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Tag: Calcutta

The Flaneur Outpaces A Tram

Published @ Outlook India
Calcutta — city of broken dreams and of crusty, magnetic charm. A young hack’s progress through its florid past and dented present winks at death itself. Having escaped certain death by a Nazi firing squad, the enigmatic French philosopher Maurice Blanchot dedicated the rest of his long life to understand how the act of writing itself can be the most assured insurance against the inevitability of death, of erasure. The Epic City reminded me of Blanchot’s pronouncements. In this book, with the…

The family and the city

Published @ Biblio India
Chandak Sengoopta has had a less-than-conventional training. He studied to be a medical doctor in Calcutta, did his doctoral research in the US on the history of medicine and is now a historian of colonial and postcolonial India in Birkbeck College, London. His first book was a study of the notorious Viennese philosopher Otto Weininger’s controversial work on identity, while his next two books – Imprint of the Raj: How Fingerprinting was Born in Colonial India (Macmillan, 2003)…

The Irrepressible City of Modernity

Published @ Economic & Political Weekly (EPW)
Clive Street, Calcutta, early 20th century. Photographer Unknown. Historiography of the modern city must be cognisant of the historical moment in which the metropolitan space made the first gains from modernity as a deterritorialised and yet organising principle of self-articulation. The modern city is the first global space in the modern period, a space beyond narrow nationality, compressed social hierarchy and older orthodoxy. Moreover, that historiography is to be, unsurprisingly, contestable, complicated as it gets by the multiplicity of articulation,…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Book Review, Calcutta | Read More

14 Zakaria Street – Kalkatta

Published @ Biblio
Kunal Basu’s latest novel Kalkatta is unlike his earlier four. It is not historical in scope and neither does it contain the soaring drama that distant time lends to his period narratives. Like its predecessors, however, Kalkatta lets an iconic novel or two hang like a noose around its neck. If Racists replayed the primary tension of Lord of the Flies and The Miniaturist that of My Name is Red, Kalkatta unfailingly reminds one of Émile Zola’s The Belly of…

The Autumn of Our Discontent: Calcutta’s great clamour

Published @
The iconic march in Calcutta in support of the #Hokkolorob movement, September 20, 2014 . Photo by author. Last summer I found myself at the annual Critical Theory Summer School at Birkbeck College, University of London. The primary attention and energy of the lectures and discussions at the summer school was to find a lexicon for the many modes of resistances that have been sweeping across the world in the last few years. Etienne Balibar, Costas Douzinas, Slavoj Zizek, the…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Calcutta, protests | Read More

The city we call home

Published @ Bengal Post
Calcutta on a winter morning. Photo by author. After years of being on the wrong side of history, Calcutta must take advantage of the fact that similar political factions now govern the city, state and the centre, and press for a genuine make over, writes Sayandeb Chowdhury “Hüzün does not just paralyse the inhabitants of Instanbul, it also gives them a poetic license to be paralysed.” — Orhan Pamuk (Istanbul: Memories and the City) “Through the churning of work, the…

I always told myself that fame can wait

Published @ The Bengal Post
The name Manishankar Mukherjee was thought to be difficult to pronounce. So he changed it to Sankar. And the name stuck like a second skin all his life — as a lowly clerk, as the author of national and now international repute and a high profile corporate job as the CPRO of one of world oldest electric supply companies. But who was he who changed his name? “Noel Frederick Barwell”, came the reply from the other side of the large…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Calcutta, Profile | Read More

Guitar can be a magic medium

Published @ The Bengal Post
Sayandeb Chowdhury spends a day with maestro Nikita Koshkin. Calcutta, in more agreeable times, hosted global superstars and their work with abandon and discerning deliverance. From Marlon Brando to Loise Malle, from Marcel Marceau to Pete Seeger, from Pele to Maradona, from Che Guevara to Fidel Castro, this city has been the unlikely host of some the planet’s biggest names in arts, politics and sports. The city’s legendary enthusiasm, more than made up for its lack of cosmopolitan niceties.  But…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Calcutta, Music | Read More