Perceiving Colonial Heritage Along the Banks of Hugli

Hoogly 1 (2)

The chronicled wonder of colonization is one that extends far and wide and across time. Europeans had colonized India for more than 200 years. Since the archaic period even before the commencement of the Christian era, there were cognations between Europeans and Indians. In the 15th century, the European representatives arrived in India, namely English, French, Dutch, Danish, and Portuguese for trade.

 

Hugli as a melting point of culture

 

Hugli district of West Bengal is the melting point of Indo-European culture because it has seen the rise and downfall of the European colonies. Bandel was colonized by the Portuguese, Chinsurah by Dutch, Barrackpore was under the British, Serampore was under the Danes along with the British and Chandannager was controlled by the Danes, and then the French.

 

Some Unknown facts about Hugli

 

  • Around 40% of people don’t even know that Hugli was the colony of all major powers of Europe.
  • There is an ancestral house of the father of Abanindranath Tagore in Konnagar, Hugli.
  • Very few people know that Chandannager Museum was the former house of Dupleix (the first Governor of Chandannager).
  • Chandannager is the home of French culture. There is a sweet dish known as ‘baked rasmalai’ that is the fusion of Indian and French culture but most people don’t know about it.

 

Hugli is a gem in terms of culture and heritage but it is really sad that even the people of Hugli and nearby areas don’t know about it. Places like Garden House, St. Olav’s Church, Liberty Gate, Clock Tower of Chandannager and Chinsurah, Uttarpara Public Library, Tomb of Sussana Anna Maria are known to very few people. The monuments are degrading because they lack funds. The dissertation shows that there is a much need for marketing, public interface, public-private partnership otherwise we will lose these places in the future and people will always remain unaware that Hugli is the ‘Mini Europe of India’

 

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