Bowbazar

Bowbazar (also spelt Boubazar) (Bengali: বৌবাজার) is a neighbourhood and police station[1]in central Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, in the Indian state of West Bengal. The neighbourhood has been at the forefront of Kolkata’s changing society. |

History

In Wood’s map of 1784, the entire portion of the road from Lal Bazar to what was known for a long time as Circular Road (now Jagadish Chandra Bose Road) or even a part of that road was shown as Baithakkhana (archaic spelling Boytaconnah). It received its name from an old banyan tree which stood at its eastern extremity and formed a baithakkhana or resting and meeting place for caravans of merchants who traded in Kolkata. Beyond it were the salt lakes and marshes. Job Charnock is said to have chosen the site of Kolkata for a city, in consequence of the pleasure he found in sitting and smoking under the shade of a large tree. Posterity loved to connect his name with the Baithakkhana tree, which is shown in Upjohn’s map of 1794 on land subsequently appropriated by Sealdah station. However, it finds no mention in Wood’s map of 1784.[2]

In earlier days, it was called ‘avenue to the eastward’ stretching from earlier Dalhousie Square to what is now Sealdah. Subsequently, the road was named Bow Bazar Street and it absorbed Baithakkhana. Bow Bazar is commonly said to be a corruption of Bahu Bazar or “Bride’s Bazar”. One source says that a bazar is said to have fallen in the share of a daughter-in-law of Biswanath Matilal but some historians have failed to trace or identify that person.[2]This particular market is said to have been located at premises no. 84A, near the present crossing with Nirmal Chandra Street. There were several (also bahu in Bengali) markets along its course, among them is Baithakkhana Bazar at premises nos. 155-58, where many (also bahu in Bengali) items were sold.[3]

Bow Bazar Street has been renamed Bipin Behari Ganguly Street. However, the locality continues to be called Bow Bazar. A road stretching from Bipin Behari Ganguly Street to Mahatma Gandhi Road is called Baithakkhana Road.[4]The market along the road at the southern (Bow Bazar) end of the road is called Baithakkhana Bazar. Bipin Behari Ganguly (1887 – 1954) was a revolutionary leader, who spent about 24 years in British Indian jails. He later joined the Congress movement.[5]

At the cross roads, where Lal Bazar, Bow Bazar, Chitpore Road and Bentinck Street meets, was the place of execution, where a pillory was later built.[2]

Grey area

After their victory in the Battle of Plassey, the English decided to build new Fort William, in 1758. The native population shifted from Gobindapur mostly to Sutanuti. The European inhabitants of Kalikata gradually forsook the narrow limits of the old palisades and moved to around the Maidan.[6]Civilians were not allowed to live within the new fort. Gradually the areas to the south of the Great Tank and to the east along Chowringhee Road were emerging as preferred haunts for the Englishmen. While Sutanuti developed as the Black Town, the Esplanade and Chowringhee emerged as the White Town. However, the areas around Writers' building, Baitakkhana (Bowbazar), Dharmatala and Janbazar went down in estimation and were gradually taken over by ‘the rest’, which included half-castes, Portuguese, Armenians and so on, 'to become grey areas between Black and White Towns of old Kolkata'. [7]

The 1876 census found that around 10,000 people crossed the Hooghly River and entered the city everyday. They settled in large numbers, clustered in slums, in the area between Mechuabazar and Bowbazar. The stark poverty of these people which used to be confined throughout the year to mud walls and tiled roofs, used to converge in large numbers before the houses of the Bengali rich for food and gifts on special occasions.[8]

Chinatown

In the 18th and 19th centuries when Kolkata was growing and was capital of the British Empire in India, a large number of Chinese came and settled in the Bowbazar-Tiretta’s Bazar area. Later, a large chunk moved to Tangra on the eastern fringe of Kolkata and set up tanneries there. Thereafter, although some Chinese continued to live in Bowbazar, it was Tangra that became Kolkata’s China town.[9]

The Chinese in Bowbazar were mainly Cantonese. In the years after independence, the area was opened up with the laying down of new road networks and the construction of large modern apartment blocks in place of very dense housing had an adverse effect on the Chinese community.[10]

