Sunday, 31 July 2016

Views of Calcutta, Part 2

Image 6

View of Clive Street, old Fort William and Hollwell's Monument, Calcutta, 1786

Date: 1786

This view looks along Clive Street. The eastern wall of old Fort William can be seen on the left. Hollwell's Monument is on the right. It was erected to the memory of the survivors of the 'Black Hole' in 1756, but removed from this site later. The Theatre was built by public subscription in 1775. (BH/TD/1)

Note: A part of the Writers Building is visible on the right side behind the Hollwell's Monument.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Indu Bhusan Roy

Indu Bhushan Roy
Indu Bhushan Roy

The story of the inhuman torture that Indian freedom fighters had suffered in the jails on the mainland of India and the far off Andamans is not fully known because this has not been properly narrated, not even by those who had undergone the sufferings themselves. There is one case which gives a meagre detail of just a fraction of the limitless methods of diabolical treatment that had been meted out to those whose names ought to go down in history in letters of gold.

Eighteen year old Indu Bhusan Roy, was arrested on 02 May 1908, from 32 Muraripukur Road, Manicktala, together with Barindra Kumar Ghose and others, as an accused in the Alipore Conspiracy Case. The yearning for independence had infected the young heart of Indu and he wanted to serve his motherland by making her free from the 'feringhi' yoke and establish a better Government. He was a student of a High School in Khulna and appeared at the Entrance Examination in 1907 in which he failed. In those days parents used to get their children married at an early age. Indu's father pressed him hard for marriage but he chose to leave behind his parents to lead the life of an ascetic. He had been roaming around when he met Barindra at College Square and was told of the preparations that were secretly going on. He took his residence at Manicktala and began studying the Gita seriously. He gradually developed the idea of sacrificing his life for the country and thus to set an example to his countrymen. He was a keen student of history and books like 'Ananda Math' and other such literature helped him to form this idea.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Views of Calcutta, Part 1

Image 1

Map of Calcutta, 1690

Date: 1690

The city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was formed with the merger of 3 villages - Sutanuti, Kalikata and Gobindapur. Job Charnock, the Englishman, landed at Sutanuti in 1690 with the objective of establishing the East India Company’s Bengal headquarters. As Kalikata did not have any settled native population, the British occupied the site and started the construction of old Fort William in 1696 and acquired the zemindari (land-holding) rights from the Sabarna Roy Choudhury family, the zemindars (landlords) of the area in 1698. (WA/1)

Friday, 29 April 2016

Asoke Nandi

Asoke Nandi
Asoke Nandi

The Muzaffarpore outrage made the British Government lose its head and it carried on with its spirit of vindictiveness to the death's door of its prey. It was apparent to the authorities that teenage boys had got infected with the spirit of patriotism and they had joined the struggle with a high degree of enthusiasm and courage. There were cases where young boys were found to be in charge of duty. Asoke Nandi was a lad of nineteen or just twenty when he earned the distinction of being involved simultaneously in two cases of serious nature against the state.

Asoke was arrested on 02 May 1908 from 134 Harrison Road, a house which formed one of the branches of a grand conspiracy having its centre at Muraripukur Garden, Manicktala. Firstly he was charged under the Explosive Substances Act as bombs, allegedly manufactured in Manicktala, were found in his custody. Secondly he was charged for conspiracy to wage war against the King along with Barindra Kumar Ghosh and others in the Alipore Conspiracy Case.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Free Indian Legionnaires ordered to surrender to the Russians

Telegram sent by Bose to Nambiar
Telegram sent by Bose to Nambiar

I am sharing the 'Extract from Camp 020 Interim Report on the case of Harald Willibald KIRFEL, minuted to I.P.I. via the War Room on 7.11.45' which refers to an important telegram sent by Bose to Nambiar in April 1945 and Nambiar's order to the Free Indian Legionnaires on its basis.

Kirfel had numerous discussions with Nambiar and his associates on the future of India. He gave their views as that the days of British rule in India was numbered. England had to give the Indian people their promised freedom. Japanese tutelage would be resisted, even though free India would be grateful to the Japanese for any help given them in their fight for freedom. The only question that remained was whether India would become a sphere of interest, or even, perhaps, a sovereign state, of the Soviet Union. The influence of the Bolshevist ideology in India was already very strong indeed, and in the event of a Soviet victory would gain considerably in strength. Many millions of Indians were Bolshevists who would welcome an advance of the Red Army through the Khaibur pass.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Kanailal Datta and Satyendra Nath Bose

