The 16th of March 2018 could well be a landmark date for this city. It saw the launch of a Citizen's group, Kolkatans, from different walks of life, coming together in a body called Calcutta Heritage Collective, through a searing, soul-searching exhibition of photographs by journalist and photographer Kounteya Sinha on architectural magnificence from the world over.
The photo exhibition is aptly called VIVA which means "alive" in Spanish. Alive is what this citizen's group want to see their Heritage as. Not a state of delapidated decay, but a vibrant living reference to history for this city's common inherited legacy − its heritage.
This sentiment is brilliantly portrayed by Mrs. Rupa Chakravari, Poet, Singer, Global Citizen and Proud Calcuttan, who, while she congratulated "the trendsetters and trailblazers" mentioned – With heartfelt gratitude to all the remarkable participants who celebrate the 'ism' that "antiquities of great architectural value aren't mere objects that need to perish. They perish but are a repository of human life." This is a cohort that resonates with 'heritage', an universal theme and sentiment...
In keeping with the theme, Calcutta Heritage Collective and VIVA was launched in a beautiful old mansion, in the older part of Calcutta, near Jorasankho Thakurbaari, right next to Marble Palce at 48B Muktaram Babu Street.
This grand old structure with beautiful colossal columns and arches had seen days of grandeur, but is now stripped down to its bricks. It came alive that evening in ethereal beauty in an event which seemed no less than magical. With the warmth of beautiful lights, the photographs on easels and on brick walls, with interested, excited and enthused people streaming into the age-old "thakur dalan" (courtyard in front of the family temple) to laud this initiative. Yes indeed Heritage came alive!
With the Chief Guest, the Honorable Governor Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, Dignitaries like Mr. GM Kapur, State Convenor for INTACH, and Cause Ambassadors like Subhaprasanna Bhattacharya, acclaimed Artist and Chairman of West Bengal Heritage Commission, Acclaimed musician Bickram Ghosh and Singer Usha Uthup enthralling all with her songs "Those were the Days" and "Kolkata."
The Calcutta Heritage Collectives has had a grand start. They aim to spread awareness and their mission is to respect, restore and Reuse. CHC member Mukul Agrawal mentioned at the launch the key word for all of us is “Take a Call.” Take a call on how you want to see heritage − Destroyed, Decayed and then Disappear, or as Living Emblems of a glorious past, connecting you Today and Tomorrow with your Roots.
This emotion splendidly came out in a poem by entitled VIVA written in honor of the spirit of Calcutta Heritage Collectives and read out at the Launch –
I was then, and am now,
Breathing through time.
An edifice of glory
Witness to your story
As it unfolded
And made You.
Carrying within yourself
Even as you spread
To fly into
Extend your branches
And bloom into new blossoms
It will always be I
Who holds you strong
Then, Now and Forever
Even as you grow
into your own progeny
You will find your roots in me
Poem composed by Ipsita Ganguli.
The 16th of March 2018 could well be a landmark date for this city. It saw the launch of a Citizen's group, Kolkatans, from different walks of life, coming together in a body called Calcutta Heritage Collective, through a searing, soul-searching exhibition of photographs by journalist and photographer Kounteya Sinha