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Kolkata does not have a birthday: Court
May 17, 2003 00:50 IST
In a historic verdict, the Calcutta high court on Friday said British trader Job Charnock was not Kolkata's founder.
Chief Justice A K Mathur and Justice Jayanta Kumar Biswas directed the West Bengal government to delete Charnock's name from history books and not celebrate August 24 as the city's birthday.
"Calcutta does not have a birthday," the judges noted in their verdict that, in effect, upheld the report of a five-member committee set up by the court to probe the city's origins.
August 24, 1690, when Charnock was believed to have set foot on Kolkata, was considered the city's foundation day.
But the inquiry committee had opined that clusters of 'rural settlements had agglomerated in the last decade of the 17th century to coalesce into the English East India Company's trading factory. This grew into a township in the 18th century. No particular year marks its date of birth'.
The court had set up the committee while hearing a petition of an aristocratic Bengali family that challenged the city's birthday two years ago.
The family of Sabarna Roychoudhury, which is believed to have 'owned' much of what is today Kolkata, had claimed that Charnock had landed in Calcutta in 1676. On August 24, 1690, he came for the third time.
It contended that Calcutta found mention in documents and the city's maps dating back to 1660.
Historians believe that human settlement began in Calcutta about 1,500 years ago. The first European traders to arrive in the region were not English, but Portuguese in 1510.
The state government has accepted the verdict.
More reports from West Bengal