Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Polehampton Bungalow gone!

Though I was interested in the so called Mutiny of 1857 from the age of 8 when I heard stories about that event from people who were born in late nineteenth century. However books on 1857 were not easily available or I did not know about them. Also as a student I never had the money to buy a lot of books. When I dropped out of medical college I had a lot of time on my hands and started research on 1857. I got to know about Mandiyaon or as western historians call it Muriaon - that was the site for the original cantonment for the British in Lucknow. The present cantonment only came up after events of 1857. So one day I took a primitive film camera and went to Mandiyaon. I did not expect to see any buildings from 1857 still standing - and lo what happens I saw Polehampton bungalow the only surviving building from that cantonment site that was left standing by the 'mutineers' really ex soldiers of the Nawab's army and 'native' soldiers of the company's army. They had burnt down everything else if we are to believe contemporary British accounts. There was a well beside the Polehampton bungalow and there were also traces of a gateway and a bit of boundary wall so it appeared to me that the bungalow was surrounded by some sort of garden and had a wall all around it. Due to tremendous hurry I was not able to incorporate this building and events that occurred around it, in my novel but I want to in a subsequent edition. I have the only photographs of this building in this world. I wrote about this building and one Hindi newspaper published the article on front page.
About three years back I got a digital camera and took this colour photograph of the building. Sadly an year back the building was demolished and a school has come up in its place. So it was not just a building but the only tangible trace or relic of that brilliant episode - the start of the First War of Independance in Lucknow.

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