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Origin & History of the Kolkata city

Origin & History of the Kolkata cityThe documented history of Kolkata has begun with the arrival East India Company in the year of 1690. Job Charnock one of the administrator of the company was credited as the founder of the city when the East India Company had started spreading its trade in the arena of Bengal. But the discovery of the nearby archaeological site Chandraketugarah has proved the fact that the area has been inhabited for two millennia.

So some academics have recently challenged the view that Charnock was the founder of the city, and in response to public interest litigation the High Court ruled in 2003 that the city does not have a specific founder.

Nawab of Bengal Shiraj-Ud-Daulah Mosque

According to history at that time the area of Kolkata was under the direct rule of  Nawab of Bengal Shiraj-Ud-Daulah as a comprised of three villages Kolkata, Sutanoti & Govindapur. During the British reign The British in the late 17th century wanted to build a fort near Gobindapur in order to consolidate their power over other foreign powers and Calcutta was declared a Presidency City, and later became the headquarters of the Bengal Presidency.

In 1756 the British began to upgrade their fortifications. When protests against the militarization by the Nawab of Bengal Shiraj-Ud-Daulah went unheeded he attacked and captured Fort William, leading to the infamous Black Hole of Calcutta incident. This city became the capital of British India in 1772. Richard Wellesley, the Governor General during 1797-1805 was largely responsible for the growth of the city and its public architecture which led to the description of Calcutta as “The City of Palaces”.

By the 1850s, Kolkata was split into two distinct areas—one British (known as the White Town) centered on Chowringhee, the other Indian (known as Black Town) centered on North Calcutta. The city underwent rapid industrial growth from the 1850s, especially in the textile and jute sectors; this caused a massive investment in infrastructure projects like railroads and telegraph by British government. The coalescence of British and Indian culture resulted in the emergence of a new Babu class of urbane Indians — whose members were often bureaucrats, professionals, read newspapers, were Anglophiles, and usually belonged to upper-caste Hindu communities. Throughout the nineteenth century, a socio-cultural reform, often referred to as the Bengal Renaissance resulted in the general uplifting of the people. In 1883, Surendranath Banerjee organised a national conferance— the first of its kind in nineteenth century India. Gradually Calcutta became a centre of the Indian independence movement, especially revolutionary organizations. The 1905 Partition of Bengal on communal grounds resulted in widespread public agitation and the boycott of British goods or the Swadeshi Movement. These activities, along with the administratively disadvantageous location of Calcutta in the eastern fringes of India, prompted the British to move the capital to New Delhi in 1911.

The city and its port were bombed several times by the Japanese during 2nd World War; the first occasion being 20 December 1942, and the last being 24 December 1944. The Partition of India also created intense violence and a shift in demographics — large numbers of Muslims left for East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh while hundreds of thousands of Hindus fled into the city. Over the 1960s and 1970s, severe power shortages, strikes and a violent Marxist-Maoist movement — the Naxalites— damaged much of the city’s infrastructure, leading to a period of economic stagnation.

In 1971, war between INDIA and PAKISTAN led to the mass influx of thousands of refugees into Kolkata resulting in a massive strain on its infrastructure. Kolkata has been a strong base of Indian communism as West Bengal has been ruled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Since 2000, Information Technology (IT) services have revitalized the city’s stagnant economy. The city is also experiencing a growth in the manufacturing sector.

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