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Black Town–Indian Kolkata

September 14, 2009

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By early 19th century, Calcutta was divided into two distinct areas–the White Town where the British lived, and the Black Town where the Indians lived.  The poverty and the living conditions in the Black Town shanties were appalling.  From the 1850s, there was rapid industrial growth in the textile and jute sectors and Calcutta developed.  The intermixing of British and Indian cultures created a new class of educated, urbane Indians, the Babus, the bureaucrats and professionals.  Calcutta was British Empire’s second city, after London.

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Many of the Babu’s houses have fallen into disrepair.  But a Bengali Renaissance grew out of this sometimes profligate group of businessmen and professionals, not only in the arts but also in social reform.  Rabindranath Tagore was born into a wealthy Brahmin family and became a song writer, poet, philosopher and educator.  We visited his house.

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IMG_1586IMG_1590Back on the street we saw school children wearing the uniform of their school.

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One student waited until I gave him the thumbs up that I had taken his picture while others grabbed lunch.

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Traffic was dense and chaotic.

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Images of Kali were everywhere.

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Kali was also present in another manifestation–Durga riding her vehicle, a tiger.

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And always shrines were woven unexpectedly throughout the city and life of the Hindu people.

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If you liked, you could always buy a picture or statue of your favorite Hindu deity.

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Let’s continue our walk through Black Town.

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Now that we’ve visited White Town and Black Town we’re on to Gray Town.

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