Calcutta

October 3rd, 2013
Jane Jacobs, in writing about the rise and fall of great cities, talks about a quality even meaner than urban ugliness or disorder.  That is, the idea of “pretend order,” achieved she says by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.  This real order “is what make cities flourish and diversity sprout and makes them strange and unpredictable.” This, as Jacobs explains, is not a drawback, it is the point of cites.  

A city that for a long time embodied this ethos, is Calcutta.  And while it may be changing and homogenizing today, esteemed author Amit Chaudhuri, captures its essence in his newest work Calcutta: Two Years in the City

My conversation with Amit Chauduri: