ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Revisiting Our Narratives of the Great Calcutta Killings

Hungry Bengal: War, Famine, Riots and the End of Empire by Janam Mukherjee, Harper Collins, 2015; pp 329, 499.

The Great Calcutta Killings of August 1946 is an odd sort of historical event. It is the single most impactful—and ghastly—incident in the history of 20th century colonial Bengal. The fury of this massacre changed the course of subcontinental history and made the partition of Bengal inevitable. While accounts of that day linger on in private memories in Kolkata, yet, for an event so seminal, there is paradoxically little public recall.

From 2014, however, a far right group, the Hindu Samhati, has celebrated a goonda, Gopal “Pantha” Mukherjee, a key driver of the violence, and known to be close to Congressman Bidhan Chandra Roy, who would go on to become the chief minister of West Bengal. The fact that the only public recall of 1946 is from a fringe ultra-nationalist group is, maybe, a pointer to how the killings are embalmed. Historian Claude Markovits (2007) writes:

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Updated On : 24th May, 2017


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