The closest we can come to traveling through a time machine is through the pages of history. The vibrato of history echoes in the stories shared by our grandparents, the newspapers in old reading rooms, the dusty books on the shelves of dilapidated libraries, and the nooks and crannies of the cities we live in and everywhere around us. Every object, every person, and even every intangible thing has a history hidden within it. To unravel it is a source of great joy for curious minds.
Speaking of unraveling history there’s this unique curated walk in Kolkata, that you can be a part of. During the winter of 1942, Kolkata, back when it was known as Calcutta, was a vibrant city that was slowly but surely engulfed by the tempestuous winds of the Second World War. The eerie drone of Japanese bombers reverberated through the skies as they conducted regular scouting missions, their objective clear — to decimate Calcutta's industrial sector, a crucial link in the Allied war effort within the China-Burma-India theatre. The ominous wail of air-raid sirens became an everyday occurrence, punctuating the lives of its inhabitants with a chilling reminder of the imminent danger lurking overhead. And then, the bombs began to rain upon the city, leaving destruction and chaos in their wake.
The war unleashed a maelstrom of hardships upon Calcutta, a city caught in the grip of uncertainty. Worker strikes erupted, adding to the turmoil, as individuals sought to assert their rights and voice their dissent amidst the ravages of conflict. Food shortages plagued the populace, exacerbating the hardships faced by ordinary citizens already burdened by the specter of war. Heightened surveillance cast a constant shadow, a reminder that freedom and privacy were luxuries in this new reality. Oppression loomed large, stifling the spirit of the people and dimming the once-bright lights of the city. And amidst this crucible of suffering, a devastating famine cast its dark pall over the land, claiming countless lives and leaving an indelible mark on the collective memory of the residents of the city of joy.
In a new immersive experience, participants will delve into the heart of this contested "inbound" space, unearthing the untold stories and eyewitness accounts that have faded into the recesses of time. Embark on a journey through the forgotten tales of a city forged by the resilience and fortitude of its inhabitants in the face of unimaginable hardships. As you walk these hallowed streets, the narratives will unfold, breathing life into the ghosts of the past and shedding light on chapters often overlooked in the annals of history.
You will be guided by knowledgeable storytellers from the renowned Kolkata-based travel company, Immersive Trails. Immersive Trails is the brainchild of Dr. Tathagata Neogi, an archaeologist by training from the University of Exeter. Just like an archaeologist unearthing hidden gems and mysteries from under the ground, Tathagata channelizes his archaeology training to unearth stories of Kolkata’s past not recorded in mainstream history books. This captivating exploration will be conducted in the universal language of English, allowing the tales to transcend borders and resonate with a global audience. So come, step into the shoes of those who witnessed Calcutta's descent into the crucible of the Second World War, and together, honour their struggles and commemorate the indomitable spirit that emerged from the ashes of adversity.
Calcutta in the Second World War: Heritage Walk
Tour conducted by: Immersive Trails Private Limited
Date: June 10, 2023
Tour Starting Time: 7:30 AM
Tour Starting Location: Bata Store (Lindsay Street)
Tour Ending Location: Four Mangoe Lane
Price: ₹750 per person
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