City sulks, Bristol beams - CMC to preserve Raja Rammohan, Tagore relics in UK

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  • Published 8.12.06

The Adi Brahmo Samaj Mandir at 236 Rabindra Sarani, close to Jorasanko, is a marble godown now. The only way one can identify it is by a notice board at the entrance, where the name of Raja Rammohan Roy is just about discernible. Trees have struck roots into this ancient brick structure. Part of the floor has collapsed, leaving behind a chasm.

And where is the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC)? It’s gone to London — not to look at the queen, but to help preserve the canopy of Raja Rammohan Roy in Bristol (Telegraph picture on right) and the epitaph of Debendranath Tagore in London.

Thursday saw mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, along with municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay and an Indian high commission official, travelling to Bristol from London to inspect “the deplorable condition of the canopy”, erected following the death of Raja Rammohan Roy on September 2, 1833.

The condition of the epitaph of Rabindranath Tagore’s father, who died in London on January 19, 1905, is in no better shape.

Both these heritage sites will be given a facelift by the CMC through a project involving the Bengal government and the ministry of external affairs. Indian high commissioner in London Kamalesh Sharma has already spoken to the Union minister of tourism and culture Ambika Soni, Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee about the restoration of the relics.

“With Calcutta gradually regaining its prominence in the global arena, the CMC should extend the city’s participation in preserving overseas heritage relics with a Calcutta connection... I will take up the matter with the chief minister on my return to Calcutta,” mayor Bhattacharyya told Metro from Bristol.