Saturday, 26 July 2014


Kolkata cannot boast as many historical sites as some other Indian cities. Yet even the most important sites here are either forgotten or lie in utter neglect. Such is the fate of the site where Maharaja Nandakumar was hanged during Warren Hastings rule. The well, which according to some historians, was specially dug for the execution of Nandakumar on August 5, 1775, is at Hastings, near Vidyasagar Setu. The site is surrounded by a boundary wall but there is no memorial or plaque to mark the execution.

 “Cooly Bazar close to Hastings Bridge a platform being erected for the purpose….” . (Exhoes from old Calcutta by H. E. Basteed, P-85).  “Nandakumar was hanged at Coolybazar a few spaces of Fort William and close to Hastings bridge”. (Calcutta old and new by Henry Evan Cotton. P-113). “The place where I was robbed was near the gallows—about 100 yards from the river. The Place is this (Calcutta) side of Tolly’s Canel about hundred yards from the river”. ( Hide’s Diary, Roll No-8, from June 16, 1788.). “On a platform erected to the north west of Coolybazar which was once Mussalman funeral ground, Nandakumar was executed”. (The good old days of honorable John Company by W.H. Carry. P-47). 

The last wishes of Nandakumar were to breath his last as close as possible to the bank of sacred Adi Ganga so that his mortal remaining would be cremated is one of the Ghats near the bridge. Local tradition claims that the Maharaja….. in a palanquin to the place of execution. ( Maharaja Nandakumar by Chandicharan Sen). “ The street road like Khidirpur Road in continuation of Garden Reach Circular Road after intercepting the Adi Ganga and St. Georges Road running south north to the east this two together with Lower circular Road conversed at a point in the immediate vicinity of Canal Road running paralleled to Tolly’s Nalla and Island of vacant spot at the junction, it was on this side immediately North of the Khidderpur bridge that the gallows was set up and it claimed the ill-fated  as his victim on the appointed day”. ( Jamini Mohon Ghosh, Bengal Past & Present, July-December issue of 1964, P-141-143).

Mr. Chittapriya Mitra , a former state government employee who has done extensive research on Nandakumars life and has written a book on it.

 “……..The Performance is to be given to the Khidderpore Bridge, I have not been able to make a minute enquiry into the matter but if I  find any new clue, I shall let you know…. . In the meantime, I am much interested to know the ground on which Nandakumar is regarded as deserving a memorial, for , while it is really admitted that he did not deserve the capital punishment, as nothing positive great achievement or noble deed, he is generally regarded as a basis for such honour. I am very anxious to know whether Government is in possession of authentic evidence for such noble achievement on the part of Maharaja Nandakumar.” (A letter from Dr. R.C.Mazumder to Mr. Mitra. As on 09.09.1966).

“With reference to your query about exact spot where the…… for Maharaja Nandakumar was executed, I beg to state my opinion as per below……  He was hanged in an Island of vacant spot at the point in immediate vicinity of Canel Road (Running Parallel by Tolly’s Nalla) where Khiddirpore Road, St. George’s gate Road and Lower Circular Road converged…… the site of execution is immediately north of Khiddirpur Bridge.” ( A letter from Dr. Amalesh Tripathi to Mr. Chittapriya Mitra).

 Nisith Ranjan Ray, former curator of the Victorial Memorial Hall, had written to Mitra about the problem he faced when confronted with queries from visitors about the historical site as on 9th March,1978.  
Calcutta which is yet to complete 300 years is necessarily a city cannot claim to have as many historical sites or curiosities as many other Indian cities with longer years of existence can claim even these comparatively fewer sites lie in the state of neglect and are likely to be faded away in seer oblivion, on such site is the place where Nandakumar was executed opinion may differ on Nandakumar’s role, this is hardly surprising in the case of a leader who liked and worked in a period of transition, marked by conflicting interest and loyalties, but none can deny that the last act in the tragic drama of his life singled him out as a man of superb courage and a victim of Judicial impropriety. I have received enquiries, especially from visitors and tourists in the city from abroad, who expressed their keen desire to see the site where the Maharaja executed. I feel it is fit proper that steps should be taken by authorities concern to mark the spot ( i.e on or near the cross-roads to the north of Khiddirpore Bridge) providing it with a properly worded epitaph so that our own people as well others may visualize a site of historical importance relating to an individual in whom they continued to have an abiding interest.”
36 years have been passed since then, No government is turn up for this Historical site.

Source : 1. " Maharaja Nandakumar " By Chandicharan Sen.
                2. " Maharaja Nandakumar " By Chityapriya Mitra. 
                3.  An Artcle Published in  " The Telegraph" Under the Head " History that Hangs Fire 
                      - Nandakumar Neglect " Wednesday, November 09, 2005.
              Research - Santanu Roy
                Picture Courtesy - Sudip Ghosh.

No comments: