Job Charnock Neglected on Kolkata ‘Birthday’

Kolkata: He is no more the founder of Kolkata. A Calcutta High Court order in May 2003 had scrapped the credit off Job Charnock, the East India Company administrator who landed somewhere near the Nimtala ghat in north Kolkata on 24 August 1690. The date had been historically observed as the birthday of Kolkata, until the Sabarna Ray Choudhury family moved court claiming that Kolkata had existed much before Job Charnock set foot on its soil. The Ray Choudhurys were the landlords of the Nimtala ghat area.

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More recent archaeological investigations at Chandraketugarh, 35km north of Kolkata, suggest that the region where the city now stands was inhabited for more than two millennia.

A section of historians and the public, regardless of the court order, still consider 24 August as the Kolkata’s birthday. They contend that it was largely because of the arrival of Job Charncok and his efforts that the villages in and around the city were consolidated to forge the metropolis as it is today.

But it was only apathy that the disputed founder of the city got this year. Charnock’s mausoleum on the St John’s Church compound on Council House Street was found littered with garbage yesterday, including plastic and empty mineral water bottles. The church authorities said that the garbage was dropped from the buildings adjacent to the mausoleum.

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That apart, not a single flower was offered as tribute to Job Charnock to observe the day he landed in Kolkata.

Historians say that Job Charnock and his contribution to build Kolkata can never be ignored. It’s unfortunate that he is largely forgotten today.

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