Calcutta School Society, Calcutta, 1818

Champatola-Colootola
কলকাতা স্কুল সোসাইটি, কলকাতা, ১৮১৮
With the change of socio-political scenario and as an impact of the growing influences of the orientalist movement, the policy guidelines of the Calcutta Free School Society founded in 1789 raised a serious question as to the extent of benefits it may provide to the indigenous people. Shortly after the renewal of the Charter of the East India Company the Court of Directors wrote In their letter to the Governor-General in Council of Bengal, dated 3rd June 1814, that they apprehend neither of the two government propositions, about (1) the revival and improvement of literature; and (2) promotion of knowledge of the sciences amongst the inhabitants be obtained through the medium of public colleges, if established upon a plan similar to those that have been founded at our Universities. That is because the natives of caste and of reputation will not submit to the subordination and discipline of a college. So the Indian Government did not take the initiative in the matter of the education of the people of this country. It was the people themselves who had to take the initiative and to do the needful.
An independent educational institution, The Calcutta School Society, set up in Calcutta on 1 September 1818. Like the Calcutta School-Book Society (1817), it was established jointly by Europeans and educated Indians. The Calcutta School Society was largely an initiative of David Hare and William Carey. Its aim was to introduce identical teaching methods at different schools, reconstruct and develop old schools, and build new ones if necessary. In the beginning, the managing committee of the School Society consisted of 24 members, of which 8 were Indians like Moulvi Mirza Kazim Ali Khan, Moulvi Belayet Hossain, Moulvi Dervesh Ali, Moulvi Nurunnabi, Babu Radhamadhab Bandyopadhyay, Babu Rasomaya Dutta, Babu Radhakanta Deb, and Babu Umacharan Bandyopadhyay. Mirza Kazim Ali and M Montaigue were its secretary and corresponding secretary, respectively. To bring the Bengali Schools under direct and systematic supervision, the city was divided into four districts,—to Baboo Doorga Churn Dutt was given the control of 30 schools having nearly 900 boys, to Baboo Ramchunder Ghose, 43 schools possessing 896 boys, to Baboo Oomanundun Thakoor, 36 schools possessing nearly 600 boys, and to Radhacaunt Deb, 57 schools posseasing 1136 boys. It is said “that these gentlemen entered very warmly into the views of the Society and expressed their entire willingness to take charge of their respective divisions.
The Calcutta School Society was a brainchild of David Hare. Hare, Raja Radhakanta Deb, and William Carrey were the main force behind its success in assisting and improving existing institutions, and preparing select pupils of distinguished talents by superior instruction for becoming teachers and instructors. It established two regular or, as they were termed, “normal” schools, rather to improve by serving as models than to supersede the existing institutions of the country. They were designed to educate children of parents unable to pay for their instruction. Both the Tuntuneah and the Champatollah school, চাঁপাতলা স্কুল, were attended with remarkable success. The former was situated in Cornwallis Street, nearly opposite the temple of Kali, ঠনঠনে কালীবাড়ি, and consisted of a Bengali and English department. The latter was held in the house afterwards occupied by Babu Bhoobun Mohim Mitter’s school, and which was entirely an English school. The two schools were amalgamated at the end of 1834. The amalgamated school was known as David Hare’s School. After a few years of successful running, the society fell into financial difficulties. However, it was given a government donation of Rs. 6000 and managed to continue for some time longer. In 1824, 66 schools with 3487 students were brought under the supervision of the society. The change in government regulations concerning language and teaching, the internal conflict among those following eastern and western ideologies, and the lack of initiative and enthusiasm on the part of Indians were some of the reasons why this private institution lost its importance and eventually ceased to exist in 1833. See
It may however be remembered that the tirelessly endeavor of a man like David Hare, who not only established some schools but gainfully experimented with new methods of teaching, at such places as Thanthania, Kalitala and Arpuly,আরপুলি পাঠশালা, where he visited everyday and met almost every student. It was much later that Alexander Duff or Henry Louis Vivian Derozio came on the scene and influenced the course of events. This Society contributed substantially to the flowering of the Bengal Renaissance.
Champatola-Colootola-map-(Plan of Calcutta. Survey of India.1854) where Calcutta School Society had their base

