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Mangalganj Neelkuthi

North 24 Parganas, West Bengal

March 17, 2023 to March 17, 2024

Following their acquisition of political and economic power, particularly through Dewani from the Mughal Emperor, the East India Company exerted significant influence over trade and commerce in not only Bengal but all of India. One key aspect of this was Indigo farming, which played a major role for both the English and the Company's stakeholders. Led by Lord Clive, the Company's employees seized much of Bengal's agricultural land, a trend that continued under the leadership of Lord Hastings, Lord Cornwallis, Lord Wellesley, and others. At the time, Indigo farming was an extremely profitable source of income, as there were no artificial means of production. This presented a golden opportunity for the Company to significantly enhance their profits. They built numerous neelkuthi (Indigo Plantations) in collaboration with the Zamindars, or actual landlords, particularly along the banks of fertile rivers like the Ganga, Ichhamati, Jalangi, Churni, and Mathabhanga. Despite the fact that this farming rendered the land barren and infertile, the Company never ceased it and forced farmers into it through cruel means. This sparked immense unrest among the farmers, leading to a revolution against the Company and the British that is now known as the "Indigo Revolution" in history.

Around the 18th century, Maharaja Mangalchandra, known for his great prowess, he created this plantation estate which served as a centre for indigo trade and management. However, it has a deeply troubling history. During the British reign, the Company forcibly seized indigo farmers and subjected them to brutal torture, often resulting in death. Furthermore, the location was frequently used to imprison freedom fighters who were subjected to painful torture, humiliation, and even death. To this day, the walls of this structure reverberate with the unseen agony of these freedom fighters and innocent farmers.

Currently, the entire building has become a haunted and deserted house. Most of the plantation is in a dilapidated condition and is covered in dense bushes. In another ten or twenty years, it may be completely destroyed.

Source: Mrinal Saha, DRP, CCRT