Religion

 

 

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Introduction

 

Faith is an important part of life in India for those of all religions.  Life in a city brought those religions closely together and sometimes changed religious practices. 

Even for those who were not especially religious the great sensibilities relating to it, and the profusion of different faiths and gods, made it a memorable part of life in Calcutta.

The linking of religion to nationality and politics would lead to bloody disasters in this decade.

 

 

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Religion

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

the birth-place of two great religions of the world

India is the birth-place of two great religions of the world, Hinduism and Buddhism, and is also the chief seat of Islam and Zoroastrianism today. The Hindus and Muslims form the major communities in India. The former take the lead with 70 percent of the total population. The Islamic faith was first embraced in India in the 12th century though there were Muslim invasions as early as the 8th century. From the 12th century on, India being a country conquered and ruled by Muslims, their faith spread, until, at present, more than a fifth of the people of India follows this creed. The Muslims form the majority in Sind, the Punjab, Northwest Frontier and Bengal.

There are not many Buddhists today in India. An important religious community in India is the Sikkhs, not important in number (a little over 5 million) but important because they are a fighting race and are prominent in the Indian army. The Jains, very small in number, form, perhaps, the most wealthy religious community in India.

The Parsis, a small but cultured community found mostly in the port cities of Bombay and Karachi, are fire-worshipping Zoroastrians.

There are also in India several small groups of orthodox Jews (in Malabar) as well as one of the oldest Christian communities of the world - the Syrian Christians of south India, who are an offshoot of the Nestorian Church. Tradition places India in the map of Christianity in the first century A.D., when St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles, is said to have visited southern India.

The Roman Catholics have been busy in India since about 1500 A.D. when the Portuguese took Goa and other seaports on the western coast. The first Protestant mission came in 1706 but the Protestants did not flourish at first. There are at present a little over 6 million Christians in India, the Catholics outnumbering the Protestants.

 

(source: “A Guide Book to Calcutta, Agra, Delhi, Karachi and Bombay” The American Red Cross and the China-Burma-India-Command. [1943]:  at: http://cbi-theater-2.home.comcast.net/redcross/red-cross-india.html#INDIA)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

There was complete amity between the various communities

Those were the times when there was complete amity between the various communities amongst whom we counted our friends. We eagerly looked forward to sports, debates and year ending functions.  Though many of us were not of the religion of Christianity we eagerly looked forward to the chapel talks and tales of distant lands given often by many foreign personages.  The year ending functions gave an opportunity to bid farewell to teachers, old and new, as well as to enjoy lime water and chocolate served by the school.

S.V. Mazumder, Pupil of Calcutta Boys School, Calcutta, 1941

 

 (source: “Schooldays” Leaflet provenance currently  unknown)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with S.V. Mazumder)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Places of Worship

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

 

 

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Hinduism & Temples

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

Holy man in a Calcutta street

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Holy man, T012, "Holy man in a Calcutta street."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Learned man

This gentleman claimed to have been educated in Oxford, England and he spoke and acted as if he had. He frequented a small temple located about where today's Judges Court Road crosses the bridge to Kalighat Road. He was an interesting individual, a learned man and I enjoyed knowing him.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Learned man, I011, "This gentleman claimed to have been educated in Oxford, England and he spoke and acted as if he had. He frequented a small temple located about where today's Judges Court Road crosses the bridge to Kalighat Road. He was an interesting individual, a learned man and I enjoyed knowing him. Calcutta, "  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

The Gita

The first really readable, authoritative English translation of one of the world's oldest and greatest religious classics was published last fortnight. It is The Bhagavad Gitā (The Song of the Lord), often called the Hindu New Testament, translated by Swami Nikhilananda (Rama-krishna-Vivekananda Center, New York; $3). Also published, without the profuse notes and comments of the larger volume, was a $2 pocket-size edition of the Gltā's text ("for daily devotional study . . . very convenient when traveling").

Says Harvard's Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, William Ernest Hocking (Contemporary Science and the Idea of God) in his foreword: "May this majestic poem find its way into the familiar literary friendship of many readers, and contribute to the sense of spiritual kinship with the most gifted people of Asia, akin to us both in blood and language."

The Gitā is daily spiritual reading for millions of Hindus, from man-in-the-street to monk. It forms a part of the 2,000-year-old Mahābhārata (Greater India). The Bhagavad Gitā comprises 18 chapters of the Mahābhārata, takes the form of a dialogue between Sri Krishna, also a manifestation of God, and Arjuna, an Indian prince.

Arjuna and Krishna. The Gitā is just as timely as it was 2,000 years ago, for it opens with the problem of the righteous man's attitude toward war. Drawn up on the historic plain of Kurukshetra, on chariots, elephants, horses and afoot, were thousands of Indian warriors. They had assembled to fight a battle to decide who should rule a kingdom. Arjuna was the rightful contender, and Krishna, in person, was with him on the vast plain.

The sight of the armies made Arjuna weep. It was senseless (and sinful) that so many men should die for his earthly glory. To Krishna, Arjuna recited the evils of war as they have always been known to men who have always made wars. "O Krishna," he cried, "at the sight of these my kinsmen assembled here eager to give battle, my limbs fail and my mouth is parched . . . . I desire neither victory nor empire nor even any pleasure. . . . I would not kill though they should kill me. . . . Far better would it be for me if [they] should slay me in the battle unarmed and unresisting."

The Unreal Never Is. Krishna knew that Arjuna's confusion arose from his failure to discriminate between the Real and the unreal, Spirit and matter, Soul and body. Said Krishna: "The unreal never is. The Real never ceases to be. . . . None can cause the destruction of that which is immutable. Only the bodies of which this eternal, imperishable, incomprehensible Self is the indweller, are said to have an end. Fight, therefore. . . . He who looks on the Self as the slayer, and he who looks on the Self as the slain—neither of these apprehends aright. The Self slays not, nor is slain. It is never born nor does It ever die, nor, having once been, does It again cease to be. Unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval, It is not slain when the body is slain. . . ."

Krishna goes on to explain that it is futile to oppose God's will, since all things have been accomplished already in His foreordaining mind: "By Me and none other have they already been slain. Be an instrument only, O Arjuna . . . . To a warrior nothing is better than a righteous war."

Fortified by Krishna's teaching, Arjuna dashes into the battle, which lasts 18 days. Arjuna wins.

Spiritual Allegory. Later Krishna points out the three stages of man's spiritual evolution: 1) dualism, in which man identifies himself only with his body ; 2 ) qualified non-dualism, in which man regards himself as a part of God; 3) absolute non-dualism, in which man regards himself as one with God. Thus, the Gltā is sometimes held to be an allegory. Arjuna represents the individual soul, Krishna the Supreme Being dwelling in every man's heart. The warriors are evil forces besetting man. The battle is the never-ending struggle between good & evil.

The Translator. Swami (Hindu monastic teacher) Nikhilananda, who also translated The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (TIME, Nov. 2, 1942), is a tall, slender, fluent English-speaking Hindu, born (1895) near Calcutta. He was educated in Calcutta University, spent two years as associate editor of one of Calcutta's biggest newspapers, Amrita Bazar Patrika. Later he took his vows in the Hindu monastic Order of Ramakrishna. He came to the U.S. in 1931, went to the Ramakrishna center in Providence. Eleven years ago he opened a center in Manhattan. (There are eleven others in the U.S.)

(source: TIME Magazine, New York, Jul. 3, 1944)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Time Magazine)

 

Food for the Gods

The land and the gods were thirsty. To water the land, and to control the temperamental  waters of the Kosi River in Bihar Province, the Indian Government planned the world's  highest dam (730 ft.). But many a simple villager thought the plans for the dam would  simply sharpen the thirst of the gods for human blood.

Bihar villagers remembered a pre-Hindu superstition that the gods require human sacrifice  whenever any major building is under construction. The faith of the Thugs, worshipers of  Kali, Goddess of Destruction, who thought their goddess was the more pleased the more  people they strangled in her name, had never quite died out. In the last 30 years about a dozen people have been sentenced in Bihar, Bengal and Madras on charges of offering human  sacrifices.

When Bihar villagers heard of the plans for the Kosi dam, they locked their children  indoors. Last week their schools were closed, for no pupils would attend. Bazaars and  fairs shut down. Panicky villagers feared that 108 children would be kidnaped for  sacrifice.* They picked 108 as the proper figure because that is sacred to Hindus. Rama,  for instance, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, the Protector, offered his wife Sita 108  lotuses, each with 108 petals.

* In Bombay in 1929, rumors that children were being kidnaped for sacrifice on a Baroda  bridge led to riots that killed 149.

(source: TIME Magazine, New York,  Aug. 18, 1947)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Time Magazine)

 

The Hindus

The Hindus.   There are 256,000,000 Hindus in India, believers in the God Brahma, creator of everything in the world. Brahma is so great and so far removed from ordinary human affairs that the Hindus do not worship him directly. Rather they worship his presence in other Minot gods of whom there are a great number.

Religious observance by the Hindus is an individual matter; there is no group ceremony like the church services we know. When you see a Hindu with a U-shaped or three-pronged fork freshly painted on his forehead, he will have just returned from worshipping at a temple of the god Vishnu, one of the most important Hindu gods. Likewise, the Hindu who worships at a temple of Shiva will have a horizontal smear of ash runned across his forehead. As a rule, the Hindu makes individual offerings of incense or fruit and says his prayers in a temple or before a shrine, many of which you will see along the roadside. Every Hindu honors a collection of ancient books called the Veda.

 

(source: “A Pocket Guide to India” Special Service Division, Army Service Forces, United States Army. War and Navy Departments Washington D.C [early 1940s]:  at: http://cbi-theater-2.home.comcast.net/booklet/guide-to-india.html)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

Sacred Cows

Sacred Cows.   We Americans use the term "sacred cow" in a joking way. In India there isn't anything funny about it. Literally, to the Hindu, the cow and the bull are sacred; so much so that while you may see Hindu pushing cattle out of the way or driving them from open market stalls, no Hindu would dream of killing a cow.

There are nearly 200,000,000 cows in India - one for every two persons - so you will see plenty of them wandering unmolested along the main streets of towns and along the highways. Compared to the cattle you see in America, India's cows are a sorry lot mainly because there are too many of them; there is not enough fodder to go around. They are no respecters of motor traffic and one does have to be particularly careful when driving along the roads. In some parts of India the penalty for killing a cow, even by accident, may be as much as seven years in jail. There are other sacred animals besides cows - monkeys and peacocks, for instance. It is just as well to avoid harming any of these animals no matter where you are.

 

(source: “A Pocket Guide to India” Special Service Division, Army Service Forces, United States Army. War and Navy Departments Washington D.C [early 1940s]:  at: http://cbi-theater-2.home.comcast.net/booklet/guide-to-india.html)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

The Caste System

Newcomers to India are apt to refer too glibly to the caste system without actually knowing what it is. The following is a good definition to learn and to take home with you; Simply put, the caste system implies that birth determines irrevocably the whole course of a Hindu's social and domestic relations, and that he must through life eat, drink, marry, and give in marriage in accordance with the usages of the community into which he was born. And by the way, you might write home that the shackles of caste are slowly but surely falling away.

 

(source: “The Calcutta Key” Services of Supply Base Section Two Division, Information and education Branch, United States Army Forces in India - Burma, 1945:  at: http://cbi-theater-12.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-12/calcuttakey/calcutta_key.html)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

The Caste System

The Caste System.   Every Hindu is born into a caste from which he must take his wife and which often determines how he shall earn a living. For instance those belonging to a certain caste will be water-carriers by occupation and their sons, as a rule, will continue to carry water. In modern times members of such a caste will go into other occupations without losing their place as a member of that caste. All together there are some 2,000 castes and subcastes.

Originally, there were four main caste groups: the Brahmas, or priests; the Kashatriya, or warrior group; the Vaisya, or merchants; and the Sudras, who were the farmers. Within these main groups, innumerable sub-castes developed until the main group itself became all but forgotten.

Today, as the highest caste, the Brahmans stand at the top of the social ladder. They often are the priests and the scholars of Hindu society. Brahmans may carry the honorary title of Pandit (learned man), as Pandit Nehru, from which our term pundit (meaning heavy-duty thinker) derives. Brahmans also are found in many other occupations, ranging from farming to accountancy. Many are messengers in government service, while others are cooks. Brahmans are especially desirable as cooks since food prepared by them, under caste rules, can be eaten by members of any caste or subcaste. Otherwise Hindus may only eat food prepared by one of equal or superior caste standing. No matter what his occupation, the Brahman is still a member of the elite class.

The present caste system is by no means fixed. There are many subdivisions within each caste and new ones are constantly being formed. For instance, a former regiment of the Indian Army known as the Queen's Own Sappers and Miners used to recruit its men from Indians living near Madras in south India. It is reported that among these there is a special and highly superior caste growing up known as Queensap, made up of those who have served or descended from those who have served in the Queens Own Sappers and Miners.

Getting back to the Brahmans, you will see them everywhere wearing a sacred thread over the left shoulder as insignia of their rank. All Brahmans are vegetarian, as are most Hindus of the higher castes. To them killing any animal, even for food, is a sin.

As the highest caste, Brahmans take extreme care to keep themselves pure, according to caste rules. If a Brahman should brush against someone of a lower case, he will have to take a bath immediately in order to become pure again. If his food is touched by one of a lower caste, it immediately becomes unfit for him to eat. Because of these special rules, the food problem with Indian troops is a difficult one. Try not to offend their religious customs and stay away from Indian soldiers when they are eating. As a foreigner you have no caste standing and even your shadow falling on their food might make it necessary for them to throw it away.

With the growth of industrial development and modern living conditions in the cities, there has been some break-down in rigid caste rules. You may see Indians of different castes eating together in Calcutta or Bombay. But the rules are strictly observed in villages in rural India, particularly in the south. It is the best course of action not to risk giving offense no matter where you are. If you are in doubt about what to do, be frank about it and ask someone's advice.

There are a large number of Hindus who are outside the caste structure. They are called "Untouchables" or in official documents the "Depressed Classes" and are often pitifully poor. In rural Villages the section in which the Untouchables live is sometimes set off several hundred yards from the rest of the houses. Many of India's present leaders have worked to improve their miserable conditions of life, but progress has been slow.

 

(source: “A Pocket Guide to India” Special Service Division, Army Service Forces, United States Army. War and Navy Departments Washington D.C [early 1940s]:  at: http://cbi-theater-2.home.comcast.net/booklet/guide-to-india.html)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

The Caste System

The keystone of the social structure of the Hindus is the institution of caste. The caste system implies that birth determines irrevocably the whole course of a Hindu's social and domestic relations, and that he must through life eat, drink, marry, and give in marriage in accordance with the usages of the community into which he was born. The system was introduced by the Aryan conquerors of India after they had established themselves in this country. It began as a division of labour into priests and teachers (Brahmins), warriors and administrators (Kshatriyas) and cultivators and traders (Vaisyas). The original and conquered inhabitants formed the slave caste or Sudras (their descendants are know known as "Untouchables"). Caste was intially interchangeable, but later, when many new sub-castes came to be formed as new races and clans came to India and were absorbed into the social structure, and trades also began to become hereditary, the caste system acquired religious sanction and cast-iron rigidity, and inter-marriage and inter-dining were put under a ban.

The shackles of caste are now slowly but surely falling away, and the influence of caste on vocations is almost non-existent; a Brahmin becomes a tradesman, while a cobbler, if he receives educational opportunities, becomes a professor of philosophy or the head of a bank.

 

(source: “A Guide Book to Calcutta, Agra, Delhi, Karachi and Bombay” The American Red Cross and the China-Burma-India-Command. [1943]:  at: http://cbi-theater-2.home.comcast.net/redcross/red-cross-india.html#INDIA)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

Kali

Calcutta derives its name from the shrine of Kali, 'the Black One', a gorgon-headed goddess dripping with the blood of which she is insatiable, adorned with a necklace of skulls. She sends famine and pestilence, and in former days human heads wreathed with flowers were offered at her altar whenever a famine raged. Goats were sacrificed instead of human beings when I visited her loathsome temple.

In spite, or perhaps because of, her destructive tendencies, Kali was once a prima ballerina, and she is said to have made a triumphal tour of India challenging famous dancers to compete with her. Naturally she won - until she competed with her husband Siva. In order to defeat her Siva 'raised his leg vertically above his head, a position which Kali's womanly modesty forbade her to copy' — an episode often portrayed in Indian sculpture.

Whereupon Kali retired to her temple in a tantrum. That so frightful a virago should have been so demure was curious, but the monsters of history and legend are often bashful. No doubt Hitler was a pattern of primness.

