is a neighbourhood in north Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...
. It is so called because of the two (jora
) wooden or bamboo bridges (sanko
) that spanned a small stream at this point.
Apart from the distinguished seat of the Tagore family
The Tagore family, with over three hundred years of history, has been one of the leading families of Kolkata, and is regarded as a key influence during the Bengal Renaissance...
, traditionally known as the Jorasanko Thakur Bari
The Thakurbari The Thakurbari The Thakurbari (Bangla: House of the Thakurs (anglicised to Tagore) in Jorasanko, north of Kolkata, West Bengal, India is the ancestral home of the Tagore family. It is currently located on the Rabindra Bharati University campus at 6/4 Dwarakanath Tagore Lane...
, it was also home of the Singhas (including Kaliprasanna Singha
Kaliprasanna Singha is remembered for his two immortal contributions to Bengali literature viz. translation of Mahabharata, the largest epic, and his book Hutom Pyanchar Naksha...
), the Pals (including Krishnadas Pal
Kristo Das Pal , was an Indian journalist, orator and the editor of Hindoo Patriot. In spite of being born of the Teli or oil-men's caste, which ranks low in the Hindu social hierarchy, he rose to be one of the important persons of his age....
), and the families of Dewan Banarasi Ghosh and Chandramohan Chatterji. “The area thus became the cradle of Bengal Renaissance.” It was earlier known as Mechuabazar.
The earliest list of thanas (police stations) in Kolkata was prepared in 1785 for both police and municipal administration. Jorasanko was one of the 31 thanas then recorded.
Amongst the institutions in Jorasanko are – Adi Brahmo Samaj, the Jorasanko Bharati Natya Samaj, the Kalikata Haribhakti Pradayani Sabha, the Minerva Library and Oriental Seminary
The Oriental Seminary started in 1829 by the educator Gour Mohan Addy, was the earliest privately run, first-rate school for Hindu children only in Kolkata . It was open to Hindu boys only. It was possibly India’s first fully private school, as even Hindu School, then known as Hindu College, had to...
. The Oriental Seminary started in 1829 by the educator Gour Mohan Addy, was one of the earliest privately run, first-rate, Hindu supported modern school in Kolkata, open to middle and lower middle-class Hindu boys only.
Rabindra Bharati University
Rabindra Bharati University is a university in Kolkata, India. It was founded on May 8, 1962, under the Rabindra Bharati Act of the Government of West Bengal in 1961, to mark the birth centenary of the poet Rabindranath Tagore...
, the third university in Kolkata, was set up in 1962 in the Tagore family’s house at Jorasanko, primarily as a centre for music and fine arts, but extended subsequently to arts and humanities.
Jorasanko is located on Rabindra Sarani (earlier Chitpore Road.) “The great thoroughfare, which commencing in the extreme south, assumes the various names of Russa Road, Chowringhee Road, Bentick Street, Chitpore Road, and Barrackpore Trunk Road, forms a continuation of the Dum Dum Road and was the old line of communication between Morshedabad and Kalighat. It is said to occupy the site of the old road made by the Sabarna Roy Choudhury
Sabarna Ray Chaudhury family were the Zamindar of the Kolkata area, prior to the arrival of the British. On November 10, 1698, they transferred, by lease, their rights over the three villages – Sutanuti, Kalikata and Gobindapur - to the East India Company...
s, the old zemindars of Calcutta, from Barisha
Barisha is a residential locality of Kolkata , West Bengal, India. Historically, it one of the oldest boroughs in Kolkata. It was the abode of the great Sabarna Roy Choudhury family. Barisha is known today for being the home of the Indian Cricket idol Sourav Ganguly...
, where the junior branch resided, to Halisahar
Halisahar is a city and a municipality under Bijpur/ Naihati police stations of Barrackpore subdivision. in North 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a part of the area covered by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.It was formerly known Kumarhata. It has an...
, beyond Barrackpore
Barrackpore or Barrackpur is headquarters of Barrackpore subdivision in North 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The town was a military and administrative center under British rule, and was the scene of several acts of rebellion against Britain during the 19th century...
, which was the seat of the senior branch.” Some people refer to the entire stretch through which Chitpore Road ran as Chitpore or Chitpur
Chitpur is a neighbourhood in north Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. Sometimes, the entire area along Chitpur Road is referred to as Chitpur, although the various localities have distinctive names....
. That includes Jorasanko.
There were two Jorasanko Natyashalas. The earlier one was organised by Peary Mohan Bose at his house on Banarasi Ghose Street, in Jorasanko. The only play staged was Shakespeare’s
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against...
on 3 May 1854.
Gagendranath Tagore was a musician and theatre personality, and contributed substantially to nationalist discourse. One of the first students to pass the Entrance Examinations of Calcutta University, he was the founder-secretary of Hindu Mela.-Family:Dwarkanath Tagore, the founder of Jorasanko...
established the second Jorasanko Natyasala, a home theatre, in 1865 and staged Krishnakumari
written by Michael Madhusudan Dutta that year itself. Young Jyotirindranath
Jyotirindranath Tagore was a playwright, a musician, an editor and a painter. Endowed with an outstanding talent, he had the rare capability of spotting talent in others...
had the first opportunity to act in it in the role of Ahalyadevi.
[Bannerjee, Hiranmay, Thakurbarir Katha, , p.103 , Sishu Sahitya Sansad.]
At first men played women’s roles, but subsequently women of the family also acted before an audience of friends and relatives and even late before the public.
As there were few good plays in Bengali, which could be taken up for staging, Ganendranath announced a prize for writing plays. Nabanatak
written by Ramnarayan Tarkaratna won the first prize. He awarded the playwright Rupees two hundred (a princely sum in those days) and promised to bear the cost of printing a thousand copies of the play.
[Bannerjee, Hiranmay, p. 219.]
Akshay Mazumder, Sarada Prasad Ganguly, Jyotirindranath Tagore and others took part in the acting.
Buddhadev Dasgupta won the award for the Best Direction for the Year 2001 for the film Jorasanko Thakurbari for artistically unfolding the history of the house of the Tagores. Joanne Taylor who has written a book on the Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta
was spell bound by the Jorasanko Thakur Bari. “These structures form the fabric of Kolkata’s history,” she says.
Jorasanko is an important centre of shell industry in Kolkata. However, the industry has not been in good shape in recent years.