‘I don’t want to go back to crowded Kolkata’
It was 1988 when Santanu Mitra came to visit Chandigarh as a 28-year-old from Kolkata. His friend from Shimla suggested that he should apply for a job in the City Beautiful as there were vacancies in the private sector. Giving no second thought to the suggestion, he applied and got a job.chandigarh Updated: Oct 15, 2013 19:42 IST
Bengalis in tricity
It was 1988 when Santanu Mitra came to visit Chandigarh as a 28-year-old from Kolkata. His friend from Shimla suggested that he should apply for a job in the City Beautiful as there were vacancies in the private sector. Giving no second thought to the suggestion, he applied and got a job.
Today, Mitra do not want to go back to Kolkata as he has developed a special affection for the city and is well settled in Panchkula. He got married in 1990 and now looks to build a bright future for his daughter, who is pursuing her engineering degree from a private college in SAS Nagar.
Like Mitra, there are 15,000 Bengalis, who came to the city in early 60s in search of work and are today working in various government and private sectors in the tricity.
Speaking to HT, Mitra said, “I do not want to go back to the crowded city of Kolkata, where there are no job opportunities .We cannot imagine any other city like Chandigarh in the world.”
The main festival of Bengalis is Durga Puja, which continues for five days. They have Kalibari temple in Sector 47, which was built in 1969.
Neelkanth Das, president of Kalibari, Chandigarh, who worked in the Air Force as a flying officer and after his retirement in 1997 decided to stay in the city. He said, “My children are well settled here. The basic facilities, which we get in this city, cannot be matched with any other city in the country.”
On asking about traditional dress for men (traditional cotton or silk ‘dhoti’ and north Indian style kurta) and women (fine silk or cotton sari) in city, Sucheta Mukherjee, director of Agamony (dance play during Durga Puja) said, “The city do have some shops, but the quality we get in Kolkata is far better. Moreover, the fabric of Bengali cotton sari is unique with premium quality produced by local weavers known as ‘tantis’.”
“We even have to get ‘padma phool’ (lotus flowers) from Kolkata, which is used in Durga puja as they are not available in Chandigarh,” she added.
Know the community
Total Population in tricity
Main festivals: Durga Puja (Celebrating good over evil, the puja rituals and cultural performances that form a major part of celebrations attract a large number of devotees every year over five days — from Panchami to Vijay Dashmi).
Main temple: Kalibari in Sector 47, which was constructed in 1969.
Staple food: Rice and fish
Prominent Bengalis in tricity
Dr Upendra Goswami, physiotherapist at PGIMER, Chandigarh.
Professor SN Sanyal, department of biophysics, Panjab University.
Dr Arup Kumar Mandal, urology department, PGIMER.
Tushar Chandra, an industrialist in SAS Nagar.
Dr Amit Bhattacharjee, mental trainer of Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra and sportspersons.