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Brief History Of Press Club, Kolkata

The Club was born in 1945. The year was eventful in many respects. A terrible war and a devastating famine had just ended. The freedom movement was gaining added momentum with the release of top national leaders from detention. Reporters, being in the thick of news, hardly had any time to look to the social aspect of their lives. Even if they wanted to do, they had little opportunity to do so under the British rule.

It was in this background that a letter from two young reporters Mr. Sudhir Charkraborty (PTI) and Mr. Khagen De Sarkar, (Hindustan Standard) appeared in the Calcutta news world early in May, 1945 pointing out the need for forming an organization exclusively of reporters.The idea caught the imagination of the reporting fraternity in Calcutta and a meeting to give concrete shape to the idea was logical result, but not before the question had been discussed threadbare in the secretariat corridors.

Assembly lobbies and in a hundred-and-one odd places where the Reporters went in discharging their duties. These important discussions led to the same conclusion that the Reporters must have an organization of their own. The impelling force behind these agreements seemed to be the urgent need for affording Reporters and Staff Correspondents an opportunity to meet together, enjoy each other's company and discuss problems of common interest. The objective of the Club was thus defined as promotion of social contract among reporters and furtherance of their professional interest.

From the inception of the idea, hardly two and a half months had elapsed when some 40 Calcutta Reporters met at the Mahabodhi Society Hall on July 22, 1945 and gave their seal of approval to the proposal. The Press Club of the Reporters and Staff Correspondents was thus born. Mr. Purna Chandra Sen (The Statesman) was elected its first President and Mr. Monindranath Bhattacharya (Hindusthan Standard) was its first Secretary Mr. Amalendu Dasgupta ( The Statesman) presided over the meeting.

At the first stage a room rented for the Club Office on the first floor of the College Street Market seemed too far away to serve the Club's Social objectives. Naturally the office had to be shifted from one newspaper office to another to suit the convenience of the Secretary for the year. During these years meetings were held in different newspapers and news agencies offices and sometimes at odd places outside the city. The long cherished desire of the members to have a permanent home for the Club remained unfulfilled.

The questions, however, came to the forefront when the Prime Minster Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru in his address at the Annual Social of the Club at Princes Grand on January 16, 1657 reminded the members that they should have a house of their own to hold such function. The then president of the Club Mr. Kedar Ghosh (The Statesman) took initiative and secured the present plot on the Maidan, of course without any proprietary rights. The raising of money and the construction of a tent took some time and early in 1960 the Club moved into the Maidan Tent.

Semi-permanent structure was build six years later. And there the Press Club stands - not mere a structure of a club but something more than that. The Club's insignia in silver and blue enamel represents the progress towards a higher way of life. The Club shall endeavour to help achieve this progress without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. The Club is a non-political, non-official Reporters' platform without any bias to any caste, creed or provincialism.

The Club enjoying on the members to strictly adhere to the code of conduct in the discharge of their duties and attach due value to fundamental, human and social rights as defined in the Constitution of India.The Club on the Maidan is centrally located in the historic city of Calcutta which saw the rise of British rule and also the beginning of its end. The club is surrounded by the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Guru Nanak Sarani at one side and on the other side Saheed Minar. It is also near the underground Esplanade Station (Metro Rly.) - first ever underground line system in India.

The Club is in the city which was the first British capital of the country.The Club is also situated in the city where five Noble Prize Winners Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa, Sir Ronald Ross, Sir Chandrasekhar Venkatraman and Amartya Sen made their homes.Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on the Club lawns and the then President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam graced the closing ceremony of the celebrations at Rabindra Sadan. The Club organises various activities including seminars, Meet-the-Press programmes, cultural programmes Health Camps, Indoor Games.