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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Neha Banka


Neha Banka is a journalist based in Kolkata and writes about Asia, women’s rights, religion and culture.

Streetwise Kolkata: Khidderpore’s history is linked to the port and zamindari it absorbed
Fri, Feb 14, 2020

In 1884, after Khidderpore was selected as the site for the wet docks of the Port of Calcutta, the neighbourhood developed significantly, most of it falling under the control of the Calcutta Port Trust. There are two theories on how the neighbourhood got its name.

Parasite’s win at Oscars 2020 brings pride and bit of disbelief in Korea
Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Parasite is the first South Korean movie to ever win an Oscar. The dark satirical comedy highlights class and socio-economic disparities prevalent everywhere in the world within the framework of a distinctly Korean setting.

Streetwise Kolkata: Suhrawardy Avenue… no, not named after the ‘Butcher Of Bengal’
Fri, Feb 07, 2020

The road had not been named after Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy at all, but rather his uncle Hassan Shaheed Suhrawardy, who was among his many abilities, a Bengali diplomat, scholar and art-critic, but certainly not the ‘Butcher of Bengal’.

Streetwise Kolkata: Upmarket Victoria Terrace was born out of a slum
Fri, Jan 31, 2020

The central business district of Kolkata is a collection of several smaller neighbourhoods with unique characteristics and histories of their own. One of them is the relatively less-known, tree-lined Victoria Terrace.

Chinese New Year: All you need to know about the Spring Festival
Tue, Jan 28, 2020

This year, Chinese New Year started on January 25. The festival typically ends after 15 days of celebrations. It marks the start of the Lunar New Year and follows the lunar calendar, and hence, falls on a different date every year.

Explained: Importance of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
Tue, Jan 28, 2020

In many ways, Auschwitz has become the center of Holocaust history and research and serves as a reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust. On January 27 this year, survivors of the Holocaust and international heads of state will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Streetwise Kolkata: How a riverside village known for boat-making gave Ultadanga its name
Mon, Jan 27, 2020

Ultadanga became a part of Calcutta in 1717, when the British East India Company rented 38 villages close to the city from Mughal Emperor Farrukhsiyar.

Streetwise Kolkata: Sovabazar, a neighbourhood that played pivotal role in letting the British conquer India
Fri, Jan 17, 2020

One of the earliest corruptions of the neighbourhood’s names include ‘Subahbazar’, that according to historian P. Thankappan Nair, is derived from the term ‘bazaar of the Subah’ or ‘bazaar of the governor’, long before the Sovabazar Rajbari family came to be associated with the area.

For close to two centuries, this bakery in Kolkata has been serving up goodies from its wood-fired oven
Sun, Jan 12, 2020

Odds and Oven: In a city where there is a slice of history in every street, it is easy to miss the bakery’s unassuming exteriors, and then dismiss the modest establishment, lit up by fluorescent tube lights.

Streetwise Kolkata: Strand Road, along the edges of River Hooghly, was built with public lottery funds
Fri, Jan 10, 2020

Although it is not known when Strand Road was completed, its development not only served to demarcate the city’s western boundary, but it also helped in the development of the strategically important Port of Calcutta that required cleared waterways and embankments.

Explained: Why an American attack on Iran’s cultural sites could constitute a war crime
Wed, Jan 08, 2020

Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilisations dating back to 10,000 BC. Its rich heritage and culture is an amalgam of Arab, Persian, Turkish and South Asian cultures.

Streetwise Kolkata: Sealdah, named after a village of jackals, grew around a peepal tree
Fri, Jan 03, 2020

It is not entirely clear when Sealdah got its name, but historian P. Thankkapan Nair who has written extensively on the city’s history, says the origins of the name can possibly be traced to when the city was a collection of elevated islands with mostly marshy land and perhaps not extensively inhabited by people.

In heart of Seoul, a North Korea-themed bar that walks the line on legality
Wed, Jan 01, 2020

South Korea’s National Security Act is a law that penalises praise of North Korea or support of Kim Jong Un’s regime. A few weeks before and after the bar opened, local news reports and social media in South Korea were abuzz, debating whether the bar violated this national law.

Streetwise Kolkata: How Tollygunge is linked to Tipu Sultan
Fri, Dec 27, 2019

Decades before the birth of the city of Calcutta, the area that is now Tollygunge was a dense forest land called Russapugla with an abundance of mangrove trees.

One more Christmas: Kolkata’s Anglo-Indians keep up appearances despite dwindling numbers
Thu, Dec 26, 2019

The festival is the largest and most important celebration for the community and perhaps nowhere in the city is it celebrated the way it is done in Bow Barracks.

The Real Prince of Awadh
Sat, Jan 04, 2020

Following up on The New York Times article on the imposters who called themselves the descendants of Wajid Ali Shah, we trace the last prince of Awadh and the story of a family that settled in Kolkata after decades on the move.

Explained: Why Donald Trump objected to the US Senate recognizing the Armenian Genocide?
Sat, Dec 21, 2019

Armenian Americans have lobbied for years and pushed for the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide but the US had been reluctant to make an official stance on the issue to prevent angering Turkey, a strategic NATO ally.

Streetwise Kolkata: Tiretta Bazaar, a Chinatown named after an Italian
Fri, Dec 20, 2019

Tiretta Bazaar first finds mention in Upjohn’s map of Calcutta in 1790, and other historical records show that the bazaar possibly got its name after Edward Tiretta, an Italian living in Calcutta who owned the bazaar and several plots of land in the city

‘No justification’: Anglo-Indians in Kolkata criticise passage of Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament
Sun, Dec 15, 2019

In Kolkata's Bow Barracks, where the Anglo-Indian community has predominantly lived since the First World War, the move to remove provisions for the nomination of Anglo-Indians to Lok Sabha and certain state Assemblies comes as no surprise.

Streetwise Kolkata: Backpacker haven Sudder Street was named after a court
Mon, Dec 16, 2019

Long before the lane acquired its present name, it was called Ford Street and then Speke Street. Sudder Street is known for its touts, and even shadier elements, who work in tandem to lure foreigner backpackers seeking out the neighbourhood’s cheap hotels.