‘Kolkata, My Endless City’ - photo tribute captures old and new faces of the City of Joy

Heritage versus speedy development find focus in Rajib De and Arup Ghosh’s ode to their beloved city

Anujit Mitter Kolkata Published 23.01.24, 04:16 PM
The cover page of the book

The cover page of the book Photographs courtesy: Rajib De

Here’s another reason for lovers of the City of Joy to visit the 47th International Kolkata Book Fair before January 31.

A unique photo tribute, available at Hall 1 stall number 8, has been nicely put together by veteran photojournalist Rajib De and corporate communications professional Arup Ghosh. The photo-essay juxtaposes old Kolkata against its new avatar. De’s photographs and Ghosh’s words weave a poetry of the traditional and the modern.


The book cover showing four sari-clad women walking down an endless road in New Town many years ago before the realty boom is timeless. Speaking of the image, De said: “It is a photograph so close to my heart. It portrays two worlds — the old and the new. Villagers from the outskirts would often walk down long stretches in New Town to get a feel of their rapidly transforming neighbourhood. On one side, there was this burning desire to be a part of the change yet they would cling to their roots.”

On the choice of photographs, De said: “This city touched my soul from childhood days. My father taught me to love the smell of Kolkata’s history. So apart from my journalistic career, I had started exploring the city right from Kumartuli. Initially, we sat down with 200 pairs of visuals I had clicked roughly between 2008 and 2023. Finally, it was trimmed down to 46 pairs.”

Sharing his thoughts, Ghosh, credited with curating the book, said: “It is a visual love letter to the city. All the pictures you see are through the eyes of the common man as if celebrating the ordinary and the day-to-day.”

Asked why there’s no mention of the locations in the captions provided with the photographs, Ghosh reasoned: “Ours is not meant to be a photo guidebook on Kolkata, rather it’s a photo-essay that hunts for magic and poetry in the mundane.”

Speaking of the response received so far, De said: “Just yesterday, a probashi Bangali bhadrolok (from the US) buying the book said it had achieved something immeasurable about Kolkata, something which he had not come across before.”

After Invincible City and Kolkata, My Endless City, De revealed he would soon be bringing out yet another visual ode to the City of Joy.

Kolkata, My Endless City, published by Penprints Publications and foreword written by Debanjan Chakrabarti, director, British Council, East and Northeast India, would be available for online sale after the book fair.

Follow us on: