Confronting[1] Epochs: The Many Faces of Colonial and Postcolonial Park Street in Kolkata[2]

Arjab Roy


This paper explores the history of the multicultural urban milieu of Kolkata’s Park Street. It traces the phases of colonization, decolonization and the resistance evoked by the latter. The paper delves into the strategic tool of nostalgia emanating from the advocates of colonial aesthetics to resist components of decolonization.

The paper argues that with post-colonial developments, the economic and cultural interests of the dominant socio-economic groups sought to resist certain aspects of decolonization and preserve the colonial-western heritage of Park Street which by then had become an antique object of the past laden with economic, social and cultural values. The consequent clichéd idea about Park Street as an entertainment hub and symbol of western culture got publicized by mass media and led to the suppression of public discourse regarding the other Park Street born within itself and in its eastern stretch beyond Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road. The other Park Street was blocked from dominant representative images and icons of the city and the street as a result of imposition and re-strengthening of the stereotype centering round Park Street. The concealment of this duality of Park Street gradually was illuminated marking the street’s entrance into the political discourse of the city.     


Keywords: Colonization, Decolonization, Resistance, Nostalgia, Park Street.

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