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Gerasim Stepanovtch Lebedev In Kolkata
The memory of Gerasim Stepanovich Lebedev is etched indelibly in the scores of minds of the people of India, particularly of Bengal and the city of Kolkata which the renowned Russian pioneer of Indology and founder of modern theater of Bengal in European style had made his home for ten long years (1787-1797) in the last part of the 18th century.
He founded his Bengalee Theatre at 25 Domtola Lane (37 Ezra Street). It began its journey on 27th November of 1795 with the performance of 'Kalpanik Sangbadal' based on Gerasim Lebedev's own translation of two plays 'The Disguise' and 'Love is the Best Doctor'. The second performance took place on 21 March 1796. Both the performances had immediate success. But the success of the performances aroused bitter jealousy and created confusion amongst the British colonial circles. The theatre was burnt down by the conspirators after its second performance and no effects were spared to stop the theatre from functioning. He was betrayed by the masked enemies and humiliated by the agents of East India Company. With broken heart Lebedev left Kolkata in December 1797.
On 27th of November 2009 a memorial plaque in tribute to the great soul was installed in front of the Play House - Bengalee Theatre on Ezra street at the joint initiative of Russian Centre of Science and Culture in kolkata and kolkata Municipal Corporation. Mr. V.V. Lazarev, Consul General of Russia in Kolkata and Mr. Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, Kolkata Municipal Corporation jointly inaugurated the event of opening the memorial Plaque in kolkata. Mr. Alexander V. Mazirka, Director, Russian Centre of Science and Culture in kolkata attended the function and spoke on the reason.