Kolkata is also known as the Cultural Capital of India. Many a books have been written on Kolkata since long ago. Not only books, there are paintings, photographs and films that also depicted Kolkata beautifully and aesthetically. The city still retains its cultural heritage amidst rapid urbanization. If you walk along the streets of Kolkata you will be bale to see many beautiful houses and monuments, which are hundreds of years old. Books on Kolkata have been written by many and they have adequately tried to bring out the essence of the city. Here are 5 such books, in fact the 5 best books for someone who really wants to know about Kolkata:
5. Walking Calcutta
Author: Keith Humphrey
Walking Calcutta is a book that makes you see the city through the eyes of a Westerner. A rare description of the city, this is a book which you must get hold of to know about the many lanes and bylanes that have clutched the city in mystery. The narrative takes us through unvisited alleys and brings alive the city not from the front, but from the back. If you are an adventurer and wish to visit the city, it is an ideal guide, laden with information and maps of the areas explored. It will serve a dual purpose of taking you through places of historical interest, while acquainting you with the roads of Kolkata.
4. Calcutta: A Cultural History
Author: Krishna Dutta
The book is a truly captivating work which will create a city out of ancient cultures and people as you read through its pages. It starts in the 1690s, the inception of the city. The British capital of India, Kolkata was also called the ‘city of palaces.’ The unique history of Kolkata is viewed in this book through its culture, architecture, cinema, music and literature. The author goes on to describe various personalities who have made Kolkata a city to reckon with. A really good read if you want to know about the cultural history of Kolkata.
3. Beyond Kolkata – Rajarhat and the Dystopia of Urban Imagination
Author(s): Ishita Dey, Ranabir Samaddar and Suhit K. Sen
Beyond Kolkata is authored by three writers: Ishita Dey, Ranabir Samaddar and Suhit K. Sen. It is a study of the politics behind the making of Rajarhat or Jyoti Basu Nagar or New Town as it is named. The Government of west Bengal wanted to create a township with modern facilities outside the hustle and bustle of Kolkata – which went on to become a lingering history of the social repercussions of unmaking an old city. The ones who are interested in the political, socio-economic and urban life of Kolkata will find the book highly engrossing. Kolkata and how the city runs at a political level are made vivid through this book.
Further Reading: 5 Of The Best Books Ever Written On Delhi
2. Calcutta: Two Years on the City
Author: Amit Chaudhuri
Kolkata “was born with the aura of inherited decay and life” is how Chaudhuri starts his work. This book is focused on modernity in Kolkata. But you should not confuse it with the digital billboards, high rises and malls. It describes the lesser-known, but actual reality that has transformed Kolkata. His is a very personal expression of the city where he was born and spent his childhood. The old houses, the bookshops, the smells of street foods and every other location he has been to describe the city for the readers who have not visited Kolkata. He ends on a note which will leave you wanting to know more.
1. A Jaywalker’s Guide to Kolkata
Author: Soumitra Das
A book written on Kolkata from different perspectives, the approach it follows is not the usual. The author takes up the role of a jaywalker and gives an unusual description of Kolkata. Anyone really interested in the history and architecture of Kolkata should grab this book. It gives detailed and vivid descriptions of the city, its culture and architecture.