Harold Acton, RAF airforce officer. Calcutta, early 1940s.
(source: page 115-6 Harold Acton: More memoirs of an Aesthete. London Methuen, 1970)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Harold Acton)

 

I saw the cast system in action and didn't like it

Calcutta was bloomin awful, the poorest of the poor were there. The beggars on the streets lived out their lives under corrugated iron on the pavement. Some had their arms and legs bent the wrong way deliberately for begging.

'I saw the cast system in action and didn't like it, bloomin awful'

[…]

'Wherever you went it was Backshee Sahib’

Ernest Thomas Clifford, Royal Air Force, Calcutta, 1944

 

(source: A2615726 tom clifford - the war years 2 at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

Seeing the Astrologer

Chungking continued to retain the attraction of a promised goal and I still hoped to reach it. The journalists I encountered were puzzled by this perverse enthusiasm for Free China and one of them, an Indian, said: 'Why don't you consult an astrologer? I know an excellent one. He will tell you what to expect.' On the spur of the moment he took me to a shrivelled Bengali who could not have known the slightest thing about me, and he obligingly acted as my interpreter.

The soothsayer cast my horoscope and all the facts he told me about my past were correct. In the near future he predicted a severe illness and a long journey. 'East or West?' I asked him.

My mind was on China so he could not have read my thoughts, for he answered: 'West. After your illness you will return to England in several months' time.' Though disappointed I did not take this prediction too seriously.

Harold Acton, RAF airforce officer. Calcutta, early 1940s.
(source: page 127-8, Harold Acton: More memoirs of an Aesthete. London Methuen, 1970)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Harold Acton)

 

the reluctant fortune-teller

I’ve never been superstitious, but an experience I had while serving in the RAF during World War Two gave me pause for thought. I was stationed at an Air Headquarters about 30 miles from Calcutta in India, and we spent our rare breaks from duty exploring the overcrowded city, its shopping precincts and its markets. It was while a group of us were looking for bargains in the Hogg Market that we encountered the Hindu fortune teller. At this point I must explain that Hindus place a great reliance on those who can foretell the future. Many of the wealthier individuals would not start a New Year without a horoscope, produced by a reputable fortune teller, to guide them, someone in our group decided to find out what the future held for him, so, after prolonged bargaining, the Hindu soothsayer drew patterns in the large patch of sand laid out before him, and then asked to look at my friend’s hand. After palm reading the airman was assured of a long and prosperous life (he would have secretly settled for a promise he would get home undamaged) and that he would have a loving wife and family. It was as could be expected, and so it went on, with variations, until a corporal from the Motor Transport section presented his hand. The Indian said nothing for a minute or two and then: “No, sahib, I cannot see clearly, and it is rather muddled”. The corporal was not pleased. He cajoled, bullied, and even offered double fee to no avail when the corporal, completely out of character, became abusive, we dragged him away. I thought no more about it, and, six weeks later, we moved to Burma, landing at Rangoon. I was on signals watch one morning when one of my friends came in looking distraught. “Have you heard about Corporal Bloggs?” he asked, “He’s dead”. The corporal was supervising the unloading of lorries from a cargo carrier at the quayside and the chains holding one of the vehicles had snapped as it was lowered. He was unable to jump clear. It was then that I recalled the reluctant fortune-teller, and I have often pondered….

Denis Downes, Royal Air Force, Calcutta, mid 1940s

 

(source: A3704401 The Fortune Teller at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

I gave him my rice on exchange for his meat, which he would never touch

My room overlooked the lawn and had only one occupant, an Indian RAF man, I never did find out what he did. He must have been one of us and he was very nice and a devout Hindu. His father was a high ranking Hindi priest (I never met him). My room mate was very friendly and took me to some Indian army entertainment. We ate in the RAF canteen and I gave him my rice on exchange for his meat, which he would never touch.

Philip Miles, RAF photo reconnaissance unit, Calcutta, mid 1940s

 

(source: A4144664 What did you do in the RAF, Dad? (Part 2) at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

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Kalighat

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

Kalighat temple

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A strong contrast to the splendor of the Jain temple is the Kalighat temple, built in the 1600's, worship place of Hindus.  It is famous for the practice of sacrificing goats, as many as 1500 having been slaughtered in one day.  On the bank of a canal cut from the original Ganges bed, it is the temple of the Goddess kali.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

Hindu wife praying

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Hindu wife prays to the God Siva for blessing of fertility.  Phallic symbol is obscured by iron grating at base of a type cactus tree which is believed to have power to endow worshipper with productive powers. Woman whose face barely shows behind tree has prayed in vain for days and has been seen there day after day by Red Cross girls who take GI tours to the temple.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

 

 

Brahmins at worship

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Brahmins worships in the Kalighat temple  Spoon-shaped brass container holds Ganges water.  Brahmins are the highest caste of Hindus, their mark of distinction being the piece of string seen in hand of grey-haired senior Brahmin.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

 

 

Hindus bathing

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Hindus bathe in the holy water of a canal which was cut from the original bed of the Ganges.  Steps lead down from the grounds of the Kalighat temple.  Water is still considered holy, even though from the Hooghly.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy o

David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

 

Young man after a visit to Kali temple

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: After a visit to Kali temple, I014, "Young man after a visit to Kali temple as best as I can remember, Calcutta"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

Activity at Kali Temple, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kali temple, T034, " All scenes of activity at Kali Temple, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Activity at Kali Temple, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kali temple, T035, " All scenes of activity at Kali Temple, Calcutta." seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Activity at Kali Temple, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kali temple, T036, " All scenes of activity at Kali Temple,Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

The ‘Barren Tree’ at the Kali Temple, a spot for divine help in bearing children. Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Activity at Kali temple, T037, " Activity at Kali Temple. 38, we were told  was known as the ""Barren Tree, a spot for  divine help in bearing children. Calcutta, ."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

The ‘Barren Tree’ at the Kali Temple, a spot for divine help in bearing children. Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Activity at Kali temple, T038, " Activity at Kali Temple. 38, we were told was known as the ""Barren Tree, a spot for divine help in bearing children. Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Activity at Kali Temple, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Activity at Kali temple, T039, " Activity at Kali Temple. "  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

The courtyard in front of the Kali Temple

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Courtyard, T011, "I know this scene is in the courtyard in front of the Kali Temple, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Scene near Kali Temple, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Scene near Kali temple, T014, "Scene near Kali Temple, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Scene near Kali Temple, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kali temple, T022, "Scene near Kali Temple, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Kalighat scene, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kalighat, T024, "Kalighat scene, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Kalighat scene, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kalighat activity, T025, "Kalighat activity, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

Kali temple from its river side, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kali temple, T007, "I think this is the Kali temple from its river side, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

I think this is the ghat near what we knew as the Kali Temple in Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kali temple, T010, "I think this is the ghat near what we knew as the Kali Temple in Calcutta. I think it! is the Bidyadhari River."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

THE TEMPLE OF KALI

Location :—Kali Temple Road (Kalighat).

Admission :—Open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Trams :—Kalighat, Tollygunge, Ballygunge.

Buses :—2, 2A, 4, 4A, 5, 5A.

Kali, the Consort of Siva the Destroyer, who with Brahmo as the Creator and Vishnu as the Preserver, forms the Trimurti, is the patron goddess of Calcutta Hindus. The Temple, built on the relics severed from the body of Kali, and adorned with all the magnificence of religious profusion, with dim windows, fretted pillars, and dark ceilings, is a great centre of pilgrimage and is held in extraordinary veneration by Hindus of all castes. There is a constant stream of worshippers at all times, and on Puja  days, particularly during the Durga and Kali Puja festivals, devotees from far and wide throng the road to and from the Temple.

The present Temple was built in 1809. It rises to a height of about 90 feet and stands on a base 70 feet square, on land where the Ganges once flowed. It is a single building, constructed in grey masonry embellished with green mosaic, with a double canopy-shaped roof in the curvilinear style of architecture. A raised verandah surrounds the sanctuary, wherein reigns the goddess Kali, a black figure with four arms, red eyes and a protruding scarlet tongue, garlanded with a chain of human heads and richly-perfumed flowers, while prostrate at her feet is her consort Siva.

In the compound to the north-east of the Temple is a champa tree, known as the barren tree, with its branches covered with stones hanging by sacred threads and its roots entwined with hair and other offerings, made by women desirous of sons. To the south are two wooden blocks where goats, on an average of fifty a day, are sacrificed to the goddess. Close by, on the west, are the temples of Siva, Radha Krishna, and Ganesh the elephant-headed god.

To the west of the Temple is the Ramchunder Goenka Dharamsala, erected in 1929 in memory of the late Babu Ramchunder Goenka by his sons, Sir Hariram Goenka Bahadur, Babu Ghanshamdass Goenka Bahadur and Sir Badridass Goenka Bahadur. This Dharamsala is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Across the road is a hospital, donated by the same benefactors, and maintained by the Calcutta Corporation. It is a two-storeyed building and has a charitable dispensary and seven beds for pilgrim patients. Farther west is the bathing ghat and the Debidutt Dooduawalla Rest House, where pilgrims are allowed to remain for three days.

Emerging from the Temple and proceeding along Kalighat Road in a southerly direction, we cross Nepal Bhattarcharjiya Street and arrive at Tollygunge Road, where, just on the right, lies the Koiratollah Burning Ghat. At the entrance to the ghat stands an impressive monument, erected to the memory ofC. R. Dass, the first Mayor of Calcutta. This monument is 55 haths*[* A hath is an Indian measure equivalent to 18 inches.] in height, and represents his age at the time of his death. Close at hand is a memorial to J. M. Sen-Gupta.

The approach to the burning ghat on the south is marked by a lofty pink temple, crowned with a picturesque dome, a Memorial to the Rajah of Mymensingh. A few yards down Tollygunge Road rises a triple archway of carved stone, the iron gates of which are emblazoned with the Mysore Coat of Arms, and surmounted with an image of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Good Fortune, seated between two elephants. A covered passage beneath leads to a beautiful flower-garden, where stands a hand some carved temple and pavilion, erected to the memory of the late Maharajah of Mysore.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 169-171 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

The learned man from Oxford

You asked about the "learned man from Oxford."

With his white beard and robe and on the steps of that small temple, he was really quite impressive. He was located, probably a mile from our base of operations and I would walk there from time to time as work duties allowed.

The temple was on the bank of a canal or maybe Tollys Nulla, I just don't know exactly on a map where it was situated.

I remember he sat on, or held, a leopard skin robe. I guess it was authentic, but I was never able to ascertain for certain. He also had an unsual wooden support of some kind which he would lean against while talking. I knew nothing about the Hindu religion at the time, so in him, I finally found someone who could explain, fairly well, a comparison between Christianity and Hinduism, how they differed and how in some ways and beliefs, there was similarity. He welcomed Milt Links and I to his temple, I know not whether he was a priest of some kind or whether he was just another person who visited the temple. He gave the impression that he had a measure of authority around there. Not much more I can relate about him.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

(source: a series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dakshineswar

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

Temple complex

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Temple complex, T006, "Temple complex several miles upstream on the Hooghly from Calcutta. I do not recall its name.,"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

Near Dakshineswar temple

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Near Dakshineswar temple, T031, "Not certain where this scene is. Think it is near Dakshineswar Temple, Calcutta area, 1944."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Calcutta scene

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Calcutta scene, T023, "Calcutta. Can't identify or locate."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Swastika

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Swastika, T040, " An unidentified spot in Calcutta. I was attracted by the swastika markings on the gate, but have no explanation for their meaning."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

 

 

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Bathing Ghats

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

Hooghly River

35

 

The Hooghly River is lined with bathing ghats like the one shown here.  The troop transports in the back-ground seem out of place in the old-world atmosphere created by the temple at left and the sampans at anchor.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

Hindus bathing

23

 

Hindus bathe in the holy water of a canal which was cut from the original bed of the Ganges.  Steps lead down from the grounds of the Kalighat temple.  Water is still considered holy, even though from the Hooghly.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

 

Ladies and men's' ghat, upstream

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Ladies and men's ghat, Rf035, "Ladies and men's' ghat, upstream."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Bathing ghat immediately downstream from Howrah Bridge and across the river from Howrah station

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Bathing ghat, Rf006, "Bathing ghat immediately downstream from Howrah Bridge and across the river from Howrah station."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Bathing ghat, Calcutta side of river, downstream from Howrah Bridge

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Bathing ghat, Rf009, "Bathing ghat, Calcutta side of river, downstream from Howrah Bridge."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Ghat activity at unidentified spot

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Ghat activity, Rf016, "Ghat activity at unidentified spot,."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

a scene at Nimtolla Ghat

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Nimtolla Ghat, Rf031, "I think this is a scene at Nimtolla Ghat. It is on west bank of the river and upstream from Howrah Bridge, Calcutta 1944."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

 

Memories like a slide show

You asked about my attraction to the Hooghly and what I remembered of it.

Those memories are more like a slide show on a screen. There is a whole series of images that come to mind. 1. Muddy water like the Mississippi here. 2. Wooden, rowed or sailed, vessels struggling with current and wind. 3. Refelections of spidery, Howrah bridge steel work on the water's surface. 4. Coolies unloading bags of rice, I imagine, from a barge, running like human conveyor belts from barge to shore and back again. 5. A large, sidewheel propelled, steam-powered riverboat moored just downstream from the bridge. 6. Blackened human body parts near he burning ghats.

These are just a few of hundreds of scenes that come to mind when you say,"Hooghly River."

I have a fascination for rivers, activity on them and beside them. I guess that accounts for why I never missed a chance to get down along the Hooghly in Calcutta.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

(source: a series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley)

 

 

 

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Islam & Mosques

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

 

 

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Nakhoda Mosque

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

Nimtolla [sic] mosque

25

 

The Nimtolla [sic] Mosque, largest Mohammedan mosque in Calcutta.  Its prayer hall will accommodate 10,000 worshippers.  A modern specimen of Indo-Sarascenic architecture, its Minarets (towers) are 151 feet high.  GI truck at entrance is waiting for a load of soldiers on American Red Cross tour.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

 

Scene in Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Nakhoda Mosque, T018, "Scene in Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

Person in Nakhoda Mosque

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Nakhoda Mosque, I013, "Person in Nakhoda Mosque, I believe. I am judging by what I see in the background. Calcutta"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Looking north, from southernmost minarette of Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Minarette, T015, "Looking north, from southernmost minarette of Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Scene in Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Nakhoda Mosque, T017, "Scene in Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Scene in Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Nakhoda Mosque, T019, "Scene in Nakhoda Mosque, Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Two individuals seen in and near Nakhoda Mosque

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Near Nakhoda Mosque, T027, "Two individuals seen in and near Nakhoda Mosque., Calcutta, 1944."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Two individuals seen in and near Nakhoda Mosque

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Near Nakhoda Mosque, T028, "Two individuals seen in and near Nakhoda Mosque., Calcutta, 1944."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Nakhoda Mosque,. is definitely in-Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Mosque, T009, "I think this is in the Nakhoda Mosque,. is definitely in-Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

THE NAKHODA MOSQUE

Admission:—Mahomedans (Worshippers), 4 a.m. to midnight.                Non-Mahomedans (Visitors), 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Location:—1 Zakaria Street (Chitpore).

Trams :—Esplanade-Baghbazar via Chitpore. Esplanade-Belgatchia via Chitpore.

Buses :—4, 4A.

Muslims in Calcutta have every reason to be proud of the beautiful and stately Nakhoda Mosque, a prayer house of distinctive Oriental character and design. Solemn and dignified in its construction, this sacred edifice is modelled on Akbar's tomb at Sikandra near Agra. A notable feature associated with its erection, is that it is the gift of a single small community, the Cutchi Memon Jama'at, a Mahomedan sect in Calcutta, who resolved to present their co-religionists with a mosque that would rank among the greatest "Places of Prayer" in the world.

The foundation stone was laid on the 11th  September 1926, and the building, constructed at a cost of Rs. 15,00,000/-, stands as a lasting monument to the generosity of the Cutchi Memons.

The Mosque, with its large Prayer Hall capable of accommodating 10,000 worshippers, its majestic dome, its two lofty minarets, each 151 feet high, and 25 smaller ones .surmounted by cupolas, whose heights range from 100 to 117 feet, should be a great attraction to visitors.

The entrance is through the lofty arches of two imposing gateways of red sandstone from Dholpur, designed after the famous Buland Gate of Fatehpur-Sikri. Rich ornamental marble, with designs similar to those of the Taj Mahal and other celebrated Muslim edifices in the East, have been lavishly used in the interior.

During the month of Ramazan, beacons visible from a great distance shine from minarets, to indicate to the Faithful the proper time of fast, which all Muslims are called upon to observe.

The Mosque is administered by a Board of Trustees, appointed exclusively from the members of the Cutchi Memon Jama'at. 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source page 134 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

So, we just walked in.

As the last one on your list, "Nakhoda Mosque," you seem to have had great access. Was that easy?

Again, if the door to a place was open, we approached and if someone seemed in authority, we would ask permission to enter. As I remember, no one approached us nor were there any signs prohibiting entrance. So, we just walked in. In a place like that, we did so silently, eyes sweeping around to see just what we had gotten into. We went up the stairs, were fascinated by the six big clocks on a railing of what appeared to be a balcony.

One photo I made there shows an elderly gentleman with what I took to be his Koran. The light was almost studio-perfect, so I quietly let the shutter click. I don't think he was ever conscious of my presence. He was a great subject.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

(source: a series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley)

 

 

 

 

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Tipu Sultan Mosques

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

Shahi Masjid

Directly facing Esplanade (East) is Dharamtala Street leading to Lower Circular Road. Entering Dharamtala Street we note No. 1 on the right and No. 186 on the left. At the corner, on the left, is the well known Shahi Masjid, built in 1842 by Prince Golam Mohamed, son of Tipoo Sultan. In front is a fountain erected by Nawab Abdul Gunny, C. S. I. and his son, Nawab Ahsonallah Khan Bahadur of Dacca, in commemoration of the visit to Calcutta in 1875 of H. R. H. The Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VII.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source page 27 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

 

 

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Jain Temples

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

Jain temple

19

 

The Jain temple, Parashnath Mandir, is Calcutta's gaudiest and most elaborate temple.  The Jains are a sect of the Hindus, a great many of whom belong to the money-lending class, are shrewd and frequently wealthy. Jains do not believe in taking a life, often even wear a nostril veil to prevent inhaling of insects.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

 

A Jain temple in Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Jain temple, T002, "A Jain temple in Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

A Jain temple in Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Jain temple, T003, "A Jain temple in Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

A Jain temple in Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Jain temple, T004, "A Jain temple in Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

A Jain temple in Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Jain temple, T005, "A Jain temple in Calcutta."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Jain Temple, Calcutta, 1944

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Jain temple, T029, "Jain Temple, Calcutta, 1944."  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Jain Temple

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Unidentified scene, T001, "I can't identify this scene, but feel it goes with TMS scenes. It is in Calcutta." seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

THE JAIN TEMPLES

Admission :—Free. Open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset and on moonlight nights by arrangement with the Temple authorities.

Buses :—3, 3A, 10, 33.

The famous Jain Temples, better known as Parashnath Mandir, situated in Badridas Temple Street, are reached from Upper Circular Road by way of Haisi Bagan Road. The entrance to this road is marked by two ornamental pillars, one bearing the inscription in English : "Road to the temple garden ofRai Budree Doss, Bahadur, Mookeem to His Excellency the Viceroy."

Proceeding down Haisi Bagan Road and crossing Raja Direndra Street, we turn left into Badridas Temple Street and come in sight of the Temples. These are four in number, the most important being that dedicated to Shree Shree Sheetalnathji, the tenth of the twenty-four Jain deities. Access to this Temple is gained through a lofty triple-storeyed gatehouse, flanked on either side by crouching lions. A marble tablet in the handsome portico beneath, records that the Temple was built in 1867 by Rai Budree Doss, Bahadur.

The garden within, brightened by a variety of ornamental stonework and adorned with artistic statuettes, is a fitting background to the beauty of the Temple. On the north is the Reception Hall and the Temple Museum, in the centre a miniature lake, gleaming like illusive quicksilver, reflecting the sun in a bewildering array of prismatic colours, its widening ripples indicating the presence of silvery fish. Nearby, softly murmuring fountains, in an old-world setting, give an impression of soothing coolness and a feeling of quiet repose and tranquillity; while high above the verdant greenness of the garden towers the many-pointed spire of the Temple, flashing back the rays of the sun in extravagant beams of kaleidoscopic light.

Turning left and ascending thirteen steps of marble, inlaid with coloured mosaic, we gain the Temple verandah, enclosed with a railing of filigree-worked metal and winding in pleasing curves round the northern and southern sides of the Temple. Here, supported by elaborately-worked pillars, is the sanctuary which, with its luxuriant decoration, fairy-like and fantastic, is almost unsurpassed for beauty. One feels that one cannot re-impose on paper the sheer play of colours, mingling and merging in beams of light that seem to have a volition of their own, that meet the eye; while large mirrors, glittering chandeliers and many-coloured crystals, twinkling from a hundred facets, add to our mental bewilderment.

A doorway from the sanctuary gives access to the Inner Holy of Holies where, directly under the spire, on an illuminated altar encircled by richly-gilt pillars, and enternally guarded by images ofAnand Swami and Gatan Swami, reposes the deity in awesome calmness, wearing a necklace of gold, and constantly garlanded with everfresh and fragrant roses.

To the south of the Temple of Shree Shree Sheetalnathji is the Temple dedicated to the worship ot Shree Shree Chanda Probhujees, built by Ganeshlall Kapurchand Jahoor in 1895. A short distance to the right, approached through a yellow masonry archway and set in beautiful gardens, is the Temple dedicated to the worship of Dadaji Guru and Kusuiji Maharaj. The shrine stands on a marble platform and in the Inner Sanctuary, behind locked doors, are the feet of the deities. On the north are the clustering spires of the fourth Temple where, in an inner court, paved with coloured stonework of a rich and variegated design, reigns Mahabir, the last of the twenty-four Jain deities.

The Jains in Calcutta are a small community, being mostly merchants and bankers. Their religion was founded by Mahavira Vardhamana, and is presumed to have started in Marwar in about the 6th century B. C. The Jains believe in reincarnation; their Faith hinges on the maxim, "Regard for life is the highest virtue." No Jain will willingly destroy life, no matter how insignificant.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 183-184 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

The "blue plate special temple"

Jain temple? What did I think of it?

Truthfully, when I first visited the place, I was impressed by the complicated architecture involved and its interesting use of water tanks. I think the thing that most impressed me was the fact that most of its inlay work, instead of being semi-precious stones, seemed to be pieces of broken dinnerware plates. In fact, we called it the "blue plate special temple" for in this country, many small restaurants have daily menu specials, served on blue-figure ornated plates, which they call their "blue plate special" for the day.

Right or wrong, that's the impression those of us from an entirely different culture had of the place. At least, the designers and builders of the temple were able to turn common items and broken plates into jewels.

I think I was at the Jain temple only a couple of times, for I much more enjoyed the atmosphere of the riverfront, or Kalighat.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

(source: a series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christianity and Churches

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

Greek Orthodox Church

 

Richard Beard, US Army Lieutenant Psychologist with 142 US military hospital. Calcutta,

(Source: Elaine Pinkerton / Reproduced by courtesy of Elaine Pinkerton)

 

 

Unidentified Catholic Church, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Catholic Church, T020, "Unidentified Catholic Church, Calcutta,  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH

Admission :—Open daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Services:Sundays—Matins 7-30 a.m. Sung Eucharist and Sermon

8.30 a.m. Sunday School 4-30 p.m.

Evensong and Sermon 6-30 p.m.

Weekdays (In Lady Chapel):Wednesdays and Fridays—Holy Communion 8 a.m.

St. John's Church, the Anglican Cathedral of Calcutta until 1847, was built by public subscription from the design of Lieutenant Agg of the Bengal Engineers, on the site of the old Powder Magazine and the original burial ground of the East India Company. The foundation stone was laid on the 6th April 1784, with impressive ceremony by Edward Wheler, Senior Member of Council, under the auspices of the Hon'ble Warren Hastings, and the Church was consecrated in 1787, under the auspices of the Marquess of Cornwallis. It is a large square structure of Grecian architecture, surmounted by a stone tower and spire 174 feet high. Much of the necessary stone and blue-grey marble used in the construction was brought from Gour, the ancient capital of Bengal.

The entrance to the church is by the iron gate at the corner of Council House Street and Hastings Street. A short drive through an avenue of trees brings us to the portico on the west. Ascending a flight of marble steps we enter the vestibule, on the right of which is a marble tablet, erected by the officers of the 19th Bengal Infantry, to the memory of the regimental officers who fell in the storming of the fortress on the heights of Malown in 1815;

by the side is the Vestry, the walls of which are adorned with portraits, including one of Field-Marshal Earl Roberts in a frame together with a copy of his baptismal certificate, recording his birth at Cawnpore on the 30th September 1832, and his christening in this church on the 5th January 1834. In a safe here, is the Silver Communion Service of nine pieces, presented by the East India Company. The parish records cover a period of well over a century and are of great historical value.

Entering the church we note the regimental colours of the 5th Calcutta Battalion I. D. F. on either side. Beneath the one on the right is the memorial erected by the merchants of Calcutta to Alexander Colvin, obit 1818. The upper portion of this memorial depicts two female figures seated upon a beehive, while below is a figure of an Indian woman resting her hand on a jar. Under the flag on the left is the memorial to John Adams by R. Westmacott, featuring two female figures representing "Justice" and "Law" : close by is the baptismal font.

The floor of the church is paved with grey marble and the walls are lined with memorial tablets.

The main Altar is plain and simple in design; a memorial tablet within the Altar rails covers the mortal remains of Bishop Middleton, the first Anglican Bishop of India, obit 8th July 1822. On the left is the marble pulpit and a bust of Earl Minto and, by the side, the Communion Table, above which hangs Zoffany's famous painting of "The Last Supper", presented by the artist himself in 1787; immediately behind is the organ.

To the right of the main Altar is Lady Chapel, the entrance to which is marked by the figures of two angels :

a light is kept constantly burning in this chapel. The three-fold stained glass window depicting scenes from the life of Christ, is in memory of Henry Inglis, obit 1865. On the right is a monument erected by Sir David Ochterlony and the officers of the army under his command, to the memory of young Lieutenant Peter Lawrie, who lost his life in the first campaign of the Nepal War in 1815.

In the verandah on the north of the church is a striking white marble monument, inlaid with delicate mosaic, to the memory of Lady Canning, and immediately  to the west of the church is a beautiful monument covering the remains of Lord Brabourne, Governor of Bengal, who died on the 23rd February 1939, at the age of 42.

In the churchyard at the north-west corner, stands the Charnock Mausoleum, the burial place of Job Charnock, the founder of Calcutta. This mausoleum, erected by his son-in-law Sir Charles Eyre in about 1695, is a massive octagonal structure with a serrated parapet, and is crowned with a domed kiosk surmounted by an urn. Within the mausoleum, placed upright in a row, are four black granite slabs, one to the memory of Job Charnock, obit 1692, another to his daughter Mary Eyre (wife of Sir Charles Eyre), the third to the memory of William Hamilton, the surgeon who cured Ferrukseer, King of Indostan, and the fourth to Mrs. Catherine White, younger daughter of Job Charnock, obit 1700.

Among the other monuments in the churchyard are those of Mrs. Francis Johnson, 1725-1812, who was the oldest resident of Bengal; Charles Watson, Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Naval Forces in the East Indies, obit 1757; William Speke, of His Majesty's Ship "Kent," who lost his life during the capture of Fort Orleans in 1757; and the Right Rev. Bishop John Turner, obit 1831; also a cenotaph in memory of Col. C. Burrington and those who fell during the Rohilla War in 1794.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 60-62 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL

Admission : - Open daily from 6 a.m. to 7-30 p.m.

Services :Sundays—Holy Communion 7 & 7-45 a.m.

Matins 8-30 a.m. Sung Eucharist and Sermon 9-0 a.m. School Service 11-0 a.m.

Children's Service :—4-30 p.m.

Evensong and Sermon 6-0 p.m. (15th October to 15th March), 6-30 p.m. (16th March to 14th October).

Weekdays (In Jesus Chapel):—Matins 6-40 a.m. Holy Communion 7-0 a.m.

1st & 3rd Wednesdays in the month :—Holy Communion in Bengali 7-45 a.m.

Trams :—Kalighat, Tollygunge, Ballygunge.

Buses :—Nos. 2, 2A, 3, 4, 4A, 5.

St. Paul's, the Anglican Cathedral of Calcutta and the Metropolitan Church of India, occupies the southeastern corner of the Maidan. Though a little overshadowed by the dazzling white bulk of its near neighbour, the Victoria Memorial, the Cathedral has an architectural dignity of its own, which cannot escape even the most casual visitor to this fascinating quarter of the city.

No sooner had the Government granted the site, than Bishop Wilson, through whose efforts and untiring energy Calcutta has secured a Cathedral which ranks amongst the finest in the world, proceeded with his plans. He laid the foundation stone in 1839 and the Cathedral, built from the design of Major W. N. Forbes (Bengal Engineers), was completed and consecrated in 1847. The cost, amounting to £50,000, was raised by public subscription, towards which the Government contributed £15,000 and Bishop Wilson £20,000.

Of Indo-Gothic architecture with a few variations, the Cathedral is 247 feet in length, 81 feet in width and 114 feet at the transept; the spire, since demolished, was 201 feet high and almost a replica of that of Norwich Cathedral, England. The new tower, modelled on the " Bell Harry" Tower of Canterbury Cathedral, was designed by Mr. W. I. Kier and built by Mackintosh Burn Ltd., at a cost of about Rs. 70,000/-. The top of the flagstaff rises to a height of 175 feet above ground level.

The grounds of the Cathedral are tastefully laid out with gorgeous flower beds, rolling lawns and shady trees. Five gates give access to the grounds, the main one being the Sir William Prentice Memorial gate, erected recently on the northern side.

Entering by this gate and proceeding we come to the large western porch. Ascending a short flight of steps, we enter the church and note a handsome Baptismal Font of white marble, resting on two circular pedestals of grey marble, erected to the memory of Sir W.H. Carnduff, a puisne judge of the Calcutta High Court. In the centre of the wall on the left, is a marble memorial to the sixteen officers of the Bengal Lancers who fell in the Indian Mutiny of 1857 ; a small medallion portrait of each officer lines the inscription. Facing the entrance is a memorial depicting two Eastern scenes, crowned with a seated figure of Justice, to the memory of Chief Justice J. Paxton Norman who was assassinated in 1871, and to the left is a tablet in memory of those who fell in the Bhutan campaign (1864-1866), erected by their comrades of the Bhutan Field Force. Alongside the Paxton Norman memorial is a Prie-dieu, draped with the flags of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

On the right of the entrance, stands a white marble memorial, supported by two figures and surmounted by a bust, erected in memory of Major-General Forbes, architect of the Cathedral and the Mint (obit 1855). A staircase by the side leads to the library on the first floor, the gift of Bishop Wilson. Particularly noteworthy here is the stained glass window by Sir E. Burne-Jones, presented in 1880 by the Government of India in memory of Lord Mayo, Viceroy and Governor-General of India, assassinated at the Andaman Islands in 1872.

In the corner, at the foot of the staircase, is a picture of Jesus as a child, looking towards Samaria and entitled "The Hilltop At Nazareth."  Alongside is a massive memorial to Sir W. H. Macnaughton, Bart., Governor of Bombay and envoy to Kabul, assassinated at Kabul in 1841. This memorial depicts the Baronet seated on a pedestal supported by two figures holding crouching lions in leash. Directly underneath is a coloured representation of the "Nativity in Bethlehem" : this is called the Children's Corner. In the adjoining passage is a striking mural tablet to the memory of Sir Henry Lawrence, the defender of Lucknow, who fell during its siege in 1857. Next is a large carved marble memorial, a tribute of the Government of India to Lord Elgin and Kinkardine, who died in 1862 at Dharamsala during his term as Viceroy:

and to the right a memorial to Hari Har Sandel, the first Indian to be admitted to Holy Orders in the Anglican Church and who for thirty-one years ministered to the Bengali congregation of St. Paul's. On the wall opposite is the memorial to Sir William Ritchie, a friend of the novelist Thackeray, who wrote the inscription for the memorial; and to the right is a tablet in memory of officers of the 68th Native Infantry, who fell in the Mutiny of 1857, erected by their surviving brother officers.

We have now reached the Lantern below the Belfry, and our attention is first attracted to the kneeling statue of Bishop Heber. It is of white marble, the work of Chantry, and was formerly in St. Paul's Cathedral, London. The name of Bishop Heber ranks high in the list of those who have occupied the See of Calcutta, and is immortalised as the author of the famous hymn From Greenland's Icy Mountains.

On the right of Bishop Heber's statue is a blue screen marking the entrance to Jesus Chapel; where high above on the wall, preserved in a glass case, are two flags, the old colours of the 18th Bengal Infantry, Alipore Regiment, deposited in 1886. Pictures illustrative of the life of Christ adorn the walls.

On the left of the Heber Statue is a passage, giving access to the Chapel of Remembrance. This passage is lined with mural tablets ; of particular interest is one to J. W. Quinton, Chief Commissioner, and his officials, who perished in the Manipur massacre on March 24th 1891. The Chapel of Remembrance commemorates by name all those connected with St. Paul's Cathedral, who fell in the Great War : a light is kept constantly burning in this chapel. Here at the north-east corner, stands an impressive memorial to Colonel Baird-Smith of the Bengal Engineers, Master of the Mint and A. D. C. to Queen Victoria, and another to Major Montizambert erected by his schoolfellow Lord Dalhousie. By the side of the Altar, in a wooden framework is the "Lamp of Remembrance," presented by Lord Irwin in memory of Field-Marshal Lord Roberts, also a wooden cross from the grave of an Unknown British Warrior, who fell in the Great War. This chapel is used for Toc H. and other Guild Services. Directly opposite the chapel is the vestry, the walls of which are lined with photographs and portraits of former Bishops and Archdeacons.

Returning to the Heber statue and proceeding eastwards, we pass a memorial to Sir John Woodburn, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, 1898-1902 ; alongside is a memorial tablet to Lieutenant William Anderson and Patrick Vans Agnew, Bengal Civil Service, murdered beneath the walls of Multan in 1848 : the epitaph is from the pen of Macaulay. Facing the memorial is a brass plate presented by Lord Curzon to the memory of those of Lumsden's Horse who fell in the South African War (1899-1901), also a marble tablet erected to the memory of members of the Calcutta Light Horse who gave their lives in the Great War.

The lighting system in the Cathedral consists of reflectors which throw the light on to the ceiling and thus diffuse it evenly throughout the building. Apart from its primary purpose of lighting, this system throws into relief the carved ceiling, which is painted in delicate grey-green and finished with Gothic tracery. Passing down the centre aisle, we note that, in addition to the pews facing the Sanctuary, there are tiers of seats on each side and at the west end. The first row of seats on the right is reserved for the Governor of Bengal, and close by is a raised dais, with a handsomely carved wooden canopy, for the Viceroy. On the left is the brass lectern and the marble pulpit.

The gigantic organ by Willis & Sons, London, is on the north in the chancel, the choir is opposite, while the Bishop's throne occupies the south-east corner of the Sanctuary.  The large and beautiful candlesticks are in memory of Mr. Ernest Day, who was murdered in 1924, a victim of mistaken identity.

The wall behind the altar is adorned with a reredos depicting incidents from the Life of St. Paul, portrayed in alabaster set with coloured mosaic and above are three stained glass windows separated from one another by two Florentine frescoes.

To the right of the Bishop's throne is a memorial window, erected by the Government of India to Bishop Milman and nearby on the wall, one to Bishop Cotton.

On the left below the Sanctuary is a vault, containing the mortal remains of Bishop Daniel Wilson. The Altarpiece is adorned with representations of "The Annunciation," "The Adoration of the Magi" and "The Flight Into Egypt." The Altar is a gift from the Bengal Chamber of Commerce in memory of their late president, Sir William Ironside : the handsome Communion Service was presented by Queen Victoria.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages  44-48 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Church of England

Calcutta Malayalee Church—224 Lower Circular Road.
Sunday : —Service and Sermon, 9 a.m.

Christ Church—182 Cornwallis Street. Services in Bengali.
Sunday:—Matins and Sermon, 8 a.m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6-30 p.m.
Holy Communion on 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month.

St. Barnabas' Church—46 Dent Mission Road, Kidderpore. Built 1867. Services in Bengali.

Sunday :—Holy Communion, 7-30 a.m.;

Evensong and Sermon, 6-30 p.m.

Wednesday :—Holy Communion, 7 a.m. Friday—Evensong, 6-30 p.m.

St. George's Church (Bishop Lefroy Memorial)—66 Ananda Palit Road, Entally- Built 1935. Services in Bengali.

Sunday :—Sung Eucharist, 7-30 a.m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6-15 p.m.

St. James' Church—167 Lower Circular Road. Built 1864-
Sunday :—Holy Communion, 6-30 a.m.; Sung Eucharist and Sermon. 7-30 a.m.; Solemn Eucharist and Sermon. 9 a.m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6 p.m.; Holy Baptism, 4 p.m.
Weekdays :—(except Saturdays)—Holy Communion, 6-30 a.m.

St. John's Church—Council House Street. Built 1787. Page 60.

St. Mark's Church—42 Sankaritola Lane- Services in Bengali.

Sunday :—Holy Communion, 8 a-m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6 p.m.

St. Mary's Church—45 Elgin Road. Built 1888. Services usually in Bengali.

Sunday :—Holy Communion, 6-30 a.m.; Sung Eucharist, 8 a.m.;

Evensong, arid Sermon, 6-30 p.m.

Weekdays :—(except Saturdays)—Holy Communion, 6-30 a.m.

St. Nicholas' Church—Nimakmahal Road, Kidderpore. Built 1935.
Sunday :—Sung Eucharist and Holy Communion, 8 a.m.
Evensong and Sermon, 7-30 p.m.

St. Paul's Cathedral—Chowringhee Road. Page 44.

St. Paul's Mission Church—29 Scott Lane. Built 1880,
Sunday :—Holy Communion, 6-45 a.m.; Sung Eucharist and Sermon,
8 a.m.; .Evensong and Sermon, 6 p.m.

St. Saviour's Church—8 Wellesley Square. Built 1848.
Sunday :—In Tamil—Matins, 8 a.m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6 p.m.
In Hindi—Sung Eucharist and Sermon, 9-30 a.m.;

Evensong and Sermon, 4-30 p.m.

Holy Communion on 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, 9-30 a.m.

St. Stephen's Church—3 Diamond Harbour Road. Built 1846.

Sunday :—Holy Communion, 7 a.m.; Sung Eucharist and Sermon,

8 a-m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6-30 p.m.

St. Thomas' Church—9 Free School Street. Built 1831.

Sunday :—Matins. 6-30 a.m.; Holy Communion, 7 a.m.; Sung Eucharist

and Sermon, 8 a.m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays (except Saturdays )—Matins, 6-30 a.m.;

Holy Communion. 7 a.m.; Evensong, 4-45 p.m.
Wednesday ;—Intercession Service, 7 p.m.

St. Thomas' Church—Howrah Church Road. Built 1831.
Sunday ;—Matins, 8 a.m.; Sung Eucharist and Sermon, 8-15 a-m.;

Evensong and Sermon, 6-15 p.m.
Weekdays :Wednesday and Friday : Holy Communion, 6-30 a.m.

The Old Mission Church—11 Mission Row. Built 1770.
Sunday :—Holy Communion, 7-30 a.m.; Service and Sermon, 8-30 a.m.;

Evensong and Sermon. 6 p.m.
Tuesday :—Bible Class, 6 p.m.; Wednesday—Prayer Meeting, 6-30 p.m.

Trinity Church—33 Amherst Street- Services in Bengali.
Sunday :—Matins, 8 a.m.; Evensong and Sermon, 6-30 p.m.;

Holy Communion on 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 209-210 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

 

CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF DOLOURS

Admission :—Open daily from 6 a. m. to 7 p. m.

Services :Sundays—Masses at 6-30, 7-30, and 8-30 a. m. Benediction after the last mass.

Tuesdays—Masses at 6, 6-30 and 7 a. m. Benediction at 6-45 p. m. On the first Tuesday of every month. Benediction and Sermon at 6-45 p. m.

Other Weekdays—Masses at 6, 6-30 and 7 a. m.

Trams :—Sealdah to Dalhousie Square; Rajabazar to Nimtola. Park Circus to High Court.

Buses :—3, 3A, 10, 33, 35, 36 and 38.

This church, generally known as the Baitakhana Church, is situated at No. 147 Bow Bazar Street. It was built in 1809 by Mrs. Grace Elizabeth, consecrated on the, 30th June 1810, and presided over by the Portuguese missionaries of Goa and Mylapore until 1929, when the  Society of Jesus assumed control.

The church in recent years has become a centre of pilgrimage, attracting a large number of devotees on Tuesdays, particularly the first Tuesday of each month, when the church, which has recently been extended by the addition of two side aisles, is literally filled to overflowing with Catholics and non-Catholics, who flock to it from all parts of Calcutta, and also from distant stations. The centre of attraction is the statue of Our Mother of Mercy, which is regarded by many to be a miraculous one. It is believed that prayers said before it seldom remain unanswered. Beyond the fact that the statue was brought from the house of one Mrs. Baptist of Tanti Bagan Lane, on the 13th July 1909, very little is known about its early history, and nothing about its origin.

Entering by the main gate, we have on the right St. Ann's Orphanage, erected in 1902 in fulfilment of the pious legacy of the late Mrs. Ann Quantine. At the farthest end of the compound is a grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes, erected in memory of Mrs. D. E. Parkinson.

Turning left and ascending a short flight of marble steps, we find ourselves in the vestibule, upon which is reared the steeple containing the Clock Tower and Belfry. As we enter the church we note two tablets, one to the memory of Rev. Francisco D'Assin and the other to Rev. Ricardo Fenelin D'Costa. On the right is the baptismal font, and on the left a staircase leading to the organ loft overhead. By the side of the staircase, covering the remains of Mrs. Grace Elizabeth, is a memorial surmounted by the figure of a cherub sounding a trumpet: fourteen scenes depicting the Way of the Cross adorn the walls.

Proceeding along the main . aisle, we come to the Communion Rails, which separate the nave from the Sanctuary: on the right is the statue of St. Francis Xavier, and on the left one of St. Roch and the marble pulpit. From the centre of the Sanctuary rises the High Altar, unique in its imposing classical architecture and effectively adorned with the majestic statue of Our Blessed Lady of Dolours; behind, in the sacristy, is a portrait of Mrs. Grace Elizabeth. The two statues on either side of the altar are of St. Joseph and St. Ignatius.

To the left of the High Altar, are statues of Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. Augustine, a shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a sculptured representation of Jesus lying in the sepulchre, and an altar dedicated to St. Anthony. In a corresponding space on the other side of the High Altar, is a shrine to St. Philomena, and an altar dedicated to Our Mother of Mercy, THE BLESSED VIRGIN, HOLDING IN HER ARMS THE CHILD JESUS.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 93-95 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

Roman Catholic

Cathedral Church of Our Lady of the Rosary—15 Portuguese Church Street. Built 1797.
Sunday :—High Mass, 6-30 a.m. ; Low Mass, 8 a.m.;

Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :Mass at 6 and 6-30 a.m.

Chapel of St. Joseph—19 Market Street. Built 1864.
Sunday: —Mass, 5-30, 6-30 and 8 a.m. -, Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :Mass at 6 and 6-30 a.m.

Chapel of Stella Maris—Nimakmahal Road, Kidderpore. Built 1931.
Sunday :Mass, 8 a.m.

Church of Our Lady of Dolours—147 Bow Bazar Street. Page 93.

Church of Our Lady of Happy Voyage—3 Cullen Place, Howrah.

Sunday :—Low Mass, 6 a.m. ; High Mass, 8 a.m. ;

Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :Mass at 6 and 6-30 a.m.

Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus—3 Dharamtala Street. Built 1832.
Sunday :—Mass, 5-30 and 7 a.m. ; High Mass, 8-30 a.m.;

Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :—Mass at 6, 6-30 and 7 a.m.

Church of St. Francis Xavier—68 Bow Bazar Street. Built 1900.
Sunday :—Mass, 6-30 and 9 a.m. ; High Mass, 7-30 a.m.;

Benediction. 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :Mass at 6 and 6-30 a.m.

Church of St. Ignatius—38 Ekbalpore Rd., Kidderpore. Built 1910
Sunday : —Low Mass, 6 a.m. ; High Mass 8 a.m. ;

Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :Mass at 6-30 and 7 a.m.

Church of St. John the Evangelist307 Upper Circular Road.

Built 1808. Rebuilt 1907.
Sunday : High Mass, 6-30 a.m.; Low Mass, 8 a.m.;

Benediction. 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays:Mass at 6 and 6-30 a.m.

Church of St. Teresa—92/1 Lower Circular Road. Built 1893.
Sunday :—Mass, 5, 6, 7 and 9-15 a.m. ;

High Mass, 8 a.m.; Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :—Mass at 6, 6-30 and 7 a.m.

St. John Bosco—Lillooah.

Sunday :—Mass, 6-30 and 8 a.m. ; Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :—Mass at 6-15 and 7-15 a.m.

St. Patrick's Chapel—Fort William. Sunday— Mass, 8 a.m.

St. Thomas' Church—7 Middleton Row. Built 1840.
Sunday :—Mass, 5-30, 7 and 10 a.m. ,

Parochial Mass, 8-30 a.m. ; Benediction, 6-30 p.m.
Weekdays :—Mass at 6. 6-30 and 7 a.m.

St. Xavier's College—30 Park Street.
Sunday :—Mass, 6 and 7 a.m.; Benediction, 4 p.m.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 210-211 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

!!NEW!!

Church of Christ the King – Park Circus, Syed Amir Ali Avenue.

(Source: Contributors)
ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH

Admission :—Open daily from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Services :Sundays—Morning Service 9-30 a.m.  

Sunday School 10-30 a.m.

Evening Service:—(generally broadcast) 6-30 p.m.

Holy Communion :—Third Sunday of February, May, August and November and Easter Sunday at Morning Service.

This imposing edifice of Grecian architecture, built on the site of the old Court House, occupies the northeastern corner of Dalhousie Square. Its tall graceful steeple, accommodating the belfry and clock-tower, surmounted with a glittering weather-cock, is a familiar landmark in the city, and its handsome portico commands a fine vista, down Old Court House Street and Government Place East, to the Maidan.

The foundation stone was laid with Masonic ceremony on St. Andrew's Day in 1815 by Lord Hastings, Governor-General (1813-1823), Lady Hastings, a Scottish Peeress, attending in State. The church, built by Messrs. Burn,Currie and Co., at a cost of Rs. 2,46,000, towards which the Government contributed Rs. 1,00,000 and the site valued at Rs. 30,000, was consecrated on the 8th March 1818 by Dr. James Bryce, the first Scottish Minister in Calcutta. In 1835 the clock was placed in the tower at a cost of Rs. 5,000 and in 1858 the old euharmonic organ was re-placed with a modern one, built by Messrs. Gray and Davison, at a cost of Rs. 10,000.

Ascending a flight of marble steps at the southern entrance, and passing through the beautiful portico supported by solid Doric columns, we enter the vestibule. Here on the walls is a brass plate, to the memory of the Cossipore Artillery Volunteers who fell in the Great War, and a framed letter of greeting from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, on the occasion of the centenary in 1921 of the Indian Chaplaincy Work.

In the Vestry hang oil paintings of the Rev. Dr. Bryce (1814-1836) and his successor Rev. Dr. ]. Charles (1832-1847) by Sir James W. Gordon; a photograph of the Rev. T. Scott, Chaplain (1900-1906); an engraving of St. Andrews in 1825, and one of Queen Victoria signing the oath for the security of the Church of Scotland.

From the vestibule we enter the church and note the wide centre aisle, leading between solid pillars and highly polished pews to the Communion table; by the side stands the handsome lofty pulpit and nearby is the white marble Baptismal Font.

Staircases on either side lead to the organ loft and the encircling gallery overhead and mural tablets line the walls of the church. The two brass plates one on either side, are to the memory of the officers and men of the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, who died during foreign service (1919-1931); and of the members of the 1st Battalion, the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, who died in India during the Battalion's tour of foreign service (1919-1934).

In the gallery is a black marble tablet dedicated to the officers and men of the 2nd Battalion, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (1902-1903), and a marble medallion to the memory of Sir John Woodburn, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal (1898-1902).

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 72-73 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Church of Scotland

Church of Scotland—76 Wellesley Street.
Sunday :—Morning Service and Sermon at 9-30;

Evening Service and Sermon at 6-30.

Church of Scotland (Missions)—76 Wellesley Street.
Sunday :In Tamil and Telugu—Morning Service at 8-30;
Evening Service and Sermon at 6-30.
In Hindi—Service and Sermon at 12-30 p.m.

Duff Church—127 Maniktala Street. In Bengali.
Sunday :—Morning Service at 9; Evening Service and Sermon at 6.

St. Andrew's Church—Dalhousie Square. Built 1815. Page 72.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 218 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Methodist

Central Hindusthan and Methodist Episcopal Church—130 Dharamtala Street.

Sunday : —In Hindi—Service and Sermon, 10-30 a.m.
In Bengali—Service and Sermon, 4-30 p. in.
Holy Communion on the 1st Sunday of the month.

Methodist Episcopal Church—9/3 Hathi Bagan Road. Entally.
Sunday :—Children's School, 7-30 a.m.. Service and Sermon, 4-30 p.m.

Methodist Church (English)—14/2 Sudder Street.
Sunday:—Morning Service and Sermon at 9 ;

Evening Service and Sermon at 6.
Friday :—Service of Prayer and Intercession, 6-30 p.m.
Morning Prayers daily at 8-30.

Osborn Memorial Methodist Church—56A Corporation Street.

Sunday :Children's Service, 9 a.m.;

Evening Service and Sermon at 6-

Thoburn Melhodist Episcopal Church—151 Dharamtala Street.
Sunday :—Morning Service at 9 ; Evening Service and Sermon at 6.
Thursday :Mid-week Prayers Service, 8-30 p.m.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 219 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Baptist

Baptist Church—42 Lower Circular Road. Built 1819.
Sunday :—Morning Service at 9/ Evening Service and Sermon at 6-30.

Young People's Fellowship and Sunday School, 5 p.m.
Wednesday :—Service at 6-30 p.m.

Morning Prayers daily at 8.

Bengali Baptist Church—49 Ripon Street.
Sunday :—Children's School, 8 a.m.; Evening Service and Sermon at 6.

Carey Baptist Church—31 Bow Bazar Street. Founded 1809.
Sunday :—Morning Service and Sermon at 9;

Evening Service and Sermon at 6.
Hindustani Service and Sermon, 1-15 p.m.

Entally Baptist Church—85/1 Dr. Suresh Sarker Road, Entally.
Services usually in Bengali.

Sunday School, 7-30 and 9 a.m. Prayer and Sermon. 4-30 p.m.
Utcal Congregation (in Urya)—Service and Sermon, I p.m.

Hasting’s Chapel—Hastings.
Sunday :-—Morning Service and Sermon at 9; Evening at 6.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 218-219 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Other Churches

Bhowanipore Congregational Church—43 Elgin Road.
Sunday:—In Bengali—Morning Service and Sermon at 8 ;
Evening Service and Sermon at 4-30.

Christian Science Society—30 Chowringhee Road.
Sunday :—Children'3 School, 9 a.m.;

Evening Service and Sermon at 6-30.
Testimony Meeting on 2nd and last Wednesdays of the
month. 6-30 p.m.

Salvation Army Hall—37 Dharamtala Street. Page 116.

Salvation Army Hall—F66 Circus Row (Park Circus).
Sunday —Holiness Meeting, 10 a.m.; Sunday School, 4-30 p.m.,

Salvation Meeting, 6-45 p.m.
Monday :Public Meeting, 6-45 p.m.

Seventh Day Adventist Church—36 Park Street.
Saturday :—Sabbath School, 9 a.m.; Sermon School, 5-30 p.m.
Sunday :—Sermon, 6-30 p.m.

Union Chapel (Congregational Church)—137 Dharamtala Street.

Sunday :—Children's School at 8-30 a.m.; Morning Service and

Sermon at 9; Evening Service and Sermon at 6.
Wednesday :—Fellowship, 6-30 p.m.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 218-219 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

THE ARMENIAN HOLY CHURCH OF NAZARETH

Admission :—Open daily from 5-30 a.m. to 6-30 p.m.

Services:Sundays—Matins 7 a.m. High Mass, Sermon and Holy Communion 8-30 a.m.

Evensong (at St. Gregory's Chapel, Park Circus) 5-30 p.m.

Saturdays—Matins 6 a.m. High Mass and Holy Communion 7 a.m. Evensong 5-30 p.m.

Other Weekdays—Matins 5-30 a.m. Evensong 5-30 p.m.

Having the distinction of being the oldest church in Calcutta, this sacred edifice was erected in 1724 by public subscription, through the praiseworthy efforts of Agha Nazar, on the site of an old Armenian cemetery, after the design of Leon Govond, an Armenian architect from Persia.

The church is centrally situated in the business quarter of the city, and is reached from Lower Chitpore Road by way of Armenian Street, from Clive Row by way of Old China Bazar Street, and from Clive Street by way of Bonfield Lane. The last-named route leads right to the centre gate.

There are three gates to the church, one at No. 2 Armenian Street, another at No. 119 Old China Bazar Street and the third at the Kangrapatty end of Old China Bazar Street. Entering by the last-named gate, we step on to a boarded footpath.  A covered passage leads the way to the vestibule, directly upon which is reared the steeple, accommodating the clock tower and the belfry. A copper plate, high above the entrance to the vestibule, records that the steeple, which was presented by Agha Manuel Hazarmull, was erected in 1734, but it was not until 1792 that it was adorned with a handsome, three-dialled clock, through the generosity of Agha Catchick Arrakiel.

The floor of the vestibule, as well as that of the churchyard, is closely paved with tombstones, most of which are inscribed in Armenian, many in English and Armenian and a few in English only. To the left of the vestibule, detached from the church, is the Parochial-building, on the ground floor of which is located the Vestry Office, where the Committee members hold their meetings and the Wardens of the church attend to their responsible duties.

From the vestibule we enter the church, paved with marble. On the left is a circular staircase leading to the gallery overhead, generally used by the College boys, and let into the walls are tablets commemorating benefactors. The two tablets, similiar in design, on either side of the altar, are erected, one to the memory of Thaddeus Mesrope Thaddeus (1856-1927) and the other as a tribute to Sir Paul Catchick Chater, in appreciation of their munificent donations.

The main aisle leads between massive fluted pillars and polished pews to the Chancel, on the right of which is the organ and in the middle the choir. On the east, from the centre of the Sanctuary, rises the Holy Altar, impressive in the majestic simplicity of its design, and adorned with a Cross, Gospels and Twelve Candlesticks, symbolic of the Divine Lord and His Apostles. The Altarpiece, consisting of three oil paintings by A. E. Harris, representing "The Holy Trinity", "The Lord's Supper" and "The Enshrouding of Our Lord", was presented in 1901, in loving memory of Carapiet and Hossanah Balthazar by their children. The side altars over the sacristies were erected in 1763 and dedicated, one to St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the other to the Apostles Peter and Paul, in memory of their namesakes the brothers Agha Kerikore and Agha Petrus, the sons of Aratoon of old Eravan.

A door from the sacristy beneath the altar of the Apostles Peter and Paul, leads to the Baptistery, to which access can also be gained from the churchyard.

A brief history of the origin of the Armenians and their religion will be of interest here.

THE ORIGIN:—The founder of the Armenian nation was Haik, fourth in direct descent from Noah. The genealogical tree is as follows—Noah, Japhet, Gomer, Togarmah (Genesis X. 1,2,3.). Haik was the son of Togarmah; he founded the Haikaznian dynasty in 2111 B. C. and to this day the people in their language are called Hai and the country Hayastan after him. After Aram, the greatest warrior of the dynasty, who by his conquests became a terror to the neighbouring states these ancient people came to be called Aramians—Armenians, and their country Armenia, names surviving to the present day. This dynasty was overthrown by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C., and it was not until 15C B.C. that Arshack I founded the Arshakoonian dynasty The year 428 A.D., marked the fall of this dynasty, when the country was handed over to Bahram, the Persian King

In 859 A. D. Ashot I founded the Pacratoonian dynasty, which held sway till 1079, when it came to an end through treachery, and the country passed under Grecian rule. The following year, 1080 A.D., Ruben 1. founded the Rubenian dynasty, which was overthrown in 1373 by the Ameer of Egypt, who made the then reigning king, Leon VI, a prisoner.

After seven years captivity, King Leon was released through the mediation of King John of Spain. He then travelled through Europe, visiting Pope Urban VI, King John of Spain, Charles VI of France, Richard II of England and others, with the view to regaining his throne. His efforts met with no success, and he died broken-hearted in France, and was buried in the cemetery of St. Dennis near Paris. A tombstone covering his remains bears the following inscription in French :—

"Here lies the most noble and excellent Prince Leon of Lusignan, Sixth Latin King of the Kingdom of Armenia, who rendered his soul to God in Paris on the 29th of November, in the year of Grace 1393."

After the fall of the Rubenian dynasty, the history of die Armenians is one long record of appalling horrors. The Egyptians, the Tartars, the Persians and the Turks in turn massacred the people and devastated their country. In 1914, on the outbreak of the Great War, the Armenians rallied together, fought on the side of the Allies and in May 1918, once again set up the self-governing state of Armenia.

THEIR RELIGION:—The Armenians claim to be the first nation to have embraced Christianity. In the Gospel of St. John, Chapter XII, Verses 20, 21, we read:—

" And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast; The same came therefore to Philip which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus."

According to history, these were messengers from King Apcar of Armenia. During a visit to Persia, King Apcar had contracted leprosy, which disease physicians were unable to cure. Hearing of the wonderful miracles performed by Jesus, he sent messengers with a letter, expressing his belief in Jesus' Divinity and inviting Him to Armenia. One of these messengers was an artist who had instructions to draw Jesus portrait, but as, after repeated attempts, he failed to outline the Divine features, Jesus called for a napkin* which He held against His face and miraculously impressed His likeness on it, and this He made over to the messengers together with a letter beginning—

"Blessed is he who believes in Me without seeing Me, for it is written of Me that they that see Me shall not believe and they that have not seen Me shall believe and be saved,"

In 34 A. D. the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew arrived in Armenia, preached the Gospel and converted the people. After the death of King Apcar, however, his descendants reverted to idolatry and persecuted the Christians.

At the close of the 3rd century A. D., when Constantine the Great embraced and introduced Christianity into his Empire, afterwards the Eastern Empire, St. Gregory the Illuminator, with King Terdat of Armenia, revived Christianity throughout the country, and the people have ever since clung to their faith, despite the horrors of massacres and persecutions.

* Records show that this priceless relic was kept in Edessa, then the capital of Armenia, till 944, when it was removed to Constantinople by the Emperor Romanus of Greece, and in the 14th century transferred to Genoa, Italy, where it is said to be preserved to this day

The Armenian Church is known as the Apostolic Holy Church of Armenia.  The Catholicos of All Armenians has his Holy See in Edgmiatzin—about several miles from Eravan, the capital of Armenia — built in  about 300 A.D.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 129-133 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Missions

Baptist Missionary Society—44 Lower Circular Road. Phe., P.K. 206.

Church Missionary Society Bengal and Church of England Zenana Missionary Society—10 Mission Row. Phone, Cal. 4952.

Church of Scotland Women's Missions—18 Duff St. Phe., B.B. 1361.

Hindu Mission—32/B Harish Chatterjee Street. Phone, South 817.

Industrial (The India) Mission—32 Barrackpore Trunk Road. Phone, B. B. 1050.

Lee Memorial Mission—13 Wellington Square. Phone, Cal. 1231.

London Missionary Society—16 Elgin Road. Phone, P.K. 1689-

Methodist Episcopal Mission Headquarters—3 Middleton Street. Phone, P.K.314.

Methodist Missionary Society—16 Sudder Street. Phe., Cal. 2613.

Oxford Mission—42 Cornwallis Street Phone, B.B. 327.

Scottish Church Mission—4 Cornwallis Square. Phone, B.B. 151.

Seventh-Day Adventist Mission—36 Park Street. Phone, P.K, 567.

Bible House ; Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts—22 ChowringheeRoad.

St. John's Baptist Mission (Clewer Sisters)—17 Lansdowne Road.

St. Paul's Mission—13 Scott's Lane- Phone, B.B. 607.

Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society—14/2 Sudder Street.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages208-209  of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

The missionary’s opinions

October 14, 1945

[...]

This morning was busy, but I took time out to hear Rev. MacFarland, a Methodist educational advisor, talk. He did such a poor job that I doodled the hour away. (His 20 minutes!) Tonight I had dinner with Chaplain Colburn (Major) and heard about MacFarland's work. According to the Chaplain, the only good colleges in India are the Christian Church schools.

[...]

Richard Beard, US Army Lieutenant Psychologist with 142 US military hospital. Calcutta, October 14, 1945

(Source: page 217 of Elaine Pinkerton (ed.): “From Calcutta With Love: The World War II Letters of Richard and Reva Beard” Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2002 / Reproduced by courtesy of Texas Tech University Press)

 

PARK STREET CEMETERIES

At the southern end of Park Street, at its junction with Lower Circular Road, are the old Calcutta Park Street Cemeteries where, under massive brick and plaster memorials, lie the remains of many great personages associated with the early history of Calcutta. Names famous in verse and legend adorn the crumbling graves and vividly resuscitate for us the glories of Old Calcutta, of Warren Hastings, of French Privateers and of gay mid-Victorian Cavaliers. These cemeteries are four in number :

Tiretta or French Cemetery—Opened in 1786 for the reburial of the young wife of Edward Tiretta, an Italian who rose to the position of Superintendent of Streets and Buildings. In this cemetery are also buried Mark Mutty, the Venetian, the renowned Vicomtesse Adeline de Facieu and Roman Catholics of those early days.

Mission Cemetery—Opened in 1773. Among those buried here are Richard Burney, and the Rev. J. Z. Kiernander, the first Protestant Missionary to Bengal, who built in 1770, at his own expense, the Beth Tophilla (House of Prayer), now the Old Mission Church.

North Park Street Cemetery—Opened in 1791. Here lie the remains of Thomas Henry Graham, killed in action in an affray between the East India Company's ship "Kent" and a French privateer in 1800 ; Richard Thackeray, the novelist's father; and William Jones, founder of Bishop's College, now Sibpur Engineering College.

South Park Street Cemetery—Opened in 1767. Here a mammoth obelisk marks the grave of Sir William Jones, founder and first President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. A fluted column, inset with a black marble slab, marks the last resting place of Rose Aylmer, immortalised in verse by that strange genius, Walter Savage Landor (P. 88). Here are also buried Captain Mackay, whose narrative of shipwreck inspired that of Byron's in "Don Juan"; General Clavering; Major-General Stuart; Colonel and Lady Monson; Colonel Kyd, founder and first President of the Botanical Gardens; Sir Elijah Impey; Henry Vansittart, Governor of Bengal, 1760-64; Edward Wheler, and Captain Edward Cook, son of the famous navigator. As Commandant of H.M.Ship "La Sybille", Captain Cook engaged the heavily armed French frigate "La Porte", and captured it on the 1st March 1799; he was wounded in action and died on the 23rd May 1799, at the age of 26: a memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey records his great services to the Empire.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 98-99 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

US ARMY CHURCH CALENDAR*

Catholic Sunday Services. 142nd General Hospital, Southern Ave. Mass 0730, 0900.

  Chaplain Thomas A. Whelan.

Camp Hooghly - Garden Reach Rd. Mass 1100.

  Chaplain Thomas A. Whelan.

Orphanage, Dum-Dum Rd. Mass 1215.

  Chaplain Joseph J. Carroll.

Replacement Depot, Camp Kancharapara, Mass 1000.

  Chaplain Father Pew.

Camp Tollygunge. Mass 0900, 1830.

  Chaplain Joseph J. Carroll.

Catholic Weekday Services. 142nd General Hospital, Southern Ave. Mass 0645.

  Chaplain Thomas A. Whelan.

Camp Tollygunge. Mass 0630.

  Chaplain Joseph J. Carroll.

 

Protestant Sunday Services. 142nd General Hospital, Southern Ave. Worship 1030.

  Chaplain Albert R. Colburn.

Orphanage, Dum-Dum Rd. Worship 0900.

  Chaplain Thomas I. Liggett.

Replacement Depot, Camp Kancharapara, Camp No.1, Worship 1100.

  Chaplain James D. Salmon. Hospital Worship 1430, Chaplain James D. Salmon; Camp No. 2, Worship 0930, Chaplain John L. Dier, Worship 1930, Chaplain John L. Dier.

Camp Tollygunge. Worship 1000, Song Service 1930.

  Chaplain David W. Lowenaar.

 

Protestant Weekday Services.

  Karnani Mansions, etc.

 

Jewish Services. 28th Air Depot, Barrackpore, 1830 Mondays.

  Chaplain David Seligson.

Maghen David Synagogue, 109 Canning St. 1930 Fridays, 2000 Saturdays.

  Chaplain David Seligson.

142nd General Hospital. 1100 Saturdays.

 

Service Activities at Civilian Churches. St. Paul's Cathedral, Chowringhee Rd. Social 1930 Sunday.

Carey Baptist, 31 Bow Bazar St. Young People's Meeting at 1930, Sunday.

St. Andrew's, Dalhousie Sq. Canteen open daily.

Methodist Church, Sudder St. Canteen open daily; open house after Sun. Eve. Service; "Forces Fellowship" 1900, Tuesday.

 Judean Club, 3 Madge Lane. 2030, Fridays; Sabbath gathering for servicemen.

Baptist Mission Home, 44 Lower Circular Rd. Social, 1930, Thursday.

Christian Science, 30b Chowringhee Rd. Soldiers' Meeting, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 2000.

Salvation Army, 31 Park Circus Row. Social, Tuesday, 2000.

 

  * Notes on the foregoing: All of the above listings were correct at the time of going to press; naturally, however, such times are subject to constant change, and therefore it is advised that you consult the weekly Church Calendar and the Church Notices in Saturday's "The Statesman" for the latest available data. In "The Statesman" you will also find a complete listing of civilian church services. Regarding the merit of any individual church or church function consult the Base Chaplain or his assistant; feel free to consult them either in person or by telephone at the Hindusthan Building.

 

(source: “The Calcutta Key” Services of Supply Base Section Two Division, Information and education Branch, United States Army Forces in India - Burma, 1945:  at: http://cbi-theater-12.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-12/calcuttakey/calcutta_key.html)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

Christian decisiveness

Of course he could be very stern sometimes. There was the Bengali Cambridge graduate, a Hindu who had in England developed something of an interest in Christianity, and who used frequently to go to Evensong at Behala; Father D. stood, it for some months, and then had the whole thing out with him, pointing out that he must come down on one side of the fence or the other. (The result was, I fear, that he never went to Behala again.)

Friends of Father Douglass, Missionaries and Charity workers in Behala, Calcutta, 1946.
(Source: Father Douglas of Behala. London, 1952 / Reproduced by courtesy of Oxford University Press)

 

as a “Damascus Road experience”

It was at the end of 3 months on the wireless observer post that I returned to Calcutta and had what might be described as a “Damascus Road experience” when I became a “born-again” Christian instead of a nominal one.

Douglas Gibson, Royal Air Force wireless operator, Calcutta, 1944

 

(source: A4175237 Grandpas War at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

the hymns would actually be sung simultaneously in five different languages

The following year (1943) was the occasion of a very special service at church and it took a lot of my time getting the music organised and practiced. The leaflet was printed in three languages, but Mr Brown said that the hymns would actually be sung simultaneously in five different languages. Quite an experience.

Harry Tweedale, RAF, Barrackpore, 1943

 

(source: A6665457 TWEEDALE's WAR Part 11 Pages 85-92 at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

They found a church there

[M]any service men of the Allies, drawn from all quarters of the earth, passing by caught sight of the church and the white cross, and in the sweltering heat longed for a swim in that inviting stretch of water, and looking longingly soon found inviting hands to welcome them, and a white-haired old priest asking them in a hoarse whisper to come in and bathe if they wished, and afterwards taking them over to the Sisters to have a cup of tea, if they could spare the lime. And there were Indian boys playing football, and. no soldier can resist the lure of that particular game. A Sister wrote: 'Nearly every day we have someone over to the Sisters' side to be given tea; it may be a batch of fifteen or twenty who have come to bathe, or a smaller group who have come to church, or a lorry-driver whose lorry has had an accident in front of Father's house, or a medical orderly to beg some prickly heat lotion for the men. One of the R..A.F. men is a Lay Brother from Cowley, and he and a like-minded friend come in once or twice a week for Mass, or to spend their off lime in a quieter way than most of their mates care to do.'

Finding this church, probably quite unexpectedly when they were so -far from home, they were drawn to it by an attraction which perhaps they hardly understood. Seventeen British soldiers came one Sunday tor their Communion. Others, driven over to swim, stayed on for the Evening Service. Sometimes the old priest, perhaps recalling those other days in France when his voice rang out in the open air, would give them in his hoarse but audible voice one of his brief addresses, simple and pointed with no waste of words.

Had any of them, it may be wondered, ever stood as sponsor or Godfather in a village or town church at home, feeling awkward and shy in the unaccustomed role at the font with the well-thumbed card in his hand ? One day in this fierce heat, far from home, among palm and coconut trees by the side of a kind of font they had never seen before (for it was a white marble bath let into the church floor), stood twenty soldier-men taking part in a solemn Baptism. That was certainly something to write home about. Perhaps this was even more unusual for soldiers and airmen to see: one Sunday the Bishop came to ordain two men to be priests; 'A very joyous occasion,' wrote a Sister, 'for one, a Bengali, was a member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, and the other the first fruits of their work at Haluagbar, the first Garo priest. There were three Bengali priests and two English ones present, who joined in the laying-on of hands, and our two R.A.F. friends were in the congregation,'  Perhaps in that church they realized better that they belonged to a world-wide Catholic Communion.

Friends of Father Douglass, Missionaries and Charity workers in Behala, Calcutta, 1943.
(Source: Father Douglas of Behala. London, 1952 / Reproduced by courtesy of Oxford University Press)

 

a service of exorcism

Our mother had not come with us this trip and Stephen kept asking for her so we came back as soon as he could be moved. When we went back to Ranchi, Wahid camp hack with us. The house had been locked up whilst we were away with only the servants living in the servants quarters. Some of them used to go with us on holidays, like the Ayahs and the Bearer. Anyway, a few nights later, we had all retired to bed and at about two o'clock in the morning we heard a tremendous crash. Aunty Dolly thought the Cat had knocked a large bowl of milk off the top of the cupboard. The Milk used to be kept in this howl with a cover over it to keep it cool. We did not have refrigerators then. However, it appeared that nothing was out of place and we all went back to bed.

The following night, my sister Ida awoke and went to the toilet again in the early hours of the morning. She said she was so sleepy she was walking with her eyes almost shut and undoing her pyjamas as she walked. The toilet was just under the stairs leading up to Aunty Dolly's room. There was a table on the verandah - just outside the toilet. Anyway, she let out an unearthly yell because she saw this table moving about in mid air. Everybody emerged from their rooms and we all saw it so it was not a figment of her imagination,

The next day Aunty Dolly got Father DaMolda to come over and he conducted a service of exorcism and after that nothing untoward happened, I have since read much about poltergeists and the fact that they are sometimes a phenomena produced by children. There were three children in the house then although I was the only girl child. I don't think at that time I was as yet unhappy or disturbed but who knows.

Elizabeth James (nee Shah), AngloIndian schoolgirl. Ranchi, mid 1940s
(source: page 22-23 Elizabeth James: An Anglo Indian Tale: The Betrayal of Innocence. Delhi: Originals, 2004 / Reproduced by courtesy of Elizabeth James (nee Shah))

 

a Methodist minister`s son had to organise a Catholic nuptial mass in Calcutta

Eventually there was a change of general - who was a Catholic widower and who wanted to marry the chief of the Red Cross in India, so a Methodist minister`s son had to organise a Catholic nuptial mass in Calcutta!

David Ensor, wireless operator with Royal Corps of Signals, Calcutta, 1945

 

(source: A4255427 Early Promotion at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

"converts" were very few and far between

In some respects I felt sorry for the Browns and the Firths and any other missionaries. In our moments of quiet talk and discussion, Mr Brown admitted that "converts" were very few and far between and then almost entirely from the "sweeper" caste. Being at the bottom of the Hindu league I suppose some felt that Christianity made them have the illusion of being as good as anyone. If they had been aware of the inequalities common in so called Christian countries, perhaps the small number of converts may have shrunk even more. Even "converts" were apt to backslide, and still kept Hindu beliefs to the new Christian ones.

Harry Tweedale, RAF Signals Section, Barrackpore, 1943

 

(source: A6665457 TWEEDALE's WAR Part 11 Pages 85-92 at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

Scripture lessons

Sister Angela Felicity - the deputy Head Mistress was our scripture teacher and taught me a great deal about the Bible. I had of course, already read it from one cover to the other since, as I said, I was a voracious reader but she used to make us learn passages by heart and give us exhaustive comprehension lessons. Since my memory was photographic - something I did not realise but just took for granted - learning by heart was a doddle for me and I could repeat whole passages word perfect, with fullstops, commas, the lot.

This made me Sister Angela's pet and so I served at the Sunday services and was sometimes candlebearer, sometimes boatboy. It was very high church and I have always loved that form of service. It seems to hold so much more mysticism and I find it uplifting and very soothing in times of trouble as well as enjoyable in times of happiness.

Elizabeth James (nee Shah), AngloIndian schoolgirl. Darjeeling, 1947
(source: page 33 Elizabeth James: An Anglo Indian Tale: The Betrayal of Innocence. Delhi: Originals, 2004 / Reproduced by courtesy of Elizabeth James (nee Shah))

 

we were pillars or the church

My Aunt was a very devout lady and we were pillars or the church. From the age of 12, I sang in the choir which meant that I was at church twice on Sundays and every Friday for choir practice and also on any other occasions when the choir were needed, such as weddings, etc. At 13, I started to teach in Sunday School which used to be held after the morning service in church on Sundays so that my entire Sunday morning was spent in church until about 10.30 a.m. The morning service began at 8 a.m., and since the church was always packed, it took about one and a half hours by the time all the communicants had participated in the sacrament. Then we would have coffee in the Church Hall and then hold the Sunday School. There were mostly boys in the choir who came from St Thomas's School since our church was St Thomas's Church.

Elizabeth James (nee Shah), AngloIndian schoolgirl. Calcutta, 1950
(source: page 54 Elizabeth James: An Anglo Indian Tale: The Betrayal of Innocence. Delhi: Originals, 2004 / Reproduced by courtesy of Elizabeth James (nee Shah))

 

The Parish Priest was an Archdeacon called Ronald Bryan

There were mostly boys in the choir who came from St Thomas's School since our church was St Thomas's Church. The Parish Priest was an Archdeacon called Ronald Bryan and he had adopted a family of children named O'Brien, the father having died when the youngest boy, Reginald was one year old. The Mother, Gwendoline O'Brien, then remarried and had a son called Trevor Palmer but she too died leaving five children from her first marriage and Trevor. Mr Palmer did not want the O'Brien children and on her deathbed it seemed Mrs O'Brien asked Rev.Bryan to look after her children. He placed the two girls, Maureen and Pamela with their Aunt in Cawnpore and the three boys, Derek, William and Reginald lived with him and grew up as his sons. Later, Trevor joined his household as well.

This man was the most dedicated churchman I have ever known. He truly tried to live by Christ's example. He refused to lock the church at any time, saying that it was God's House and should be open to the needy at all hours. He helped many people who were shunned by society and one of the most memorable instances was a man called Archie who had been in prison for stealing and could not find any employment when he came out. Rev Bryan gave him a job looking after the Church grounds and the concensus of opinion was that Archie was a bad egg and would run off with the silver.

He did and Rev Bryan refused to call in the Police saying he would leave him to his conscience and to God. The extraordinary thing was that Archie came back - returned the silver and begged his forgiveness - ever after that remaining on the premises and looking after the Church grounds.

Rev Bryan also cut out sermons. He used to have one Sunday a month when he held a sort of Question Time when people asked him questions regarding the Bible and Religion and he answered to the best of his ability.

Elizabeth James (nee Shah), AngloIndian schoolgirl. Calcutta, 1950
(source: page 54-55 Elizabeth James: An Anglo Indian Tale: The Betrayal of Innocence. Delhi: Originals, 2004 / Reproduced by courtesy of Elizabeth James (nee Shah))

 

The new Church of Christ the King

St Thomas' Middleton Row played a very important part in many of our lives. It served as parish church for a very large area until the Church of Christ the King was built. My brother and my cousin were amongst the first babies to be baptised at Christ the King in 1944 though my parents always took me to the 8am Mass at Middleton Row on Christmas Day - I was too young to attend midnight Mass at Christ the King. My parents were married and I was baptised at Middleton Row by the same priest who became parish priest at Christ the King, Fr Errol Cowen.

Molly Hamilton, Calcutta. late 1940s
(Source: Several E-mail interviews with Molly Hamilton in 2003. / Reproduced by courtesy of Molly Hamilton)

 

Abandoning the Church

In Calcutta on my way to Arakan I took a crucial decision. Until hen I had been a practising though by no means devout Catholic, observing the rituals required by my religion, going to Sunday mass, occasionally to confession and communion. If I was secular in my outlook it was only in the sense that I respected all religions including my own. But for some time I had been disturbed by the feeling that religions, whatever doctrinal form they took, were more man-made than God-ordained. They had hardened into vested interests exploited by priests, pundits and mullahs who appeared to regard religion more as a profession or investment than a vocation. And particularly irrational seemed the Catholic belief that a man's sins could automatically be wiped away at intervals of a week, fortnight, month or year by another man's incantations and the prescription of a penance. As a war correspondent my life would be more hazardous than as a journalist. Now on my way to Arakan was the time for decision. I took it. From then on I was to have no faith in institutionalized religion. I went to the war front with my mind clear and at peace. I am not an atheist nor even an agnostic. But religion, run like some sort of successful business enterprise with a graded priestly hierarchy administering it, seemed anomalous and repellent. It still seems so.

Frank Moraes, Journalist for Times of India. Calcutta, February 1943
(source: page 111 of Moraes, Frank. Witness to an era : India 1920 to the present day. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1973)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Frank Moraes 1973)

 

been privileged to know quite a bit about religion

My grandmother came from an Anglican family and since my Aunt after her mother's remarriage remained with her Grandmother, she was always Anglican and accordingly, so was I. However, my Grandmother converted to Roman Catholicism and so my mother is Roman Catholic. This meant that when she married my father who was also Roman Catholic, all the rest of my brothers and sisters were Roman Catholic and so I have probably been privileged to know quite a bit about religion. I was brought up in the Anglican faith, lived in a house were Islam was also respected due to my Uncle being a Muslim and where Roman Catholicism was also practised insofar as no meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. We also had the benefit of celebrating both the Christian and the Muslim festivals which was great for us children.

Elizabeth James (nee Shah), AngloIndian schoolgirl. Calcutta, 1947
(source: page 40-41 Elizabeth James: An Anglo Indian Tale: The Betrayal of Innocence. Delhi: Originals, 2004 / Reproduced by courtesy of Elizabeth James (nee Shah))

 

The girls were all taught to be chatelaines of the old type

The girls in our family were all taught to be chatelaines of the old type. To learn to sew a fine seam and keep a fine table and keep detailed household accounts - a habit which I still have. We embroidered all the linen ourselves. The sheets were all done with drawn thread borders and monograms. The towels too were all monogrammed. We also did lots of needlework and cross stitch for the local church fetes. Since Aunty Dolly and I were Church of England and the rest Roman Catholic - this was the gain of both churches since we patronised them both and did work for both. 

Elizabeth James (nee Shah), AngloIndian schoolgirl. Ranchi, mid 1940s
(source: page 18 Elizabeth James: An Anglo Indian Tale: The Betrayal of Innocence. Delhi: Originals, 2004 / Reproduced by courtesy of Elizabeth James (nee Shah))

 

 

 

 

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Jewish Synagogues

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

Addresses of Synagogues in 1940

Bethel Synagogue—26/1 Pollock Street.
Saturday :Morning Prayers at 6-15; Evening at 3-30 and 5-45.
Other Days :—Morning Prayers at 5-30; Evening at 5.

Maghen David Synagogue—109 Canning Street.
Saturday :Morning Prayers at 6-30; Evening at 4-30 and 5-45.
Other Days :Morning Prayers at 6; Evening at 4-45.

Neveh Shalome Synagogue—9 Synagogue Street.
Saturday :—Morning Prayers ar 6; Evening at 4 and 6.
Other Days :—Morning Prayers, at 5-45; Evening at 4-45.

The Brahmo Samaj Church of the New Dispensation
(Bharatavarshiya Brahma Mandir)—95 Keshab Chunder Sen Street.
Sunday :Children's School, 7 a.m. Service and Sermon, 6 p.m.

 

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 219 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

 

 

Maghen David Synagogue

on the left is the Maghen David Synagogue, a stately building in the Italian Renaissance style of architecture, with a lofty steeple adorned with an actractive four-dialed clock. It was erected on the site of an earlier structure by the noted philanthropist Elias David Joseph Ezra (1830-1886).

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source page 13 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

US ARMY CHURCH CALENDAR*

[...]

 

Jewish Services. 28th Air Depot, Barrackpore, 1830 Mondays.

  Chaplain David Seligson.

Maghen David Synagogue, 109 Canning St. 1930 Fridays, 2000 Saturdays.

  Chaplain David Seligson.

142nd General Hospital. 1100 Saturdays.

 

[…]

 

  * Notes on the foregoing: All of the above listings were correct at the time of going to press; naturally, however, such times are subject to constant change, and therefore it is advised that you consult the weekly Church Calendar and the Church Notices in Saturday's "The Statesman" for the latest available data. In "The Statesman" you will also find a complete listing of civilian church services. Regarding the merit of any individual church or church function consult the Base Chaplain or his assistant; feel free to consult them either in person or by telephone at the Hindusthan Building.

