The city that bred Nobel Laureates and hosted the India’s first Pharmaceutical Company

Kolkata (Calcutta): A city of Scientific renaissance

As a nucleus of the 19th- and early 20th-century Bengal Renaissance and a religiously and ethnically diverse center of culture in Bengal and India, Kolkata has local traditions in drama, art, film, theatre, literature and Science. Kolkata (Calcutta), the birthplace and nursery of Indian Nationalism, the most prominent battlefield on which the war of India’s liberation was waged and won. The home of the composer of Indian National song and National Anthem.

Kolkata (Calcutta): The city that bred Nobel laureates

The city has produced not one or two but 6 Nobel Laureates and all five of them professed their gratitude, deep love, and respect for Bengal. Here’s a list dedicated to these stars—

Abhijit Banerjee, Amartya Sen, Mother Teresa, CV Raman, Rabindranath Tagore, and Ronald Ross are the others from Kolkata or have a connection to the city, who won the award.

Kolkata (Calcutta): The City that hosted India’s first Pharma Company

Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (BCPL), formerly Bengal Chemical & Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. (BCPW). BCPL is a Public Sector Undertaking. Established in Kolkata, in 1901 by Prafulla Chandra Ray (1861-1944), it is India's first pharmaceutical company.

In 1892, Prafulla Chandra Ray founded Bengal Chemical Works with a capital of Rs.700 (US$10). Ray founded the company as an individual initiative with the intention of fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth and providing an alternative to jobs from the colonial British government. It is a privilege to mention that NIPER-Kolkata is located in the BCPL campus.

Kolkata (Calcutta)- where the first Chemotherapeutic was discovered:

The discovery of Urea stibamine, the first pentavalent antimonial for the treatment of kala-azar is a landmark discovery done in this city. The drug was discovered by Sir Upendranath Brahmachari (1873-1946) in a small laboratory at the Campbell Medical School, Kolkata in 1922. The drug saved countless lives in the Gangetic plain and Brahmaputra Valley during 1925-1937. Brahmachari was nominated for the Nobel Prize couple of times. Interestingly, it is still a drug in use for the treatment of leishmaniasis in Africa. This was the first chemo-therapeutic from India.

Kolkata (Calcutta) and the influence of Western culture in science and technology:

When the impact of Western culture in the 19th century strived up the Indian mind, the vibrations were felt more strongly in Calcutta. As a fall out of the happening, the study of science was eagerly pursued, and by the turn of the previous century, the scientists were found to be contributing significantly to the world back of scientific knowledge.

That legacy is still in the landscape of Kolkata’s culture.