Calcutta 1940–1970: In the photographs of Jayant Patel is an outstanding collection of black-and-white photographs, depicting the yesteryear glory of the City of Joy. Steeped in history, the photographs take one back to the various neighbourhoods, the streets, statues, temples and synagogues, many of which still exist though the surrounding scenery may be different. There are photographs of Barrackpore Gandhi Ghat, Vivekananda Setu, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Nakhoda Masjid, Kalighat, Dakshineswar temple, St Paul's Cathedral and other landmark sites.
As the official photographer of Government House, today’s Raj Bhavan, Patel documented history in the making. This rare collection presents glimpses of political life before and after the Partition of a Calcutta that was once the Second City of the Empire. Conceptualised by Lila Patel, Jayant's wife, and with the text by Soumitra Das and a foreword by former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, it is a brilliant documentation of a vibrant time in the city's history.
Being in Calcutta for a prolonged period after years, I chose this particular book for my collaboration with Niyogi Books to reminisce and bring to life these moments of history. Here are my personal favorites from the book, which offer a glimpse of a bygone era in a vibrant city that I call home:
Get hold of this time travelling photobook here. A must-have for every Calcuttan and anyone who has an interest in this city's rich past.