Barrackpore - few pages in Indian History and Culture

#1 Nov 22nd, 2012, 19:36
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#1
Being inspired by those awe-inspiring threads on Chandannagore and Krishnanagore I felt someday to say something about this aged old city of Barrackpore.



So many important events took place here - Indian History remembers this Ganga river side city with respect - rich cultural back ground and presence of many great men made this city proud enough to attract you.






Barrackpur (ব্যারাকপুর) is not only the city of Sepoy Mutiny nor the city of British Lat Sahebs. Though the name Barrackpore derived from the word the English word barracks – first British barrack or cantonment in India was built here in 1772.



But there are some ancient reference of this name too. Go the Mugal era – emperor Asoke divided Bangla in some ‘Sarkar’ and ‘Mahal’ for collection of revenue. You can find the name of Barbuckpur as a ‘Mahal’ in ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ by Abul Fazal (1596–97) – sorces said this is the origin of the name Barrackpore.


In `Manasa Vijay` written by Bipradas Pipilai (1495) Barrackpore ia mentioned as ‘Chanak’. By 15th and 16th century, Chanak and the other nearby towns developed into chief marketing, trading and populous towns by the side of river Hooghly. Modern Barrackpore bears this name till now in a police station- ‘Chanak Phari’ near Railway Station.


Greek navigators, geographers, chronicles and historians of the 1st century BC to the 3rd century A.D. also referred this city.




This ancient city achieved a new important position during the British period who built the Government House and the Government Estate here to provide the viceroy with a suburban residence 24 km outside of Calcutta (now Kolkata).


But the city became famous, carved it’s name in Indian history through two rebellions against those British authority. The first one was in 1824. The 47th Bengal Native Infantry, led by Sepoy Binda Tiwary, refused to board boats to cross ‘kala-pani’- the "dark waters" to Burma. They were fired to death.





The second one was the Indian rebellion of 1857. Mangal Pandey whose name is uttered alongwith Barrackpore, hold with honour, the credit of starting the war by attacking his British commander. In order to commemorate his sacrifice, the park named 'Sahid Mangal Pandey Udyan' was opened which bears his reminiscences.


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#2 Nov 22nd, 2012, 19:45
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  • Hyderabadi is offline
#2
Isn't there a Air Force Station there too? I stayed there for about a month during 1979 summer holidays.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain
#3 Nov 22nd, 2012, 19:47
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#3
Right you are Hyderabadi

So you are familiar with this historical city .


#4 Nov 22nd, 2012, 19:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duronto Jajabar View Post ....So you are familiar with this historical city .


Not really, so please continue to post more information.

I was in school back then and all we did was stay at the AF Station and go to Calcutta a few times and then we went to Darjeeling, Shillong, etc. That's all I remember. Actually I think it was 1978.
#5 Nov 22nd, 2012, 19:58
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Continuation.....

Further in Indian Independence Movement, Barrackpore - the city and the famous city dwellers actively took part too.




Rastraguru Surendra Nath Bandyopadhyay, the famous Indian freedom fighter, known as the father of Indian Nationalist Movement resided here and through his activity, Barrackpore took a significant role in Indian Freedom Movement. His dwelling place is now Rastraguru Surendranath Institute and Netaji Open University.




Another feather to it’s history of Independence Movement is immersion of Mahatma Gandhi's Ashes at Barrackpore Ghat (Now Gandhi Ghat) on the 12th February, 1948. The Gandhi Memorial Museum is there in memory of our Father of Nation which has rare collection of books, articles used by Gandhiji.



Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great Vaishnava saint and social reformer through his journey chanting the divine Names of Krishna passed through this place too, as mentioned in the early Bengali Literature. Nawab Sirajuddolla overtook the way through Barrackpore to reach Kolkata in the 18th century and till now, the road is named Old Calcutta Road. Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore also graced Brrackpore Railway Station by passing by rail to Selaidaha.


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#6 Nov 22nd, 2012, 20:21
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Barrackpore is also the fictional location of Bimal Roy's 1959 film Sujata. This scene takes place at Gandhi Ghat. Sachin Dev Burman has a beautiful voice, doesn't he?

Barrackpore was also in the news when a PanAm aricraft mistakenly landed there. (link)
#7 Nov 23rd, 2012, 00:20
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Thanks for the lovely write up on Barrackpore, Calcutta, India. I was born in Barrackpore, Trinidad, West Indies not far from Darren Ganga former West Indian Cricket player. A lot of Indentured workers came from this region in India around 1845-1917. I would surely like to visit this place in India.
#8 Nov 23rd, 2012, 09:01
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The city is about 23 km from Kolkata and as I said, is on the eastern bank of the holy river Ganga. Among the many important cities by the side of this sacred river, Barrackpore is one.



Being situated in the fertile Ganges-Brahmaputra delta region in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal state, it gained a good geographical position to attract people settle here since several centuries ago. People of this area were variously called as the Gangaridae, Gangaridai, Gandaritai etc. in ancient books.

Not only agriculture, the presence of the river helped people develops and create township here generating different types of living. So day by day it grew up as an important city and put impression not on common people but tread men from different part of the country, great authors and historians too. An elaborate history and depiction about it had been found in many valuable writings and documentations.




Wikipedia says :

By the 15th and 16th century, Chanak and the other towns in this region became populous river towns. Till now there is Police Phari named Chanak Fhari near Barrackpore railway Station. The Statistical Account of Bengal by W.W. Hunter in 1857 mentions the towns and villages on the banks of the Hooghly river, as chief trading and marketing centers. Barrackpore was among those cities – busy with markets for selling various goods.

