WHY KOLKATA IS CALLED BLACK CITY

WHY KOLKATA IS CALLED BLACK CITY

WHY KOLKATA IS CALLED BLACK CITY

Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is often referred to as the "Black City" due to its dark and gloomy appearance during the British colonial era. Several factors contributed to this moniker, from the city's industrial past to its unique architectural style. Let's delve into the reasons why Kolkata earned this intriguing name.

1. Industrial Pollution:

Kolkata's industrial boom in the 18th and 19th centuries brought with it a surge of pollution. Numerous factories and mills spewed black smoke into the air, covering the city in a thick layer of soot and grime. The coal-fired power plants and the burning of fossil fuels further added to the air pollution, giving Kolkata a dark and dismal look.

2. Coal Mining and Black Buildings:

The city's proximity to coal mines contributed to its blackened appearance. Coal was extensively used as fuel for industries and households alike, resulting in the release of coal dust and particles into the atmosphere. Additionally, many of Kolkata's buildings were constructed using black limestone, which further accentuated the city's dark and somber ambiance.

3. Lack of Sunlight and Narrow Streets:

Kolkata's narrow streets, tall buildings, and congested neighborhoods often blocked sunlight from reaching the ground. This lack of natural light, coupled with the pollution and smoke, created a perpetual sense of gloom and darkness, especially during the winter months. The city's dense population and the haphazard growth of unplanned settlements further contributed to the lack of sunlight.

4. River Pollution and Black Water:

The Hooghly River, which flows through Kolkata, was heavily polluted due to industrial waste, sewage discharge, and the dumping of untreated wastewater. This resulted in the river water turning black and murky, further adding to the city's dark and desolate appearance. The lack of proper sanitation and waste management systems exacerbated the problem, making Kolkata a breeding ground for diseases and epidemics.

5. Colonial Architecture and Gothic Revival:

The British colonial architecture prevalent in Kolkata also played a role in its "Black City" image. Many of the city's iconic buildings, such as the Victoria Memorial and the Writers' Building, were constructed using dark-colored stone and featured intricate Gothic Revival ornamentation. These structures, with their imposing presence and somber appearance, added to Kolkata's dark and mysterious charm.

Conclusion:

Kolkata's moniker as the "Black City" stems from a combination of factors, including industrial pollution, coal mining, lack of sunlight, river pollution, and the architectural style of the time. While the city has undergone significant changes and modernization in recent years, its historical association with darkness and gloom continues to captivate visitors and locals alike.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Why was Kolkata called the "Black City"?

    • Kolkata earned this name due to its industrial pollution, extensive use of coal, narrow streets, lack of sunlight, polluted river water, and the dark architecture prevalent during the British colonial era.
  2. What were the major sources of pollution in Kolkata?

    • The city's industrial factories, coal-fired power plants, and the burning of fossil fuels were the primary sources of pollution that contributed to Kolkata's dark appearance.
  3. How did the architectural style contribute to the "Black City" image?

    • The use of black limestone and the Gothic Revival style in many of Kolkata's buildings added to the city's dark and somber ambiance.
  4. What was the impact of the Hooghly River on Kolkata's appearance?

    • The pollution of the Hooghly River, due to industrial waste and sewage discharge, resulted in black and murky water, further accentuating the city's dark and gloomy appearance.
  5. Has Kolkata shed its "Black City" image?

    • While Kolkata has undergone significant modernization and improvement in air and water quality, its historical association with darkness and gloom continues to be a part of its identity and charm.

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