This guest article is penned by Satyajit Bagchi. Read about him at the end of the article. If you wish your article to be published in this blog, please contact at mahanagar.net[@]gmail[.]com with subject as “I Want To Write”.
Often I have heard many Kolkatans rue the fact that there are not many beautiful places to visit in and around Kolkata. However, on the Republic Day I went out on a family picnic to a place I am sure not many a people know of. It was a scenic place on the banks of River Ganga near Diamond Harbour. But it was not the picturesque venue that made the place unique. It was a Navy Camp which was functional even a decade back. Courtesy my cousin, who is in the Indian Army, we got a chance to go there.
The place was used to test artillery shells and was an important strategic location during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.The place still has relics from the past-a decrepit 80 feet tall watchtower, bunkers, army residential places and the kaman-ghor. My uncle, who used to study at a school nearby, told, as a child on occasional days, he used to often hear the booming sounds of shells being tested. It was one of his happier days as it translated into the school being called off. The civilian ferries and boats were warned not to enter 3 kilometers within the zone.
Those are now things of the past. Now what remains is a completely abandoned post. The area is gradually being functionally phased out. The camp now serves the purpose of organizing picnics or meets. The well manicured lawns descend to a river bank overlook by an ancient cottage. An abandoned navy boat is reminiscence of the erstwhile active military actions. As the sun gradually sank into the Ganges, I couldn’t help comparing the stark contrast of that peaceful evening to the once active and flurrying activities of the Indian Navy forces…
Satyajit is an Economics graduate from Calcutta University. Currently he is an MBA aspirant, hoping to serve a global company as an effective team player. He has 3 wishes in life, one of which is to drive a flaming Ferrari down the busy streets of Kolkata at 150 kmph.