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Kolkata might get UNESCO ‘City of Literature’ tag

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Kolkata was always known as the culture capital and intellectual capital of India. Now it might soon get another feather in its cap. The ‘City of Literature’ tag of the UNESCO. The procedure is long and Kolkata will indeed face stiff competition from other aspirants. Yet, with the kind of heritage, history and literary environment that this city can boast of, every Calcuttan is hopeful that their beloved city will get this honour.

Incidentally, only 28 cities of the world has got this tag. The first to get was Scotland’s Edinburgh. Baghdad is the only Asian city to get this honour and Kolkata might be the next. The parameters include, history of a city, its heritage, educational institutions, population, well-known authors, poets and composers who were born or live in the city, the literary environment of the city and so on. No doubt Kolkata is apt for this honour as it has fulfilled all these parameters over the years. This city was the seat of Bengal Renaissance and was the British capital of India for decades. It still holds on to the days of Raj through its famous century old schools, colleges, clubs, Park Street restaurants, Book Street of College Street and heritage buildings. Kolkata has given birth to the best of world literature, with more than one Nobel Laureate from the city including Rabindranath Tagore, the only Nobel Prize winner in Literature from India. Even today the city is as enthusiastic about books as before, with a plethora of literary events and festivals encouraging young minds to join the cultural aura of the city.

Hopefully by November this year the process of application will be complete. No doubt Kolkata stands a strong chance to get the UNESCO tag and make us all proud.