Charnock stirs debates and wishes on Kolkata's 323rd 'birthday'
You can debate over Job Charnock but you can't deny his association with the city of joy. You can debate over Kolkata's date of birth as well but you can always celebrate its rich history.
On Saturday, 323 years after Charnock first landed near Nimtala Ghat on August 24, 1690, a host of luminaries got together for some intense adda - Tea With Charnock - to dwell upon the heritage of the city. Call it a 'celebration' or simply an interactive session, all controversies were put to rest and one subject took the centre stage: Kolkata.
And if it was significant enough, 'Tea With Charnock' was organized at St John's Church, where Charnock was laid to rest. The church, now stands restored by Intach, is a testimony to the British trader's bonding with Kolkata. The sprawling premises on Council House Street was the focal point in 1990 when the KMC had celebrated the city's tercentenary. A high court ruling had ended the enthusiasm then, ruling that August 24 couldn't be Kolkata's birthday. The state has stopped commemorating the day since then.
Among those present on the occasion were Bishop Asok Biswas, entrepreneur Nayantara Roy Chowdhury and Intach convenor G M Kapur.
Sircar's breath-taking speech was followed by performances by Johnny Purty, St John's official organist who enthralled the audience with a pipe organ that ages back to 1830, and Anjum Katyal, who sang the "Ode to the City". Some rare paintings and lithographs - restored by Intach - were unveiled by the Bishop of Kolkata.
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