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The Ghost of a Creek, behind the Bowbazar disaster

The following article is worth reading to understand the reason of East-West Metro Rail excavation disaster in Bowbazar area of Kolkata, where a number of houses just crumbled one after another and still continuing. Experts are not able to pin point the reason for crumbling houses in this area only. This article throws light on the old maps of early days of British Calcutta and what was there underneath the present Bowbazar area. It also inform us how Calcutta name arrived and city was named as Calcutta by the British. The article “The Ghost of a Creek” is written by Mr Alok Kumar, a former marketing and communications expert from ABP group.)
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The Ghost of a Creek

The Metro tunnel hitting an aquifer, a body of permeable rock which can contain or transmit groundwater, and the whole area of Bowbazar slowly crumbling, raises the ghost of a creek which has been lying dormant for centuries.

But this is not something that is unknown. I retrieved several maps of old Calcutta to check. The most significant maps are the one by Colonel Mark Wood in 1784-85 and the map of Calcutta and its Environs by A Upjohn in 1792-93. Going through these maps I found that a creek existed long back in the area where there is devastation.

The creek used to meander from the Hooghly at places between Chandpal Ghat and Babu Ghat, Hastings Street (Kiran Shankar Roy Road) and passed through Waterloo Street, Prinsep Street, Wellington Square, Creek Row, Sealdah and Beliaghata to Salt Lake in the east. It is this Creek that gave Creek Row its name, now Nilratan Sarkar Sarani.

Significantly, the creek was a navigable channel till 1737 for even big barges, as mentioned by Cotton in his monumental work, Calcutta, Old and New; A Historical & Descriptive Handbook to the City. In the absence of proper roads, riverine routes were convenient for the British East India Company officials to venture out of Old Fort William, which was built where the GPO stands today. In fact, British officials excavated the creek for further navigability. According to Kolkata chronicler P T Nair, the name of the city originated from the word ‘Khal-Kata’, ( খাল কাটা ) or creek excavation.

When the great tropical cyclone struck the city on October 11, 1737, it left an incredible trail of death and destruction. It destroyed the city’s first British church, St Anne, which was where the rotunda of the Writers’ Buildings is located. The storm winds, as reported in the East India Company documents, were felt 60 leagues (200 miles or 333km) inland and thousands of vessels were sunk. A big barge was blown nearly 4km into the creek, beyond the spot where Wellington Square, now known as Raja Subodh Mallik Square, today stands. Because of the wrecked barge, which was stuck there for quite a long time, the area used to be called Dingah Bhanga, loosely translated as broken barge. To identify the place where the barge was wrecked, the lane adjacent to the place was named Dingah Bhanga Lane. It was subsequently renamed Wellington Lane and now Raj Kumar Bose Lane.

It was the cyclone that sounded the creek’s death knell. The storm caused the creek to silt up. The stretch of Hastings Street was first filled up. But the Creek Row stretch remained a creek for a little longer, though the water flow stopped, since the gradient of the city is west-to east. “The old bed of the creek remained, long after the closing of its connection with the river had deprived it of its stream, and turned it into a ditch, which served to carry off the surface drainage. It was into this ditch, at what is now Wellington Square, that the sewers discharged their contents,” wrote Kathleen Blechynden in her ‘Calcutta Past and Present’ (1905).

Memories of the creek echo in local folklore and, especially names of places like Jelepara Lane, Jele is Bengali for fisherman, Sareng Lan, Sareng is the steward of a barge and Kaibartya Samaj, the society of fishermen. Jeleparar Sanga, fishermen’s group has remained alive for centuries. People in these areas recall that their forefathers used to catch fish and sell them at Janbazar and Fenwick Bazar. Their livelihood was dependent on the creek. But when the creek ceased to exist and they also changed their way of earning. For the last hundred years, none of them are engaged in fishing, but their customs remained those of fishermen, particularly many of their marriage ritual.

There are many Bot Tala literature which recounts residents in courtyards with flights of stairs where people could embark from a boat. Over the years, these have gone. But finding parts of boats during foundation work of buildings is not uncommon here. There are limericks and wood block prints on the subject.

But Creek Row was not only an area where fisherman and boatman resided. It also became a hub of nationalist movement in the pre-Independence era. It had the office of Bande Mataram, the nationalist newspaper edited by Aurobindo Ghosh. But the heart of the nationalist movement was more nearby at 12, Wellington Square, the majestic mansion of Raja Subodh Mallik. Aurobindo lived in this house till his arrest. Leaders like Subhas Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, and luminaries like Rabindranath and Nazrul used to come to visit this house.

In time, Creek Row also became a metaphor for academic and cultural excellence. Creek Row was the Harley Street of London, which has been noted since the 19th century for its large number of professionals, including specialists in medicine, surgery and other professionals. Right from eye surgeon Nihar Munshi to paediatrician Kshirode Chaudhury, the younger brother of Nirad C Chaudhury, they all used to live here. If you go back a little further, Dr Mahendra Lal Sarkar, the first Indian MD, lived nearby. Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar used to frequent Creek Row to discuss homoeopathy with Rajen Dutta, who is considered to be the father of Indian homoeopathy. Rajen Dutta was also the grandson of Akrur Dutta, a key merchant with the East India Company. Even Mother Teresa lived for a while at Creek Lane, off Creek Row, after she left Loreto House.

But everything bearing that history is being destroyed after the mammoth tunnel-boring machine hit the unmapped aquifer. Now the history of the creek and waterbodies of Bowbazar, where the subsidence happened, has suddenly assumed serious significance. The old maps of the city shows that all the houses are sitting right on top of the erstwhile creek.

I doubt whether Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), the executing agency of the East-West Metro, consulted the old maps to understand the situation below the surface. The accident has woken up the ghosts of a stream that once flowed through the heart of the city.

It is interesting to note that the history of the London Underground began in the 19th century with the construction of the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway. The Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863 using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives, worked with the District Railway to complete London’s Circle line in 1884. In 1905,the British Parliament requested The Advisory Board of Engineers co-opted with The Royal Commission of Traffic to look into the possibility oif laying an underground railway network , in the second capital of the British Empire, Calcutta. Acting on this view , the Board embodies in the Report that : Calcutta is built on dangerous sloppy silt, with a very occasional thin bed of poor remains of carbonaceous clay and creeks running within the city, making it hazardous to build an underground railway. Quote from : The Condition, Improvement and Town Planning of the City of Calcutta and Contiguous Areas. The Richard Report. By E P Richard.

Kolkata’s biggest infrastructure undertaking in decades, the East-West Metro project estimated at Rs 8,575-crore has been thrown off track because a tunnel-boring machine hit an aquifer. That is why tunnelling 13 metres below the bed of the Hooghly was a cakewalk, compared with negotiating this site where the creek used to flow, allowing water ingress or permeability. When a body of water is filled up, the formation of underground water table can be highly fragmented and deceptive. The precarious geology of the Bowbazar area because of huge water flow points at the creek, which may be buried deep underneath the surface.

But what really tripped up this behemoth is the ghosts of the city’s past that few people remember now. The first clue lies in the name of a short road in an old part of the city: Creek Row. The stream that gave Creek Row and its extension Creek Lane its name may be long gone, but scratch below the surface, and it’s very much there. You can obliterate a canal or tank by filling it up, but you can hardly erase their underground imprints.

And with it now the over ground history . With the tunnel, a part of Calcutta will go buried. What a shame. If only we had consulted old maps to know what lay beneath.

Acknowledgement :” The Ghost of a Creek” by Mr Alok Kumar, a former marketing and communications expert from Ananda Bazar Patrika group.)

