Now Reading
Bose, World War II Ooze Out of Patna Collectorate Archive

Bose, World War II Ooze Out of Patna Collectorate Archive

Archive picture of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian soldiers who took part in WW-II

Rare archival material at the Patna Collectorate shed light on unsung part of the Freedom Struggle.

Bengalis are bound to be emotional when it comes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his mysterious yet adventurous exploits.

Netaji had addressed a massive gathering at Mangles’ Tank at Patna city. Well known peasant leader Swami Sahajanand Saraswati was arrested by police after he spoke immediately after Bose’s address.

Imagine if some of Bose’s fiery speeches in Patna and colonial Bihar at the historic Gandhi Maidan (then called Patna Lawn) or at Danapur near the cantonment area or at Patna city tumble out of archives.

Or consider this as you delve deep into some recorded but unsung history of India’s freedom struggle.

Prayers were used to be offered in temples, mosques and churches, and the poor were fed in the campus of the historic Patna Collectorate .

It was part of events held in the city in September 1943 to celebrate the surrender of Italy during the World War II.

History has again begun to ooze out of rare archival material that are on display at the Patna Collectorate, revealing banned documents on Bihar, World War II and the freedom movement.

On September 8, 1943, US Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower had publicly announced the surrender of Italy to the Allies.

Since the Indian soldiers had played a critical role in both World Wars, the Patna District War Committee had organised a host of events on September 11 to mark this landmark event in history, from morning till evening.

Going by the rare private collection of the Jalan family of the legendary Quila House in Patna City, the programme for the celebrations of the victory of the United Nations (Allied powers) over Italy began with prayers offered in “temples, mosques and churches”.

Numerous flags were hoisted on all public buildings from 7.30-8.30 am. This was followed by “feeding of the poor in the Patna Collectorate Compound from 10 am to 12 noon”.

Ironically however,, the historic Patna Collectorate complex comprising Dutch-era Record Room and Old District Engineer’s Office and British-era office building of the district magistrate and district board Patna building — may soon face the hammer, courtesy the Bihar government .

This is in the aftermath of the Patna High Court  judgement that lifted the interim stay on demolition of the buildings imposed by a bench of the court in September last year.

This hitherto unknown connection of the Patna Collectorate to the World War II has come to light by miracle.

“It  was such a priceless find for it unravelled an important piece of history of the city”.

 “It is touching to see that one of the highlights of these celebrations was  feeding of the poor in the Patna Collectorate compound” .

Delhi-based Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) had filed two PILs on August 30 last year, seeking revocation of the demolition order originally proposed in 2016 and constitution of the Bihar Urban Arts and Heritage Commission, pending since 2012.

The heritage commission set up on the directions of the court had recommended demolition of this centuries-old landmark despite opposition from heritage experts and a large number of citizens.

The Patna High Court verdict has come as a big jolt to historians, conservation architects and many other heritage lovers and experts.

They have already pleaded with the Bihar government against demolition of the historic Collectorate, and preserve and restore it as a “rare signpost of history” and  linking the same to the heritage tourism circuit of the state.

According to Aditya Jalan, 43, the current scion of the Jalan family, this hitherto unknown connection of the Patna Collectorate to the World War II has come to light by miracle.

“It is kind of a providential discovery as I was going through the family archieves recently,” recalled Aditya who chanced upon a rare invitation card of 1943 addressed to his great grandfather Dewan Bahadur.

“It is quite an interesting find as the documents related to a WW2 event when its 77th anniversary has just happened.”

Keen to share these “nuggets of history” with people, Aditya launched a page on Facebook and Instagram on August 15 to make history more appealing to them.

Scotland-based researcher Paula Gonzaga de Sa, who curates the posts on the page, was ecstatic when she noticed the Patna Collectorate’s link to the WW2.

See Also
Fauna

“It  was such a priceless find for it unravelled an important piece of history of the city”.

“This same week, 77 years ago, there were celebrations in Patna following the surrender of the fascist government of Italy during a turning point in World War II,” she observed.

“It is touching to see that one of the highlights of these celebrations was  feeding of the poor in the Patna Collectorate compound” .

There is another archival document (letter), from August 10, 1917 – another time of war (World War I) – that speaks about the Patna Collectorate’s staff being intensely involved in organising and distributing food supplies for people affected by monsoon floods in the area.

The letter was written by then Patna Collector J F Gruning, to R K Jalan, a well-known personality.

“This all points to the important role that the Patna Collectorate, played in the community and social fabric of the city throughout its history,” Paula noted.

“This is a heritage of social participation and inclusiveness which is fitting to preserve, share, highlight and make available for present and future generations,” she argued.

An important historical link and a piece of history will be lost forever if it( the collectorate) is demolished, she rued.

Describing more about the rare 1943 invitation card issued by “J. A. Walmsley, Chairman” of the Patna District War Committee, she said the public meeting was held in the evening that day at 7.30 pm at Sinha Institute (Sinha Library campus).

The meeting was to be addressed by Sir Sultan Ahmad, a noted barrister, and Member of Information and Broadcasting in the Governor-General’s Executive Council.

There was a Police Parade at Bankipore Maidan (now Gandhi Maidan) in the evening preceded by “procession of Boy Scouts, Civic Guards, and A. R. P. workers” to the maidan, the invite said.

What's Your Reaction?
Excited
0
Happy
0
In Love
1
Not Sure
0
Silly
0
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top