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Chinatown – Kolkata

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  1. Thomas says:

    Kolkata does not need the springing up of shopping malls nor MNC signs all over the city to taint its outlook as if it is not so bleak.

    The current scene is that the city is bleak; and not as bleak as it seems to be…..

    The reality check of conditions of Kolkata is that it needs a new facelift/overhaul.

    Before shopping malls and MNC brands, the city administrators need to improve on Kolkata’s image first and not be an empty vessel making much noise – as what Michael said.

    Only when Kolkata is cleaned up, then it can claim itself of like another Asia city.

    Nanking Restaurant with a Chinese Temple on its upper floor is a heritage site owned by Indian Chinese and should not be torn down for another shopping mall to impress tourists. The original old structures have historical value.

    Those who aspire to have another South City kind of shopping mall in Old Chinatown could find suitable site in the area.

  2. Michael says:

    I do not understand why people are so fond of malls what they get by building so many malls in Kolkata there are already an existing mall right ? The government should think of the cleanileness, street lights the buildings etc., only the standard people can afford to go to malls and not that everyday right ? If in case the mall is build in Nanking Restaurant first impression on the malls will be the beggers with they hands out asking for money and then is so disgrace.

  3. Vivek says:

    Thomas, I hav been in dat area, finding a suitable site is next to impossible, the area very congested.
    Michel I agree with u vry muh.

  4. Michael says:

    Thanks Vivek for the understanding. Look at those poor people they hardly have food to eat and place to live the government should do something in order to make the city more beautiful and attractive and have more tourism so that the country will grow, people will have more confident and economic will grow look at other low asian countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia the government are trying the very best on how to build up the city. Kolkata is not a bad city if they give their hearts and efforts to try everything will be on good run. Since people out there are intelegent, smart why not make use of it ?

  5. ycl1688 says:

    Kolkata is known for its sanitation and traffic headaches, look no further than outside of KMC building in the heart of Kolkata, I happened to live close by during my recent visit. The human waste outside the building will make you sick. The traffic condition is closed to chaos. One blessing is stop lights are springing up all over the city. Malls building are up because of new found prosperity. Cars buying are up, every street corner you find eatery doing booming business. The big Bazaar store (formerly USIS library) at SN banerjee rd and chowringee rd is jammed most of the time. That tell us people buying power is up. ecnomic is on the upswing.

    Sooner or later kolkata has to copy major chinese cities with migration to cities limited and traffic will have to follow singapore with even license plate number allow on certain downtown streets. How much civic sense is there that is another story.

  6. mina says:

    no matter what the economic boom or high purchasing power in Kolkata be for a few “haves”, in reality – the first rescue operation is to build dwellings to house “have nots” street people and give humanity some respect/decency. the demographics show that the poor and homeless form the majority. no one is born and fated to live and let die in the streets.

    it is very sad and tragic whenever one steps out into lanes, bylanes, street corners and roads in Kolkata, one will find hundreds of people crouch around with no basics on dirty floors everywhere….and a few hundreds more when you move your eye attention to another direction. imagine we are all human. they are no different from us. they need respect. it’s human tragedy in an urban city.

    there is no point of having shopping malls when they are usually deserted and meant for a few. i disagree that people are really shopping other than window shop. be there in the malls and prove me right. yes, more car purchasing for the upper middle class as necessity but what for in such over-crowded streets and roads where cars crawl like snail-pace. road stop signs are for show and not to be follow; so are the traffic signal lights – jay walking is the norm in this city of chaos. street eateries are booming and why not, imagine if everyone sets out in the streets to cook their daily meals, streets kitchens is the norm in dalhousie square and elsewhere in the city….the city of joy.

    kolkata is my city and i love it dearly, but is there any hope……..

    i really wonder…..

  7. Esther says:

    Hi Michael

    Do you think Kolkatans should still call it the city of malls – a sign of new found prosperity ?

    Let’s help to make the city clean and tidy to attract and boost up tourism.