 

(source: “The Calcutta Key” Services of Supply Base Section Two Division, Information and education Branch, United States Army Forces in India - Burma, 1945:  at: http://cbi-theater-12.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-12/calcuttakey/calcutta_key.html)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

The Neveh Shalome Synagoge

As a child, my first experience of going to the synagogue in walking with the rest of the family out of 81/8 Bentinck Street to a building not far from home. We are all dressed nicely, particularly my father who is wearing a suit and felt hat. He holds a small black book in his hand and remains silent and preoccupied until we reach the gates of Neveh Shalome Synagogue, the Abode of Peace. We separate here. Daddy and my brother go into a downstairs hall while mummy and my sisters climb to an upper floor, looking down on the assembled men from a gallery. A hum of prayers rises upwards as we open our own books and cover our heads to join in the service.

Neveh Shalome, the smallest and oldest of the three synagogues, had echoed with the voices of my great-great-great grandfather and the early Jewish settlers since the year 1826. A century later found the new Neveh Shalome risen from the ashes of the old after years of legal wrangling and jostling for survival with its grand rival next door - the Magen David Synagogue, as large and resplendent as ours was small and unassuming. I remember its quiet atmosphere and felt a sense of belonging within its walls from that very first day.

Sally Salomon, Daughter of a Jewish family in Calcutta. Calcutta, mid 1930s
(source: Sally Solomon: “Feasting and Fasting” on http://www.babylonjewry.org.il/research/nehardea/9/m8.htm on 25.10.2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Sally Solomon)

 

 

 

 

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Parsee Fire Temples

 

 

 

 

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Buddhist Temples

 

 

 

 

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Brahmo Samaj Churches

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

 

we were certainly a highly political family

My grandfather was a reformist Hindu belonging to the Brahmo Samaj, a social reformist movement, opposed to all religious mumbo-jumbo and we were certainly a highly political family - I was one of seven girls, 4 sisters and 3 cousins - all deeply committed to liberation politics and the freedom of women. I myself am proud to have three feminist grand-daughters.

Nandita Sen, Schoolgirl, Calcutta. August 1945
 (Source: Nandita's story at: http://timewitnesses.org/english/%7Enandita.html, Nandita Sen Hyderabad - January 2005, seen 18th November 2005)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Nandita Sen)

 

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Chinese temples

 

 

 

 

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Festivals

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

 

Holidays

The most important of the Hindu holidays are: Holi, which is a spring festival, something like our Hallowe'en in spirit, at which red or yellow powder is thrown around like confetti and colored water is used for water fights; Diwali which is the "feast of lamps," when every city and village is ablaze with lights; and Dashara, in October, at which time all Hindus pay their respects to the tools of their trade.

 

(source: “A Pocket Guide to India” Special Service Division, Army Service Forces, United States Army. War and Navy Departments Washington D.C [early 1940s]:  at: http://cbi-theater-2.home.comcast.net/booklet/guide-to-india.html)

 

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

Did we ever notice religious festivals?

Yes, but we had no idea what was going on or why the festival was being held. We had no orientation about them in any way. Actually, we had our hands full with military duties and that left little opportunity to learn much about the host country. At the time, we had many missions coming in daily which meant I was tied to the lab for hour after hour, day after day.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

(source: a series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley)

 

 

 

 

 

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Durga Puja

 

 

 

 

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          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

Ron, as a gesture, occasionally attended the festivities in the bazaar

The calendar in India was punctuated by all the various festivals both Hindu and Muhammadan, but mostly Hindu. The Durga Puja held in September/October was especially popular in Bengal. On a stage in the adjoining bazaar the goddess Durga  -  the universal mother – presided with her consort Shiva and son Ganesh, the boy with the elephant head who always held a fascination for us although Hinduism with all the accompanying legends, gods and goddesses was something very few Europeans knew anything about. Ron, as a gesture, occasionally attended the festivities in the bazaar.

Eugenie Fraser, wife of a jute mill manager, Calcutta, early 1940

 (source:page 91 of Eugenie Fraser: “A home by the Hooghly. A jute Wallahs Wife” .Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing  1989)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Eugenie Fraser)

 

 

 

 

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Holi

 

 

 

 

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Holi Festival

I do remember the Holi Festival because several of our men came back to the base with their uniforms splotched with color -- and they were not in the least in a festive mood. They knew not why they had been splashed and, if they could have caught the perpetrators, they might have caused "an international incident."

At the time, we had many missions coming in daily which meant I was tied to the lab for hour after hour, day after day.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

(source: a series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley)

 

No one previously would have dared to throw dye over a European

Meanwhile all over India people were celebrating the Holi festival […] [1944]

Our friend, Jimmy Stewart, when traveling home from the head office through the bazaar, received a squirtful in the open window of his car and arrived home in a fury – his suit ruined with pink splashes.  No one previously would have dared to throw dye over a European, but now attitudes appeared to be changing with the Indians growing bolder.

Clashes and riots had been known to take place when someone, deliberately or otherwise, squirted dye over a Muhammadan.

Eugenie Fraser, wife of a jute mill manager, Titaghur, Holi 1944

 (source:page 114 of Eugenie Fraser: “A home by the Hooghly. A jute Wallahs Wife” .Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing  1989)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Eugenie Fraser)

 

the water celebration

Our customs were different to the Indian’s. During one, the water celebration, it was legal to throw water over everyone else. This was the only time we were allowed to wear shorts and no shirts. Hosepipes were used.

Bernard Miller, South East Asia Command, Motor Transport Section, Calcutta, 1944-5

 

(source: A3568881 South East Asia Command at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

 

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Christmas

 

 

 

 

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Calcutta Christmas Card 1945

 

Richard Beard, US Army Lieutenant Psychologist with 142 US military hospital. Calcutta,

(Source: Elaine Pinkerton / Reproduced by courtesy of Elaine Pinkerton)

 

 

Christmas Quiz 1945

 

Richard Beard, US Army Lieutenant Psychologist with 142 US military hospital. Calcutta,

(Source: Elaine Pinkerton / Reproduced by courtesy of Elaine Pinkerton)

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas for the Troops

India

December 24, 1944

Dearest One:

Tonight, Christmas eve, I have already opened my packages, the eager beaver that I am. I have excellent news for you, sweet, for today brought 6 packages to my desk - that's right, 6 packages - Santa Clause for sure!

Three were from you; really four, for one had Ruth's name on it - but yours inside. One from Clete and one from the Church of God.

Two of your packages contained my OD's - shirt and trousers, the latter having some clippings enclosed. The third Reva (!) package contained nut tidbits, some socks, wash cloths, towels, handkerchiefs, and candy. The fourth may have had some of the welcome dry goods in it also; a September Journal, several wrapped small items, peanuts, and 2 cans - one of which contained cheese. You see, when I made the list at the office, I didn't unwrap any of them, just unpacked them and replaced the items in the six boxes in one large box so that I could carry it all.

The Church had a really lovely package, with several church papers enclosed and eleven gaily wrapped items. They sent such things as soap, candy, comb, handkerchief, etc.

Clete's package was the only wooden box which I got, and it was the only broken one. Nothing was smashed in, however, except the Mennan's powder - which had scented everything very nicely. His package included a Middleton Tobacco kit, a pack of Raleigh, popcorn, candy, a comb, and 2 Life Savers.

Your December 8 letter arrived today, as well as your clippings of December 2 and 6 and a package containing Old Mariner and Blue Boar Tobacco dated November 24.

In the distance I can hear Christmas carols. It will soon be time for the Christmas Service program to begin -- so on with the Quiz. Will be back later.

Well, my darling, it is now 11:00 and the big program is over. Lt. Fox and I were the Hq. contestants, pitted against 4 officers and 4 enlisted men from the four squadrons. Lt. Seale, our Spc Service officer, presided. Lt. Goodman, his assistant (who later offered to get me a job in New York schools), offered each contestant team a choice from an envelope, the class of question determined the specific question which Lt. Seale read. Well, to cut a long story short, we came out second, missing 1 3/5 questions out of ten. The type I answered? Such questions as the world's largest artificial lake; the length of time it took Moses to reach the promised land (a trick question - he didn't reach it!). The questions I helped miss were 1/2 of what John Alden's wife's name was Priscilla Mullins (Yeah! I know - I knew it, but couldn't think of it at the moment); the three gaits of a three-gaited horse (we got trot and canter, missed walk); and all of the quotation taken from the Cadet's prayer - since neither of us had ever heard of it.

Oh, yes, second prize was thirty rupees, which Lt. Fox and I divided. Later, as I sat with Capt. Seeger and Lt. Husak during the terrible movie, "Gambler's Choice," Lt. Husak answered my criticism by telling me that at least I had been paid 15 rupees to sit through the program.

Lt. Steegman figured in the presentation of medals and a trophy to the winning softball team, of which he is the pitcher. Though I was talking with Capt. Robinson, the chaplain, at the time, Steegman came up, put his arm around me, and gave me explicit directions on how to reach his basha to get some of his scotch. P.S. I didn't go.

After the movie, Kenyon, Jakinjin, Phipps, and I went to the Club, but a scene of disheveled revelry met our eyes - so we said hello to the boys who could still recognize us, and then wandered back to the basha.

The boys in the next compartment have just yelled out an invitation to come over and help them eat some cheesed and buttered popcorn which they have just prepared. (15 mins. later) It really was good -- indeed, we contrive to keep reasonably happy in some fashion.

The lights went out just as I started the second half of this letter - and so this is being scribbled by lantern light. Kenyon went off to (high) mass (Xmas) down the road, while I elected to finish this letter.

Merry Christmas!

It is now the next morning, for I stopped writing when my pen ran out of ink.

There has been so much to comment upon that I have had difficulty in remembering

everything that I want to say.

I'm smoking the pipe Miriam and Ray got me, and I'm saving the beautiful cherry-stain weber of yours until later in the day. You have all been so thoughtful and kind that I am overwhelmed. Please thank everyone for me!

Dearest one, I had one of those confounded headaches most of the day, but a nap at noon with the meal skipped seems to have set me up fairly well.

I appreciate all of the stationery which you provided me with - and thanks for Steinbeck, too.

I'm afraid that I had better draw this rather incoherent letter to a close — so dearest Ritter, a thousand Merry Christmases to you, my darling - and all my love,

Ever,

Dick

Richard Beard, US Army Lieutenant Psychologist with 142 US military hospital. Calcutta, December 24, 1944.

(Source: pp.105 ff. of Elaine Pinkerton (ed.): “From Calcutta With Love: The World War II Letters of Richard and Reva Beard” Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2002 / Reproduced by courtesy of Texas Tech University Press)

 

 

 

 

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The Great Calcutta Christmas Season

We went to Calcutta for Christmas. Mother came too. We travelled in a special train for a thousand miles or so from the palace siding at Gwalior. On the Calcutta station an antheap of palace servants waited for us with a tent-wall, which closed round the Maharani as she left her carriage and shielded her from profane male eyes, including mine. For a widow no longer in her first youth it was an odd custom. I saw her once, when the curtain in the train blew aside.

The Christmas of 1935 was one of the last great Calcutta festivals of the British Raj: racing, polo, the Viceroy in residence in Belvedere, Warren Hastings's old house, a grand fancy-dress ball in eighteenth-century court dress against the background of those elegant houses of the period, the Viceroy and the dynamic and ruthless Lady Willingdon tempting Providence as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the portly Sir John Anderson in wig and flowered waistcoat, our host at dinner in his imposing Government House modelled on Kedleston, looking as if he had stepped out of the pages of William Hickey.

My ward enjoyed the racing. I said, 'Don't go in for racing quite so deeply as your father.' Soon after I had left, he had over two hundred horses in training and was winning all the best races with ‘Finalist’.

Humphrey Trevelyan. ICS with responsibility for the ruling family of Gwalior. Calcutta, 1935
 (source page 183 of Humphrey Trevelyan, (Baron Trevelyan): “The India we left : Charles Trevelyan, 1826-65, Humphrey Trevelyan, 1929-47.” London : Macmillan, 1972. Monsoon Morning. London: Ernest Benn, 1966)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Lord Trevelyan 1972)

 

 

I am extremely fortunate in having invitations out for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Christmas tends to be an emotional time for people in outposts of Empire, but I must say that my friends at Barrackpore rallied round in fine style. Extracts from a letter I sent 15th December 1942 to Betty - "I am extremely fortunate in having invitations out for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Unfortunately my duties will prevent me from availing myself of Doctor and Mrs Lowe's very kind invitation to spend Christmas Eve in the bosom of their family, but I am off duty from 6pm to midnight on Christmas Day and shall be able to spend that time at the Firths, with our special musical and carol service in the offing. The Firths have been spoiling me dreadfully lately. To get to church in time last Sunday I had to skip dinner, with the result that Mrs Firth insisted on working up quite a substantial meal after service. Not only that, but as I was due on duty at midnight, she also insisted on lending me a thermos flask filled with hot tea and supplied me with some biscuits. Of course, all this quite overwhelmed Messrs Cordell and Davis who suggested to Mrs Firth that she should supply me with a pillow and blanket as well so that I could make myself really comfortable on duty. "

Harry Tweedale, RAF Signals Section, 15th December 1942

 

(source: A6665457 TWEEDALE's WAR Part 11 Pages 85-92 at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

Christmas 1940

This was deliberate policy, the policy of the stiff upper lip. Lord Linlithgow had decided that we should show the natives of India that the imperial machine was still in being and the rulers of the Empire were confident of victory. He put it himself in more negative terms: 'I think there is probably a good deal of importance in retaining even in times of stress such as these a sufficient degree of public appearance to indicate that we have not retired into our shell and sunk into the depths of depression.' For the first Christmas of the war, a special train took the Viceroy's Bodyguard to Calcutta so that the Viceroy could drive on to the race-course in state with a sovereign's escort of lancers in scarlet coats.

I do not know whether this impressed the people of Calcutta; among the British of whom I saw most, mainly staff officers at Army Headquarters, there was a strong feeling that it would have been better to give an impression of being stripped for action, of taking the war seriously. There is a certain magnificence about the stiff upper lip and it is undoubtedly preferable to panic; I was aware of admiration on the afternoon of the garden-party. But it can look very like a complacent indifference to reality.

Philip Mason, ICS. Calcutta, 1940
(source chapter IX of Philip Mason: “A shaft of sunlight : memories of a varied life.” London: Deutsch, 1978.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Philip Mason 1978)

 

Xmas Dinner menu 1945 for the RAF Hospital in Calcutta

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Xmas Dinner menu for the RAF Hospital in Calcutta belonging to Frank Gostick.

When Frank wrote home from Calcutta he used the initials of Calcutta to address family members to secretly let is family know where he was.

Frank Gostick, RAF, Calcutta, 1945

 

(source: A7238117 Xmas Dinner menu at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

Xmas in Calcutta 1945

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Xmas Card 1945 sent from Calcutta to his daughter Jose Gostick.

When Frank wrote home from Calcutta he used the initials of Calcutta to address family members to secretly let his family know where he was based.

Frank Gostick, RAF, Calcutta, 1945

 

(source: A7214645 Xmas in Calcutta at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

A Christmas Telegram

113752914920767846923_1

This is a telegram sent from my Father, Philip Gallop, to my mother, Audrey Brown, before they were married.

It reads as follows:

'253 C CW K 4577 Overseas 19 20 1620

LC = Audrey Brown 174 Liverpool Rd Reading

Best wishes for a Happy Xmas, All my love darling, Philip Gallop.'

It was dated 1943.

Philip Roy Gallop, Royal Air Force, Calcutta, 1943

 

(source: A8612967 A Christmas Telegram at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

Birkmyre Hostel

The second Christmas was celebrated at the Birkmyre Hostel, Calcutta, where Harold and Louise Fox were wardens, caring for Anglo-Indian boys who had started work after completing their schooling at Dr. Graham’s Homes in Kalimpong. Boxing Day saw me riding on a rickshaw en route to the Railway Station in order to catch the train to Rawalpindi.

Douglas Gibson, Royal Air Force wireless operator, Calcutta, 1944

 

(source: A4175237 Grandpas War at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

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Diwali

 

 

 

 

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“…my favourite was 'Diwali'”

Puja's were always a most interesting part of Indian life and my favourite was 'Diwali' when, at evening time, the Hooghly river was all a 'glitter' with thousands of floating lamps.- a truly unforgettable sight!

Kenneth Miln, son of a ‘jute wallah’. Jagatdal/Calcutta, 1945-49
 (source: Letter sent to us  by Mr Kenneth Miln himself, July 2006/ Reproduced by courtesy of Kenneth Miln)

 

 

 

 

 

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Kali Puja

 

 

 

 

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Lakshmi Puja

 

 

 

 

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Saraswati Puja

 

 

 

 

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Machine Puja

 

 

 

 

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Ramadan

 

 

 

 

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Eid-ul-Fitr

 

 

 

 

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Eid-ul-Adha

 

 

 

 

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Eid-Miladunnabi

 

 

 

 

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Muharram

 

 

 

 

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Muharram revellers came to our garden

During Muharram, some of the revellers came to our garden with their flaming torches and danced for us. It was such a relief to see them in a mood of entertainment. This gesture on their part removed the fear psychosis which all of us could have been victims of during those turbulent months.

