Saturday, 14 April 2012

History of DumDum

               

                                                Dum Dum, Kolkata


Dumdum is a city in the state of West Bengal. It is a neighborhood in North-west Kolkata and the location of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, formerly known as Dum Dum Airport. It is a major commercial center located at the outskirts of Kolkata. Dum Dum region is important, as it constitutes main entry points of the city. The area being provided with a domestic and international airport is the landing base for the foreigners visiting the city.

Dum Dum region is about 10 kms from the city center which is taken to be Chandni Chowk. The nearby localities include Salt Lake,Jhilbagan, Ghughu Danga and Jawpur.

History of Dum Dum
Dum Dum AirportDuring the 19th century, Dum Dum was home to a British Royal Artillery Armoury. In the early 1890s, Captain Bertie Clay developed a bullet with the jacket cut away at the tip to reveal its soft lead core known as a dum dum.

Demographics of Dum Dum
As per 2001census, DumDum had a population of 102,319. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Dumdum has an average literacy rate of 82%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 85% and, female literacy is 78%.

Dum Dum, KolkataTransportation of Dum Dum
Dum Dum is connected to other major regions by means of train air and busses. The major means of transportation is through the subway, K

The Netaji Subhash Chander Bose International Airport or Dum Dum Airport is located within the township premises. There is also a domestic airport that is located 22 kms from Dum Dum. Other means of conveyance at Dum Dum are buses and taxis. 


     Origin behind naming Dum Dum:


There is a saying mere name bears no meaning. But, to the learners of history a name carry much importance. A name of a certain place, street or alike hides several ancient historical hidden treasures within it. Accordingly, very often it brings contradicting opinions, angles of thinking being different, to find out origin of a name. Alike Kokata, there are many opinions behind the origin of naming ‘Dum Dum’. Dr. Sukumar Sen in his writings ‘Bangla Sthan Nam’ expresses his opinion behind the origin of naming ‘Dum Dum’ as where sounds arise out of firing of Cannons. Rajsekhar Basu, author of dictionary ‘Chalantika’ explains in it that the term Dum Dum comes from the Arabic term ‘Damdamh’- Meaning a high mound made of clay for targeting firing. The dictionary edited by ‘Samsad’ also holds the same view.
There are certain other opinions about origin of naming ‘Dum Dum’ –
  1. In the Cantonment set up by Lord Clive the solders were being awakened from their sleep by striking drums, which sounds dumdum and as such the general public used to identify the Cantonment as Dumdum Cantonment. But, such argument cannot be accepted since historically there was an existence of name Dumdum of this place before Lord Clive arrived at.     
  2. There were so many Zamindars residing in this region of Dumdum for a pretty long time. The Zamindars spent their maximum time in their Baganbaris (pleasure-houses) of this region of Dumdum with gaudy funs and playing with firecrackers. A lot of people drew inference that the sounds that came out of such playing with fire crackers was behind the naming this region as Dumdum. Since the system of introducing such Zaminders was developed only after the English had arrived at in this land inference drawn by these people cannot be accepted. The existence of this place having name as Dumdum was of as before as the battle of plassy.
  3. The high mounds raised by clay for practicing archery or firing guns were called dumdum - was the belief of Sailendra Biswas. To an extent Chandidas Bandyopadhyay also was of the same belief. He wrote, dumdum means ‘a raised mound of battery’ i.e., to place a series of cannons on high land Dum Duma was the origin of naming the region as Dum Dum. Perhaps, Chandidas Babu was influenced by the views of HEA Cotton.
  4. H. I. S. Kanwar advanced quite on a different angle of thinking to find out origin of naming the region as Dum Dum. He was of opinion that the region was shrouded under water and dense forest providing shelters to the dacoits to take rest or to take ‘Dum’ (to take rest for a short time). The dacoits used this region as place of sharing their booty among them that were looted by them from the pilgrims and as such this region was called as Dum Dum.
  5. Haripada Bhowmick believed that the origin of naming the region as Dum Dum was of ancient dialect. By quoting the writings of Dr. Amalendu Mitra he stressed that the term ‘dumdum’ means ‘Ghana’ i.e., dense. It was an ancient dialect. It was used to mean bamboo bush or hair. Probably, at that time, there were plenty of bamboo-bush rather than the trees of Sundry in this region and that was the aphoristic to naming Dum Dum. To establish this opinion he put forward Krisnapada Goswamy. Because, Krisnapada Goswami believed that the origin of name Dum Dum was the result of the influence of Ostrich language.
  6. The opinions as explained by the persons in the way to quest of the origin of naming the region as Dum Dum as above totally voided by Parth Ghosh in an interview. His was a concept that there was a reference of a village naming ‘Uddyamee’ in  ‘Mangalkabya’ written by Manik Ganguly. In course of evolution the degenerated form of the same came to Dumdum. The basic shortcoming of the concept is that Parth Babu had not mentioned any clear and specific name of the said Mangalkabya and also the year and date when it was published.   

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    ‘Dumdum’- Origin behind the name
    - an analysis
    My view.
    Originally the term is taken from the Persian Language – pronunciation being dumdum. To translate it in Bengali, the meaning would be ‘high mound’. This area once was under the Mughal Emperor and in that regime Persian language was used as court language. Having many high mounds within it, this area was called Dumdum ; the degenerated form of the word comes to Dumduma and thereafter to Dum Dum – I argue.
    Within the boundary line of Dum Dum there are more than one high mounds. Their locations are as follows :-
    1. Dum Dum House or Clive House –within Mouza Dum Dum House.
    2. Rajbari (King’s House) of Saatkshira at Barahnagar.
    3. The water tank naming ‘Talah Tank’ - the high mound on which it is erected. To point out, here the term ‘Talah’ is also of Persian Language which also means high mound.
    4. One at Deulpota or Dakshineswar.
    An area having so many high mounds within it normally have such a name – dumdum> dumduma> damdama> Dum Dum. In Bengal, baring this area there are certain other places which are also have the same name, e.g. at Khidirpore, at Bankura, at Howrah-Hoghly-Barasat-Berachapa – having high mounds total number being ten and are being called as ‘Dumdumi’ or ‘Damdama’ or  ‘Damdam’. Besides, there is an area in Assam having its name ‘Dumduma’. In all the areas there is a high mound in each of the area. Observed closely, we will find resemblance with the high mounds as they are within Dum Dum.    
     
    Some persons are of belief that when English came and sat up Army quarters or army camps/cantonment – the roaring sound that came out of firing guns and/or of blasting of cannon-balls there from is the reason behind naming this area as Dum Dum or the high mounds raised by clay for practicing firing guns or cannons in those camps – which is called by English BATTERY, were called in Bengli Damdama and thus this area comes to be known as Dum Dum.
    I differ with the belief for various reasons. Firstly, once the English will come here and then they will set up Army camps and thereafter they will form practice ground and the roaring sounds will come out of firing guns and/or of blasting of cannon-balls there from and then and only than an area-name could be formed. But, historically it is not a fact. At time when in the first battle with Nawab Siraz-Ud-Doulah Clive was defeated he expressed his wish to remain imprisoned at Dumdum house. From this it bears, therefore, that (one) the British Empire was not at all established at that time and (two) Clive was well acquainted with the name of Dumdum house. Secondly, at time when solders were practicing firing guns or cannons in those camps at Damdam two Brahmins of a high lineage residing at Uttar Kolkata having temple came there and demanded that the land belong to them. The English on verifying the deed observed and accepted the originality of the deed and proposed them to agree to accept another area of similar nature. The Brahmins were shown the lands at Salt Lake City. The Brahmins in turn on showing deeds demanded that those lands at Salt Lake City were also belong to them and disclosed that they were the owners of all lands within the area of Damdam. Now, the English requested them to sell the area at Dum Dum Cantonment to them. The Brahmins accepted the request. In the deed prepared for this purpose it was written beside the name of sellers ‘all the lands at dum dum’. Thus, this establishes the concept that long before the English came here this area was known as Dumdum or Damdama. This corroborates the facts that were written by Robert Orme in his writings ‘Hindusthan’ and the records that were preserved in the Kolkata High Court.
                                    By     MRIDUL NANDY






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