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Home » My Kolkata » Events » Ranabir Ray Choudhury's new book explains Lottery Committee's role in making of Kolkata

Book Launch

Ranabir Ray Choudhury's new book explains Lottery Committee's role in making of Kolkata

Painter Shuvaprasanna launches 'The Shaping of Modern Calcutta: The Lottery Committee Years 1817-1830' at Oxford Bookstore

Subhadrika Sen | Published 13.08.22, 04:24 PM
(L-R) Shuvaprasanna and Ranabir Ray Choudhury

(L-R) Shuvaprasanna and Ranabir Ray Choudhury

Amit Datta/My Kolkata

Grab a map of Kolkata and you will find familiar street names like College Street, Loudon Street, Strand Road and Loudon Street on it. They would not have come into existence without funds raised through public lotteries arranged by the Lottery Committee set up in 1817. 

The Shaping of Modern Calcutta: The Lottery Committee Years 1817-1830, a book written by Ranabir Ray Choudhury and published by Niyogi Book[s], traces this history to outline how the committee’s influence still casts a long shadow on the modern metropolis. It was launched at Oxford Bookstore, on Park Street, by painter Shuvaprasanna in the presence of the author and radio jockey Deepanjan Ghosh on August 12. 

Ranabir Ray Choudhury's latest book on display at Oxford Bookstore on Park Street

Ranabir Ray Choudhury's latest book on display at Oxford Bookstore on Park Street

Amit Datta/My Kolkata

“Calcutta was going through phenomenal changes by 1820. New roads, drainage systems and neighbourhoods were being planned. New structures were coming up. The city had not seen such modernisation since the arrival of Job Charnock. This book is going to be an interesting read for history enthusiasts who want to know more about that time. It’s also an important read for town planners and urban development researchers,’’ said Trisha De Niyogi, chief operating officer of Niyogi Books, in her welcome speech.

In his special address, Shuvaprasanna said the book would find its place beside other well-researched works on the past of Kolkata. “Kolkata didn’t grow out of Charnock’s midday halt. It has a long and complex history. The book, which tries to capture this complex process, is a fruit of Ranabir’s meticulous research and his love and passion for the past of this city. We’ll certainly keep all the books in our library collection at Town Hall, where we’re building a museum.’’

The audience at the event

The audience at the event

Amit Datta/My Kolkata

With the help of a presentation, Ray Choudhury emphasised the role of the Lottery Committee and explained how its impact is still being felt today. “I would like to thank my publishers. I studied economics, not history and certainly not Kolkata’s past. I worked for a leading city-based newspaper and that sparked my love for Kolkata.” 

“When Mrs Gandhi declared a state of emergency across the country in 1975, things were very tense. At that time, we were instructed to focus on apolitical subjects. I delved deep into the city’s past and got fascinated by it. I owe my books to that period,” he said.

The evening's programme concluded with audience interaction and a book-signing event by the author.

Last updated on 13.08.22, 04:24 PM
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