During Mughal Rule Bengal was divided into Circars - administrative subunits, each of which was ruled over by a Mahal. The name "Barbuckpur" was there, in Mughal history- which is another name for Barrackpore.

After that there came the Jamindars and the area was ruled over by such Jamindars from the Nona Chandanpukur, Barrackpore.

Then came the British with their ‘barrack’ here and gifted this permanent name. The first British barrack or cantonment in India was built here in 1772. They also established the Government House and the Government Estate in Barrackpore to provide the viceroy with a suburban residence.




There are official websites of Barrackpore Subdivision and Barrackpore Cantonment Board too describing glorious history.


The military station of Barrackpore came into being in 1765 and gradually the importance of Barrackore grew and till 23 November 1910 when the capital was shifted from Calcutta to New Delhi, Barrackpore was considered very important city near capital of India..


Lord Wellesly started beautification of Barrackpore in the year 1800 and it got glorified immensely. Then took place the establishment of Lat Bagan, literally translated as the 'Viceregal Garden'. In its green and shady park besides the Hooghly River, Barrackpore was as close to an English country house as possible, yet it had all the magic of India.


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#9 Nov 23rd, 2012, 11:24
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#9
doing tremendous job DD

PS: one can stay on river Ganga at Malancha Tourist Lodge, aproperty of WB Govt, near Gandhi Ghat
.


Totaly confused how to explore the beautiful earth when one life is too short to complete my great India


Photo-Story: HARI-SILA or HARSIL Deoriatal-Chopta,
#10 Nov 23rd, 2012, 12:17
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Great curtain raiser.

Consider writing about the locality where you stay. As you're always on the move, you must be a tourist visiting that area !
#11 Nov 23rd, 2012, 13:15
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Post number 5 the then and now photo of the road (Is it the GT Road?) is quite astounding! The trees still look the same! But most of what you have presented is there in Wikipedia too.

I am not able to get a link to a english movie by the same name which has an Anglo Indian tale.
#12 Nov 24th, 2012, 12:43
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#12

@ Sutapa Di

Great.....

Barrackpore is a very known place to me, but your report gives me a view of new Barrackpore....
#13 Nov 25th, 2012, 15:15
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PKanti View Post doing tremendous job DD

PS: one can stay on river Ganga at Malancha Tourist Lodge, aproperty of WB Govt, near Gandhi Ghat
Thanks PKanti.
Besides Malancha, there some more too. I'll post them


Quote:
Originally Posted by soumiksett View Post Great.....

Barrackpore is a very known place to me, but your report gives me a view of new Barrackpore....
Thanks Soumik. Visit this 'new' one this winter. Many picnic spots are here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mousourik View Post Great curtain raiser.

Consider writing about the locality where you stay. As you're always on the move, you must be a tourist visiting that area !

Well Mousourik, being born and brought up on the western side of Ganga, I'm now living on the Eastern side - just the next station of Barrackpore. I used to pass this historical place at least twice daily, I walked along it's roads so many times, spend so many afternoons by the river side, visited the important spots (not all yet ) several times, visited some picnic spots several times in winter, ventured by the side of ancients mosques, Gurudwaras, temples, old buildings.... without knowing about them !!!!


It is the city of my need, the city of my days of romance, the city to say something about



As I never though before to place it here- in an open forum to share with all of you friends, I never collected information systematically. I see the 'chanak' phari- I remember the origin of it's name ...... I went past 'Chiria more' (road crossing named 'Chiria') and thought of the first ever 'Chiria-khana' (Zoo) of India set up here before being shifted to Alipore. ..... when I move along Old Calcutta Road, I just can't avoid thinking of the run away of Nabab Sirajudoulla ......

I was never a tourist in the city, yet I loved to travel here in need or in no need.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Gametotravel View Post Post number 5 the then and now photo of the road (Is it the GT Road?) is quite astounding! The trees still look the same! But most of what you have presented is there in Wikipedia too.

.....

Gametotravel,

GT road is on western side of Ganga. It's BT road that goes through Barrackpore.

I know the trees look same but I just find some similarities

As I said, I never collected before so many information about this well known city, I googled for the purpose and put together information with the mention of the sites too.




I'm putting here the rich history of Barrackpore, some important information, it's cultural past and of course going to put my own view I gathered through travel along the city.

I'm requesting interested IMers too, to say their own about this city.

#14 Nov 25th, 2012, 16:35
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A most interesting thread to me. Thanks to all. A few months ago I mentioned in another thread that I had an ancestor who marched with his regiment to Meerut from Barrackpore. My history was a little faulty, partly because I had not rechecked a contemporary account now to hand.

My ggg grandfather served for many years with the British infantry regiment, HM 26th Regiment of Foot(The Cameronians). In December 1829 this regiment marched out of Chinsurah, on the Hooghly's west bank a few kilometres upstream of Barrackpore(east bank). Their destination was Meerut which they reached on March 26th 1830. The total movement amounted to 3000 people including camp followers, fifty elephants and one thousand head of oxen and horses. See: A S H Mountain's "Memoirs, Letters, Etc...". A free e-book is available although I first saw the book in The Library of the Asiatic Society of Bombay.

The 26th Foot, several years later, made their return to the Calcutta area by a similar staged march, broken by a brief stop at Ghazipore.
This space intentionally left blank.
#15 Nov 25th, 2012, 19:53
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gametotravel View Post Post number 5 the then and now photo of the road (Is it the GT Road?) is quite astounding! The trees still look the same! But most of what you have presented is there in Wikipedia too.

I am not able to get a link to a english movie by the same name which has an Anglo Indian tale.
it is BT road
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