Tuesday, February 22, 2011
For many years, it stood close to Laldighi (later known as Dahousie Square and then BBD Bagh,through burst of post-colonial myth-making) an obelisk to commemorate the victims of the Black Hole. It was erected by Holwell himself at his own expense and thus known as Holwell Monument,Newspapers in Britain in 1758 carried extracts from his recollections of captivity, but then the report died down. No new edition of his account appeared. Most contemporaries of Holwell, the British historian, Linda Colley notes,did not accept Holwell's velification of Siraj ud-Daulah.
The history of the Black Hole monument in the early 19th century is significant. It was allowed to fall into ruin, and in 1821, under the orders of the Marquis of Hastings, Lord Moira, the then Governor general, it was taken down. Before it was brought down , Cotton records in Calcutta old and new , the obelisk, the monument to British suffering, had become a godown or waterhouse and was filled with goods.
The Black Hole made a dramatic reappearence when Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1840 descrribed it as that crime memorable for its singular atrocity Lord Curzon, at the begining of the 20th century restored the crumbling Holwell Monument, and erected in 1901 at the corner of Dalhousie Square, which was said to be the Black Hole.
At the apex of the Indian Independence movement, the presence of this monument in Calcutta was turned into nationalist course celebre. Nationalist leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose lobbied energetically for its removal. As a result, Abdul Wasek Mia of Nawabganj thana (now in Bangladesh), a student leader of that time, led the removal of the monument from Dalhousie Square in July, 1940. The monument was re-ercted in the graveyard of St. John's Church, where it remains even today.