A neighbourhood often visited, yet little known! The thought crossed some students’ minds as they walked down the streets of Tollygunge.
Classes X and XII of the Akshar School turned tourists in their own city as they went exploring various landmark areas and buildings of Tollygunge for two days recently.
For Class X it was an April morning. Young history enthusiasts got to visit the Tollygunge Club, enjoy its lush green surroundings and hear some unheard tales from the club members.
Students and teachers of Class XII got to explore the sets of the New Theatre on another day.
“There is still so much to discover in just one area of our city,” said an excited Navya Reshamwala of Class XII.
The visit was organised by the Calcutta Heritage Collective (CHC), a voluntary citizen’s initiative focused on imparting heritage awareness among youths as future custodians.
The students of Akshar School were made aware of the historical importance of Tollygunge as they walked the streets.
From spotting a jackal on the Tollygunge club grounds to hearing tales of planes taking off from the golf courses in 1910, as thousands watched, the Class X students had a whale of a time on sprawling grounds. They also went round the graves in the club gardens and spent time with the horses at the stables.
“The experience helped me learn a lot about Calcutta’s history. The interactions at Tolly Club were particularly interesting,” said Ananya Pandey of Class X.
“It was a different kind of learning for them,” said Jayanti Neogi, a geography teacher.
Students of Class XII, along with their teachers, enjoyed exploring the nooks and corners of New Theatres Studios where Bengali cinema was born in 1931. They also saw a spot where Tagore would sit and compose poetry. During a walk, the students were told how the area has evolved over the years. They were also thrilled to find a modern house preserving its original nameplate.
The students also wrote about their experiences in the May issue of the CHC school journal.
“We wanted the students to identify with their heritage and to enjoy the anecdotes about a landmark area in the city,” stated Vibha Mitra, CHC journal editor.
“It was a joyful learning experience for them. It has encouraged them to research about other areas too and take an interest in the history of Calcutta,” added school principal Noni Khullar.