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Wreck of Sir John Lawrence, the advent of Kolkata – Puri rail link

March 7, 2018 5 comments

Wreck of Sir John Lawrence

The advent of Kolkata – Puri rail link

The Mullick Ghat Flower Market and the adjoining ghats has always been a hunting ground for photographers. The top view of the chaotic flower market or wrestlers posing in front of the iconic Howrah Bridge are some of the most prized photos.

But hidden from the photographers is an almost invisible marble plaque telling a sad but interesting tale. Located on the wall on the right of the stairs leading down to Chotulal Ghat (also called Mullick Ghat) is a bilingual (Bengali and English) dedicated to the memory of ship wreck victims.

The Bengali version reads as

ইং ১৮৮৭ সালের ২৫ এ মে তারিখের ঝটিকাবত্ত সার জন লারেন্স বাস্পীয় জাহাজের সহিত যে সকল তীর্থযাত্রি (আধিকাংশ স্ত্রীলোক) জলমগ্ন হইয়াছেন তাহাদিগের স্মরণার্থ কয়েকটি ইংরাজ রমণী কর্ত্তক এই প্রস্তর ফলক খানি উৎসীগৃত হইল।

The English version reads as

The stone is dedicated by a few English women to the memory of those pilgrims, mostly women, who perished with the Sir John Lawrence in the cyclone of 25th May 1887.

Cyclones and ship wrecks were nothing uncommon in the Hooghly River but this wreck was important and it lead to a significant change in the history of Indian transport and paved the way for Kolkata – Puri rail link!

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Restoration of Jewish Cemetery, Kolkata

January 5, 2018 4 comments

Jewish Cemetery, Kolkata

Kolkata Jews retrace their ancestor’s graves

Also See: Kolkata (Calcutta ) Jews

Rosemary Cohen has come all the way from Australia, with a inverted family tree. A few of the branches of the family tree stressed back to five generation. She, accompanied by her husband, was looking for the graves of her ancestors in the newly renovated Jewish Cemetery of Kolkata.

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Looking for their ancestor’s grave, Jewish Cemetery, Kolkata

As we made our way through the thickly packed maze of, freshly painted, white graves of the Jewish Cemetery, Rosemary narrated her fond memories of Kolkata, the city of her birth.

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Beth El and Magen David Synagogue, Kolkata, Re-dedication & Celebration of Restoration

December 29, 2017 2 comments

Beth El and Magen David Synagogue, Kolkata

Re-dedication & Celebration of Restoration

Also See: Kolkata (Calcutta ) Jews

As the Muslim boys of Elias Meyer School (popularly known as Jewish Boys School) sang Hebrew song of peace Oseh Shalom at the Magen David Synagogue in Kolkata Ezra Moses could no longer hold his tears.

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Re-dedication and Celebration of Restoration of the Beth El Synagogue, Kolkata

A emotional Ezra Moses, presently a resident of Miami, USA, murmured “this is where my parents got married, long time back, probably in 1943. This is the city of my birth.”

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Unveiling of Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial, Kolkata

November 29, 2017 6 comments

Unveiling of Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial

Balu Ghat (Suriname Jetty), Garden Reach, Kolkata

Also see: Suriname Memorial

“My ancestors must have stood here for the last time before leaving India forever. The men carried two dhotis and two kurtas each. The women carried two saris each. Apart from this, some carried religious books like the Ramayana, Mahabharata or Quran,”

Aashna Kanhai Ambassador of Suriname

Unveiling of the Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial, Kolkata. L - R: Dave C Prasad (High Commissioner Trinidad & Tobago, Aashna Kanhai (Ambassador of Suriname), M J Akbar (Union Minister of state for External Affairs), Alphonsus Stoelinga (Ambasador of the Kingdom of Netherlands), Vinit Kumar (Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust) and Kajari Biswas (Branch Secretary, Kolkata, Ministry of External affairs)

Unveiling of the Dutch plaque at Suriname Memorial, Kolkata. L – R: Dave C Prasad (High Commissioner Trinidad & Tobago, Aashna Kanhai (Ambassador of Suriname), M J Akbar (Union Minister of state for External Affairs), Alphonsus Stoelinga (Ambasador of the Kingdom of Netherlands), Vinit Kumar (Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust) and Kajari Biswas (Branch Secretary, Kolkata, Ministry of External affairs)

Suriname Memorial, a small non – descriptive memorial, on the banks of Hooghly River in Metiabruz and Garden Reach area was unveiled, on 7 Oct. 2015, by the Union External Minister Sushma Swaraj, in the presence of  Aashna Kanhai, Ambassador of Suriname.

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Memorial of Thomas Dean Pearse, St. Stephen’s School, Dum Dum, Kolkata

March 29, 2017 Leave a comment

Memorial of Thomas Dean Pearse

St. Stephen’s School, Dum Dum, Kolkata

Parse Memorial

Memorial of Thomas Dean Pears, St. Stephen’s School, Dum Dum, Kolkata

Date: 17 August 1880 Time: 5:30 am Location: Belvedere

Two shots broke the silence of the monsoon morning at Alipore, on the southern fringes of Calcutta (now Kolkata), but these were not ordinary gun shots but shots of a duel.

