Storytellers of a new generation
Subscribe to 101India

The Fading Chinatown of Kolkata | 101 Traces

What was once a thriving community of thousands of Chinese descendants is now down to just a few families.

Kolkata's Chinatown was once home to a thriving community of over 20,000 ethnically Chinese Indian nationals. That number is now estimated to be as low as 2,000. Most of the inhabitants' ancestors moved to Kolkata in the early 20th century, setting up shops and businesses for families of Chinese origin. But of late, the younger generation of the community has been looking to move out of Chinatown, looking for better prospects and standards of living in countries like USA, UK, Australia and Canada. Does this spell the end for the once-bustling Chinatown in Kolkata?

101 Traces looks at the last of anything: ethnic communities, folk craftsmen, disappearing trades, forgotten people. It sketches portraits of these unique individuals, locked in a battle they cannot win: a battle against the future. Together, they represent the dying whispers of ancient heritage and traditional individuality. As India moves towards homogenized global pop culture, 101 Traces honors the people, the objects, and the skills that connect us to our ancient identity.