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A return to Ahiritola

KG Subramanyan
Girija Devi

What: Ahiritola Sutanuti Utsab, in association with The Telegraph

When: March 23, 6.30pm

Where: Jorasanko Thakurbari

Why: The programme will mark the inauguration of the Ahiritola Sutanuti Heritage Trust formed by a small group of heritage enthusiasts from various walks of life to conserve the history of the city.

Their focus is Ahiritola (from the banks of the Hooghly to Chitpore), the core area of Sutanuti — one of the three villages that were merged to form Calcutta.

Rewind: Sutanuti had found favour with Charnock, who thought its location to be safe and convenient. In the 17th century, Indian traders flourished here, supplying textiles to the East India Company. Later Sutanuti was renamed Burrabazar. As the city grew, the cloth merchants lost their erstwhile glory and Sutanuti lost its significance.

Revival: The Ahiritola Sutanuti Heritage Trust will work towards making people more aware of the area’s rich heritage and place in history. “We will inspire locals of these as well as adjoining areas to join hands,” said Amit Ghose, the convener of the trust.

The trust will also focus on the development of the area. On its to-do list is a beautification plan for Ahiritola Ghat.

“We propose to take up local welfare projects such as a child adoption scheme for their education, blood donation camps, cancer awareness programme and adopt-a-mother-and-baby scheme,” Ghose said.

Celebration: The inaugural programme will include an hour-long performance by Girija Devi, a talk by Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar and an art exhibition.

The works of artists like Paritosh Sen, Paresh Maity and Bikash Bhattacharjee will be on display at Jorasanko Thakurbari for the inauguration and then at Akar Prakar gallery.

War of the Relics, a mural in acrylic on canvas by K.G. Subramanyan, will serve as the backdrop. “The 36x9 ft mural commemorating the 90th birthday of K.G. Subramanyan has been travelling across the country and The Seagull Foundation for the Arts will bring it to Calcutta,” Ghose said.

Ina Puri has helped conceptualise the programmes on March 23. “I am a Calcutta girl at heart and am deeply in love with the northern part of the city. I yearned to do something for north Calcutta and when this project came to me I jumped at it,” said Puri, who plans to give the audience “an entire aesthetic experience, complete with holding up the grandeur of Jorasanko, the history of the lanes and bylanes, the art and the culture”.