Kanailal Datta
Kanailal Datta

After the failed attempt by Prafulla Kumar Chaki and Khudiram Bose to murder Kingsford at Muzaffarpore on 30 April 1908 that unfortunately resulted in the death of two innocent ladies, the police swung into action and rounded up as many as 41 suspects whom they had kept under watch so long for preparing to wage a war against the British Government. In course of the search the police seized seditious books and literature, explosives at different stages of manufacture, arms and ammunition, instruction manuals for manufacture of high-explosives etc. The search and arrests of May 1908 resulted in the Alipore Conspiracy Case with 38 persons as accused. These men had adopted the risky path to freedom, their ultimate goal was unfettered independence, but the immediate objective was punishment of those who had made themselves a nuisance by their conduct that had been detrimental to the interests of the nation. The evidence collected went to show that the accused who had entered into conspiracy to wage war against the King Emperor were for the most part men of education and strong religious convictions. They showed considerable enterprise, daring and determination in pursuit of their ideal. The accused were placed before the Magistrate in two batches for trial. The trial of the first batch started on 04 May 1908 and lasted up to 18 August 1908, and of the second from 14 October 1908 to 04 March 1909.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

A Russian Tribute to Netaji Subhas

Patriot, January (No.3) 1997
Patriot, January (No. 3) 1997

I am sharing an article titled 'Destiny and Death of Chandra Bose' from the January (No. 3) 1997 issue of the Russian newspaper Patriot, written by Alexander Kolesnikov, a Professor of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, which hints at Subhas Chandra Bose's possible stay in the USSR after World War II and strengthens the demand to make official Soviet archives accessible to the public to solve the mystery of Netaji's disappearance.

A translated version of the article in English from the original Russian was published under the title 'A Russian Tribute to Netaji Subhas' in Mainstream, Vol. XXXV No. 32 dated 19 July 1997. The editor describes the article as an outstanding tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose published in the Russian media on the occasion of his birth centenary. The editor states that a few factual inaccuracies of minor importance in the article do not distort the main theme and devalue the essence of the write-up. The editor opines that the author has not concealed his communist convictions while indicating the possibility of Netaji having reached the Soviet Union at the end of World War II and has underlined the inconsistencies of all attempts to "establish" Netaji's "death". According to the editor, the article concludes with the reaffirmation of the durability of Indo-Russian relations which Netaji tried to promote and strengthens the demand to make the various archives of the erstwhile Soviet Union accessible to the public so that they throw considerable light on Netaji's disappearance and possible stay in the USSR after World War II. However the editor expresses concern over certain vested interests connected with Indian and Russian officialdom striving their utmost to withhold information in that regard.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Prafulla Kumar Chaki and Khudiram Bose

Prafulla Kumar Chaki
Prafulla Kumar Chaki

In the early 20th century, the terrible repression of the people of Bengal at the hands of the police and ruthless suppression of outlets of public resentment to Government measures forced the nationalistic movement to go underground. The secret political organisations that had hitherto come into existence but was in a moribund condition decided upon meeting force with force irrespective of consequences. Removal of brutally oppressive Government officials, was given a high priority in the programme of revolutionary action in Bengal.

Indications were very clear that Indian nationalism had been entering into a new phase. It literally started with, (The Statesman dated 04 May 1908) "the partition of Bengal, the crowning folly of Lord Curzon's regime" and "a different spirit had manifested itself whose weapons are apparently to be bombs and dynamite."  Fuel was added to this spirit by the judgements of Kingsford, Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta, from 26 August 1904 to 26 March 1908, inflicting merciless punishments to all who showed signs of patriotism in their action or in their writings. The Government had been feeling nervous about Kingsford's safety and he was transferred from Calcutta as the District and Sessions Judge of Muzaffarpore on 27 March, 1908.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

I do not believe Gumnami Baba was Netaji in disguise

Netaji and an artist's impression of Gumnami Baba

Seventy years and many inquiry commissions later, the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose still remains a mystery to the public. To the Government of India, and to the Governments of the UK, US, Russia and Japan, information necessary to close the case may be available. So far such information has been kept secret. In recent times faced with the growing demand for declassification of documents related to Bose, the West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee took the lead by releasing the secret files on Netaji held by the state, though the mystery has not yet been solved. Subsequently PM Narendra Modi also announced that the secret files on Netaji held by the Centre would be declassified. He further said that he would request foreign Governments to declassify files on Netaji available with them beginning with Russia during his visit in December 2015. Although till now there is no word from the PM or his office about the outcome of his recent trip to Russia regarding this issue, the nation eagerly waits for 23rd January 2016 when the process of declassification of files relating to Netaji by the Central Government is supposed to begin. Will the mystery be solved or the will the truth continue to remain elusive? As of now the dominant hypotheses about what may have happened to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose are as follows -