Kolkata with Sue Perkins: Introduction (02:24)
Sue Perkins travels to Kolkata to learn about the city's history, culture, and industry. While most think of it as "the city of joy," Perkins thinks of it more as "the city of a million car horns." Recently Kolkata has emerged out of poverty to a thriving metropolis that rivals London. (Credits)
Once a Sleepy Village (02:35)
The British Empire made Kolkata the capital because of its proximity to the Bay of Bengal and renamed it "Calcutta." Abra explains that the government changed the name back in 2001. Sue Perkins is embarrassed by Britain's involvement in colonial oppression.
Obsessed with Tea (02:38)
After drinking tea, the Indians throw the cups into the gutter, where the fragments are washed back into the bay where the clay originated. Guddu molds 3,000 teacups a day. Perkins learns how to roll clay and chats with the employees.
Tea Cup Makers (03:00)
Employees work 18 hours day for 15 days in a row so they can afford to educate their children. Guddu attempts to teach Perkins how to mold tea cups on a pottery wheel, but Perkins fails. Perkins helps Pratima with her English homework.
Controversial Transportation (02:46)
Guddu delivers the fired cups to the teashops. Other Indian cities banned the rickshaw men, but Kolkata still allows them because of its narrow streets. These carts deliver merchandise to shops, take children to school, and earn one and a half pounds per day.
Parts of the City (02:00)
George Curzon built Victoria Memorial in honor of the British queen. When Kolkata received an influx of immigrants, the British divided the city up by ethnicity. Bowbazar houses most of the immigrant populations.
Chinese immigrants earn a fortune exporting leather goods. Perkins visits a temple and gets her fortune read.
Call to Prayer (04:28)
Men stop traffic for Adhan. When India became an independent nation in 1947, the state divided districts by religion— Muslims were relocated to East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. Perkins visits a Eurasian family who discusses their British traditions.
Goodwill and Tolerance (04:42)
Perkins believes that Indians foster a true spirit of multi-culturalism. Kolkata is growing exponentially and massive infrastructure is being built. Perkins visits a sewer restoration site— the sewers were built in 1875 and need renovation.
Homeless Population (03:07)
In the 1970s, Mother Theresa worked with the impoverished. Perkins accompanies Ghita whose organization patrols the streets attempting to help the homeless. Over 10,000 people live at the Hastings Underpass— Perkins speaks to two women who tie up their children at night for their own safety.
Talking After Dark (04:00)
Ghita explains that women are more willing to discuss problems at night. Perkins visits children who live on the streets. One girl's father sells buckets and old clothing to feed her— she wants to become a doctor.
Another Kolkata (04:48)
In the past few decades, India's life expectancy has doubled and literacy rates have quadrupled. Perkins visits the Super Car Club and accompanies them on a drive. Praveen built his father's business into one of the wealthiest real estate development companies.
Real Estate Development (02:41)
Perkins accompanies Praveen to one of his job sites. He shows her a mock-up of how the development will look when completed. Each apartment costs 60,000 pounds currently and very little infrastructure has been built.
Preserving the Old Ways (04:48)
Perkins visits a club where the women believe that laughing every morning cures the body and mind. They have gathered together for 14 years, because they believe life should be enjoyed and laughing gives people energy. Perkins asks the women to come up one word to describe ada— the women respond "happy," "freshness," and "fresh air."
Hindus believe the Hooghly and the Ganges rivers are sacred. Perkins visits Kalighat Kali Temple— Vuta teaches Perkins a traditional Hindu prayer for Shanti. Perkins explains that while she has not enjoyed all her time in India, she believes Indians can teach the world about tolerance.
Credits: Kolkata with Sue Perkins (00:28)
Credits: Kolkata with Sue Perkins
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