cafe philo july session : from buddha to kolkata

Cafe Philo July session presents a medley of talk, performance & poetry

We are delighted to invite students of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand to participate in this session.

The session will be held at Alliance francaise du Bengale on July 5, 2018 from 5 : 30 pm – 8 : 30 pm.

The session is free and open to all.

The Session

The Buddha and Angulimaal: a performance by Parnab Mukherjee

Intellectual and critical discourse on Buddha .. impact on pan Bengal and pan South Asian dialectics.

This was a part of the Buddha trilogy of the director and performer of the piece. The other two is based on Yashodhara and Therigatha.

The play was the concluding performance at the Second edition of Patumthani International Theatre Festival in Thailand in 2010.

About Parnab Mukherjee

A spoken word performer, independent media analyst, curator and a performance consultant by profession, Mr Parnab Mukherjee is one of the leading alternative theatre directors of the Indian sub-continent.

A performance text writer and charismatic performer, he has diverse experience in non-proscenium, verbatim, site-specific and physical theatre.

The Journey of a City: From a Town to an Imperial Capital

Dr. Shrimoyee Guha Thakurta (Basu), Assistant Professor, Department of History, Scottish Church College, Kolkata

Abstract

The story of Kolkata or Calcutta is rather interesting. Its various stages of progressive rise as a metropolitan city of independent India is chequered and linked with contemporary political, socio-cultural and economic changes at the pan-India level. With a prominent colonial past, being the first capital of British India, Kolkata has the markings of any colonial city— racially divided urban spaces, administrative centres, economic centres split between the colonial international business and the native local business, architectural splendour and so on. Yet, the city managed to grow on its own without any imperial guidelines or management for almost a century. Centering around traditional factors of urbanity that can be traced to its pre-British period, the city flourished in its narrow lanes and bye lanes, unhindered and spontaneously since the middle of the 18th century till the early years 19th century. The main protagonists here were the local, essentially Hindu Bengali, elite class and their investments in land and real property. It was in the 19th century that a major shift took place with the introduction of western education that led to a deliberate change in the pre-occupations of the above mentioned class. They moved away from the earlier, more ‘feudal’ interests towards western philosophy and science. They initiated reforms within their own society in the broader spectrum of what is understood as the Bengal Renaissance, and then eventually becoming the most informed critique of the imperial authority itself in the latter half of the 19th century. The colonial power, on the other hand, began to concentrate on creating an imperial imagery in holding their newly born edifice together. At the turn of the century (18th to 19th) concerns arose among them regarding the organisation of their capital city. It was increasingly felt by them that Calcutta’s urban space required more control in terms of its growth, and began to envisage a more planned intervention in this regard. Thus what ensued was an episode in urbanisation that was distinct and deliberately removed from the earlier processes that were more spontaneous, organic and indigenous.

This lecture will try to unravel this particular process of rapture that Calcutta’s urban development seem to have experienced as the reigns of growth passed from the native to the imperial which will also provide a curious insight into the social, economic, political and cultural life of the city as well.

About Dr. Srimoyee Guha Thakurta

Dr. Shrimoyee Guha Thakurta has been teaching at the undergraduate level for over a decade now. She is Assistant Professor in History at the Scottish Church College, Kolkata, a 188 year old institution under the University of Calcutta. She was awarded her PhD in History from the same University in 2016. The title of her work is ‘Bazaars in the Changing Urban space of early Colonial Calcutta’. Her areas of interest include 18th and 19th century Calcutta’s socio-cultural history, urbanisation, and social history of modern India. She is currently the Joint Editor of the journal of humanities and social sciences, an international refereed journal annually published by the Scottish Church College.

Poetry Session & devised performance by students of Chulalongkorn University & Culture Monks

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