Hello Traveller, Welcome to this page which I call "McCluskieganj - Junction" , and dedicate to Kitty and the residents of McCluskieganj. Although the place called "McCluskieganj" is not a railway junction, I intend to help join as many Anglo-Indians and others who are interested in the Place, the People and Anglo-Indians, together by giving them access to other McCluskieganjwallas, reuniting as one family at the 'junction' , I hope so!! If you know anyone who has been there or is from there can you please bring me up to speed, and I will help 'junction' people, like I did for K.G.F (Kolar Gold Fields ). Although I have never visited the place neither do I have any attachments, I am just captivated by the ambiance that is portrayed through a documentary film, I'm sure you will also agree with me once you have managed to get hold of it and experience the pioneering spirit of the early Anglo-Indians. McCluskieganj is located about 40 miles from Ranchi, in the State of Bihar. One of the nicknames for the place was "Chota London" ( we have a (Chota) 'Little England' and 'Little Texas' in Bangalore!!). The early residents were Anglo-Indians of British, Scottish, Irish and Eurasians (Portuguese) descent. Many of the settlers were from the Railways, and I guess trying to turn to 'Farming' at McCluskieganj would have been difficult. Mr. Ernest Timothy McCluskie, an Anglo-Indian businessman from Calcutta, was the Founder of this Anglo-Indian Colony, which he rightly named 'McCluskieganj'. The McCluskieganj Railway Station is in Jharkhand.
Why I have started this page, is because I had seen a very touching documentary video by 'UKTV' called 'McCluskieganj' which someone sent my dear friends Audrey and Brig. Leslie King. Watching the documentary, I really was touched by the conditions of the Anglo-Indians in McCluskieganj and wanted to write about it on my homepage section covering Anglo-Indians.
For those of you interested
in the details of the documentary the following information is what I took
down from the movie credits:
Movie Documentary Name: McCLUSKIEGANJ
Camera : Mike Coles, Camera Assistant: Richard Comrie, Sound Recordist: Keith Rodgerson
Electrician : Richard De Souza, Production Co-ordinator: Lalit Vachani, Production Assistant: Vijay Raman, Production Liaison: Shenny Italia, Dubbing Mixer: Peter Hodges, Graphics: Gus Henry
Production Manager: Tinka Gordon, Researcher : Andree Jenni, Film Editor: Dick Pull
Executive Producer: Rod Caird, Producer: Sue Hayes, Director: Andy Stevenson
VPL for (c) Granada Television Limited, MCMXCIII
The Main Characters of the documentary dialogue were Wilfred Arthur Stringer and Ivan McTell, Ian Jack gets a thank you credit, and there were many interviews (Ms. Morris, the Camerons, McTell, Tipthorpe, to name a few) with the local resident families. I am not really sure when the film was made, but there is one reference to a date that in 1993, Wilfred Stringer returned from UK back to McCluskieganj, and that his dear friend Ivan had already passed away. I was touched by Kitty Texeira's situation, nobody seems to tell us how she landed in such a situation, and her family? It's definitely non-fictional!! It reminded me of some of the Anglo-Indians we used to find in the past around Austin Town, Bangalore, now they have migrated, I'm not sure where to.
I tried to find out more about the place by checking the Net and discovered that there was an article on McCluskieganj by Alex Perry in TIME Asia Magazine July 15, 2002, Vol.160, No.1. titled "Letter from India: No Place Like Home" , the article could not fully capture the actual atmosphere of the place as viewed in the documentary, I guess for want of print space in the magazine.
I was surprised and very happy to see in another 'google' search that a familiar name turned up in a research on McCluskieganj - ' Memory, identity and productive nostalgia: Anglo-Indian home-making at McCluskieganj' by" Dr. Alison Blunt", whom I immediately requested to please share details from her thesis on McCluskieganj. I met Dr. Alison when she came to Bangalore a few years ago and visited the Kings, who were then staying in the Cathedral School premises (now they are at their own place: Audrey & Brig. Leslie King, 104, 2nd Main, 9th Cross, Gospel Street, St. Thomas Town, Bangalore 560084).
I also put a request marker for more info on the ever obliging India-List, which is a genealogy sharing mail group. I received some very encouraging responses and directions which I share below. If anyone would like to share their pictures and memories of McCluskieganj, I welcome the same and it will definitely add more to the memories of the place. I would have gone to McCluskieganj myself and photographed the place, but it is too far from Bangalore. I could manage photographing Whitefield , another Anglo-Indian Settlement, near Bangalore, and of course Bangalore itself!!
Do you want McCluskieganj
to be a statistic?
'.. there were 300 Anglo-Indian families, now there are only 20!!', or do you want McCluskieganj to be an example of a proud culture, a legacy of grit and determination of a generation that shouldered responsibility in surviving even after all scurried from a sinking ship. I call upon families who originated from McCluskieganj (McCluskiegange as it is sometimes spelt) to put your effort in changing the situation of the place. Give hope where there seems to be so many negatives, Put aside ego, pride, snootiness and all that people say exists around the place. Prove to the world that they are wrong, establish contacts back in your roots, make McCluskieganj flourish in economic stability, by NRI's investing in hospitals, education, cultural philosophy, buy back some of the properties that seem to be going in the ruins. To those of you who have property, or even feel that you don't need it anymore, cultivate it, or sell it to someone of the Anglo-Indian community who is willing to do so, but do not let your community down by folded-arms and non-support. There are many Anglo-Indians who cannot afford a roof, open your doors to keep them as hostelites on your land. If someone can send me the list of addresses / emails of the 300 hundred or more of these families that started McCluskieganj, and their addresses where they are today, I will make an endeavour to try and reach out to them through this page and pass on any message that the 20 remaining families want to send them. After all, I am an outsider, so what I say does not count, but when it comes from within, it really matters.
