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  • Colonizing, Decolonizing, and Globalizing Kolkata

    A S I A N C I T I E S

    Siddhartha Sen

    SenColonizing, D

    ecolonizing, and Globalizing Kolkata

    From a Colonial to a Post-Marxist City

  • Colonizing, Decolonizing, and Globalizing Kolkata

  • Publications

    The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) is a research and exchange platform based in

    Leiden, the Netherlands. Its objective is to encourage the interdisciplinary and comparative study of

    Asia and to promote (inter)national cooperation. IIAS focuses on the humanities and social sciences

    and on their interaction with other sciences. It stimulates scholarship on Asia and is instrumental in

    forging research networks among Asia Scholars. Its main research interests are reflected in the three

    book series published with Amsterdam University Press: Global Asia, Asian Heritages and Asian Cities.

    IIAS acts as an international mediator, bringing together various parties in Asia and other parts

    of the world. The Institute works as a clearinghouse of knowledge and information. This entails

    activities such as providing information services, the construction and support of international

    networks and cooperative projects, and the organization of seminars and conferences. In this way,

    IIAS functions as a window on Europe for non-European scholars and contributes to the cultural

    rapprochement between Europe and Asia.

    IIAS Publications Officer: Paul van der Velde

    IIAS Assistant Publications Officer: Mary Lynn van Dijk

    Asian Cities

    The Asian Cities Series explores urban cultures, societies and developments from the ancient to the

    contemporary city, from West Asia and the Near East to East Asia and the Pacif ic. The series focuses

    on three avenues of inquiry: evolving and competing ideas of the city across time and space; urban

    residents and their interactions in the production, shaping and contestation of the city; and urban

    challenges of the future as they relate to human well-being, the environment, heritage and public life.

    Series Editor

    Paul Rab, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden

    Editorial Board

    Henco Bekkering, Delft University of Technology

    Charles Goldblum, University of Paris 8

    Stephen Lau, University of Hong Kong

    Rita Padawangi, National University of Singapore

    Parthasarathy Rengarajan, CEPT University, Ahmedabad

    Neha Sami, Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Bangalore

    Hui Xiaoxi, Beijing University of Technology

    http://www.iias.nl/profiles/paul-rabe

  • Colonizing, Decolonizing, and Globalizing Kolkata

    From a Colonial to a Post-Marxist City

    Siddhartha Sen

    Amsterdam University Press

  • Publications

    Asian Cities 5

    Cover illustration: Metro movie theatre. The architect for the building, which opened in 1934, was Thomas W. Lamb.Photograph courtesy of Anjan Gupta, 2015

    Cover design: Cordesign, LeidenLay-out: Crius Group, Hulshout

    Amsterdam University Press English-language titles are distributed in the US and Canada by the University of Chicago Press.

    isbn 978 94 6298 111 9e-isbn 978 90 4853 068 7 (pdf)doi 10.5117/9789462981119nur 630

    Siddhartha Sen / Amsterdam University Press B.V., Amsterdam 2017

    All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the written permission of both the copyright owner and the author of the book.

    Every effort has been made to obtain permission to use all copyrighted illustrations reproduced in this book. Nonetheless, whosoever believes to have rights to this material is advised to contact the publisher.

  • To my late father, Subhendu Bikas Sen, and my late mother, Anjana Sen, who made my journey from the coolie town of

    Haora to the United States possible.

  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements 15

    A Note to Readers 17

    1 Overture 19IntroductionScope of the Book 21Analytical Framework 24The Concept of the State in India 31Socialism, Communism, and Marxism 32Data Sources 35Organization of the Book 36

    2 Colonizing Kolkata 37From a City of Huts to a City of PalacesFounding of Kolkata 37Kolkatas Early Urbanism 40Spatial Restructuring of Kolkata and the Emergence of Social and Political Control as the Dominant Planning Paradigm 50Kolkatas Transformation to a City of Palaces 54Emergence of Architecture as a Symbol of Power 59Creating a Healthier and Beautiful City for the British: Emergence of a New Paradigm for Planning 67Early Municipal Administration in Kolkata 71The Rise of the British and the Demise of Other European Settle-ments around Kolkata 72Haoras Urbanism 76

    3 Building a Neo-Classical, Beautiful, and Clean City 77The Rise and Decline of British Imperial UrbanismConsolidation of British Power: Making Kolkata a Neo-Classical City 77The Neo-Classical Architectural Influence on the Bengali Elite 84Orientalist Discourse on Architecture and Kolkata 90The Absence of the Indo-Saracenic Style in Kolkata 91Victoria Memorial Hall: Neo-Classical Revival in Kolkata 98The Modern Indian Architecture Movement 102

