Kolkata, Dec 5 IANS | 2 years ago

The Anglo-Indians' biggest strength is their ability to fit in and integrate with the local populace, Michael Shane Calvert, the community's nominated representative in West Bengal legislative assembly, has said.

He lauded the state government's response to a recent ragging incident that led to the death of a student in a school here.

"The government reacted very well to the Christ Church incident... we are happy with the way it responded... there was no backlash," Calvert told IANS Wednesday.

In September, Oindrila Das, a Class 5 student of a school in the North 24-Parganas district's Dum Dum area, died a week after she was allegedly locked up inside the school toilet by some of her seniors who demanded money from her.

The 131-year-old school witnessed unprecedented scenes as hundreds of people ransacked the institution and staged demonstrations against the management, eventually forcing principal Helen Sarkar to resign.

Calvert was part of a panel discussion here on the release of the book "Christmas in Calcutta" by New Zealand anthropologist Robyn Andrews.

Andrews' book brings out 10 life stories of the community members (including quizmaster Barry O'Brien) besides four essays.

"The diversity can be appreciated through a range of stories," said Andrews.

"Though the members have amalgamated with the locals, they can still be seen influencing the culture. Their ability to integrate is their biggest strength," said Calvert.

He also announced the dates of the Third Kolkata Christmas Carnival Dec 20-22.

Calvert also said that the community, known for its contribution to the education sector, faces challenges in education, medical facilities for the elderly and housing issues.

(Posted on 05-12-2013)