The shots were part of the infamous duel between Warren Hastings and Phillip Francis.

Hasting was appointed the Govern General by the directors of the East India Company. The directors also appointed a council of four members who enjoyed equal powers in the board as the governor general. Philip Francis was one of the four councils and always went against Hastings.

A conflict regarding the war with the Marathas lead to the duel between the two. Thursday, August 17 was the chosen date, and Belvedere was to be the venue; the time chosen for the encounter was half past five in the morning.

Both stood behind the mark and at the counting of one, two and three both fired. Francis fired first and missed his target while Hastings’ fire found its mark on his opponent’s right arm. Francis staggered and while attempting to sit, fell on the ground crying out he was a “dead man”. He recuperated within few days and attended the Council where both were civil in behaviour.

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Indentured Indian Labourers Memorial and Kolkata Port Trust Clock Tower

March 15, 2017 29 comments

Indentured Indian Labourers Memorial and Clock Tower

Kolkata Port Trust, Kidderpore, Kolkata

We are the forgotten children of mother India. Mauritius, Trinidad, Suriname, Guyana and Fiji celebrate Indian Arrival Day and have memorials for the Indian workers. But in India no one remembers them

David Sheoraj of Trinidad and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs)

Kolkata Memorial, a tribute to the Indian Indentured Labourers, Kolkata Port Trust

Kolkata Memorial, a tribute to the Indian Indentured Labourers, Kolkata Port Trust

Fiji: 14 May, Mauritius: 2 Nov., Trinidad: 30 May, Guyana: 5 May, Suriname: 5 June, Jamaica: 10 May. These days are all national holidays in the respective countries and are known as the Indian Arrival Day.

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Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) 2017, Heritage Tour on the River Ganges

January 20, 2017 10 comments

Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) 2017

Heritage Tour on the River Ganges

The Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF), created by the Oxford Bookstores, happens to be India’s only  literary festival created by a bookstore. AKLF also happens to be the fist literary festival of Kolkata.

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Grand view of Howrah Bridge, Hooghly River Heritage Cruise, AKLF 20017

On 6 Jan 2017 the 8th edition of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) kicked off with a Heritage Tour of the River Ganges. I was invited, along with a host of fellow travel bloggers, to attend the Heritage Cruise  by Candid Communications, media partner of AKLF.

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Bengali Literary Heritage Bus Tour, Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsav 2016

October 21, 2016 1 comment

Bengali Literary Heritage Bus Tour

Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsav (ABSU) 2016

The second edition of the Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsav (ABSU) kicked off with the Bengali Literary Heritage Bus Tour, held on 16 Oct. 2016.

Eminent writer and columnist Ranjan Bandhopadhyay (center), Swagat Sengupta, CEO Oxford Book Stores (left) and Tridip Chatterjee of Patra Bharati (right) at Kolkata Police Museum

Eminent writer and columnist Ranjan Bandhopadhyay (center), Swagat Sengupta, CEO Oxford Book Stores (left) and Tridip Chatterjee of Patra Bharati (right) at Kolkata Police Museum

I was privileged enough to lead a group of about 60 eminent Kolkatans, including eminent writer and columnist Ranjan Bandhopadhyay, through the winding streets of north Kolkata past the houses of stalwarts of Bengali literature.

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St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata

August 14, 2016 10 comments

St. Stephen’s Church, Kidderpore, Kolkata

Church with a Rocket like Steeple

Also see: My compilation of Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

The St. Stephen’s Church, located on the Diamond Harbour Road, and next to the St. Thomas School, it is best observed from the bridge over Adi Ganga (Tolly Nala) in Kiddrpore.

St. Stephen's Church, D H Road, Kidderpore, Kolkata

St. Stephen’s Church, D H Road, Kidderpore, Kolkata

With its unique rocket like steeple the St. Stephen’s Church attracts the attention of even the casual passerby. Strangely the steeple was not meant to be designed like a rocket, in fact it was designed as a ship’s lantern.

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Suriname Memorial, Balu Ghat Metiabruz, Kolkata

August 10, 2016 20 comments

Suriname Memorial

Balu Ghat, Metiabruz, Kolkata

Suriname Memorial, a small non – descriptive memorial, on the banks of Hooghly River in Metiabruz and Garden Reach area was unveiled by the Union External Minister Sushma Swaraj on 7 Oct. 2015.

Suriname Memorial, Balu Ghat, Metiabruz, Kolkata

Suriname Memorial, Balu Ghat, Metiabruz, Kolkata

The Suriname Memorial may be new but India’s relationship with Suriname dates back to over almost 150 years. A joint initiative of India and Suriname government the memorial is built in honour of those Indian contract workers who migrated to Suriname, the small country located on the northeast Atlantic coast of South America, from 1873 to 1916.

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