  8. Slyvester says:

    Just want to share some changes I witnessed/experienced on my recent trip to Kolkata after many years.
    – there are more people ever than before. Everywhere you go, you are bound to meet crowds virtually with no free flow. You need to shovel your elbows to move forward even in streets/roads not supposed to be crowded in the past. This means that population had grown many folds.
    – although the city remained in a state of ageing, you will find more structures built, i.e. additional floors added on to top of old buildings nearly 100 years old; it’s incredible, especially its safety.
    – while there were some old buildings torn down to give way for new ones; the new buildings are again for a few floors only (not highrise to accommodate more families ??) and that the new exterior walls never seem to complete with signs of raw cement concrete. On roofs of these new buildings, they never seem to top out as there were still iron structures gaping out – meaning that at any point in time, additional floors could be added. However, all these buildings show signs of full occupancy by new prosperous residents.
    – hawkers are kings/queens on pavements of streets/roads. Pavements are no longer meant for pedestrian but are stalls of a big happy bazaar. Even the pavements just outside the Oberoi Grand Hotel (pride of Kolkata) is not exempted. Chowringhee Road is always jammed.
    – Park Street remains run down. Queen Mansions, Karnani Mansions, Park Mansions etc….needed repair and upkeep on the exterior before they crumble/tumble.
    – the deepening of cows, goats, crows, dogs, human…looking for space into the streets/roads are more common. People crossing the streets/roads need to wade through. You are luckly to cross into the other side in one piece. Street signal lights are not followed. It was easy and cool to cross Ganesh Chandra/Chitteranjan Avenue in the past. Not so now with the crowds and dense traffic. There are alot more cars on the streets, too.
    – there are more food stalls ever than before. While street foods are good and cheap, business is brisk with the ever increasing population. So a greater demand of street food stalls with new opportunities to those who want to strike gold in this area.
    – there are some very good shopping malls in the city. However, most are empty or crowded with window shoppers who want to enjoy a day out. Foreign brands remain highly priced for the priviledged few and out of reach for the majority.
    – the people of Kolkata are ever so simple and friendly. Life may be difficult, but they accept it with hope.
    Kolkata is our city and the city of joy. Let’s make it a better place to live.

  9. ycl1688 says:

    Slyvester,
    It is a great write up on the city.
    Welcome to the city of typical urban decay. Yet wonder what the landlords are up to. Do they not care for their own properties ?

  10. Michael says:

    Hi Ester,

    Is the same Ester whom i know. Yes I agree with you. Stay in touch.

  11. ron says:

    To: Slyvester,

    Your write-up above is so accurate.

    Should someone in authority had taken immediate steps to monitor aged old buildings in Park Street with extra precaution of illegal addition of floors for fire safety reasons – as highlighted by you, Stephen Court fire could have been prevented or minimised.

    This is very sad.

  12. Bill says:

    Hi Sylvester,
    Your observations were dead on. I didn’t realize the extent of the decay and corruption in the city until I started to follow the tragedy on Stephen Court in the Telegraph. They can’t even find the owner of the buildings and the Government people responsible for sanctioning the additions to the buildings are now calling them “illegal” even though they had OK’ed the additions. (after a healthy bribe, I assume). I realize there are corruptions everywhere in the world, but what has/is happening in Calcutta takes the cake.

  13. raju says:

    Stephen Court in flames – with the Burra Bazaar incident occurring not much in the distant past, I wonder what the authorities have learnt from fire hazards in aged old buildings especially those with illegal add-on structures. There seems to be no norms of what buildings are used for what purpose. What is safety standard…..

    Once the bribe monies get into the pockets of respective corrupted officials, the stamp of approval will be given even if there is non-compliance.

    This is INDIA……..Stephen Court is only a tip in the iceberg. Just bear with it……….

  14. Kuzo says:

    hey guys…

    i ve heard a lot about mornin breakfast in china town…can any one tell me from wat time we get these breakfast and at wat time the stops starts shutting down ??…was plannin to go now,,its 5 am…hope m not late ???

  15. Kuzo says:

    wat time the shops starts shuttin down..???

  16. Grace says:

    Heard that the previous Nanking Restaurant site is gooig to be replaced with a modern shopping mall ?

    Also, has the name change of Pei May School in Tangra happened ?

    Can someone update on these. Thanks.

  17. Liang says:

    Dear Grace thanks for being concern ?
    From what I know. The case is still pending in the court. The chances of Nanking becoming a restaurant is bleak.
    Pei May School name has not been changed. There is a Fight going on in the management, somebody name Liu is trying to take over the school and the local community is protesting against him.

  18. lexus says:

    There is “no” or “will not” be a Nanking restaurant.

    PeiMay school’s name will not be changed. That “somebody” ‘LiuKouChao’ will back off and return the “keys” to the rightful committee of collective body and take charge of the school affair. I will not accept the free gift of PeiMay school even if the community decides to give it to me, as it has a tremendous effect on an individual because it belongs to all. I would rather work hard for a living as my grand father did before me.

  19. ycl1688 says:

    This Pei May school affair reminds me of a joke during Indira Gandhi regime there were slogans all over Indian railway coaches ‘railways belong to the people’. so someone removed the soft cushion from the seats and took it home and scribbled the wordings ‘I have taken my share’. In this episode that individual have the same notion, we have seen enough of people on trying to pocket public properties or wealth as their own.

  20. Bill says:

    Hi Liang and lexus,
    Can you clarify the Nanking situation. Someone wanted to sell the site to a developer to build a shopping mall for his own gain. The local community in Teretti Bazaar opposed this as the site is a church originally and still is. The Government has declared the site a Heritage site and the case is in the courts. I don’t expect that they will revive the restaurant, but I hope they do not tear the place down to build the shopping mall. What is the prognosis for the church to remain as is?
    Thanks.

  21. Binoy says:

    The Nanking restaurant site is currently under custody of the HIgh Court pending hearing of the case. If the case does not get through, it will be sold to any prospective buyer for development.

    Kolkata being Asia’s top city for shopping malls, most probably a modern shopping complex will be built in its place.

  22. moi says:

    Is Nanking soon going to be auctioned ?

    What can the community do about it.

  23. Prakash says:

    If CMC and others had their way, the Nanking Restaurant site will be knocked down and sold to a private developer to turn it into a modern shopping mall very soon, while the court case will take years (forever) to be heard anyway.

    What a waste!

  24. Han says:

    Thank you so much! ycl1688 for this information well need some more like from what time does this begin and the address you see I am not really aware of these roads. Is photography allowed ? i really need these informations and thanks again for spending time for my questions.

  25. ycl1688 says:

    Han,

    Look for poddar court, closed by it is sunyat sen street. Photograph should be allowed it is not a military installation neither terrorist intended target, do not worry about it.

    It is every morning starting around 5 or 6 should be lot of carnival atmosphere. So these days after enjoying the world cup activities head there for your breakfast.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=s&utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-ha-na-us-bk-gm&utm_medium=ha&utm_term=google%20map

  26. ycl1688 says:

    Han,
    correction on the google map look for Poddar court, kolkata india.

  27. Han says:

    Thank you so much ycl1688 I will surely experience this as soon as possible!

  28. TangraBoy says:

    The flood gate is now open

  29. Toyota says:

    Can anyone confirm that Nanking Restaurant site is having the same fate of Pei May School ? Heard that it will be torn down by private developers to replace it with a modern shopping mall like South City Centre. Is that true ?

  30. tangraboy says:

    Nanking rest and PeiMay are 2 diff issues, the school is the symbol of strenght and unity of Chinese Hakka in India for years. With the decline of the Chinese population also saw the decrease in strenght and glory it once had, its sad to see the former strenght that we had is no longer there. We look forward to the support of those who once belonged to this community, no matter where they live today : that will be our strenght. I ma sure there are thousands of “those” today are reading this note…

  31. Hanslow says:

    to: tangraboy

    what is the diff issue between Nanking and Pei May ? Pls advise.

