Friday, 24 May 2019

Carl Louis Schwendler Memorial in Kolkata - a dedicated German worker in colonial India

Carl Louis Schwendler memorial, Kolkata. /en.m.wikipedia.org
People visiting the Kolkata Zoological Gardens will never miss a tall and lean  tower tapering  toward the top  and it is in memory of one  Carl Louis Schwendler (1838 - 1882),  a German electrician and one of the first proponents of the Tungsten based incandescent light bulb.  During the early colonial days, when the East India company was controlling the entire Bengal province (including Bangladesh) and additional areas, they needed lots of men to administer the vast land. Not only the British but also Europeans from other countries landed in Bengal for better job opportunities. Later Kolkata became the capital of colonial India and lots of European banks and manufacturing companies moved into Bengal to carry on their business activities. EIC remained a big employer of both Europeans as well as Indian natives, but the Indians held only subordinate positions  in those early days. 

Born on the 18th day of May, 1938, in Torgau, Prussia, in a poor family, Carl Louis Schwendler's quest for education was hampered by the  unfavourable financial condition in his family.  Undeterred and resolved to continue his education, Carl  was engaged in menial par time jobs and, at one stage, it interfered with his studies. However, his toil,  talent and diligence had never let him down. Over a period of time, his sustained hard work paid off and he became successful in his life. His field of interest was electricity and he became a  popular German electrician who evinced keen interest in research and new ideas related to electricity. In those days when research was going on light bulb, some researchers suggested the use of Tungsten  element. The Tungsten based incandescent light bulb was well received by the scientific community. 

 Schwendler wanted to try his luck abroad and  moved over to India where he  served at the senior level in the British India  government's  Telegraph Department.  Being innovative, he solved certain inherent problems associated with the transmission of submerged cables. He played a key role in setting up   transmission lines  between Agra and Calcutta,  He was also actively involved  in the feasibility study of lighting Indian Railway stations by electric lamps.
Carl Schwendler Monument Plaque noisebreak.com/
In 1867,  one Sir Joseph Fayrer, the then President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, made a proposal to establish a Zoological Garden in Calcutta.  Being a member of the Asiatic Society,  Carl  in 1873  offered his service to  the establishment of the Alipore  Zoological Gardens in Kolkata.  In view of his dedicated services to the city of Kolkata and the colonial rule a memorial was erected at the zoo premises in 1883.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Louis_Schwendler