Kothas

The narrow lanes of Bowbazar have numerous kothas or baiji-quarters which house numerous singing and dancing girls. There are renowned dance teachers coaching the dancing girls. In a report The Telegraph carried a candid report, “The Kathak master who would arrive every day in a rickshaw through the narrow alleys of Bowbazar was the famed Kathak guru Ram Narayan Mishra of the Lucknow gharana (school). He was accompanied by one of his young students, a boy named Chitresh Das. Das remembers his guru going from baiji-quarter to baiji-quarter, the burly bouncers touching his feet, mothers of baijis in their zari (gold)-bordered saris personally dressing a paan (betel leaf) for him.” There used to be rules and norms, and Bowbazar was meant for the cultured rich. In olden days if anyone misbehaved, they were just told, ‘Matlab se aaye, jaiye Sonagachi (if you have come with bad intentions, go to Sonagachi, the red light district).’” However, things have changed and the kothas of Bowbazar are in decline.[11]

Red light district

Bowbazar has a red light area where about 12,000 sex workers peddle themselves. The surrounding areas are inhabited by slum dwellers, truckers and migrant labour. The adjacent Tirreta’s Bazar area is mainly a loading – unloading point with offices or godowns of highest number of transport companies. The area is very unsanitary. [12][13]

First tram

Enlarge picture
Horse drawn tram — life size model at City Centre arcade, Kolkata
19th century Kolkata was a city of palanquins and horse-drawn carriages. The tramway was the first attempt at mass transport. The first horse driven tramcar rolled out on 24 February 1873 running between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat via Bowbazar and Dalhousie Square. [14]In 1899, Calcutta Tramways Company Limited introduced electric traction and the old system was electrified.[15]The Central station of Kolkata Metro serves Bowbazar.

Market

Bowbazar market on Bipin Behari Ganguly Street is known for its jewellery shops besides other shops dealing in wooden furniture, musical instruments, shoes, seasonal fruits, fresh vegetable and flesh etc.[16]There are different areas for different products. It is Kolkata’s jewellery district, with a wide ranging collection of gold and silver ornaments. Many are beautifully designed and crafted stone settings.[17]For most families a visit to Bowbazar is a must whenever there is a wedding in the family.

Politics

Bowbazar assembly constituency has a lively history with political heavy weights in the contests. The first elections in independent India in 1951 was won by Bidhan Chandra Roy, then chief minister of the state. [18]However, in the 1957 election he was able to scrape through with a margin of only 540 votes.[19]As a result he shifted to Saltora constituency in Bankura district. Thereafter, another veteran INC leader, Bijay Singh Nahar, won the seat in 1962, 1967, 1969, 1971, and 1872 [20][21][22][23][24]

In 1977, Abul Hasan of CPI(M) won the seat defeating Bijoy Krishna Dhandhania of INC. In 1982, Abdul Rauf Ansari of INC defeated Abul Hasan of CPI (M). Sudip Bandopadhyay of INC won the seat defeating Md. Ismail of CPI(M) in 1987, Joytilak Guha Roy of JD in 1991 and Sujit Mandal of JD in 1996. In 2001, the seat was won by Nayana Bandopahyay of AITC, defeating Ajit Pandey of CPI (M). In 2006, the seat was won by Sudip Bandopadhyay of INC, defeating Rekha Singh of CPI (M). [25]

Bowbazar is part of Calcutta North West (Lok Sabha constituency) [26]

Bowbazar bomb blast

Mohammad Rashid Khan, a satta (sort of gambling) don, masterminded the Bowbazar bomb blast on 15 March 1993 which killed 69 people.[27] He and five of his associates were sentenced to life imprisonment. [28]

Education

Bowbazar is home to some of the renowned Kolkata schools and colleges but it also has other distinctions in the field of education.

The scholar, educationist and reformer Vidyasagar came to Kolkata with his father from Birshingha in Midnapore in 1829 and settled in Panchanantala, a locality within Bowbazar. Thakur Das Bandhopadhyay, Vidyasagar’s father, could not afford to buy oil for lamps and hence young Vidyasagar sat under a roadside lamp post at night and did his lessons.[29]

Dr. Mahendra Lal Sircar, established the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, a national institution for higher learning whose primary purpose is to foster high quality fundamental research in frontier disciplines of the basic sciences, at 210 Bowbazar Street in July 1876. It was later shifted to Jadavpur. It was at the laboratories of this institution that Sir C. V. Raman did his monumental work, on Physical Optics leading to the discovery of the celebrated Raman Effect, which won for him and India the first Nobel Prize in Science.[30]

