MEANT essentially for geographers, historians, sociologists, urban planners and architects, this book explains that by the architecture of their buildings and in the way in which urban space is utilised, cities express their history and their cultural identity. The author points out that nowhere is this more apparent than it is in Kolkata, a city whose architecture and landscape reflect its fascinating history and its multi-cultural heritage. Having written earlier on Indian urban historical geography – first about hill stations and more frequently on subjects such as social segregation, historic buildings and urban conservation, in the current book, the author discusses both ethnicity and migration to prove her hypothesis regarding the evolution of the present urban landscape of Kolkata. She believes that urban landscapes show the relationship between social, economic and physical environments and concentrates her study on colonial and post-colonial landscapes of Kolkata as influenced by ethnic composition of the city.
This research study focuses on the physical and social landscapes of Kolkata considering the changes that have taken place through the colonial and post-colonial periods.
Since the last 10 years there has been a degree of improvement, says the author, as she discusses the physical and social landscape of the city. The physical landscape traces the major aspects of colonial and post-colonial control over the physical landscape, be it the control of the white minority over the Indians or the dominance of state, municipal and planning authorities in the colonial and post-1947 periods.
The chapter on social landscape studies the impact of ethnicity and migration on the social landscape of Kolkata taking into account the ethnic composition, ethnic and migrant groups and population from a wide range of sources, ranging from Census report to social life status and segregation with the help of statistical data and interviews.
This is a very subject-specific book and would interest a limited readership.
(K.P. Bagchi & Company, 286 B.B. Ganguli Street, Kolkata-700012.)