Formerly known as Calcutta, Kolkata is the capital of the state of West Bengal. A population of 16 million makes it the 16th most populous city in the world and the second most populous in the country. Calcutta was the capital of British India until the parliament relocated to New Delhi in 1912. Subsequent flight of capital, political destabilisation and trade-unionism has caused a steady economic decline and it now has one of the worst deprivation levels in the subcontinent. One can still see colonial roots in many of the buildings, such as the Victoria Memorial and the National Library.
Calcutta served me a culture shock. Poverty seemed to pervade more areas of this city than any other I have visited. Kolkattans talked openly about this and blamed the migration of companies and the low level of support that they claim to receive from the central government.
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