Bengal National College and School with Aurobindo Ghosh as principal and Satish Chandra Mukherjee as honorary superintendent started functioning at 19/1 Bowbazar Street on 15 August 1906. It later grew to be Jadavpur University.[31]

Culture

Banga Natyalay, Bowbazar functioned in the house of Govinda Chandra Sarkar at 25, Biswanath Motilal Lane, Bowbazar, from 1868 to1875. It was the first theatre to print admission cards in Bengali.[32]

Traditionally, musical soirees were organized by the large houses of old Kolkata, but there also were some humbler houses that organized similar soirees. Amongst them was the Bowbazar home of the musical family of Borals.[33]The Jhulanbari festival held at Bowbazar is celebrated in an ambience of Indian classical music. [34]

References

1. ^ Bowbazar Police Station. Kolkata Police. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
2. ^ Cotton, H.E.A., Calcutta Old and New, 1909/1980, pp. 285-286, General Printers and Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
3. ^ Nair, P. Thankappan in The Growth and Development of Old Calcutta, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol. I, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, p. 17, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-563696-3.
4. ^ Map no. 31, Detail Maps of 141 Wards of Kolkata, D.R.Publication and Sales Concern, 66 College Street, Kolkata – 700073
5. ^ Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Bose, Anjali (editors), 1976/1998, Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) Vol I, (Bengali) , p. 349, ISBN 8185626650
6. ^ Cotton, H.E.A., p. 72
7. ^ Lahiri Choudhury, Dhriti Kanta, Trends in Calcutta Architecture, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol I, pp.159-160
8. ^ Banerjee, Sumanta, The World of Ramjan Ostagar, the Common Man of Old Calcutta, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol. I, pp. 78-79
9. ^ Chinatown to become a tourist spot. Financial Express, 19 July 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
10. ^ Chinois à Calcutta, les tigres du Bengale (Chinese in Calcutta, the Bengal Tigers), by Julien Berjeaut. French Centre for Research on Contemporary China. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
11. ^ Roy, Sandip. Umrao Jaan, the story untold. Front Page. The Telegraph, 29 October 2006. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
12. ^ Jabala Jaag. CRY. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
13. ^ Truckers Study. Prantik Jana Vikash Samity. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
14. ^ Basu, Rajsekhar. Calcutta Tramways. Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
15. ^ Nair, P.Thankappan, Civic and Public Services in Old Calcutta, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol I, pp. 235-6
16. ^ Bowbazar Market. Kolkata information. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
17. ^ Shopping. Bowbazar. Fodor’s. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
18. ^ 186 Bowbazar. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
19. ^ 141 Bowbazar. 1957 State Elections. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
20. ^ 129 Bowbazar. 1962 State Elections. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
21. ^ 133 Bowbazar. 1967 State Elections. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
22. ^ 133 Bowbazar. 1969 State Elections. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
23. ^ 133 Bowbazar. 1971 State Elections. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
24. ^ 133 Bowbazar. 1972 State Elections. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
25. ^ 144 Bow Bazar Assembly Constituency. Partywise comparison since 1977. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
26. ^ General election to the Legislative Assembly, 2001 – List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies. West Bengal. Election Commission of India. Retrieved on 2007-10-08.
27. ^ Chakrabarty, Rakhi. Don’s shadow on son’s life. Bengal. The Statesman, 25 July 2004. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
28. ^ Rashid Khan gets life term. Bengal. The Statesman, 31 August 2001. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
29. ^ Ghosh, Kaushik. Beacon that lit Bengal lies in neglect. Page one. The Statesman, 24 December 2002. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
30. ^ Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata. Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
31. ^ Centenary Celebration of the Mechanical Engineering Department, Jadavpur University. Jadavpur University. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
32. ^ Mukhopadhyay, Ganesh. Theatre Stage – Banga Natyalaya, Bowbazar. Banglapedia. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
33. ^ Mitra, Rajyeshwar, Music in Old Calcutta, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol I, p. 183
34. ^ Sen, Sandhya. Music: Thumri power at Jhulanbari. Banglapedia. The Statesman, 1 January 2005. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.

See also

Bengali}}} 
Writing system: Bengali script 
Official status
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Kolkata   (Bengali: কলকাতা, IPA: ['kolkat̪a]
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States:
  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Assam
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Goa
  7. Gujarat
  8. Haryana
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  1. Maharashtra
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Coordinates: West Bengal (Bengali: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ Poshchimbôŋgo) is a state in eastern India.
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Job Charnock (d. 1693) was a British agent who was baselessly regarded by a few as the founder of Calcutta.[1]

He went out to India in 1655 or 1656, apparently not in the East India Company's service, but he soon joined it thereafter.
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B.B.D. Bagh, formerly called Dalhousie Square, is the shortened version for Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bag.(Bengali: বিনয়-বাদল-দীনেশ বাগ
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Indian National Congress, Congress-I (also known as the Congress Party and abbreviated INC) is a major political party in India. Created in 1885 by A. O.
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Battle of Plassey (Bengali: পলাশীর যুদ্ধ, Pôlashir Juddho) took place on June 23 1757, at Palashi, West Bengal, India, on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, about 150 km
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Fort William is a fort built in Calcutta on the Eastern banks of the river Hooghly, the major distributary of river Ganges during the British Raj. It was named after King William III of England.
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Gobindapur (Bengali: গোবিন্দপুর) was one of the three villages which were merged to form the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in India.
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Sutanuti (Bengali: সুতানুটি) was one of the three villages which were merged to form the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in India.
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Kalikata (Bengali: কলিকাতা) was one of the three villages which were merged to form the city of Kolkata (formerly, Calcutta) in India. The other two villages were Gobindapur and Sutanuti.
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Maidan (Kolkata)
Kolkata Maidan
Type Owned by the Indian Army. Public Access permitted.
Location Kolkata
Coordinates 22.57 N 88.
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Lal Dighi (meaning Red Tank) is a body of water in the middle of B. B. D. Bagh, earlier known as Tank Square or Dalhousie Square, in the heart of Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, in the Indian state of West Bengal.
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Chowringhee Road is the arterial road running from the eastern fringes of Esplanade southwards up to the crossing with Lower Circular Road (renamed Acharya Jagadish Bose Road), in the city of Calcutta, India. It is the single most important road of the metropolis of Kolkata.
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Esplanade (Bengali: এসপ্ল্যানেড) is an area in central Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, in the Indian state of West Bengal.
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Writers' Building (Bengali:Mahakaran) is the secretariat of the West Bengal State Government and is located in the capital city of Kolkata. It originally served as the office for Company writers, hence the name.
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Dharmatala (archaic spelling Dhurrumtollah) (Bengali: ধর্ম্মতলা) is a neighbourhood in central Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, in the Indian state of West Bengal.
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Janbazar (Bengali: জানবাজার) is a neighbourhood in central Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, in the Indian state of West Bengal.
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Anthem
"A Portuguesa"


Capital
(and largest city) Lisbon5

Official languages Portuguese1
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Motto
Մեկ Ազգ, Մեկ Մշակույթ   (Armenian)
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Hooghly River (Bengali হুগলী, Huglī; Anglicized alternatively spelled Hoogli or Hugli) or the Bhāgirathi-Hooghly, is an approximately 260 km long distributary of the Ganges River in West Bengal, India.
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Jorasanko (Bengali: জোড়াসাঁকো) is a neighbourhood in north Kolkata. It is so called because of the two (jora) wooden or bamboo bridges (sanko
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Tangra is a district in east Kolkata that traditionally housed a large number of tanneries. In addition, over the past fifty years, it has served as the location of Calcutta's Chinatown.
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Chinatown in the eastern part of the city of Kolkata is the only Chinatown in India.[1][2] The locality was once home to 20,000 ethnic Chinese, now the population has dropped to 2,000 or so.
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China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macau), United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia
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The Telegraph is a Kolkata based broadsheet newspaper in English. It is owned by the Anandabazar Patrika Limited (an enterprise of Ananda Publishers). It has published continuously since 7 July, 1982 and created history by being the only broadsheet newspaper in post
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Coordinates:

Lucknow ( pronunciation  , Hindi: लखनऊ, Urdu: لکھنؤ,
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Sonagachi, translated as Golden Tree, is the largest red-light district in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. It is an area with several hundred multi-story brothels and some 10,000 sex workers.
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