemanta Basu Sarani
Braboume Road - Biplabi Trailokya Maharaj Sarani
Camac Street - AbanindranathTagore Sarani
RiponStreet Muzzaffar Ahmed Street
Park Street - Mother Teressa Sarani
Hastings Street - Premchand Munsi Sarani
Pretoria Street - Sarojini Naidu Sarani
Harish Chatterjee Street - Premendra Mitra Sarani and Swami Satyananda Street
Middleton Street - Prafulla Chandra Sen Sarani
Circular Garden Reach Road - Wajed Ali Shah Sarani
Beadon Street - Utpal Dutta Sarani

Related Articles

Ganga Kutir | Weekend Destination near Kolkata | Tourist Spot

Details on Bengal's most beautiful Beach Tourist Spot Ganga Kutir. Get to know How to reach, Routes (Train / Bus Timings), Where to Stay (Accommodations, Resorts, Budget Hotels, Book Hotel Rooms Online and what to remember (warnings) of Ganga Kutir, nearest tourist / picnic spot of Kolkata Howrah.

More articles: Kolkata


Author: Anindya Bhattacharjee26 Oct 2009 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Simply Superb

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: