This article examines perceptions of colonial modernity as experienced
by middle-class Bengali children in Calcutta at the turn of the twentieth century.
This was the time in which the foundations of modern Calcutta and modern Bengali
childhood were laid, and in which urban cultures of education and entertainment
gradually replaced precolonial patterns of childhood. This article examines these
transformations and assesses their role in the formation of new social norms that
were to define middle-class Bengali childhood until the end of the twentieth