Indian historians divided over Kolkata's birthday

KOLKATA: Can a lessee of a mass of land become the founder of a city? Can the date of his landing in Kolkata be suddenly interpreted as the city's birth date?

Such questions, and many more, will be asked by a host of historians - who contest the claim that August 24 should be celebrated as the city's birthday - on August 23. But the debate has already started raging among those who are preparing to celebrate the occasion on Friday.

The state government and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation celebrated the tercentenary of the city in 1990. But a high court ruling had put an end to the celebration, saying that August 24 cannot be considered the birth date of the city. Though the state-backed agencies stopped commemorating the day, several private organizations followed tradition and stuck to the August 24 date.

However, there are some who contest this established notion and feel public awareness should be generated about the misconception. One such organization - Sutanati Boimela Committee - will bring together historians of repute, including Debashish Basu, to contest the claim at an event on August 23....

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