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Bazaar on the Chitpore Road, Calcutta, 1826

fraser-calcuttaBazarচিৎপুর রাস্তায় দোকান-বাজার, কলকাতা, ১৮২৬
Chitpur Road was Kolkata’s oldest road. It has existed for at least 400 years. It was known as Pilgrim Road and started from the North-end of the city stretched up to Kalighat Temple on Adi Ganga. Apart from the aristocracy, there have been common folks engaged in various trades. The distinctive Bengali panjika almanac and Battala books were brought out from this place. So many things on Chitpore Road have been an integral part of Bengal’s life and culture being the centre of supplies for jatra, magic shows and musical instruments, including English brass bands. It might have received its name from the goddess Chiteswari, who had a splendid temple here erected by Gobindram Mitter, or one Gobinda Ghosh, in 1610. At the temple, Chitey dakat, the notorious bandit of the region, offered human sacrifices. The area could also have acquired its name from him. The lofty dome of the temple, which was known as Nabarutna or the shrine of nine jewels, fell during the earthquake of 1737, and it is now in ruins.
This Aquatint, coloured painting dated 1826 is the last plate from James Baillie Fraser’s ‘Views of Calcutta and its Environs’. Fraser wrote: “At the east end of Esplanade Row, the European quarter continued if one turned at right angles southwards down the Chowringhee Road. However, if one turned left up Cossitollah Street (named from its being the butcher’s quarter originally), one began to enter the Indian city, and especially so when this road crossed the Lall Bazaar and became the Chitpore Road. The Street exhibits a bewildering mix of Indian and decaying Palladian architecture, but is very obviously a bazaar. Cossitollah Street had in it a large number of purely European businesses.”

Russel Street, Chowringhee, Calcutta, 1828

রাসেল স্ট্রিটের দৃশ্য, কলকাতা, ১৮২৮
Russel Street in Chowringhee in Calcutta. Behind Bengal Club on Chowringhee Road, Russel Street runs north-south between Park Street and Middleton Street. The Street was named after Sir Henry Russel, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1806-1813.
Watercolour with pen and ink, dated 1828, by Marianne Jane James, the wife of the third Bishop of Calcutta.

Black Pagoda : Nabaratna Kali Temple (Gentoo Pagoda), Chitpore Road, Calcutta, 1787

Gentoo Pagoda and House

নবরত্ন কালী মন্দির, গেন্টু  বা কালো প্যাগোডা   নামে পরিচিত, চিৎপুর রোড, কলকাতা, ১৭৮৭
This is a view of the Nabaratna temple of the Godess Kali, also known as ‘Black Pagoda’ and ‘Gentu Pagoda’, which was built on the Chitpore Road in 1731 by Govindram Mitter (1720-56), a wealthy Hindu landlord. Its 165-feet spire was a navigational aid for sailors, the reason why they called it a ‘pagoda’. The building was never properly completed and decayed so much over time that the main tower with five domes collapsed around 1813.
This is a coloured etching with aquatint entitled Hindu Pagoda and House by Thomas Daniell (1749-1840) , published in 1787

 

Please see Updated version under new caption

Churrack Pooja, Calcutta, 1896

ChurrackPuja-HindooHolidayচড়ক পূজা, গঙ্গাতীরবর্তী অঞ্চল, কলকাতা, ১৮০৬
View on the Banks of the Ganges with representation of the Churruck Poojah, a Hindoo holiday. Charak Puja is a very delightful folk festival, also known as Nil Puja celebrated in Bengal on Chaitra Songkranti, the last day of the month Chaitra. Charak Puja, a colourful festival was celebrated all over Bengal with much pomp and show on the eve of the Bengali New Year. As described in হুতুম প্যাঁচার নকশা by Kalipranna Singha, the famous mid 19th century Bengali satire “The city of Calcutta is rocking at the sound of drums, the devotees are warming up, the blacksmiths are making all kinds of hooks”. The festival was known to the English in Calcutta as “hook swinging festival”. See more
Aquatint with etching by and after James Moffat (1775-1815), published at Calcutta in c1806

Telegraph Office, Hare Street, Dalhousie Square, 1878

হেয়ার স্ট্রিটের মোড়ে টেলিগ্রাফ অফিস ভবন, ১৮৭৮
Telecommunications services, in true sense, began in India in 1851 when a telegraph service became operational between Calcutta, then the seat of the British colonial government, and Diamond Harbor 21 miles away, a trading post of the British East India Company. TeleCableLaying -DiamondHarbour-Calcutta-1851The telegraph, and later the telephone were introduced in India in 1882 and were viewed by the British as tools of command and control that were essential to maintain law and order in the country.
This view of The Telegraph Office, situated on the bend of Old Court House Street and Hare Street, at the south-west corner of Dalhousie Square was taken in 1878. The construction of the building started in 1873. This is the oldest and the original part of the sprawling Telegraph Office complex and is more commonly known as the ‘Dead Letter Office’. It served as the central sorting office for incoming mail from overseas to Bengal. Where the postal address was incomplete, or the addressee not located or deceased or when the letter could not be returned to the sender, the letter stayed in this wonderful Italianate corner building with a campanile tower in North–Eastern corner. Supposedly it was designed as a Italian clock tower, but it never came to contain a clock.  The Central Telegraph Office, 1876, Lord Dalhousie, then Governor General of India, sponsored the first telegraph services in India in the 1850s. In 1870, the first telegraph connecting Britain and Kolkata was switched on.

Photograph is a part of the ‘Walter Hawkins Nightingale collection “Album of views of Calcutta”, was taken by James Humpidge.

Hare Street looking towards the River, Calcutta, 1878

হেয়ার স্ট্রিট – ডালহৌসি স্কোয়ার থেকে গঙ্গা বরাবর রাস্তার দৃশ্য, কলকাতা, ১৮৭৮
Pictured here is an aerial view of the stretch of Hare Street captured from the top of the Telegraph Office, with the Dalhousie Institute situated in close proximity. It covers the stretch between river bank on the east and the corner of the Tank Square on the west surrounded by magnificent buildings including the General Post Office and the neighborhood of Bankshall Court. This is the road where David Hare (1775-1842), one of the most endearing social benefactors, lived till death. The road is called ‘Hare Street’ after his name.
This photograph, belongs to the ‘Walter Hawkins Nightingale (PWD) collection: Album of views of Calcutta, was taken by A. Hone in 1878

Great Eastern Hotel, Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 1920

greateasterhotel1920s

ওল্ড কোর্ট হাউস স্ট্রিটে গ্রেট ঈস্টার্ন হোটেল, নীচতলায় নিউম্যান কম্পানির বইপত্রের দোকান , কলকাতা, c১৯২০
The imposing palatial building of the colonial era hotel, The Great Eastern Hotel, still stands there on the Old Court House Street, Calcutta. It was established in 1840 or 1841 by David Wilson as the Auckland Hotel, named after George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, then Governor General of India. Prior to opening the hotel, Wilson ran a bakery at the same site. The hotel opened with 100 rooms and a department store on the ground floor. The Auckland was expanded in the 1860s and renamed from D. Wilson and Co. to Great Eastern Hotel Wine and General Purveying Co. In 1915, It became the Great Eastern Hotel in 1915. It was said of the hotel in 1883 that “a man could walk in at one end, buy a complete outfit, a wedding present, or seeds for the garden, have an excellent meal, a burra peg (double) and if the barmaid was agreeable, walk out at the other end engaged to be married” (City of Dreadful Night by Rudyard Kipling)
Source: eBay.Photographer unidentified.

Great Eastern Hotel, Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 1850s

গ্রেট ঈস্টার্ন হোটেল, ওল্ড কোর্ট হাউস স্ট্রিট, কলকাতা, c১৮৫০
The imposing palatial building of the colonial era hotel, The Great Eastern Hotel, still stands there on the Old Court House Street, Calcutta. It was established in 1840 or 1841 by David Wilson as the Auckland Hotel, named after George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, then Governor General of India. Prior to opening the hotel, Wilson ran a bakery at the same site. The hotel opened with 100 rooms and a department store on the ground floor. The Auckland was expanded in the 1860s and renamed from D. Wilson and Co. to Great Eastern Hotel Wine and General Purveying Co. In 1915, It became the Great Eastern Hotel in 1915. It was said of the hotel in 1883 that “a man could walk in at one end, buy a complete outfit, a wedding present, or seeds for the garden, have an excellent meal, a burra peg (double) and if the barmaid was agreeable, walk out at the other end engaged to be married” (City of Dreadful Night by Rudyard Kipling)
The Photograph was taken by Francis Frith in 1850s

Old Court House Street, Calcutta, 1850s

পুরনো কোর্ট হাউস স্ট্রিটের দৃশ্য (ছবিতে উল্লিখিত কাউনসিল হাউস রোড  সংকেতটি বিভ্রান্তিকর) , কলকাতা, c১৮৫০
The view was incorrectly captioned in the original as Council House Street instead of Old Court House Street as evident from the description. Old Court House Street connects Esplanade Row (East). It acquired its name from the old court house, that was located where St. John’s Church now stands. The northern part of the stretch is known as Dalhousie Square (East). It was constructed around 1781, when the finishing touches were put to the new Fort William. It is linked with the name of Col. Henry Watson, who brought about many improvements in Calcutta, including the laying out of surrounding Esplanade. The Red Road is an extension of this street. Council House Street connects the western part of Dalhousie Square with Esplanade Row. The view of the St. Andrews Kirk, and Great Eastern Hotel can be seen in the present location. Interestingly, the scene captured in the shot is found an exact match  in ‘Old Court House Street‘ – a wood engraving by some unidentified artist.
This image is a whole-plate albumen print from wet collodion glass negative of photograph taken by Frith Frith in 1850s.

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