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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ahiron Part 4: The Last Few Straws of the Journey.

Incredible India, Incredible History.

Just now listening to one of my favorite oldies, Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaye, from Anand. Ahiron and Murshidabad domain occupies just 0.075% of the land mass of the nation, but it is here where the fate of India was written 300 years ago, initiating its slipping into the hands of the British. The Britons set their first claw grasp here, thanks to Lord Robert Clive. Shiraj Ud Dwala, the then Nawab of Bengal (King of Bengal), faced the atrocities of the british, but he was also subjected to an internal betrayal of his relatives, especially his elder maternal aunt, Ghaseti Begum. Ghaseti Begum wasn't pleased with his annex to the throne, after the death of Ali Vadri Khan, Shiraj's maternal grand father. Shiraj's original name was Mirja Mohammed Siraj, originally from Bihar where he was from the royal family, the ruler of Bihar, Zain Uddin being his father. Ghaseti Begum wasn't happy with the interference of Bihar and wanted his son Shawkat Jung to be the ruler. She along with Shawkat Jung and Mir Zaffer conspired against Shiraj, from a small palatial residence aside Motijheel. Motijheel, is a horse shoe lake, where once in ancient days, pearl (moti) were being cultivated from oysters. It was patronized by Ghaseti Begum, beside the Motijheel Mosque.

Motijheel Masjid (Mosque). The Dark Days of India was chalked here and there.

These days, birds flock around at the place making it a beautiful place to lazy around.

Motijheel Lake.

Way to the lake

The pomp and luxury, the Nawabi Style was ample in Murshidabad. Every monument made its mark, but of the many that I saw, I loved this one, at Katgola. It house some exquisite materials inside it, which couldn't be photographed. Not allowed! But they are worth seeing, for people who has fascination of antiques!

Entrance of Katgola Mansion

Sideways of the Mansion

Besides there is the ugly and cruel history at Devi Singh's Mansion, the cruel revenue collector of British Era. Everything shouldn't be said, but please pay a visit.

We boarded the Radhikapur Express, at 10:30PM from Jangipur and reached Kolkata Station at 7:50AM, one hour behind schedule.

It was nice weekend visit, blended with nature and history.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Journey UP Ahead.

A Small note, not worthy, may be.

With Ravangla just a few days from now, its great to unravel my signature photo watermark. I look forward for some great snaps and going to the laps of Himalayas after 11 long years. The last time, it was in Class X, from Calcutta Boys' School Excursion, 2000. I also had another opportunity to visit the mighty mysterious world of Oaks and pines, in 1994, when my dad and mom took me to Gangtok, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. This is my third visit with my work group, the Molecular and Human Genetics division, IICB. I think, I will be in my groove as I love snapping nature...

My logo to be held reckoned.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bengal Elections 2011: The Facebook Way.

DISCLAIMER: The whole article is just a figment of imagination and has no intention of hurting any political sentiment or individual. This is intended to be tickle bones and not knuckle heads!


You, Mamata Banerjee, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Anil Biswas and 30,001,894 other guests
You and 25,304,279 people like this.

Time: Friday, May 13 at 5:00PM

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Election Commission
Bengal being a troubled state, election to be held in 5 phases and results would be announced on May 13, 2011.
Feb 12 at 12:30PM . Mamata Banerjee and 257 people like this . Comment
View all 71 comments
Mamata Banerjee Ebar hobe moja.
Feb 12 at 4:07PM . Like. 17 people
Biman Bose Amra jani ebareo manush amader pashe achen.
Feb 12 at 5:19PM . Like . 15 people
Derek O'Brein @BB *Super Dislike* The atrocities for the past 35 years shall we answered in 2011. As it is, 2011 marks the "upturn" of many dictators, like in Egypt and Libya. Its time for Bengal.
Feb 14 at 4:16AM . Like. 27 people
Biman Bose Pagol-e ki na bol-e.... r bakita bollam na. :P
Feb 15 at 8:41AM . Like . 11 people
Partha M Biman Da, "jar naam ta nilen na"  tara ki na bole...
Feb 16 at 2:47PM . Like . 10 people

Mamata Banerjee 
Netai-r ghatana amader chokhe angul diye dekhiye dei j ora kirom julum kore asche gato 35 bachor dhore. Ora Singur, Nandigram theke sekhe na. Ora manusher katha bhabhe na. Ora tahole kara?
Feb 27 at 2:27PM . Unlike . 458 people like this . Comment

Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Sudhu Netai, Nandigram ba Singur korlei manusher kache asha jaina. Amar borgadar der shoriye banglar buke natun er asha enechi. Ami manchi amader onek kichu kora baki ache. Korbo. Kintu tar ekta dhoron ache. Aj jakhun korte gelam ekta factory, apni ese daralen samne. Apnara ki tahole chan kichu hok? Naki chan na?!
Mar 1 at 3:00PM . Like . 504 people like this . Comment.
View all 13 comments
Gautam Deb Rajarhat e railer jomi diyechi dada. Kintu onara toh kichui manen na. Metro udhbhdhone dakleno na!
Mar 4 at 4:57PM . Unlike . 29 people

Guess this is a very small attempt to bring a modern look to elections. All these are fictitious and has no corellation with any kind of support in numbers or words. Just a pun. Infact, this is just to mention that elections can be little more soundproof, thanks to these modern innovations. Madam and Sir, are you reading?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ahiron Part 3: Frames of History.

And figments of my remembrance.

I have always been a silent admirer of history embedded within the walls of the forts and monuments. Its not that the grandeur lures me towards them, but the idea of being witness of the times when I wasn't around as myself. Childhood paced my mind such. (but I am no demi-manjulika from Bhool Bhulaiya)

Epoch blends beautifully with the hues of a human imagination. Murshidabad dresses with an attire that startles the best of the best. Start from the stories of cruel rulers, like the one called Katra Mosque. It is the oldest in Murshidabad, built by Nawab Murshid Qila Khan. The Nawab was originally a hindu born, but was kidnapped by muslim dacoits of the time, in childhood. Later on, he escaped their grasp, but the hindu family disregarded his identity. Desolate and alone, he was adopted by a noble muslim land lord. Later on, Qila Khan became the Nawab of Murshidabad and adjacent parts of Malda and Dinajpur. Because of his episode with the Hindus, Qila khan became an atrocious name for the Hindu household, rampaging the religion all over his regime. Later on, he realized his mistake and erected a temple of Lord Shiva, alongside the Mosque. His grave is under the staircase of the Mosques' entrance, witnessing his command till date. At his death bed, he wished that people would walk over his tomb, before going to the Mosque to pray, as a sign of repent of his actions against the Hindus.

Back side of Katra Mosque, Murshidabad. 
Somnath Paul, March 2011.

Architecture bears the notion of Mughal Extravagance and elegance in the utilization of geometry. The Pillars and the Central Dome (now dilapidated) along with the 54 minor domes signs off with the traditional of Mughal architecture as well as touches the presence of Bengal (using clay sand). The use of clay sand makes the rooms and the smaller channels cooler than an AC, running at 14'C! Ancient planning... well they always win!
   The history of Katra Mosque was really intriguing, but what captured my admiration, was the planning to illuminate the Mosque, especially at night. Must have been a grand sight in those less polluted and no neon- lamp days. In the next picture, we would find channeled rectangles made on the walls. They once used to house Belgian Glass Mirrors (one of the finest of those times). These mirrors were paced vertically opposite to the fences, which has small pockets capable to house oil filled lamps. At night, the light from the lamps used to create a magical (Indrapuri) ambiance at the place. My imagination though took me to those places.... awesome!

    There is more to these places than these pictures and the blog articles.

    The next place of attraction was Hajar Duari (1000 doors/windows). A British architecture, erected as a court house. In fact, at Murshidabad, Bengal was the first ever kingdom that the British could snatch in India, defeating Shiraj Ud Dwala in the Battle of Plassey, 1757 A.D. In bengali its called পলাশীর যুদ্ধ | Lord Clive entered India with England. Hajar Duari rests as the reminescence of those history, bringing up 200 years of Indian Dependence. There is a museum inside, but no photography is allowed in there. The surrounding is vibrant with the gardens, but I loved the Watch Tower the most at this place.

   But, some really touching and angry history awaited us at Devi Singh's Mansion. Later, in Part 4, the concluding tour diary.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Ahiron Part 2: Beyond the Fences.

(contd from part 1)... the taste was not that would satisfy the thirst. In fact, the eeriness of that portion coupled by the suicide story and the folk lore of seeing the figure in the dark, that had left that portion of the house barren for the past 30 years, was not to be stopped in the night. The time, when I felt it.

     Confronting with bad luck, Mayukh Da (Dr. Mayukh Banerjee) won his share of birdies, getting some very vibrant colours in the feathers. He, with his Canon EOS 40D was clipping through the foliage, his 70-300mm Tele sniffing out the birds. Here are some examples:

             But, Nikon (D5000) was never behind and I did what my Wide angle lens was designed to do; take down landscapes and lifescapes. Some macro for the other fliers, the insects:

              I had my own plans and waited long for the night fall. That day, in the evening; an hour after lunch, we heading to roam around in the surroundings along the NH-34. The Raiganj Bird Sanctuary was in its amateur state, but had our share of luck with a pristine sun set. The bird watcher trapped in some more. Even Nandana stood to the occasion and gave a perfect pose. The picture that I named as "To the tunes of Sun God".

Nature was beautiful...

            By nightfall, we headed back to our base camp. We enjoyed the dinner, but now was my time of expectation. The date that I am talking off was a Saturday, 5th March, 2011. More so, it was a New Moon Night. Pitched darkness. Being a desolate place, amidst ruins of the 300 years old mansion, the night spelled its presence more. I went to the roof, along with Jayanta Da, Nandana and Niladri. I tried to test the "Night Shot" of my new camera. I deliberately focussed towards the corner that faced as well as covered the haunted portion. The shot was never clicked. I tried it 10 times...but the shutter wont respond. Manual Mode or Automatic Mode, the stuff wouldn't obey the master! I turned around and took a shot, it obeyed the command. I felt excited... (having goosebumps right now also). I asked Jayanta Da to stand between me and that "ODD" corner. The camera responded (see pic below). I asked him to move a little behind..after a particular distance, the shot became un-responsive. Is it peculiar? The villagers say that they see figures in the night in that direction!!!

The fence that goes beyond Jayanta Da wouldn't "take a pose". Thats the haunted arena, the "CORNER".

I not only tasted it...I felt it, and more followed when I insisted to sit in that dark corner with Niladri, Jayanta Da and Mayukh da, for the night chat - o - party! Loved the fun, Loved the ambiance. 

The love for unknown would soon culminate into the intrigued aspects of history, which shall follow in the next two parts (Part 3 and Part 4)... the real bengal...the real history...the bud of British East India was preserved within the dusts of Murshidabad. They were as exciting as the Fences; which surround the forbidden zone.

Ahiron Part 1: Meeting the Ghosts.

       Since August 2010, all my lab mates have been hearing the grand paternal property, located at Ahiron / Ahiran, Murshidabad. The property of the "Das Family", whose one of the heir is my lab-mate Nandana. Due to my fascination towards the world of unknown and the spirits, I have always been in the search to visit places that are eerie and haunted, especially in the winter, whence the ambiance gets rather than you getting through with the ambiance. Nandana had mentioned that their paternal home (which is a palace), has a section that has the haunting. It was a great opportunity to feel the ghastly secnario out of the books and the movies, for real. The plan kept on moving... as if the ghost kept on alluring us, especially me. With the winter in mind, the primary plan was made for a weekend visit in Dec 2010. It moved away to Jan 2011, Feb 2011; but ultimately, in the fag end of winter, Nandana insisted it to be made this March and so was the plan placed. 4-6 march 2011, we went to Ahiron, Murshidabad to visit the Das Villa.

           We boarded the 9:25PM Malda First Passenger from Howrah on 4/3/11 and reached the Jangipur Road Station at 5:15AM. It was 47minutes late. The late was due to a Goods Train, and that was enough to let us miss the morning rise. But with four cameras up and clicking, Mayukh Da, Niladri, Jayanta Da, Nandana and myself welcomed the morning of 5/3/11 from the roof-top of Das Villa, Ahiron.

               Nandana's dad and grand mother also came in to over see the proceedings of the trip. We were over joyed with the Luchi, Aloo Bhaja, Begun Bhaja along with sweets for the breakfast. The trip was up and running.
                  The house was divided into several parts. In fact the nearby houses were also constructed on the land possessed by the Das family. All of them were barren in the second floor, as all the members of this huge family were spread all over the nation as well as in international location. (Felt like "Chader Bari"; the Bengali Movie). The feeling came in more when the family gathers every year for Laxmi Puja in their temple. The entrance of Nandana's portion has two lions guarding from the cement fence bordering the roof.

               The morning was spent well in the Mango Gardes of the Das family. Huge.... infact Mayukh Da ran behind the birds and we ran behind the scenery. Till now there was no indication of anything or any one, about the spirit, except fpr the fact there was a 30 year old desolate plot within the house. May be this was like getting a taste of the eeriness.

But.... (part 2)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

For the sake of writing.

Many a day has past. Just when the judgement day for one is arising, the day to grab my passion instrument comes upfront; this Wednesday, 2nd of March, 2011.

The day brings forth completion of the 7th year of my Dad's demise, the 26th birthday of one of the closest friend of mine, Soumillo and also would open the gateway for the Nikon D5000 body + lens system. It will fetch me Rs. 33,000/- (18-55mm Lens Only, Carry Case and 4GB SD Card.) The grey market asks for Rs. 30,600/- for the same.

Back-doors are not always sensible option though, so I will chose for the former.

But, with everything in store, when lot of things dont fall into places, you kind of get sticky. Even the warmth of excitement cannot get you in proper mood...appreciably Right!

But, lets see. Let the CMOS sensor come into hand. Then may be I will start talking. Infact have a plan to open a dedicated website based on my photography so far.

Somnath Paul Photography


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The articles are not to be considered promotional neither detrimental of their credits. Its just opinion of a Free-lancer at Free time.

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