Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Story Of Calcutta

Hooghly River In Ancient Calcutta
The present clamoring Calcutta was once a place of dense forest where tigers, rhinoceros, snakes etc had merry time with the population here. With the advent of time, numerous changes took place and the city not only witnessed these changes but also actively involved in it. The name of this city too was not exception to these changes and the original "Kalikhetra" became "Kil Kila" for a short while and "Kalikata" ultimately.

Actually the changes occurred through decades and centuries. The experts' submit that this city emerged from the sea with a saucer shape. Actually the name Calcutta or Kalikata was established in the history due to the existence of a Kali Temple. Nobody can correctly predict the age of the temple. Kalikata was composed of three villages -Sutanati, Kalikata and Govindapore. The Kalikata comprised Behala on the south, Dakshineswar on the North, the Bhagirathi on the West and Salt water Lake on the East.

The three villages were in primitive time known as "Kalikhetra". Round about 12th century, in the time of Ballal Sen, pilgrims would come to this temple through the dense forest on horse back, and in Palkis. As "Kalikhetra" believed even now to be one of the fifty one "Ptihas", the "Saktas" I.e worshipers of the Divine Mother used to come in great number, to perform their Worship here as depicted in "Tantra Sadhana".

Birth Of Calcutta With East India Company

At the end of 17th century the East India Company with five ships full of various valuable articles set sail for India and finally they landed in Surat. After awaiting a long time the English merchants, with the help of Tomas Roe got entry in the Mughal Durbar. The English got the "Fireman" from the Mughal Emperor Jahangir by means of bribes and valuable presentations. With this "Fireman" the English had acquired the authority of doing business in Bengal too.

Though the Englishmen had the "Fireman" Mughal Badshah to trade, the SUbedar of the then Bengal did not allow them to do so. The Englishmen were subjected to harassment on the smallest pretext even after paying handsome bribes and ultimately they had to combat with the soldiers of the ruler. They had to face the ignominious defeat and was driven out of their settlement around the river Hooghly.

Job Charnock with his men took shelter at 'Sutanati'. This particular place I.e. "Sutanati" was not an unknown place to the ENglish leader, Job Charnock. After considering both advantages and disadvantages of the places he decided to make an English settlement there and lay the foundation of business for Englishmen.

The Company had no permanent settlements and their small tenements were often demolished by the local merchants. Charnock, with going to clash with the natives, asked his men to take shelter in the ship on the Bhagirathi after the day's business until he managed for a shelter on a suitable place. Ultimately he contacted with the 'Sabarnas", the Zamindar to sanction a portion of his pucca "Serestha" on a rent, where valuable articles and papers were decided to be kept. This may be called the first step of success of Job Charnock to strengthen his grip over Calcutta.

Kalikata soon became a lucrative earning place and people of all status from many places of Bengal began to throng the place. Smelling the atmosphere and also calculating the erosion of the control of the local Zamindar over Kalikata, the English proposed to take lease of Kalikata, (i.e Sutanati, Kalikata and Govindpore) from the Sabarnas. Ramchandra Roy and Monahar Roy and two others of Sabrna Zamindars agreed to this as they were also induced to accept the power of the English and considered them the protector of Kalikata.

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