Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Calcutta is changing

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Competition pushes any man or organization to excel and achieve higher goals. This is quite an universally accepted and Calcutta seems to be no different. In the last five years that I have visited the city I have witnessed the change. An old world seems to be giving into the new. Now may would ask a question, what is there to write about if some changes are happening in the 'City of Joy.' Well it is a fact that any mega city see change on a daily basis and Calcutta being a mega city (atleast by virtue of it's population if not anything else) is the same. That is exactly where the similarities between Calcutta and any other mega city ends.

I had been visiting this city annually right from the time I was a toddler. But from then on right through my teenage somehow this city refused to change. My hometown Shilling would see much more change than Kolkata in spite of being the most important city in the entire eastern part of the country. The same old hand pulled rickshaws, the same unpainted buildings, the same overcrowded buses. In someway Kolkata began to symbolize a museum of Indian history rather than a buzzing metropolis.

Most intellectuals from the city migrated to other parts of the country and the world. Even more wrote obituaries about the city which was once the most precious jewel in India during the days of the British Raj. But the last decade has seen a new Kolkata rise, a Kolkata which wants to change not parting ways with it's rich tradition and culture. People are willing to let some of the old ways of life go and compete with the rest of the country. The oversized pride in the glorious past is being overshadowed by the urge to excel in the future.

Come to Sector V and you see a completely different Kolkata as now it has been rechristened. It is a completely different world nothing like what you see in the old city. Having got a job here and taking a serious tour of this place after a gap of three and a half years, I can swear this place has changed. Comparing it to a Bangalore or a Hyderabad at this stage will be quite insane as Kolkata woke up to IT and ITES business almost a decade after others. But never the less it seems to have taken a good start even though it isn't crusing yet.

Bangalore was no Bangalore about two decades ago till IT majors Infosys and Wipro wrote the horoscope of the modern day silicon valley of India. Gurgaon was a sleepy stop on the Delhi-Jaipur highway till Maruti Udyog and BPO majors like GE set up bases. Today these cities are examples of an India which is raising it's head in the globe. There is no reason that once India's most advanced city cannot be a part of the same legue in the coming decade.

Loosing Tata Nano factory in Singur and a few IT investments can be described as a setback but the city seems to be slowly obercoming another bigger one, the feeling of pessimism. One reason why this city remained isolated from the development in the last decade of millenium was because the people in this city had become intoxicated by pessimism and living in a self created environment of negativity. Thankfully a substantial section of the society especially the middle class seems to have gotten over it.

The only thing that the people need to keep in mind is that a city is as good as it's inhabitants and Calcutta is no different.


arnab deb March 6, 2010 at 6:22 PM  

Well Good Newz than...i hope it changes by the time i make my mind settling there...

Reetasri March 9, 2010 at 6:34 PM  

there is definitely winds of change but the upcoming elections will prove where this change will take us...hoping 4 d best

Anonymous,  March 10, 2010 at 4:01 PM  

Kolkata Vs bangalore huh....


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