  • Limited Modernism in Kolkata 104Transforming Kolkata into a Cleaner and Healthier City for the British 105Shifting the Discourse to Bustees as a Source of Disease 114The Calcutta Improvement Trust and E.P. Richardss Plan for Kolkata 116Sir Patrick Geddess Plan for the Burra Bazaar 120Racial Segregation 121Municipal Administration in Kolkata and the Expansion of Its Boundaries 123Haoras Transformation to a Coolie Town 127

    4 Decolonizing Kolkata 133From an American Planning Paradigm to a Marxist CityChandigarh: A Def ining Moment in Indias Search for Post-Colonial Urbanism 133Revivalist Architecture and the Search for Post-Colonial Archi-tectural Identity 136Lack of a Search for Post-Colonial Architecture in Kolkata 139In Search of Post-Colonial Planning: An Overview 154The Initial Acts of Decolonization in Kolkata 156Material Legacies of Colonial Planning and Kolkatas Post-Colonial Urban Problems 158Political Economy of Post-Colonial Kolkata and Its Urban Prob-lems 159Administrative Structure and the Continuation of the Colonial Legacy in the Immediate Post-Colonial Period 164Western Discourse on Kolkata and the Advent of Western Plan-ning 166The Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organisation and the Export of the American Planning Paradigm to Kolkata 166The Fear of Communism and the Formation of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority 169Political Climate and Municipal Reform 174The Infiltration of the Grassroots Space by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Its Allies 177New Towns around Kolkata 181Haoras Post-Colonial Urbanism 182

  • List of Figures

    Figure 1 View of Fort William, Done after the Painting in the Court Room of the Companys House in Leaden Hall Street after George Lambert, by Elisha Kirkall, 1735 42

    Figure 2 A conceptual map of Kolkata in the early eighteenth century 45

    5 Globalizing Kolkata 191A Late BloomerEmergence of New Market-Driven Architectural Forms in India 191Why Kolkata Was a Late Bloomer 193Making Kolkata Attractive to Capital: Operation Sunshine and the Proposal to Remove Rickshaw Pullers 195Singur and Nandigram: The Changing Priorities of the Left Front 197Kolkatas Population Growth, Territorial Changes, and Adminis-trative Structure 198Liberalization and the Changing Role of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation 201Kolkatas Private Townships and Gated Communities: Emergence of Real Estate-Driven Development 204Kolkatas Off ice Buildings for the Service and Financial Sectors, SEZs, and IT Parks and Complexes 209Shopping Malls 215Emergence of New Planning Paradigms: State-Regulated Town-ships and Private Townships 220Rajarhat 222Haoras Global Urbanism 226Kolkata West International City 228

    6 Concluding Remarks 233

    Glossary 245

    List of Abbreviations 247

    Bibliography 249

    Index 263

  • Figure 3 Calcutta in 1756, by John Call and J. Cheevers 47Figure 4 Navaratna Kai Temple. Detail from Govinda Ram Mittees

    Pagoda, Calcutta, by Thomas Daniell. Coloured aquatint, 1798 48

    Figure 5 A pictorial map of Old Goa. From Goa Indiae Orientalis Metropolis, by Pieter Boudewyn van der Aa. Engraving, 1719 49

    Figure 6 Plan of the Dutch Factory at Hooghly-Chinsura in 1721, by an anonymous artist. Engraving, 1721 50

    Figure 7 Esplanade Row (north of the Maidan). From Esplanade Row and the Council House, by Thomas Daniell. Coloured aquatint with etching, 1788 55

    Figure 8 A garden house in Garden Reach. From View on the Banks of the Hooghly near Calcutta. The Country Residence of William Farquharson Esq., by James Moffat after Frans Balthazar Solvyns. Aquatint, 1800 57

    Figure 9 Writers Building, Calcutta, by Thomas Daniell. Coloured aquatint, 1798. The building was designed by Thomas Lyon and was constructed in 1780 61

    Figure 10 Old Government House, by Thomas Daniell. Coloured aquatint with etching, 1788. The building was built in 1767 62

    Figure 11 South East View of the New Government House in Calcutta, by J. Clarke and H. Merke. Coloured aquatint, published by Edward Orme in 1805. The building was designed by Lieutenant Charles Wyatt and was built between 1798 and 1803 64

    Figure 12 Government House & Banqueting Hall, Madras, by the Nicholas Brothers. Photographic print, 1860. The build-ing was