Samta, India

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For the village in Saudi Arabia, see Samtah. For other uses, see Samta.
Samta
Village
Samta panorama from a house's terrace during sunset
Samta panorama from a house's terrace during sunset
Samta is located in West Bengal
Samta
Samta
Location in West Bengal, India
Coordinates: 22°28′19″N 87°54′29″E / 22.4720338°N 87.90793059999999°E / 22.4720338; 87.90793059999999Coordinates: 22°28′19″N 87°54′29″E / 22.4720338°N 87.90793059999999°E / 22.4720338; 87.90793059999999
Country  India
State West Bengal
District Howrah
Languages
 • Mostly Spoken Bengali
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 711324
Telephone code 03214
Lok Sabha constituency Uluberia

Samta (pronounced: Bengali pronunciation: [ʃaːmt̪ aː]) is a village and a gram panchayat in the Howrah district of the Indian state of West Bengal, located near villages like Ghoraghata, Mellock, Nabasan and Asaria, on the banks of the Rupnarayan River. It is the second nearest village to Deulti station, after Mellock.

History[edit]

Samta's history dates back to centuries. During British Raj Samta was ruled by the Roys, who were the Zamindars of the village. The Roys were initially Banerjee, but were later given the title of Roy. The Zamindars were subordinate to the Bardhaman Raj Estate, who were in turn subordinate to the British Empire. A memorial in the remembrance of Ishan Chandra Roy, a member of the Roy family, existed in the village but now is underwater and only a part of it is visible, peeping from the pond's water surface. The Roys still live in Samta. Goddess Shitala is the family deity of the Roys and a temple dedicated to the goddess exists in on a hill in the village. A cluster of the Roy family still lives on that hill.

After India attained independence, Zamindari was abolished and the village was taken over by the Government of India.

Geography[edit]

Samta is located on the fertile plains of the Rupnarayan River. It is situated about one kilometer (0.62 miles) away from the banks of the river.

Culture[edit]

The majority of the village's population is Hindu. Festivals such as Dol Jatra, Durga Puja, Bengali New Year, Kali Puja, Neel Shashti, Shivaratri, Shitala Puja, Saraswati Puja, Itu Puja, Janmashtami and other Hindu religious festivals are celebrated with great pomp and show. Gajans are also held in the village.

The idol of the Hindu goddess, Singhabahini (another name for goddess Durga) at the Shetola Maa Temple, during Durga Puja, 2011

Madangopal Jiu Temple, a temple built in the 17th century, is situated in Mellock, a nearby village located south of Samta. It is locally known as Gopaler Mondir (meaning, the temple of Gopala). It is a terracotta ornamented temple dedicated to Radha and Madangopal Jiu and is in ruins. It was erected by Mukundaprasad Roychowdhury, a member of the family of Mellock's Roychowdhury Zamindars. It is an ‘atchala’ (roof with 8 slopes) temple.

Except these temples there is small place of worship in the village, near to the barrage, under an Ashoka tree. There stands a sculpture of Goddess Chandi which from its appearance semms to be very ancient. The place is locally known as Shubho Chandi Tala, which literally means - "the place of the auspicious Chandi". It is said that the sculpture was found in the fishing net of a fisherman who was fishing in the Rupnarayan River. A boat along with its occupants sank in the river and while rescuing their bodies the idol was found.

The ancient idol of the Hindu goddess Chandi, at the local Shubho Chondi Tala
Madangopal Jiu Temple or Gopaler Mondir under renovation

The village has just one library, the Samta Sarat Chandra Library. The library was established by the Roys and few other residents of Samta, the most notable being Ishan Chandra Roy of the Roys family. The library was destroyed in the 1978 West Bengal floods. On request the library was restored by an international non-governmental organisation, Lutheran World Service,[1] but the library was taken over by the government. The library remain closed for the entire year and opens only on request.

Durga Puja preparations in the Shetola Maa Temple.

Samta also has few clubs. In the nearby village of Mellock, there's a football club called Mellock Bisalakhi Athletic Club, established in the year 1905.

There is another club called Nabarun which organizes a cricket tournament every year in the months between November and January, on the grounds of the Panitras High School in another nearby village, Panitras.

There are very few schools in Samta such as Samta Sarat Chandra Uccha Balika Bidyalay, Samta Primary School. More schools could be found the neighbouring villages, which includes- Panitras High School (H. S.), Children's Institution and Vivekananda Institution in Panitras. However, no college has been so far established in Samta and its neighbouring villages. The education seekers have to travel to Bagnan to have higher educations.

Madangopal Jiu Temple in its early days standing tall in Samta

Except all this the village also has a cremation ground close to the barrage.

Except all the festivals celebrated in Samta, Sarat Mela, an annual fair is held in late January in the neighbouring village north of Samta, Panitras, in remembrance of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, a Bengali novelist and short story writer of the Bengali renaissance. Sarat Mela was started in 1972. The fair includes countless stalls of food, handicrafts, local products, books and other items. There are also giant wheels and merry-go-rounds. Cultural programmes, exhibitions and competitions are also held.

There is also an NGO in Samta which is known as Samta Naibedya and it is a philanthropic association, serving the rural distressed people since 2009.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Ixora flowers in the garden of a house at Samta

The village has numerous ponds and swamps. Various kinds of fishes are available in the river and the ponds.

The soil being very fertile is ideal for crops such as those of rice, wheat and various vegetables.

Different types of animals are found in Samta. Except domestic animals, animals such as wolves and foxes, wild cats, monitor lizards, monkeys, etc. are found in the village. Different kinds of snakes, frogs and insects, including fireflies, are also found.

Species of trees such as bamboo, sal, mango, banana, etc. are also found.

Hibiscus flowers in a house's garden at Samta

Birds like nightingale, cuckoos, parrots, common green pigeon, yellow-footed green pigeon, pompadour green pigeon, common emerald dove, rock pigeon, crows, Indian cuckoo, jungle babbler, oriental magpie robin, ducks, Asian koel and owls are found in the village.

Horticulture is also practiced in the village.

Transport[edit]

The village is linked to the NH 6, also known as Mumbai/Bombay Road, through a narrow road known as Sarat Road. The highway links it to other places including Kolkata, the state capital. The roads of the village are unmetalled and are made of bricks. There is also a barrage, a kind of breakwater created to protect the villages from floods. The barrage, the unmetalled roads and the Sarat Road links it to the nearby villages. Th Sarat Road further leads to Kalyanpur and Hooghly in the north, called the "Sarat Road".

The census town of Kolaghat, where the Kolaghat Thermal Power Plant is situated,[2] is close to Samta and is linked by NH 6. Other nearby villages to Samta are Mellock, Panitras, Birampur, Gobindopur, Baraberia, Kankte, Mashiara, Kalyanpur, Amrajor, Mankur and Dakaberia.

The village is also located near the South Eastern railway station, Deulti. It is about approx. 60 km by rail and 67 km by road from Kolkata.

The local transports exists in the form of rickshaws, rickshaw-vans and trekker (a kind of jeep). People who go to work in other places such as Kolkata and Bagnan avail the trekker service to reach the Deulti station from where they travel by train. These "Daily passengers" (as referred to in the local parlance) is gradually making Deulti a more happening and busy station.

The Deulti Station is one of the oldest stations of the South Eastern railway in India and was built in 1890. It was initially known as Deulti Local.

Economy[edit]

A garden with varieties of plants and creepers in Samta

Rice mill[edit]

A rice mill known as "Indumati Rice Mill" was set up on the Sarat Road, near to Samta. This mill was a welcome move in the region as it promised jobs for the locals as well as development of the region. However, it later turned out that the rice mill was a source of huge pollution in the region.

Market[edit]

The earthen jars for collecting sap of date palm tree
Traditional preparation of jaggery

The market is a major employment for many. This main market place is located close to the Deulti station and is known as "Deulti Bazar" or "Station Bazar". This place has also become a place of get together for many.

Occupation[edit]

The residents of the village peruse variety of jobs. Many people earn their living by working in Kolkata or in nearby factories and mills. Many also work as doctors, teachers in schools or in coaching classes but the main occupation is agriculture, fishing and jaggery. Few also work as domestic help, tourist guides, horticulturists and masons or run small businesses and shops.

Jaggery[edit]

Jaggery is a traditional unrefined non-centrifugal whole cane sugar of date palm. It is traditionally made by few locals and sold to tourists and other villagers. It is called "gur" in Bengali.

House of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay[edit]

Main article: Sarat Chandra Kuthi
Sarat Chandra's house at Samta
Room of Sarat Chandra in his house at Samta

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, a Bengali novelist and short story writer of the Bengali renaissance lived in Samta for many years. He was born into poverty in Debanandapur, Hooghly, but he spent the later years of his lifetime in Samta after living in Shibpur. His house in Samta is shown as Sarat Chandra Kuthi, on the map of Samta. He had good bonds with the fishermen and washermen of the village, who were considered to be of low class. So the Zamindar separated him from the village and demarcated the area surrounding his house. And the place where he lived came to be known as Samtaber. However, he was revered by the locals.

Then the banks of the Rupnarayan river used to be very close to his house. But later the river changed its course and moved further away. While living here Sarat Chandra penned up several novels such as Abhagir Swarga, Kamal Lata, Shesh Prashna, Palli Samaj, Ramer Sumati, Pather Dabi and Mahesh.

His two-storied Burmese style house was also home to Sarat Chandra's brother Swami Vedananda, who was a disciple of Belur Math. The trees of bamboo and guava planted by him still stand in the garden of his house. His house draws many tourists every year from places such as Kolkata.[3]

The corridor of Sarat Chandra's house

Parts of the house, like the mud-walled kitchen collapsed and the house was damaged in the 1978 floods, the Zila Parishad undertook its repair spending INR77,000. After it was declared as a Heritage or Historical Site by the Clause 2 of the West Bengal Heritage Commission Act 2001 (Act IX of 2001)[4][5] in 2009 the whole house underwent renovation and beautification.

Opposite to the house there is also a pond, which he mentioned in his novel Palli Samaj.

Samta is often referred as Deulti by tourists due to the popularity of Deulti, which also refers to the Deulti station. That is the main reason for why some mistake the house of Sarat Chandra to be in Deulti, instead of being at Samtaber in Samta.

Notable people[edit]

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (1876 - 1938)
Name Details
Amulla Ghoshal He was a famous science teacher in Samta.
Khagendra Nath Ghoshal He was a social worker and was born and brought up in Samta. The Sarat Road, which leads towards Kalyanpur and Hooghly in the north and NH6 in the south, was built by him after he pawned his wife's ornaments.
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay Sarat Chandra was a novelist who belonged to period of the Bengali renaissance and he spent that last years of his life in Samta. He wrote his several acclaimed novels here. He lived here from 1926 until his illness in 1938.

Major disasters[edit]

Disaster Time Details
Storm October 1942 A severe storm raged the village in October 1942. Trees were uprooted and houses collapsed leading to the death of many people. This disaster took place during the annual festival of Durga Puja. It occurred during the 1942 hurricane and flood at Mumbai, then Bombay and the tropical cyclone called the "Bengal Cyclone" which affected the city of Kolkata, the Calcutta.[6]
Floods 1978 Thousands of houses were flooded as the banks of the River Damodar and Rupnarayan overflowed. Crops and a huge amount of property was destroyed leading to loss of thousands of lives. The water level on the ground of villages was 15 to 20 feet. It took one and one-half months for the water to recede back to the river and the water level of the river to come back at normal. The government provided aid during this flood.[7]
Storm December 2004 This storm took place at the time of the 2004 Tsunami. The effects of the storm was same as the 1942 storm but there was no loss of life.
Storm May 2009 This storm took place at the time of the Cyclone Aila, the storm also ragged the city of Kolkata and was locally known as Aila storm. The storm was accompanied by rain. There was no recorded life loss in the village.[8]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]