Friday, 26 July 2019

Gov. Gen. Warren Hastings House, Kolkata - an early British colonial legacy

Warren Hastings house, Kolkata, Indiaastrolika.com
Warren Hastings Gov. Gen. of Bengal - 1773 to 1785  pinterest.com
Above image: Warren Hastings (6 December 1732 - 22 August 1818), an English statesman, was the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal), the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal, and thereby the first de facto Governor-General of India from 1774 to 1785. In 1787, he was accused of corruption and impeached, but after a long trial, he was acquitted in 1795. He was made a Privy Counsellor in 1814.   Coming from a poor family after his education, he joined the British East India Company in 1750 as a clerk and landed in  Calcutta in August 1750. He worked hard and got a name for his dedication to his job. On the sidelines,  he spent his free time usefully learning about India and mastering Urdu and Persian.  Upon promotion in 1752  Hastings  was sent to Kasimbazar, a major trading post in Bengal, where he worked for William Watts, an associate of Robert Clive. His useful stint there provided him a chance to gain further experience in the politics of East India vis-a-vis East India company's operations. ..................

The Warren Hastings House, in Alipore of Kolkata is one among the legacies of  early colonial rule in India. It was here Hastings resided  while serving as the  governor of Bengal during 1775 - 1785 under the East India company's rule.  Col. Lord Curzon, an energetic  Viceroy of India, in 1901  converted this building as  a government guest house. First Gov. Gen. of Bengal, he served in this capacity from 1773 to 1785. Hastings' office  was just across the street  about 250 meters from his residence.


Considered as one of the prominent heritage structures of Kolkata, Warren Hastings House, a two-story structure, was built in 1777 in  simple cubical western architectural style of British era, bringing out the nuances of early colonial style.  Originally in white color this building has  several living rooms in the ground floor, a big gallery on the upper floor which is accessible to many halls. These rooms are, it is believed, were meant for lodging purpose. Nicely decorated stairway and the lovely garden around the  House are additional attractions.  Hastings, after his trips to England never failed to spend time to arrange  the garden around his house. The building is not in good shape and efforts are being made to restore this old heritage structure.
Warren Hastings house, Kolkutta, India bongblogger.com
An interesting fact is Warren Hastings loved this house and the ambiance so much he had stayed here till he breathed his last. Only upon his death, the then government took care of the building and maintained it.  He spent a memorable time in this house while taking care of various administrative duties during his tumultuous time, facing corruption charges against him  and his involvement in the arrest and death penalty for Raja Nandkumar who was once his trusted friend.

The Warren Hastings House is  tagged as a haunted place  where paranormal forces will become active at night. Often described as  horrible, many people had  reported weired  incidents related to  the movements of a spooky and strange  unnatural spirit in the house. 
In the year 1887, Hastings faced several criminal and corruption charges that  saddened him and during  this tough period  he would spend much of his time in the house gathering evidences to prove his innocence in those allegations orchestrated by his opponents in the counsel. On one hand he had a pleasant time in the house and, at the same time, in his sea-saw struggle with his life, his preoccupation with  mental agony grief and unhappiness overwhelmed him. So, it is believed, that the strange, unnatural happenings in the house may be due to his restless spirit that goes nostalgic!!.  The other reason is Warren Hastings' notorious wife and children had  unnatural deaths  and this may trigger such frightening things at night. These are all speculations and there is no valid proof to such strange nightly activities in this buildings. 


Warren Hastings House in the year 1954 was transformed into a college - 'Institute of Education for Women' where various M. Ed courses are being offered, The institution  is affiliated to the 'University of Calcutta' that owns the Hastings House.
https://www.astrolika.com/monuments/warren-hastings-house.html
http://www.bongblogger.com/house-of-warren-hastings-in-kolkata-calcutta/