From the video, I enjoyed the McCluskieganj
Band,(I am not sure what they call themselves, but take it from me,
their sound is good, I am a musician
and know what I am talking about) they were really good, and
talented, and although they played to a few old residents who danced thinking
nodoubt of what the late Ivan McTell would say 'those were the days' memories,
it would have been really encouraging to find some young people on the floor
as well, but with 20 families left, what can you expect? Think hard all of
you who have come from McCluskieganj and settled around the world and India,
remember your place, visit or write to people there once in a way, and Christmas
2002 is around the bend, do something. Someone I am sure, yes, one of you
could remember Kitty and her children. The All India Anglo Indian Association
(AIAIA) (Calcutta, President, can you help?) or the Anglo Indian Guild (Bangalore,
Mr. Jos Fernendez, can you help?) may have something to offer, perhaps in
terms of 'information' more than cultural? Don't worry, Bangalore also has
it's share of disillusions, I have come across various spellings for
McCluskieganj such as mccluskieganj, mccluskiegunj, macluskieganj, macluskiegunj, mccluskiegunge.
Linking the McCluskieganj - Junction
Articles, Web Pages and Correspondence related to McCluskieganj...
Subject:: Re McCluskieganj Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 05:41:47 EST
Visited this settlement as
a 5/6 year old in 1938/39 with parents who thought they might like to retire
there later. Nothing came of our visit, because we did not retire there,
but moved to Jubbulpore (Jabalpur now!) in 1942.
Where can I lay my hands on this cd documentary? Would be very interested to view it.
Thistle Ince, on the Hampshire/Surry border in England.
By Dr Alison Blunt, Department of Geography, Queen Mary College, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS A.Blunt@qmul.ac.uk
McCluskieganj was founded by the Colonization Society of India in 1933 as an independent homeland and nation for Anglo-Indians and was home to 400 Anglo-Indian families within ten years. Its founder described Anglo-Indians as 'the only community in the world who are homeless wanderers in their own country' (1935). Settlers sought to create an independent nation located within, but distinct from, British India. McCluskieganj was equated with an Indian 'mooluk' (home/land) but in racially exclusive terms, and loyal to British India even as it sought independence from British patronage. Although settlement was thought to liberate Anglo-Indian men from the emasculation of British patronage, it was legitimated in terms of British colonization. By likening McCluskieganj to British settler colonies in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the CSI promoted a model for India gaining Dominion status. Indian maternal descent was disembodied at McCluskieganj in two main ways: first, by erasing it in favour of maternal images of India itself, and then seeking to control Mother India and Mother Earth through colonization and domestication; and, second, by identifying Anglo-Indian women as pioneering homemakers within European traditions of colonization. This paper examines the foundation, promotion, and legacy of McCluskieganj by focusing on the monthly journal The Colonization Observer, brochures produced to promote settlement, and interviews with past and present Anglo-Indian residents.
I explore domestic and national home-making at McCluskieganj in relation to ideas about identity, memory and productive nostalgia. Key questions include: how did settlement at McCluskieganj enact and embody a collective identity and memory for Anglo-Indians? To what extent did a desire for home and homeland represent a productive nostalgia in relation to British imperialism and decolonization? How does residence at McCluskieganj in the past and present challenge Raj nostalgia and the stereotypical portrayal of Anglo-Indians within it? The paper has three main parts. First, I explore the dynamics of home, homeland and nation for Anglo-Indians and the extent to which McCluskieganj represented a paradoxical space of belonging in relation to British and Indian homes and identities. Second, I investigate how and why Anglo-Indian settlement was represented in terms of colonization and its embodiment through images of Anglo-Indian men as imperial subjects. Finally, turning to images of Anglo-Indian women as pioneers and homemakers, I explore racialized images of femininity and domesticity that helped to erase a maternal line of Indian ancestry at the same time as India was depicted as the motherland.
Alison Blunt is Lecturer in Geography at Queen
Mary, University of London. Her current research
focuses on geographies of home and identity for Anglo-Indian women in India, Australia and Britain in
the fifty years before and after Independence. She is writing a book entitled Domicile and diaspora:
Anglo-Indian women and the spatial politics of home (Blackwell) based on this research. Her other
research interests include imperial travel and domesticity (including a book entitled Travel, gender and
imperialism: Mary Kingsley and West Africa, Guilford, 1994, and papers on British women in India
during and after the 'mutiny') and feminist and postcolonial critiques of geographical knowledge
(including a co-edited forthcoming book, Postcolonial Geographies, Continuum, 2002). Please contact Alison if you would like copies of working papers from her research on Anglo-Indian women and the spatial politics of home
(A.Blunt@qmul.ac.uk ). Back to the top
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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26