  32. Ku says:

    Nanking located near poddar court and Pei May located in Tangra. bothe the 2 places have historic value.

  33. Hanslow says:

    thanks ku. so what is status of nanking today ?

    heard that hakka chinese in tangra have had a power struggle over pei may property – an individual thought he inherited its ownership rights from the forefathers of the current chinese community. is that true ?

  34. tangraboy says:

    Leave the historical value away from the issues, PeiMay is far bigger and had trained thousands of Hakka boys and girls that spread almost all over the world today, ths fact is both have temples are structured on the top terrace and nobody dares to mess up with them ? PeiMay is electing its caretaker or committee and will come up with a cordial solution and you guys stay put and dont cause any trouble over here, Mr. Liu (my dad’s friend) after all will co-operate and hand over the KEY and PeiMay is back on business again like before (And the new leader likely to be one of my friends).

  35. ycl1688 says:

    Tangraboy,

    Thanks for your encouraging news on the Pei May school, committee is the best
    route to go. Since your influence is there, it is our hope to settle the whole affair once and for all. Why in house fighting ? causing great uproar among the community. Closing down school is not a wise thing, it is causing the kung fu class to stop and what not.

  36. ycl1688 says:

    ???????????
    when will in house fighting ?

  37. ycl1688 says:

    Correction
    when will in house fighting end ?

  38. Sylvester says:

    Hi Ycli688, Leon and Thien

    A week or so ago, I sent a link from the Meridian Society of UK about Chinese of Bengal ( Kolkata ) of its history, heritage, struggles and survival. I hope those video clips could be shared out here with all Chinese Indians here to know of their heritage and hardships of struggles due to 1962 Sino-India border war. Apparently, there were two Chinese Indian women medical doctors interviewed here. The elder one is 98 years old and she is still going strong.

    Appreciate if you could upload all video clips here with permission of the society. I believe this is the right place to archive such stories. Look forward to the uploads here soonest possible.

  39. Thien says:

    @Sylvester : where are the videos?

    1. Thien says:

      can u sen me the link to da videos so i can upload it here.. thankss

  40. Sylvester says:

    Thien,

    Here is the link – http://www.themeridiansociety.org.uk/mweb/pages/bengal2.html

    Altogether, there are 18 video clips . It would be good if they could be reformatted to Youtube for easy viewing.

    Courtesy of the Meridian Society of UK.

  41. Sylvester says:

    Thien,
    For some reasons, the above web links do not work. I am resending the links and the process below to come up to and to arrive at the video clips. Altogether there are 18 video clips covering: Calcutta Chinatown; Family Origins, Profession & Trade; Birth, Marriage & Death; Life at Home; Food; Transport; Schooling; The British Presence; Leisure; The Japanese Threats, Festivals, Partition & the Calcutta Riots; Looking West; Sino-India War; Departure from India; Arrival in Britain; Reflections.
    To get there: enter in Yahoo Search http://www.themeridiansociety.org.uk/
    When blog page displayed of the Meridian Society of UK, click on Special Project;
    Then clcik on Chinese from Bengal Heritage Project;
    As the page appears with 18 icon pictures covering titled headings mentioned above, one needs to click on each titled icon individually to view the video clips.
    Wondering if you could translate or reformat these videos into Youtube form and post them in this blog under a separate heading for easy viewing. Reckon there will be alot of efforts required but it would be great if that could be done.
    This project very fittingly described the majority of Chinese in India of their heritage. It should form a placeholder here and a meaningful archive so that our heritage will not disappear or forgotten by the younger generations.
    The Meridian Society of UK should be acknowledged for the great work and research they have undertaken. Kudos for the excellent work in the project.

  42. ycl1688 says:

    Great pieces of work. Thanks to those involved.
    Then there is education and scholarship denied, because of chinese birth, chinese name given at birth, what a tragedy.