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The Chitpur Walk

As the story goes, Chitpur is older than Calcutta itself.
The Chitpur Walk

The Chitpur Local at the Oriental Seminary

Once a part of the East india Company's property, it was often considered off limits and beyond the ‘Maratha Ditch’ (now A J C Bose Road).

Another narrative suggests that the Nawab of Chitpur, Mahmed Reza Khan, was assigned the dewani of Bengal from the Mughal emperors.

Whichever story you take, it was a fact that Danish, French, and Dutch Governors, on their visits to Calcutta, would halt at Chitpur before they reached the Governor's House.

Chitpur Road is Calcutta’s longest and oldest thoroughfare. Over its distance it takes on various names such as Russa Road, Chowringhee Road, Bentick Street, Chitpore Road, and Barrackpore Trunk Road, connecting the suburbs of beyond North Calcutta to the Centre.

Beyond its Nawabi narratives, Chitpur is deeply entrenched in bazaar cultures of the city. This was one of the oldest locations for India's printing industry. It is where the distinctive Bengali (panjika) almanac is printed, and where the famous Battala books, the woodcut relief prints that dominated late nineteenth century popular print culture, were born.

This is also a centre of Bengal's legendary jatra (urban folk) theatre.

Hamdasti, an artists’ partnership, is involved in transforming relationships between people, communities and the city through collective cultural practices, will conduct this walk.

Chitpur map

https://goo.gl/maps/HBoy3Q58KUQ2

5-6 pm:

Group One (30 participants) - walk from Jorasanko to Chaitnya Library. This walk has been designed by the students from Bidya Niketan School, and Ruchira Das (artists) who worked with them, will map sites of interest along this route, and recreate an alternative map.

[Participants will be given maps so that they can individually explore the neighbourhood].

Group Two (30 participants) will use Nilanjan’s (artist) map created with the Orientation Seminary School students, to explore the locality around the Oriental Seminary School, Diamond Library, Chitrpur Jatra para (neighbourhood).

Everyone has individual maps, and will get a good sense of the area.

Two artists from Hamdasti along with volunteers will accompany the smaller groups to guide them, answer questions and make sure they don’t loose their way!

The final meeting point for both walks will be Chaitanya Library.

6 -7 pm:

Presentation of the Chitpur Local journey at Chaitnya Library by Ruchira Das (abour Ruchira). In this presentation she will cover a brief  history of Chitpur, a more detailed description of the places we see through our walks, our understanding of social art practice and a summary of our work in the locality.

We end with some CHAI and samosa from the area.

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