Category Archives: Our history

John Lang: From Botany Bay to Bombay

John Lang was born in Sydney, a second generation Australian whose grandfather had been sent to the fledgling penal colony at Botany Bay for stealing a pair of spoons. He was educated partly at Cambridge and partly at other less … Continue reading

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Day Three after my father’s passing

“নৈনং ছিন্দন্তি শস্ত্রাণি নৈনং দহতি পাবকঃ ন চৈনং ক্লেদয়ন্ত্যাপো ন শোষয়তি মারুতঃ” ~ গীতা The soul is – That which cannot be severed by sword nor burned by fire That which cannot be dampened by water nor dried by wind. … Continue reading

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The kind of history that cannot be bulldozed into dust

The al-Barmaki family who worked for the Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad in the eighth century were descended from Sanskrit speaking, Buddhist, Ayurvedic physicians and scholars from Balkh who originally came from Kashmir. Khalid al-Barmaki would probably have been known as … Continue reading

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Explanare, if you please; ‘Splanade, if you must!

One of the earliest memories I have of Calcutta is of my aunt coming back from her classes at Scottish Church College. It must have been from her that I first heard the word Esplanade. For a nine year old, … Continue reading

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It takes all kinds!

When an idle look for famous people associated with the day reveals talents as different as those possessed by Maria E. J. Versfelt, actress who was mistress to both General Moreau & Marshal Ney during the days of the Revolution … Continue reading

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Flowers and Flower Gardens: Instructions for the Anglo-Indian Flower Garden

“But it is not until he arrives at a bend of the river called Garden Reach, where the City of Palaces first opens on the view, that the stranger has a full sense of the value of our possessions in … Continue reading

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Today is not Calcutta’s birthday, thank you.

According to the High Court and a panel of eminent historians in 2003, this is not the day that Calcutta was founded by Job Charnock, that sullen Lancastrian who was disliked by his peers but so appreciated as an honest … Continue reading

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Tyger Tyger, burning bright; but for how long?

The destruction of the tiger and its habitat is possibly another of those things we picked up from the British. I mean one would have to first have a pile of dead tigers to then find out that they were … Continue reading

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When brothers learn to hate: Dara Shikoh

It might merely be wishful thinking at this stage in time, but I wonder how different the course of Indian history might have been if Dara Shikoh had been allowed to succeed Shah Jehan instead of being brutally put to … Continue reading

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Shiladitya, Rajkahini: Abanindranath Tagore’s tales of the Rajputs

Long before Shiladitya’s birth, when the last king of Kanaksen’s lineage was still ruling at Ballavipur, there was a great tank in that city whose waters were said to be very sacred indeed. This was known as Suryakund or the … Continue reading

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