 

 
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Posted by on 11/09/2019 in Creek, Uncategorized

 

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খেজুর গুড়ের সন্দেশ

আমার পড়া শ্রেষ্ঠ দাম্পত্য সম্পর্কের গল্প।

মূল গল্পটির নাম ‘খেজুর গুড়ের সন্দেশ’ । লেখক সুরসিক খ্যাতনামা সাহিত্যিক প্রয়াত তারাপদ রায়।

মহীতোষবাবু বিবাহোত্তর বাকী জীবন সব বাঙালি পুরুষের মতনই স্ত্রীর ভয়ে সন্ত্রস্ত ছিলেন । টিপে টিপে , মেপে মেপে চলতেন । কীসে কী দোষ হয় গাফিলতি হয় কিছুই অনুমান করতে না পেরে দুরুদুরু বক্ষে সদাসর্বদা স্ত্রীর হাতে লাঞ্ছিত হওয়ার জন্য অপেক্ষা করতেন।

যা হোক এই মহীতোষ বাবু এখন মৃত্যুশয্যায়। ডাক্তার পরীক্ষা নীরিক্ষা করে গম্ভীর মুখে চলে গেছেন – এখন শুধু সময়ের অপেক্ষা।
আশ্চর্য ব্যাপার হল এই যে তাঁর জ্ঞান, বুদ্দি সব টনটনে আছে উপরন্তু ঘ্রাণশক্তিটা মনে হয় বেড়ে গেছে ।
এরপর তারাপদ বাবুর সুরসিক ভাষায় ” এমন সময়ে অন্য একটি সুঘ্রাণ এসে তাঁকে চনমনে করে তুলল। খেজুরে গুড়ের পাকের গন্ধ।দুয়েকবার শুঁকে তিনি তাঁর মাথার কাছে দাঁড়ানো মেয়ে অনুকণাকে বললেন, ‘রান্নাঘরে তোর মা বোধ হয় খেজুরে গুড়ের সন্দেশ বানাচ্ছে ?’ অনু বলল, ‘ হ্যাঁ ঠিকই তাই।’
মৃত্যুমুখী মহীতোষবাবু কেমন প্রলুব্ধ হয়ে পড়লেন, মেয়েকে বললেন, ‘দ্যাখ তোর মা তো সারাজীবন আমাকে ভাল-মন্দ কিছুই খেতে দেয়নি। আজ যা তো, রান্নাঘর থেকে দুটো সন্দেশ নিয়ে আয়, মরার আগে খেয়ে যাই।’
মেয়ে মাকে ভালই চেনে। একটু দোনামনা করে সে রান্নাঘরে গেল এবং সঙ্গে সঙ্গে মুখ কালো করে ফিরে এল।
মহীতোষবাবু মেয়েকে বললেন, কীরে, সন্দেশ কী হল ?’

মেয়ে বলল, ‘ মা দিল না। ও সন্দেশগুলো শ্মশানবন্ধুদের জন্য বনানো হচ্ছে। তুমি মারা যাওয়ার পরে তোমাকে পুড়িয়ে ফিরে সে তারা ওই সন্দেশগুলো খাবে । ওর একটাও তোমার জন্য নয়।
(A short story by wellknown Bengali writer late Tarapada Roy is shared herewith.)

 
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Posted by on 24/11/2018 in story

 

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Happy Deepavali

 
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Posted by on 07/11/2018 in Uncategorized

 

Durga puja

Durga puja

 
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Posted by on 19/10/2018 in Durga puja, Uncategorized

 

