From rare photographs of dignitaries like Ho Chi Minh to glimpses of Calcutta during the British era, tourists to the city and indeed Kolkatans themselves now have the opportunity to learn more about Kolkata’s history and its rich heritage.
For, Mamata Banerjee’s men at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are planning a ‘permanent photo exhibition centre’ at the civic headquarters.
The singha duar (lion’s gate) of the civic headquarters, opposite Chaplin Square, leads to a lobby where the ‘rarest of rare’ photographs of old Calcutta dating back to the Raj era would be displayed.
“Millions of people visit the city everyday and we want to draw that crowd to our permanent photo exhibition centre displaying our rich heritage captured in lenses,” Arun Roy, the deputy manager (information and public relations) and editor of KMC’s official magazine, Puroshree, told HT.
Forty display boards would be put up in total.
Roy added that the first display board would have photographs of the civic headquarter buildings in their original form, the building sanction plan and a brief history.
The second would showcase the first map of Calcutta in 1792 by Uff John while the third would display rare photographs of ‘Old Calcutta’.
The fourth display board would comprise early photographs and brief history of different civic departments such as water supply, sewerage and drainage, roads, health and solid waste management.
For example, a photograph of the laying of the first water pipeline from Palta to Tallah would be displayed.
Two display boards would be dedicated to the photographs of all the mayors of Kolkata till date starting from Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, dating back to 1924.
One would showcase former chief ministers of Bengal at the civic functions and civic headquarters, which include Bidhan Chandra Roy, Prafulla Sen, Jyoti Basu, Ajoy Mukherjee, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Mamata Banerjee and so on. There would be pictures of roads of old Calcutta while another board would showcase iconic places in the city.
Display boards would be dedicated to the rare photographs of important dignitaries visiting the civic headquarters such as Ho Chi Minh, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Radhakrishnan, Uttam Kumar, Satyajit Roy, Uday Shankar and Ravi Shankar.
Another will focus on eminent personalities who had worked as civic employees such as Bipin Chandra Pal, Nirod C. Choudhury, Sandipan Chattopadhyay, Promode Dasgupta, Jatindra Mohan Bagchi, Radha Raman Mitra, Amol Home, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay.