B. B. D. Bagh

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For Dalhousie Square in Montreal, see Dalhousie Station (Montreal).
Writer's Building from across Lal Dighi in B.B.D. Bagh

B.B.D. Bagh (Bengali: বি.বি.ডি.বাগ়), formerly called Dalhousie Square, is the shortened version for Benoy-Badal-Dinesh Bagh (Bengali: বিনয়-বাদল-দীনেশ বাগ়). It is the seat of power of the state government, as well as the central business district in Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Origin of name[edit]

B.B.D. stands for three young Indian independence activistsBenoy, Badal and Dinesh — who on 8 December 1930 shot dead the Inspector General of Prisons, N.S. Simpson, in the balconies of the Writers' Building of the then Dalhousie Square. The square had been named after Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of India from 1847 to 1856. At different times it has been called ‘The Green before the Fort’ or Tank Square.[1]|

As we enter the town, very expansive square opens before us, with a large expanse of water in the middle, for public use… the square itself is composed of magnificent houses which render Calcutta not only the handsomest town in Asia but one of the finest in the world. One side of the square consists of a range of buildings occupied by persons in civil employments under the Company, such as writers in public offices.[2]

L. de Grandpre, A Voyage in the Indian Ocean and to Bengal (1803)

Geography[edit]

The B.B.D. Bagh area is near the Hooghly river in the western part of the central Kolkata and is a square built around the old Lal Dighi tank. The old fort built by the British was around where the General Post Office now is. The area was in the heart of Kalikata or the White Town in old Calcutta.

Significance[edit]

B.B.D. Bagh continues to be the 'heart' of Kolkata and many famous buildings housing important businesses and banks are here. The Writer's Building, secretariat of the West Bengal government, Royal Exchange (a one-time residence of Robert Clive and now the office of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry), General Post Office of Kolkata, Telephone Bhawan, and St. John's Church are around the square. The place is locally known as the Office Para, meaning the locality of offices. A large part of the daily commuters to Kolkata from the neighbourhood comes here for livelihood. The square is famous for the cheap food vendors that sell throughout the day to the office-babus — the clerks and officers who work there. At night, the place is very quiet as there are hardly any residential buildings in the district.

The St. John's Church's yard has the mausoleum of Job Charnock. The building is supposedly the oldest piece of masonry in Calcutta. B.B.D. Bagh also has statue of famous philanthropist Maharaja Lakshmeshwar Singh of Darbhanga (1858–1898) sculpted by Edward Onslow Ford.

Preservation[edit]

The Dalhousie Square was included in the 2004 and 2006 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund (WMF) due to "decades of neglect".[3] After this listing the international financial services company American Express provided funding through WMF for the square's preservation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cotton, H.E.A., Calcutta Old and New, 1909/1980, p 268-9, General Printers and Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
  2. ^ Quoted by Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi, Traders and Trades in Old Calcutta, in Calcutta, the Living City, Vol I, pp. 156-160, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-563696-1.
  3. ^ World Monuments Fund - Dalhousie Square

Gallery[edit]

External links[edit]

Kolkata/Esplanade travel guide from Wikivoyage

Coordinates: 22°34′19″N 88°20′56″E / 22.572°N 88.349°E / 22.572; 88.349