After Death

Soul leaving body

*What Happens After Death ??*
What is death ?
Is there life after death ?
Is death painful?
What happens after death ?
How does rebirth happen ?
Where do we go after death ?
These kind of questions related to the most feared event that ends our life always fill our mind, especially when any of our near or dear ones die.
We feel that suddenly the relationship has broken abruptly n wish there could be a connection again. In this quest, our journey to find answers to the above questions begin …
*So, what happens after death ?*
Death is actually a very interesting process !!
*Disconnection of the earth sole chakras*
Approximately 4-5 hours before death, the earth sole chakras situated below the feet gets detached … symbolizing disconnection from the earth plane !!
A few hours before an individual dies, their feet turn cold. When the actual time to depart arrives, its said that Yama, the God of death appears to guide the soul.
*The Astral Cord*
Death severs the astral cord, which is the connection of the soul to the body. Once this cord is cut the soul becomes free of the body n moves up n out of the body.
If the soul is attached to the physical body it occupied for this lifetime, it refuses to leave n tries to get into the body n move it n stay in it. We may observe this as a very subtle or slight movement of the face, hand or leg after the person has died.
The soul is unable to accept that it is dead. There is still a feeling of being alive. Since the astral cord has been severed, the soul cannot stay here n is pushed upwards n out of the body. There is a pull from above … a magnetic pull to go up.
*End of the physical body*
At this stage the soul hears many voices, all at the dame time. These are the thoughts of all the individuals present in the room.
The soul on its part talks to his loved ones like he always did n shouts out “I am not dead” !!
but alas, nobody hears him.
Slowly n steadily the soul realizes that it is dead n there is no way back n at this stage, the soul is floating at approx 12 feet or at the height of the ceiling, seeing n hearing everything happening around.
Generally the soul floats around the body till it is cremated.
So, the next time if you see a body being carried for cremation, be informed that the soul is also part of the procession seeing, hearing n witnessing everything n everyone.
*Detachment from the body*
Once the cremation is complete, the soul is convinced that the main essence of its survival on earth is lost n the body it occupied for so many years has merged into the five elements.
The soul experiences complete freedom, the boundaries it had while being in the body are gone n it can travel anywhere by mere thought.
For 7 days the soul, moves about its places of interest like its favorite joint, morning walk garden, office, etc..If the soul is possessive of his money, it will just stay near his cupboard, or if he is possessive of his children, it will just be in their room, clinging on to them.
By the end of the 7th day, the soul says bye to his family n moves further upwards to the periphery of the earth plane to cross over to the other side.
*The Tunnel*
Its said that there is a big tunnel here which it has to cross before reaching the astral plane. Hence its said that the first 12 days after death are extremely crucial.
*we have to carry out the rituals correctly n pray n ask forgiveness from the soul* so that it does not carry negative emotions like hurt, hatred, anger, etc atleast from the near n dear ones.
All the rituals, prayers n positive energy act like food for the soul which will help it in its onward journey. At the end of the tunnel is a huge bright light signifying the entry into the astral world.
*Meeting the Ancestors*
On the 11th n 12th day Hindus conduct homas n prayers n rituals through which the soul is united with its ancestors, close friends, relatives n the guides.
All the passed away ancestors welcome the soul to the upper plane n they greet n hug them exactly like we do here on seeing our family members after a long time.
The soul then along with its guides are taken for a thorough life review of the life just completed on earth in the presence of the *Great Karmic Board.* It is here in the pure light that the whole past life is viewed !!
*Life Review*
There is no judge, there is no God here. The soul judges himself, the way he judged others in his lifetime. He asks for revenge for people who troubled him in that life, he experiences guilt for all wrongdoings he did to people n asks for self punishment to learn that lesson. Since the soul is not bound by the body n the ego, the final judgment becomes the basis of the next lifetime.
Based on this, a complete life structure is created by the soul himself, called the blue print. All the incidents to be faced, all problems to be faced, all challenges to be overcome are written in this agreement.
In fact the soul chooses all the minute details like age, person n circumstances for all incidents to be experienced.
Example : An individual had severe headache in his present birth, nothing helped him, no medicines, no way out. In a session of past life regression, he saw himself killing his neighbour in a previous birth by smashing his head with a huge stone.
