Home > Calcutta (Kolkata) > Ronald Ross Memorial, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Ronald Ross Memorial, Calcutta (Kolkata)

“It’s strange,” she said. “I’ve changed buses here hundreds of times. I can’t even begin to count how often I’ve walked past this wall. But I’ve never noticed that inscription up there.” this words are said by Urmila one of the major character of Amitav Ghosh’s novel The Calcutta Chromosome.


Ronald Ross Memorial, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Urmila, who happens to be a journalist, in Ghosh’s best selling novel was not aware of the Ross Memorial. But Ghosh’s Urmila is no exception great many of the Calcuttans are not aware of the memorial dedicated to Ronald Ross, Calcutta’s first Nobel Laureate.

Ronald Ross medalion flanked with two inscription

Ronald Ross medallion flanked with two inscription

Located on the Northern wall of the Presidency General (PG) Hospital, lies a arch shaped memorial dedicated to Ronald Ross, Nobel Prize winner of Medicine in 1902.

Ronald Ross 4

Sir Ronald Ross Laboratory

Ronald Ross (1857 – 1932) studied malaria from 1881 to 1899. On 20th August 1897 Ross, working in Secunderabad, discovered that malaria was transmitted by female  anopheles mosquito.

20th August is celebrated as the World Mosquito Day.

Later in 1898 working at the Presidency General Hospital, Calcutta, Ross and his assistants traced the life history of the malaria parasite.

The memorial, known as the Gateway of Commemoration, was unveiled by Ross himself, in the presence of Lord Lytton, on 7 January 1927.

Ronald Ross 5

The plaque of the lab wall

Sadly the culturally active Calcuttans have forgotten Ross and his memorial lies in utter neglect.

The arch contains a central medallion of Ronald Ross which is flanked on either side by two marble inscriptions.

The inscription on the left describes the process in which malaria was transmitted. while that on the right contains a poem written by Ronald Ross himself. Only the first three paragraphs of the poem were written on the marble plaque.

The two more paragraphs of the poem read as follows:

Half stunned I looked around
And see a land of death –
Dead bones that walk the ground
And death bones underneath:.

A race of wretches caught, 
Between the palms of need 
And rubbed to utter nought,
The chaff of human seed.

The lab where the final stages of the experiment in PG hospital still stands and in 2004 it was converted into a malaria clinic and name Sir Roland Ross Memorial Malaria Clinic.

Sadly the lab remains under lock and key. Just left of the entrance is a small plaque. It mentions about the discovery of Ronald Ross and the plaques also has a beautiful drawing of a mosquito.


  1. July 6, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Really interesting Rangan, keep up the good work

  2. Mithu Dasgupta
    August 20, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Thanks Rangan for this information.

  3. August 28, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    All I can say is wow. I’ve certainly not checked out it like this, but I appreicate you posting it. I’ll proceed to be a daily reader of the weblog.

  4. akismet-bc79497e55ac95377066d7433377f7ac
    April 24, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    really interesting! Thank you for this informative article.

  5. Vijay H. Chandiramani
    April 26, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    Hi Rangan, very interesting. Next time I am in Kolkata I will make sure to see this memorial. It is always good to know such things about the city of your birth.

    • April 29, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      Thanks Chandi (Vijay H. Chandiraman) comments like this are always interesting. Next time you visit Kolkata do visit the place. As a doctor it would be a pilgrimage for you,

  6. Premasish Roy
    April 26, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Hello Rangan, I cannot resist comparing you with Tennyson’s Ulysses. I was so excited when I first saw your work on a Chinese Temple at Budge Budge, my native and again this time on Ronald Ross. Wonderful !!! keep up the good work.

    • April 29, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      Thanks Premashis, encouraging comments from people like you really inspires me.

  7. Imari
    April 30, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Very interesting, didn’t know of Ronald Ross, Calcutta’s first Nobel Laureate. Thank you.

    • June 7, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      Dear Imari, Calcutta (Kolkata) boosts many hidden treasures like this.

  8. April 20, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    yet another awesome …. peace of knowledge share Rangan Da !! very informative !! 🙂

  9. April 22, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Cant wait to see this mighty city the great Kolkatta .Nice post

    Travel India

    • June 7, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      Vishal you are welcome, Calcutta is a might city with lots of small hidden gems.

  10. June 6, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Where is it located?

    • June 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Dear Abhishek, from the Rabindra Sadan & PG Crossing walk towrds Police Training School (PTS) / Hastings. It will be on your left and just before the AJC Bose Fly over ends.

  11. soumitra Choudhuri
    May 20, 2015 at 9:31 PM

    is there any bengali translation of Sir
    Ronald Ross’ poems?

    • June 26, 2015 at 9:26 PM

      Dear Soumitra I am not very sure of the Bengali translation, but someone can take the initiative of translating it.

  12. Dr. soumitra kumar Choudhuri
    July 10, 2016 at 7:44 PM

    I have translated dozens of poems of Sir Ronald R

  13. Frank phillips
    March 12, 2017 at 3:14 AM

    Dear rangan
    Was ross an englishman and what if any history do we have of him if english we have a lot to thank them for.
    Frank phillips
    Melbourne australia.

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