Around 30 years ago a popular joke among the middle class South Indian population, while talking about Kolkata was that if you land up in Howrah Station from Coromondol Express in the morning during breakfast time, you could be certain that by evening around tea time you would have a job in one of those firms run by Gujarati & Rajasthani businessmen. But things have taken a complete circle and today truly speaking the South Indian population is scarce. Greener pastures in abroad and other metropolis in terms of education and employment opportunities have lured the present generation and rightly so, since education and a respectable employment are the two things of utmost significance to an average Indian middle class and South Indians are no exception. Recently a news piece in a leading English Daily published from Kolkata, highlighted the significant drop in students opting for Tamil or any other South Indian language in some of the few schools in Kolkata that offer them.
Traditionally the South Indians in Kolkata are believed to be largely based in and around Lake Market and Rash Behari Avenue in South Kolkata, but a recent trend since the last five years have seen a steep migration of the population away from these areas and moving further towards Southern Suburbs, with Brahmapur, Patuli and Garia evolving as the new epicenter of South Indian population in Kolkata. Availability of Flats and independent housing systems has attracted the South Indian population to these localities largely. Also with the Metro Rail getting expanded with fairly large number of reputed schools and hospitals emerging in these localities have further enhanced the motivation levels to relocate from Lake Market and Rash Behari areas. Starting from Flower Market, Vegetable Market, Temples, Shops selling South Indian Masalas and South Indian Movies, give an impression that in future this might emerge as a Mini Mylapore.
For a long time Bharathi Tamil Sangam at Deshopriyo Park was the only place wherein the Literature Loving people could flock together. But a couple of years ago the Brahmapur Tamil Association was launched and it’s been rendering yeomen service to the needs of the South Indian population in the City of Joy. For those who are spiritually inclined the Sankara Hall at Southern Avenue, Veda Bhavan at Lake Avenue and Shri Thygaraja Hall of Sadguru Gnanananda Rasika Ranjana Sabha behind Lake Kali Bhari provide ample scope to splurge in South Indian serenity.
And of course the most sweet part is that in almost all celebrations be it the Pongal Celebration,Ugadi Celebration,Onam Celebration,Carnatic Classical Concerts or Bharathanatyam Concerts,the local Bengali population would always outnumber the South Indian population in terms of support,participation,encouragement and enthusiasm.
Might be that’s why still Calcutta is undeniably the “Cultural Capital” and “Cosmopolitan Cradle” of this nation.