Kolkata - the city of first events


Are you curious about the historical events which unfolded in India for the first time? Delving into the article will unfurl the connection between Kolkata and India's landmark events. You would understand why Kolkata is an integral part of Indian history.

Kolkata, earlier known as Calcutta, is a storehouse of events. It is India's treasure of uncountable opening events. It is definitely a proud feeling for every resident of Kolkata to be associated with a city of such a great value which highly adds up to India's legacy. Kolkata was the capital city of British India until the shifting of the capital to Delhi in 1911. Delhi was renamed as New Delhi in 1927. Later New Delhi was inaugurated as the capital of British India on 13 February 1931.

City of importance

Although the importance of Kolkata is just not in being the pioneer of mega-events, it is also the land of some important buildings and monuments. Kolkata is the birthplace of many Greats who became the first Indians to win laurels. The particular article also showcases events held at Kolkata in India with which it made history for the first time. Later its wings spread to other parts of the country.

City of events

The events mentioned below are according to the year from the pre-independence and post-independence era of India:

Opening of General Post Office

During the East India Company regime, Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of India, started the postal service in India at Calcutta, now Kolkata, in 1774 and set up the first General Post Office (GPO). The building of GPO shifted many times from one place to another. Finally, in 1868 an iconic building got constructed for the GPO, Kolkata.

Printing Press

In 1780, James Hicky started a printing press then published the first newspaper, The Bengal Gazette, from Calcutta. Later in 1784, The first official newspaper, The Calcutta Gazette, got published from Calcutta.

Club

It was in 1792 the Britishers founded the first sporting club named Calcutta Cricket Club Clippers. The club was known as the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club. After some years the club merged with two other clubs, Calcutta Football Club, and, Ballygunge Cricket Club. Thus, in 1965, it became Calcutta Cricket and Football Club.

U.S Consulate

On 19 November 1792, Calcutta, now Kolkata, was the first city where the U.S Embassy established its first Consulate in India. It is not only the oldest in India but also one among the firsts in the whole world.

Bank inaugurated

In 1806, the first bank in India, the Bank of Calcutta, opened at Kolkata. In 1809, the Bank of Calcutta became the Bank of Bengal. In 1840, the second bank opened, which was named the Bank of Bombay, and the third bank, the Bank of Madras, came into existence in 1843. In 1921, all the banks mentioned above merged to form one bank named the Imperial Bank of India. In 1955, the Imperial Bank of India became the State Bank of India (SBI). The SBI is still functioning and is known to be the oldest bank in India.

Telegraph line set up

The telegraph line for the first time in India started between Calcutta and Diamond Harbour in 1850 by the East India Company. The regime started using it regularly in 1851, and it was opened to the public in 1854 when the whole of India had the telegraph line. In mid-July 2013, India bid farewell to the telegraph system, because its importance was lacking due to the emergence of modern technology like SMS, emails and the usage of mobiles.

Set up of Railways

The first passenger train in Eastern India operated between Kolkata and Hoogly in 1854. Although in India, the first passenger train ran between Bombay to Thane in April 1853.

Beginning of Tramcar

In 1873 the first tramcar began to operate in Calcutta (now Kolkata) but stopped in the same year. It was a horse-pulled transport. Once again it began to function on the roads of Kolkata at the end of 1880. In 1882, it ran on a steam locomotive too as an experiment, but from 1902 the Calcutta tram began running on electricity. Calcutta tramcar is known to be the first of its kind in India. It still runs on Kolkata roads and is about to be revamped. It is the oldest tramcar in Asia. After Kolkata, many other cities like Mumbai, Chennai and some other had tram system, but gradually all stopped except Kolkata.

Electrification

In India, electricity got introduced in Calcutta first. It was in 1879 when the first electric light lit up at Calcutta in India. After many years, a company named Kilburn & Co. received the licence for the electrification of Calcutta. It worked as an agent of Indian Electric Co. Later the company was known as Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation Limited.

AC Train

The first entirely Air Conditioned train in India is the Howrah Rajdhani Express. It started functioning in March 1969 from Howrah station, Kolkata to Delhi. Earlier it was the fastest train, but not anymore, although it has good speed. The speciality of the train is, it connects some state capitals or big cities with Delhi, the national capital of India. It is also the first prestigious train to have a WiFi connection.

World of Books

International Kolkata Book Fair is not the first book fair of independent India. It was held in 1976 while the Delhi World Book Fair was the first book fair of India held in 1972. Although the Kolkata International Book Fair is not the oldest one, it is the largest non-trade book fair of the world. Even it is the largest book fair in Asia, and it has the highest number of footfall in the globe.

Kolkata Metro Network

It was 1984 when the Kolkata Metro started functioning, and it became the first metro network in India. Later a few more metro networks began in different cities of India, but Kolkata Metro is the only metro network which is controlled by Indian Railways. Even it is the first metro connection that also operates between some underground stations. The Kolkata Metro is enhancing routes so, in that process, it is going to be the first underwater metro network. The proposed metro line will connect two cities Kolkata and Howrah by running under the Hooghly river. It's not all, but in a particular Kolkata metro line, the proposal is to build a station at the height of 22 metres at Haldiram crossing on the VIP road. It would be India's highest metro station.

Cellular phone

Kolkata witnessed the introduction of the mobile phone in India in Aug 1995. Modi Telstra MobileNet Service at Kolkata in West Bengal became the first operating mobile network service in India. The Chief Minister of West Bengal, India Mr Jyoti Basu from Kolkata made the first mobile call to the Telecom Minister of India Pandit Sukh Ram.

Double Decker train

In October 2011, India's first double-decker train started from Howrah station (Kolkata) to Dhanbad. The USA and England began the double-decker service before India.

Science Festival

In 2015 India International Science Festival(IISF) held at IIT in Delhi for the first time. Although Kolkata was not the first to host IISF, it hosted the fifth edition in 2019. Even then IISF Kolkata held the two-day Science and Technology media conclave event for the first time in its five-year-old history. The IISF Kolkata created three Guinness World Records too. The records are as follow:

a. The participation of 1598 school students in the class of astrophysics was a record in itself. They made models of a spectroscope by using items like rejected CDs and regular cardboard boxes.

b. In another event in which 490 students participated in assembling radio kits. The experts tested 280 kits, of which 268 were perfect. The students did it within a time frame of two hours.

c. Around 415 students formed a human image of a chromosome which is the largest ever in the world. The particular event was to motivate the young students to experiment and discover.

Floating Market

Kolkata floating market opened in Jan 2019 at Patuli. Although Kashmir's Dal Lake and Kerala's Alappuzha Backwaters have floating markets, the one in Kolkata is the first among the metro cities in India. The market has more than a hundred boats, and each has two shops. Veggies, fish, meat, groceries, and many other items of daily use are for sale. It opens in the morning and closes in the late evening.

Pink Ball Cricket

The first Pink Ball cricket match in India held at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. It announced the beginning of the day and night test match. With the start of the Pink Ball cricket match, the Indian cricket dawned a new cricketing era in Nov 2019. It was a game between India and Bangladesh and India sealed the victory.

It's a long list of happenings which India experienced for the first time at Kolkata which is very popular as the City of Joy. Kolkata as a city in India has distinct importance, because of its age-old connection with the country's history. A visit to Kolkata is the best way to unearth the value of the city, which is an asset to India.


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