Monday, 17 March 2014


Swami Vivekananda the great patriot saint of India had visited Shillong in April 1901. This visit of Swamiji however was entirely different from his visit to any other part of the world. Swamiji had given so much to the world, and on the process he had to lose his health. The unique sylvan Himalayan range, the lush green forests drenched by beautiful spring, the salubrious climate, the lovely and hospitable people all uniquely combined in Shillong deserved to be the place to be chosen by Swami Vivekananda where he could regain his health-so that he can give more to the world again.He considered this part of his beloved motherland most suited to take care of his health as if a mother tending her child in his ill-health. Shillong the land of beauty, was thus privileged by the holy recognition of this Saint. Shillong had seen him for about a fortnight when  at the request of Sir Henry Cotton, Swami Vivekananda visited Shillong and stayed there for a while (April-May 1901) at the residence of the zamindar (landlord) of Sunamgunj at Laban. 

The Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Cultural Centre stands today exactly at the spot where the famous Quinton Hall stood a hundred and odd years back when Swamiji lectured here after inaugurating it, on 27 April 1901. In 1993, Quinton Memorial Trust had regained the possession of the hall along with the adjacent land and subsequently handed it over to the Ramakrishna Mission. The hall when handed over to Ramakrishna Mission was in its ramshackle uninhabitable and difficult to preserve. So the new building with close resemblance to previous on was constructed at the same spot.

The city chapter of Ramakrishna Mission is keen to have Swami Vivekananda's house in Shillong declared as a heritage site. Saying that a memorandum in this regard would be soon submitted to the chief minister, Swami Achyuteshanandaji Maharaj, secretary of Ramakrishna Mission Shillong, said: "If the government thinks wisely, it can convert the dilapidated house at Laban where Swamiji stayed into a heritage site. This would attract a lot of tourists to the state, especially from West Bengal."

Speaking at a press conference at the Shillong Press Club on April,25,2012, he added: "The Mission is prepared to extend all help to the Meghalaya government if it takes steps to declare it as a heritage spot," he said. He also said that if the government wanted, it could take possession of the house, even as he informed that a property dispute regarding the site was being sorted out in the courts. "The litigation is now in a better position," he said.
The Maharaj also informed that the Mission, which already runs several schools and charitable health centres in the state, would set up an Employability and Entrepreneurship Training Centre at the Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Cultural Centre here, the foundation of which would be laid on April 27,2012.

I have personally done researches on swami Vivekananda's visit to Shillong and found many interesting facts which not known by the people that Swami Vivekananda delivered his last public lecture of his life in Shillong. The place of his last public lecture have been immortalised by erecting his statue at the very spot (also known as Quinton Memorial).

According to Champa Sen Choudhury ,It was known as Quinton Memorial Hall ... a hall built for the public of Shillong with money raised from the people of Shillong. Her  father, Late J. N. Choudhury fought over 37 years to free it from the clutches of a big business family and hand it over to RKM.She also cited that  the ambience of the locality has improved...RKM is responsible for it. The old people of Shillong as well as the RKM people know the whole story. I stll possess many documents. My father sacrificed a lot, risked his life, resisted many temptations placed in front of him in platters. As he had taken up this cause for the public, he refused to watch movies there and used to drive down to Guwahati for the purpose of watching good movies shown there ( for quite sometime it was an one way road). It is all worthwhile if the general public of Shillong is benefitted out of it.Swami Vivekananda delivered the last public lecture of his life in QMH on 27th April, 1901 where Sir Henry Cotton, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam was present. This is also the only hall in the North-east India where luminaries like Dr. Anne Besant, poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, Acharya P. C. Roy delivered their lectures too.

vivekananda in shillong
Choudhury Zamindar residence
Quintan memorial hall
Champa Sen Choudhury,daughter of late J.N.choudhury


No comments: