Raj Bhavan, Kolkata

Connection with Gandhiji
Gandhiji visited Raj Bhavan most frequently during 1945-46 and had series of conversations with Governor Lord Casey.

Background
Raj Bhavan, originally known as the Government House, was the seat of British power in India before the capital was shifted from Kolkata to Delhi in 1912. Many British Governors-General and Viceroys stayed there. After 1912, it became the residence of the Governor of Bengal.

Gandhiji At Raj Bhavan
• Gandhiji visited The Governor’s house at Calcutta for the first time on March 22, 1938. He met Governor Lord Brabourne and discussed the release of political prisoners.
• Lord R.G. Casey, an Australian statesman, was appointed Governor of Bengal during the crucial period of 1944-1946 when Bengal was in the grip of devastating famine. Mr. Casey was more open and willing to have a conversation with Gandhiji and the leaders of Congress than most of the British officers.
• After the leaders’ conference at Shimla in 1945, Mr. Casey sent a word to Gandhiji and showed willingness for Gandhiji’s visit to Bengal. It materialized at the end of the year. Gandhiji reached Calcutta and had a series of evening meetings with Mr. Casey at the Governor’s House.- Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase Volume I: p. 152
• Gandhiji’s meetings with Mr. Casey were like ‘an oasis in the desert of long estrangement with British officialdom’ in the words of Gandhiji’s secretary Pyarelal.
• Gandhiji and Mr. Casey met daily from December 1 to 4. Then they met again on December 22. Two more meetings took place on January 7 and January 18, 1946. One of the main subjects was the transfer of power. Mr. Casey assured Gandhiji that the independence was coming and that too in months, not years.- Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase Volume I: p. 153
• Mr. Casey discussed irrigation and development projects with Gandhiji and sent him an advance copy of the broadcast address. Gandhiji was more focused and concerned about short-term plans while accepting the need for plans of the distant future.
Gandhiji suggested Mr. Casey prepare and work out all the projects in consultation as the change in administration is imminent. ‘Nothing, however beneficial, should be imposed from outside.’ Said Gandhiji.
• Mrs. Casey noted in her memoirs, ‘when he [Gandhiji] came and went through the portals of Government House all our staff, of whatever religion or caste—all living creatures—crowded the entrance hall on his arrival and departure, greeting him reverently after their fashion. This happened to no one else who visited us.’
• Mr. Casey was replaced by Sir Frederick Burrows as the new Governor of Bengal. Gandhiji met him twice at the Governor House. Their first meeting was on October 30, 1946. It was a courtesy call.
Gandhiji’s last visit to the Governor House was on August 9, 1947, when Calcutta was engulfed in communal violence.

Site Address/Contact
Raj Bhavan
Marx Engels Beethi Rd,
Governors Camp, B.B.D. Bagh,
Kolkata, West Bengal – 700 062
Fax No: 033 2200 2444 | EPBX No. : 033 2200 1641 to 1647 | Email: governor-wb@nic.in
Website: www.rajbhavankolkata.gov.in

 

Copyright Information

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