Reliving Chandernagore’s French connect


Reliving Chandernagore’s French connect
Subhayan Dutta
Hindustan Times (Kolkata)
Feb 3 2016

KOLKATA: It is a well-known fact that more than a million Indians had fought for the British during World War I. But not everyone knows that from Chandernagore, which was a French trading post then, some 26 Bengalis volunteered to fight for France. One of them even rose to the rank of a brigadier. Many such bits and pieces about the history and heritage of the French era Chandernagore have been gathered with help from “citizen’s historians” by “crowd-sourcing memory and evidences” – a new method in writing history.

Chandernagore was a French colony till 1950.The architecture firm behind this initiative, Aishwarya Tipnis Architects, is set to launch their portal, Heritage & People of Chandernagore, on Wednesday. The project has also got support from Parisbased NGO, Fondation VMF, French Heritage in India Society and the Embassy of France in India.

Sunrit Mullick, whose paternal grandfather Siddheswar Mullick, fought for the French government in the trenches at Verdun and promoted to the rank of brigadier, remembers his father saying how his grandfather never drew pension from the French Government as he considered it below his dignity.

Mullick wrote this in a letter to an official at Alliance Française. The letter provided leads to the researchers associated with the project to gather more details about the Bengalis who fought for theFrench and what happened to them.

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Subhayan Dutta
Hindustan Times (Kolkata)
Feb 2 2016

LOTS IN STORE There are even literary sessions and eclectic food that make the fair all the more attractive

The 40th Kolkata Book Fair (KBF) has started and like every year this time Milan Mela will also turn into the trendiest place in the city. Literary sessions, innumerable books, food stalls and favourable weather – there is every reason to visit the gala event. The holding of the fair just before the board exams also helps students immensely this time of the year.

HT spoke to a few people who shared their reasons for stopping by the fair this year. Technology has taken book reading to a new level with readers being able to order them online at low rates and even interact with favourite authors via the social media.

As a result, the KBF is no more the book lovers’ paradise it once boasted of. Sougata Dey, an IT employee, will be visiting KBF solely for the sessions that are bringing intellectuals as panelist.

“I am an avid reader, and everything I would get at the KBF would be available on my mobile or PC. I buy books at higher discounts and the sites even inform me when the offers are on. I get suggestions and combo offers. Hence, going there to buy books has no advantage whatsoever,” said Dey.

He added, “I would rather visit the sessions and the Kolkata Literature Festival. They are enlightening at times and insightful. I will soon plan a schedule for the next two weeks accordingly. I want to attend the session on crime literature. ‘The Third option: Badal Sircar and his theatre’ would also be an interesting session when celebrities like Amol Palekar, Anjum Katyal and Ananda Lal will participate.” The KBF authorities are already trying schemes like lottery and book privilege cards this year to push sales.

The KBF authorities have already announced that they would give a book gift coupon of Rs 10,000 every day of the fair and a lottery winner could also get a car.

“You will get a coupon for every purchase over Rs 500. A person can get two, three or four coupons for the lottery depending on the bill he shows at the CESC counter to get the coupon. The final day lottery will be with all the daily winners and the winner will be handed a car key,” said Tridib Chaterjee, general secretary, Publishers and Booksellers Guild.

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Listen: Loud music on cell earphones can make you deaf

Kolkata, Jan. 20 — Sushmita Rai, 22, a postgraduate student from Dum Dum, suddenly began experiencing a constant buzzing sound in her ears. It hardly disrupted her hearing of lectures in the classroom or chatting with friends, but it played a constant irritant to her.

The ringing sound continued to haunt her and she could not escape it.

“Doctors said I am suffering from tinnitus due to long hours of plugging in earphones. It is annoying and I cannot do anything about it. I am taking medicines. I have also been advised to give complete rest to my ears for months,” said Rai.

Listening to songs through earphones for long hours has become a trend for youths. It is making them suffer, affecting their audibility. “Any sound listened through e…

Vitamin D deficiency hurts the states in eastern India most

Kolkata, Jan. 15 — A new pan Indian study, which was conducted on 14,96,683 samples over a three years on vitamin deficiency, has thrown up alarming statistics about the state of health of people of our country. The study conducted by Metropolis Healthcare on respondents of four zones such as east, west, north and south emphasized at an inclusive study of vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 deficiency and sufficiency among the people. According to the report, 75% of the country’s population is vitamin deficient. This means7 in every 10 Indians are having deficiency of vitamin D.

The fact that east zone tops the four zones in vitamin D deficiency with an average of 84.17% makes it a concerning issue for Bengal. According to the study, th…


Kolkata, Jan. 8 — Like in the good old days, the city’s youths are once again falling in love with one of the subtlest forms of literature – poetry. A poetry reading session in progress.

The growing number of poetry slams, open mics and other forums are seeing more and more youngsters expressing themselves in unique ways to communicate with the society.

American poet Allen Ginsberg had once said that poetry is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private. The city’s youth brigade seems to follow this in letter and spirit.

Sadness is a constant companion in life and to come out of it, one must find a way to eject it from the mind, said Rit Chattapadhyay, a second-year postgraduate English student of Calcutta University…

If rock music be the medium to draw masses…

Kolkata, Dec. 31 — As many as 12 music bands performed at a cultural function organised by the CPI(M) during its plenum in the city. They included Paraspathar, Srote, Petrified Souls, Syfer Project and Yasus, a few of them being well-known rock bands comprising college students.

Though not for the first time, rock performances have been rare in the events of the CPI(M) whose foundation day functions have been characterised by revolutionary songs by Hemanga Biswas.

Pabitra Sarkar, an intellectual with a leaning towards the Left who was present at the cultural function, told HT that although he does not know the exact reason for inviting these bands to perform, they nevertheless attracted a lot of youngsters to the function. “This genre is…

Supporters bullish on a comeback in 2016 polls

Kolkata, Dec. 28 — Sourav Majumder, a resident of Belur and a book retailer by profession, walked all the way from CR Avenue to Maidan on Sunday to reach the Brigade Parade Ground. An old supporter of the CPI(M), Majumder has been a regular visitor to the party’s rallies for the last decade.

“The huge turnout is evident that the people are not happy with the present government. This time, too, ruling party workers had tried their best to prevent people from joining the open session. But our persistence paid off and the four-anda-half year old government has a clear idea that it has a mammoth task in front of it next year,” said Majumder.

The huge footfall in the CPI(M) brigade rally had faces of all ages, some of them still lacking convi…