An old acquaintance!
I just read the recent convocation address of Mr.Gopal Krishna Gandhi,the Governor of West Bengal at the University of Burdwan. It makes interesting reading and also it kindled my meories of the days past when I got to know the current Governor in his young age,perhaps in his teens near Geneva!
Before that anecdote,I want to share how much I enjoyed his convocation speech.He starts with the few anecdotes himself, friends and admirers calling him as a direct successor to Willam Bentinck and Lord Curzon! “One person got mixed up with the phrase”Excellency”and some notions of family distinction as to say to me,”Sir,I am honoured to meet someone from so extinguished a family!
“Such humour apart,Gandhi says one historian wrote him to say that the Bengal Governor now is in a position now,that was once occupied by Nawab Sirajuddaowla! The word, nawab,we are told,is a name for a deputy,the deputy of the Emperor in “Dillee”as it was originally known.And then the Governor goes to the fateful date in Indian history:23rd June 1757,on that day the battle of Plassey(Palashee) was fought and lost! India became once more a slave country! Gandhi is a sensitive person and he traces our historic shame in some detail and tells us how much the British learnt to tell lies, lies about Black Hole of Calcutta and other lies.This is a lie,tells the Governor,for he points out to the fact that the cell into which was stuffed one hundred and forty-four persons measured eighteen feet by four feet and they all died the next day after Nawab Sira juddowlah’s troops took control of Calcutta in June 1757.This story,the Governor tells his audience, had not been fully investigated, not many historians believe this story,no monument for the tragedy exists and only one historian stuck to the version and yet the Black Hole story dominates the imaginations of the British as well as the Indian public. Read More →