Inclusive India

Dear Calcutta…

An officer writes about Kolkata and thanks the city for giving him a childhood that taught him true meaning of being secular

Thank you for giving me a childhood that taught me the true meaning of being secular.

Thank you for showing me that there was nothing abnormal about attending a Catholic convent school in the middle of a Muslim neighbourhood, where most students were Hindu.

Thank you for all those wonderful Durga Puja celebrations where Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Muslims got dressed up to go pandal hopping with Hindus.

Thank you for the Christmas celebrations at St. Pauls Cathedral, where a predominantly non-Christian crowd would be spilling over the venue and singing Xmas carols loudly at Bow Barracks later in the day.

Thank you for our very own brightly lit Park Street and those delicious Christmas cakes that came from a famous Jewish Bakery.

Thank you for those Eid celebrations, where Biryani restaurants would be over booked by a mostly non-Muslim clientele, arguing fiercely whether Shiraz or Arsalan makes the better fare.

Thank you for the free-for-all langer food at the Sikh Gurudwaras. Thank you for showing us that there is nothing unusual about having a Kali temple in Chinatown.

Thank you for the well-maintained (by non-Jews) Jewish synagogue that still stands proud even though it doesn’t run services anymore.

Thank you for the Hungarian meat shop, the Armenian church, the pristine Jain Temple, the Anglo-Indian country club and our vibrant China Town. True, many of us have moved away to live outside of you, and perhaps we are holding onto a romanticized nostalgia of the past and sometimes you seem new, distant, difficult, hopeless, cold and unyielding but as the world gets more hostile day by day in the name of religion, I take refuge in my childhood memories of you. And no one can ever take them away from me.


This message has been written by an officer. If you want to write something about the composite culture of your city, please do send us, we will publish. 

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