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Bengali War Memorial

Bengali War Memorial

College Square, Calcutta (Kolkata)

See also: Compilation of WWI Memorials in Calcutta (Kolkata)

Bengalis have never been a warrior race, and a Bengali fighting a war would be one of the last thing one can imagine. Bengalis are rather dubbed as book worms showing their excellence in academic fields.

Bengali War Memorial, College Square, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Bengali War Memorial, College Square, Calcutta (Kolkata)

But in the very heart of Kolkata’s academic hub stands a memorial dedicated to the Bengali warriors killed during World War I.

Located just at the entrance of East gate of College Square this monument is rarely visible as its is likely to be surrounded by posters or wet clothings left to dry. Top of the pillar, like memorial, is marked with the inscription “49 Bengalis.” 49 stood for the 49th Bengali Regiment.

The base contains the following inscriptions “In memory of members of The 49th Bengalee Regiment who died in the Great War, 1914-1918, To the Glory of God, King and Country.”

It is to be noted that 1,300,000 Indian troups fought by the side of British Armyin the First World War (1914 – 18) in far of countries like Egypt, Mesopotamia, France, etc. Although Indian soldiers were not allowed to rise as commissioned officers, but £115 million was paid from the Indian exchequer.

The other three sides of the memorial base contains the names of the 52 Bengalis killed in the Great War of 1914 – 1918. It also contains the following information of Reg. No., Rank, Date of Death, District from which come.

Middle: Main inscription of Bengali War Memorial; Left & Right: Name List

Middle: Main inscription of Bengali War Memorial; Left & Right: Name List

The districts are Midnapore, Mymensinh, Murshidabad, Nadia, Calcutta, Jessore, Burdwan, Pabna, Chittagong, Khulna, Barisal, Faridpore, Pabna, 24-Parganas and Tripura (Tipperah).

Sadly the cultural active Bengali’s have forgotten the heroic deeds of their forefathers and the Bengali War memorial lies in utter neglect – forgotten & neglected.


Tears for subaltern by Soumitra Das

List of my Blog entries on Calcutta (Kolkata)

  1. December 25, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Very informative !

    • December 26, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      Thanks Amitabha, Happy New year and Happy Blogging……

  2. ashok nath
    January 6, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Dear Rangan,

    Nice that you posted this image. I have written about the 49th Bengalis , this unit served int he great war mainly in Mesopotamia ( present day Iraq) and am doing further research on this regiment. Is it possible to get get images of this memorial?
    Thanks, Ashok Nath

  3. January 6, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Thanks Mr Nath for your comment. I have already sent you a mail, do keep in touch.

  4. February 15, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Rangan and Ashok
    My book on 49th Bengalis is already in the market.
    Muhammad Lutful Haq

    • February 15, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      Thanks Mr Haq for the comment. Its nice to know about your book. I have already sent you a mail, do keep in touch.

  5. February 22, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    At this moment I am working on soldier life of Kazi Nazrul, our national poet. Please let me know if you ever come across any information on the subject.

    • February 28, 2012 at 4:35 PM

      Kazi Nazrul joined the 49th Bengali Regiment in WW I but there is no other info. If you get some more information do let me know.

  6. D Dey
    May 25, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Nazrul served as a quartermaster in Karachi while Mahbibul Alam faced active service in Mesopotamia.

    • May 25, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      Thanks Mr Dey for the comment. So you mean Nazrul didn’t go to Mesopotimia? Can you elaborate at little bit on Mahbibul Alam. Thanks once more, do keep in touch.

  7. D Dey
    May 28, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    I became interested about this regiment’s history by hearing stories from my grandmother.She used to live in Tripura and many of her family members served in both the world wars.Many Bangali youths of Tripura used to join the defence forces.Later in Pakistan the East Bengal Regiment was formed but it was for the Bangali Mussalmans only.The 49th was the last Bangali military formation formed irrespective od caste or religion.

  8. May 31, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Thanks Mr D Dey, for sharing your experience. I am working on a seperate blog entry on the 49th Bengali Regiment. Do keep in touch.

  9. June 13, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    This is really interesting! Thank you.

  10. D Dey
    June 24, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    Please do let me know when you create this separate blog entry.I also feel that as a Bangali and a travel writer you must visit the Bedian front.It was the place where the Bangalis won a battle in 1965 against the Indian army,the first decisive Bangali victory after 1599 against the Mughals.

    February 11, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    See my comment on Amitav Ghosh’s blog ISTANBUL AND THE INDIAN SOLDIERS OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR. Ashok Nath gave a lecture on the unit last year at Oxford – he may have added further material to his 2011 article. The College Square memorial is an incomplete list of the 49th’s dead.

  12. Anirvan Ghosh
    May 16, 2016 at 8:53 PM

    Hi….it’s very enthusiastic that we are unearthing the martial history of our race….
    That pillar contains names of 56 soldiers not 49.

  13. nasir uddin
    January 9, 2017 at 12:31 PM

    can anyone give me a clue as to where i can obtain one copy of “Bungali Paltan 49”?

  14. Dipankar Basu
    July 28, 2020 at 9:58 PM

    Great work 👍

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