In the life review, when he saw this he became very guilty n asked for the same pain to be experienced by him by way of a never ending headache in this life.
*Blue print*
This is the way we judge ourselves n in guilt ask for punishment. The amount of guilt in the soul decides the severity of the punishment n level of suffering. Hence forgiveness is very vital. We must forgive n seek forgiveness !!
Clear your thoughts n emotions, as we carry them forward to the other side too. Once this review is done n our blue print for the next life is formed, then there is a cooling period.
*The re-birth*
We are born depending on what we have asked for in the agreement. The cooling off period also depends on our urgency to evolve.
We choose our parents n enter the mothers womb either at the time of egg formation or during the 4-5th month or sometimes even at the last moment just before birth.
The universe is so perfect ,so beautifully designed that the time n place of birth constitutes our horoscope, which actually is a blue print of this life. Most of us think that our stars are bad n we are unlucky but in actuality, they just mirror your agreement.
Once we are reborn, for around 40 days the baby remembers its past life n laughs n cries by itself without anyone forcing it to. The memory of the past life is completely cut after this n we experience life as though we did not exist in the past.
*The agreement starts..*
Its here that we are completely in the earth plane n the contract comes into full effect. We then blame God/ people for our difficult situations n curse God for giving us such a difficult life …
So, the next time before pointing to the Divine, understand that our circumstances are just helping us complete n honor our agreement, which is fully n completely written by us. Whatever we have asked for n pre decided is exactly what we receive !!
Friends, relatives, foes, parents, spouses all have been selected by us in the blue print n come in our lives based on this agreement. They are just playing their parts n are merely actors in this film written, produced n directed by us !!
*Do the Dead need healing / prayers / protection ?*
The dead always need serious healing n prayers for a variety of reasons, the most important one being … To be free n not earthbound !! … that is stuck in the earth plane n unable to leave.
There are many reasons for the soul to be earthbound like unfinished business, excessive grief, trauma on death, sudden death, fear of moving on to the astral plane, guilt, one of the most important being improper finishing of last rites n rituals.
The soul feels it needs a little more time to wait n finish before moving on. This keeps them hovering on the earth plane. But the time is limited n it is very very important that they cross over within 12 days to their astral plane of existence, as the entry to the astral world closes a few days after this.
Earthbound spirits lead a very miserable existence as they are neither in their actual plane nor in a body to lead an earthly life. They may not be negative or harmful but they are stuck n miserable. Hence healing n prayers are of utmost importance during this period so that the departed soul crosses over to the designated astral plane peacefully.
Prayers by the whole family is very vital to help the dead cross over. The protection of the soul to help it reach its destination in the astral world is achieved through prayers.
Please Do Not Take Death Lightly … Now more than ever most souls are stuck on the earth plane due to lack of belief and family neglect.
Finally, *for someone who has lost a near and dear one, don’t feel sad … We never die, we live on, death does not end anything, it is just a little break before we meet again* !!

(This article not written by me. It is a collected article. This article has been extracted from the Hindu scripture “The Garuda Puranam” and posted as received, without any alteration or modification)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 13/10/2018 in Uncategorized

 
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Interesting

Here are some interesting facts1

 
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Posted by on 26/08/2018 in GK, Uncategorized

 

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Sorry for the absence

Since last 6 months I was suffering from “Myelopathy” a neurological disorder and finally I had to undergo an operation called “Myeloradiculopathy” at Sakra World hospital, Bangalore on 06 Feb 2018 under Dr. Satish Rudrappa, an eminent Neuro surgeon of Bangalore. I am now recovering from the minor disorders. However, Dr. Said it will take some time to get the things 100% reversed.

Dr. Satish Rudrappa is an eminent Spine & Brain surgeon, attached to Sakra Hospital Bangalore. Any ill-fated persons like me, having neurological problems, may contact him for treatment. Details are available at http://www.sakraworldhospital.com

 
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Posted by on 11/03/2018 in Medical

 

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