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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Five reasons why Kolkata has a flyover called Ma running through its heart

Durga puja is around the corner and for these few days in Bengal anything suffixed with the letters “m” and “a” sells.

Written by Premankur Biswas | Kolkata |
October 14, 2015 9:16:34 pm

Bollywood connection

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Because, you know, we are filmi like that. We still tear up when Amitabh Bachchan professes his undying love for his mother, Nirupa Roy, by saying, dil cheer ke dekh Ma, iss men teri hi tasveer dacha degi Ma! (rip my flesh apart and you will see your face in my heart) in countless Bollywood potboilers of the 1970s. Even when we watch them in non-prime time re-runs. The flyover connects the eastern fringes of the city to its heart, Park Circus. So, in keeping with Mamata Banerjee’s utmost devotion to the “mothers of the state”, it makes complete sense to name it Ma. Someone hand me a hanky please!

Kolkata’s reigning deity


Since its inception earlier this week, the flyover has already witnessed 4 accidents. During the inaugural ceremony , the CM proudly declared the flyover will reduce the travelling time of the 4.5 km stretch that would take commuters close to 40 mins to traverse, to 6 mins. However, the very next day, the traffic snarl was so bad that the flyover had to be closed. Young bikers, it seems, have taken to zip around the flyover, hurling all cautions to the wind. Which means regular commuters of Kolkata have only one choice left – the thing they do when confronted with any perilous task. Remember the reigning deity of the city, Ma Kali, and take the plunge.

Durga Puja


Durga puja is around the corner and  for these few days in Bengal anything suffixed with the letters “m” and “a” sells. The streets are festooned with banners announcing “Ma ashche” (The mother is coming). If the universal ma can be invoked through mustard oil and cement, why can’t she be symbolised by a flyover that connects important parts of the city ?


A seagull passes by as the sun sets beside Big Ben's clock tower, in London, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

In the hallowed corridors of Nabanna (the West Bengal secretariat), where such important decisions like renaming metro stations and christening flyovers are made, the talk is that Mamata Banerjee’s slogan Ma-Mati-Manush has inspired this particular christening. The logical progression of this school of thought  will mean that there are two flyovers called “Mati” (soil) and Manush (Man) in offing. If you think that’s funny, we would urge you to check out Kolkata’s newly inaugurated Big Ben.

Because Mamata Banerjee felt like it

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Zokey Ahad during the inauguration of the longest flyover of the city, from Park Circus to Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, in Kolkata on Friday. PTI Photo(PTI10_9_2015_000212A)

The most important reason for naming the flyover ma is the most simple one. It was named Ma because Mamata Banerjee felt like it. Ever since she has come to power, the CM has taken it upon herself to name and rename streets, metro stations, flyovers and bridges of Kolkata. Which practically meant that like most self-respecting Bengalis, Kolkata neighbourhoods and streets has two names,  dak naam (pet name) and bhalo naam (proper name). Tollygunge Metro station became Mahanayak Uttam Kumar, Garia Bazar became Kavi Nazrul,  Bansdroni became Masterda Surya Sen,  Naktala became Gitanjali  and Kudghat became Netaji.We learnt to live with it because no one remembers proper names in Bengal. Here Poltu is always Poltu!

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