This movement is about the importance of the architecturally unique buildings that mark almost every locality in Calcutta. It is also about their destruction and, with it, the decimation of a period of history that not only produced these buildings but our idea of the city and who we are. If we are to understand the richness of Calcutta’s modernity –that century between the 1860s and the 1960s – then these buildings are as important to us as any poem or novel or piece of music. We don’t call a poem by Shakti Chattopadhyay a ‘heritage poem’. It makes no more sense to call a 1920s house in Paddapukur a ‘heritage’ building. These inheritances are part of a living continuum that has been as good as abandoned – but it’s perhaps time to now reconsider it.
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