Samir Mukerjee. Schoolboy. Calcutta, late 1946
(source: Samir Mukerjee: Keep the faith & the friends. The Telegraph: 31Oct2003)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Samir Mukerjee)

 

 

 

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Yom Kipur

 

 

 

                           

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Yom Kipur

Today, no matter where I am, I recall little details of observance, or some aspects of family life during the festivals and Holy Days which still have the power to evoke tears, or laughter, or both. Like, for instance, the memory of a distant Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jews ask the Almighty to forgive their sins.

It was in the mid-thirties, and I had just joined the ranks of those fasting full day, basking in the importance of my thirteen years; but there were also disadvantages, as I was about to learn. The four of us had walked back home with daddy after the service on Yom Kippur Eve. It was a distance of almost two miles to Tottee Lane and we arrived hungry and thirsty, the thought of food and drink very vivid in our minds. In preparation for the long fast ahead we retired straight away and were lying down quietly, when an agonized, whispered cry from my sister Rahmoo's bed made us all sit up.

'I drank water! I drank water!,' she repeated over and over again, all the while wringing her hands. We choked with suppressed laughter, realizing what had happened. The nightly drink of water, an ingrained habit, had been repeated by mistake. 'Shh....shhhh... it does not matter,' we assured her, fearful lest my father should hear. But on Yom Kippur there was always that awesome feeling that not only daddy, but Heaven itself would frown on any infringement of penitential practice.

In our community, fasting on Yom Kippur was something every Jewish adult did, or tried to do. Not keeping a kosher home, or observing the Sabbath, did not seem quite as sinful as not fasting on Yom Kippur. Was this true? I agonized. Was not the Sabbath the most sacred festival in the history of our people? Eventually I came to the conclusion that Yom Kippur is very important because on that day each person communicates directly with his Maker. The Sabbath is for us all; Yom Kippur is more individual and, if observed, brings a sense of deliverance to the suppliant.

On looking back over the years, it is very easy to remember the sequence of events ushering in that Holy Day. It started with the night before the Eve when white hens were whirled over the heads of all female family members and white cockerels over the heads of my father and brother Sam. The shohet who performed kapparah prayed that the birds took on our identity, and therefore our sins, before they were sacrificed.

On the morning of Yom Kippur Eve we had a brunch of grilled lamb kebabs and a cup of early afternoon tea. In this way, we were able to eat an enormous meal of rice, chicken and vegetables followed by fruit, and the final drink of water before the trip to the synagogue at about 3.30 p.m. For this journey, the gharry had been ordered well in advance because arrival at the synagogue was essential before sunset. Heaven forbid that we ride after, because the horses' hooves, making contact with the tarred roads and producing sparks, was tantamount to breaking the Sabbath. By this same line of thinking, light switches could not be operated once the fast was under way, so the Muslim servant was asked to wait for us to return from the syangogue and do the needful until we retired.

The service on Yom Kippur Eve was one of the most well-attended throughout the year. As the wailing lilt of Lekha Eli set the mood of sorrow and repentance, I remember being dazzled by the heraldic appearance of the great hall. Velvet curtains in rich, dark hues and embroidered in gold and silver, some with Hebrew lettering, hung in rows from the ladies' gallery. Glittering chandeliers shone down on the men, wearing different colored kippas and swathed in prayer shawls, chanting and responding in unison to the rabbi, a veritable king on the central dias. The atmosphere was charged with excitement, and, after hearing the Kol Nidre I went home happy to be a Jew.

In contrast, attendance on the following morning was perceptibly lower and the mood more grave. The color white was predominant, from the canvas shoes worn by the men, to the shroud-like gowns and head scarves worn by some of the traditionally dressed women.

I remember looking down from the gallery during the most poignant sections of the service when some men went up to the platform at the far end and held out their shawls in front of them, arms extended.

'They look like ghosts, who are they, mummy?' I whispered, feeling afraid.

'The Cohanim, descendants of the Biblical priests.'

I watched, fascinated, as the tzitzis, fringes, of thier shawls, swung as they turned from side to side in incantation. The hall reverberated with wailing, and most of the congregation were in tears.

Sally Salomon, Daughter of a Jewish family in Calcutta. Calcutta, mid 1930s
(source: Sally Solomon: “Feasting and Fasting” on http://www.babylonjewry.org.il/research/nehardea/9/m8.htm on 25.10.2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with Sally Solomon)

 

 

 

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Naboborsho (Bengali New Year)

 

 

 

 

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New Year

 

 

 

 

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New Years Day

January 1, 1945

Dearest Ritter:

Happy New Year, darling.

Last night we made no attempt to go to the office, and we had one of those “to be announced” movie programs coming up. It proved to be Edward G. Robinson in “Mr. Winkle Goes to War,” which is one of the most satisfactory war pictures I have seen. It told, rather faithfully, how an ordinary citizen found himself in the army and his reaction to the situation. Of course it was romanticized, but in general a picture that didn’t try our patience.

Though this was Sunday, it was a busy one at the Stat Office. Yesterday being the last day of the month, we worked fairly hard all day trying to get our reports in order.

We did take some time out at noon to watch the Indians who were fishing, using nets and bamboo traps, in the pond adjacent to our headquarters. The water is low enough that they can wade through all of it, and word got around that one had caught a fish 15 inches long. In a few moments, 56 (by actual count) Indians, little and big, were there.

Tonight Phipps brought out a bottle of brandy that he bought from Lt. Husak. We started it, Kenyon and I, before the show, and we just finished it. So everything is Hail Mary, etc., here tonight. No doubt, headachy tomorrow.

I want you to know, Sweetest girl, how much and with what longing I am thinking of you now. You are my incomparable princess! With the beginning of a new year, all my love and affection to you, darling, as it really is all the time.

Love me, precious,

Dick

Richard Beard, US Army Lieutenant Psychologist with 142 US military hospital. Calcutta, January 1, 1945.

(Source: p.115  of Elaine Pinkerton (ed.): “From Calcutta With Love: The World War II Letters of Richard and Reva Beard” Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2002 / Reproduced by courtesy of Texas Tech University Press)

 

 

 

 

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New Year’s Eve 1942 at Woodlands

My family were in Calcutta for the winter season, as usual, and Ma wrote to ask Jai's permission for me to join them. I timed my arrival at "Woodlands" for New Year's Day, 1942, because I didn't want to be there for the New Year's Eve festivities without Jai. It would have been too lonely and depressing. We always had a big New Year's Eve party, but this year Ma had written to tell me she was planning to mark the occasion with a particularly splendid fete at "Woodlands" to raise funds for the war effort. She turned the whole garden into a huge fair-ground and in a single night raised almost 100,000 rupees. When I arrived, everyone was still talking enthusiastically about Ma's fete, and I half wished that I had been there for it after all.

Gayatri Devi, Maharani of Jaipur. Calcutta, 1941/42.
 (source: p. 186 Gayatri Devi / Santha Rama Rau: “A Princess Remembers. The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur”. Philadelphia & New York: J.B. Lippincott Company. 1976 / Reproduced by courtesy of Santha Rama Rau).

 

 

 

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Chinese New Year

 

 

 

 

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Ceremonies

 

 

 

 

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Cemeteries

 

 

 

 

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PARK STREET CEMETERIES

At the southern end of Park Street, at its junction with Lower Circular Road, are the old Calcutta Park Street Cemeteries where, under massive brick and plaster memorials, lie the remains of many great personages associated with the early history of Calcutta. Names famous in verse and legend adorn the crumbling graves and vividly resuscitate for us the glories of Old Calcutta, of Warren Hastings, of French Privateers and of gay mid-Victorian Cavaliers. These cemeteries are four in number :

Tiretta or French Cemetery—Opened in 1786 for the reburial of the young wife of Edward Tiretta, an Italian who rose to the position of Superintendent of Streets and Buildings. In this cemetery are also buried Mark Mutty, the Venetian, the renowned Vicomtesse Adeline de Facieu and Roman Catholics of those early days.

Mission Cemetery—Opened in 1773. Among those buried here are Richard Burney, and the Rev. J. Z. Kiernander, the first Protestant Missionary to Bengal, who built in 1770, at his own expense, the Beth Tophilla (House of Prayer), now the Old Mission Church.

North Park Street Cemetery—Opened in 1791. Here lie the remains of Thomas Henry Graham, killed in action in an affray between the East India Company's ship "Kent" and a French privateer in 1800 ; Richard Thackeray, the novelist's father; and William Jones, founder of Bishop's College, now Sibpur Engineering College.

South Park Street Cemetery—Opened in 1767. Here a mammoth obelisk marks the grave of Sir William Jones, founder and first President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. A fluted column, inset with a black marble slab, marks the last resting place of Rose Aylmer, immortalised in verse by that strange genius, Walter Savage Landor (P. 88). Here are also buried Captain Mackay, whose narrative of shipwreck inspired that of Byron's in "Don Juan"; General Clavering; Major-General Stuart; Colonel and Lady Monson; Colonel Kyd, founder and first President of the Botanical Gardens; Sir Elijah Impey; Henry Vansittart, Governor of Bengal, 1760-64; Edward Wheler, and Captain Edward Cook, son of the famous navigator. As Commandant of H.M.Ship "La Sybille", Captain Cook engaged the heavily armed French frigate "La Porte", and captured it on the 1st March 1799; he was wounded in action and died on the 23rd May 1799, at the age of 26: a memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey records his great services to the Empire.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 98-99 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Military Cemetery

In Bhowanipore Road, on the right, is Minto Park Road and the Military Cemetery, opened in 1733 ; on the left is the Mental Observation Ward, Sambhu Nath Pundit Street, Marhatta Ditch Road and Sankaripara Road.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 124-126 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

the Roman Catholic Cemetery

, and higher up Canal Street. Facing Canal Street, is the Roman Catholic Cemetery; at No. 12 is the Entally Police Station and adjoining it Convent Square.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 126 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

the newly-constructed Christian Cemetery

A little way along Russa Road we come to Prince Golam Mohammed Charitable Dispensary, founded in 1873, alongside which is the approach road of the newly-constructed Christian Cemetery. This cemetery will, from 1940, replace the present Christian Burial Grounds in Lower Circular Road, which have been in use since 1840.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 164-66 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Mission Cemetery, North Park Street Cemetery and Armenian Cemetery

On the left are Park Lane, the Tiretta Cemetery and McLeod Street which leads to Elliott Road. Mission Cemetery and North Park Street Cemetery on the left, and South Park Street Cemetery on the right, bring us to the crossing of Lower Circular Road, from where we enter Park Street (New).

Returning to Park Street (New) and pursuing our way, we have on the left North Range. At No. 11/6 North Range is an Armenian Cemetery and a Chapel built in 1906 and dedicated to St. Gregory The Illuminator; services are held here every Sunday evening, also in the mornings and evenings on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent; opposite North Range is the Park Circus Post and Telegraph Office.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 87-91 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

the Scottish Cemetery

In Karaya Road, on the right, is Acre Road and directly opposite it, the Scottish Cemetery.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 91 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

Lower Circular Road Cemetery

Crossing Park Street, we have on the right Lower Circular Road Cemetery, opened in 1840. Just inside the entrance is a striking marble memorial to Sir William MacNaughten, Bart., Governor-Designate of Bombay, assassinated at Kabul in 1841. Lower down is buried the Rt. Hon'ble James Wilson, Finance Member (obit 1860) and Sir John Woodburn, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal (1898-1902). To the north of the cemetery runs Bijii Road, leading to Crematorium Street.

John Barry, journalist, Calcutta, 1939/40
(source pages 124-126 of John Barry: “Calcutta 1940” Calcutta: Central Press, 1940.)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with John Barry 1940)

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

 

 

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Burning Ghats

 

 

 

 

          _____Pictures of 1940s Calcutta________________________

 

 

Nimtolla funeral pyres

24

 

Nimtolla burning ghat where Hindus burn the bodies of their dead and commit the remains to the Hooghly river.  Several funeral pyres still burn while abandoned baby in foreground awaits burning.

Clyde Waddell, US military man, personal press photographer of Lord Louis Mountbatten, and news photographer on Phoenix magazine. Calcutta, mid 1940s

(source: webpage http://oldsite.library.upenn.edu/etext/sasia/calcutta1947/?  Monday, 16-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of David N. Nelson, South Asia Bibliographer, Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania)

 

 

Cremating in Calcutta. at burning ghats

Robert Sanders , USAAF 40th Bombergroup. Calcutta, 1945

(source: webpage http://40thbombgroup.org/indiapics2.html  Monday, 03-Jun-2003 / Reproduced by courtesy of Bob Sanders)

 

 

 

Preparing to kindle crematory fire at a ghat north of Howrah Bridge

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Kindling crematory fire, Cg004, Preparing to kindle crematory fire at a ghat  north of Howrah Bridge seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

Cremation ceremony at a Ghat a short distance upstream from Howrah Bridge, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Ghat cremation scene, Cg001, "Cremation ceremony at a Ghat a short distance upstream from Howrah Bridge, Calcutta"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Cremation ceremony at a Ghat a short distance upstream from Howrah Bridge, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Ghat cremation scene, Cg002, "Cremation ceremony at a Ghat a short distance upstream from Howrah Bridge, Calcutta"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Activity at ghat on Strand Road, upstream from Howrah Bridge

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Activity at ghat, Cg003, "Activity at ghat on Strand Road, upstream from Howrah Bridge"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Activity at ghat north of Howrah Bridge, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Ghat activity, Cg005, "Activity at ghat north of Howrah Bridge, Calcutta"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

Activity at ghat north of Howrah Bridge, Calcutta

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

 

 (source: Glenn S. Hensley: Ghat activity, Cg006, "Activity at ghat north of Howrah Bridge, Calcutta"  seen at University of Chicago Hensley Photo Library at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/images/hensley as well as a  series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

 

 (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley and under a Creative Commons license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          _____Contemporary Records of or about 1940s Calcutta___

 

Cremation ceremony.

You note we seemed to have great access. Yes, we did. All I ever had to do at Nimtolla Ghat was simply to walk in the gate. No one ever questioned me, made any comment of any kind about the photography I was doing. I tried to keep a low profile, worked quietly and as respectfully as I could, I documented the ceremony because it was so different from what was the case as far as funeral ceremonies in the US were concerned. It was another way I was trying to help educate young Americans about the life and times in another and far away land.

Glenn Hensley, Photography Technician with US Army Airforce, Summer 1944

(source: a series of E-Mail interviews with Glenn Hensley between 12th June 2001 and 28th August 2001)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced by permission of Glenn Hensley)

 

 

 

 

          _____Memories of 1940s Calcutta_______________________

 

 

The funeral procession

“The first time I visited Calcutta I was walking along Chowringhee, the main street, when I was startled to see a funeral….The funeral procession comprised four men walking at each corner of a plank which was balanced on their heads. On top of the plank was a dead body, surrounded by flowers but uncovered. I saw a dusky yellowing face peering hideously out of the garlands as they headed for the burning ghat”

Harold P. Lees, RAF, Calcutta, early 1940s

 

(source: A2808632 Harold P. Lees war part 3 The sights and sounds of Calcutta at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

The burning Ghat

However, I think what fascinated me most at the time was the burning Ghat. The bodies were placed on piles of wood in trenches and burned. An almost completely consumed body would still have two feet sticking out which hadn't yet been consumed.

Harry Tweedale, RAF Signals Section, Calcutta, 1942-44

 

(source: A6665457 TWEEDALE's WAR Part 11 Pages 85-92 at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

the occasional street cremations

We had a few 48hr passes whilst at Digri and we took the opportunity to visit the only place of interest, the city of Calcutta.

It was a large overcrowded city, but very interesting, Chowrinjee Road was the focal point, a long wide road with all the large shops, hotels and restaurants. The only problem was that in the evening you had to step over the sleeping bodies of the destitute, beggars and homeless on the pavements. The natives however were friendlier than those in Karachi. Hotel accommodation was clean and quite comfortable, and English food was always available. We also saw the occasional street cremations, which took place away from the main roads.

Arthur Thompson, Royal Air Force, Calcutta, 1946

 

(source: A1982711 Through Pilot Training to Action With 463 and 617 Squadrons at Waddington at BBC WW2 People's War' on http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/ Oct 2006)

(COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reproduced under 'fair dealing' terms as part of a non commercial educational research project. The copyright remains with the original submitter/author)

 

 

 

 

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