BOOK CHOICE: The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta


Publisher Bikash D. Niyogi at
the book fair in New Delhi

From Rajeev Sharma in New Delhi

Every Indian and the people of Calcutta must
say a big thanks to Joanne Taylor. Joanne is an
Australian writer, historian and a photographer who has done
a remarkable job for the heritage of glorious India. I
realized this when I saw her book “The Forgotten Palaces
of Calcutta” at the Book Fair held recently in New Delhi.

This book is like a masterpiece. Frankly
Speaking, I washed my hands before opening
the book.Every page of this book takes you
in a mesmerizing world of India’s forgotten and
ignored heritage.You can actually feel the warmth of
sunlight coming from a French window as well as
cool breeze from the English verendah filled with
Bengali sculpture.

This book is indeed a piece of
art. After Looking at the book (actually you don’t need
to read it as the pictures say everything), I plan to visit Kolkata soon.
Joanne Taylor first visited India in 1971 which left
an indelible impression on her. She says, “looking at
and photographing old houses has been a passion of
mine. This passion is due not only to my innate
curiosity, but also the pleasure I feel when
discovering an old mansion or a ruined palace.”

Joanne added,”By opening the doors the homes of former
rajas and merchants we may imagine what life was like
for a people who enjoyed British patronage and
enormous wealth.” She further said,” Generations of
colonial rules has resulted in an architectural style
unique to Calcutta.”

Between the covers of the book the reader will find the home of the great Rabindra
Nath Tagore and the old royal palace where
the movie Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam was shot. One can
even notice the impact of Chinese architecture in some
of the old royal palaces. The whole book is really hard
work done by Joanne Taylor in dusty North Calcutta.
The publisher of book Bikash D. Niyogi was himself
available at book fair. Being a Bengali himself he is
personally taking interest to market this book in India.
– Sept. 12, 2007

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