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Since 1st March, 1999
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When a poet minds traffic

If Calcutta can be considered the culture capital of the country, why can’t it be a City of Literature?

On Thursday, Calcutta celebrated its “pre-eminence” as a City of Literature, at ITC, The Sonar. As part of the Scotland Calcutta programme managed by British Council, the evening was attended by writers, artists and intellectuals.

“After the Unesco granted the City of Literature status to Edinburgh, the Scottish capital has been trying to promote literary partnerships around the world and establish other Cities of Literature. Calcutta is one of the contenders,” said Sujata Sen, the director of east India, British Council.

The event saw writer Mani Shankar Mukherjee, popularly known as Shankar, speak on Calcutta as a City of Literature.

“The literary history of Calcutta is as old as the Battle of Plassey. The city has nurtured three languages, English, Hindi and Bengali. Sir William Thackeray was born in Calcutta, Rudyard Kipling wrote here. Both the National Anthem of India and the national song were written by writers here,” said Shankar, to establish the city’s literary heritage.

“In this city call girls carry half-read novels in their handbags, women of pleasure discuss Sarat Chandra in red light areas and indulgent policemen allow a drunken poet to control traffic,” he said with a smile.

The bid document for the City of Literature was unveiled at the event by Shankar.

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