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Mangal Pandey breathes life into Barrackpore’s past
Few can forget the moustached statue glaring over the close embraces of romanticism in the park with artifacts decorating the neighbourhood; a church in a distant locality brings in more flavour to the touch of history.
THE WAR of Independence barely 25 kilometres from Barrackpore seems lost in the neighbourhood where most have forgotten the bravery of ‘Mangal Pandey’. As the nation celebrated 150 years of the War of Independence or ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ the focus centres around the phase of history where Mangal Pandey, a sepoy in Bengal army’s 34th Native Infantry, shot and wounded two British army officers with his musket and sword at the palace ground. And it was there that he was hanged on the morning of April 8, 1857.

As far as Barrackpore is concerned it is “head over heart”. Barrackpore, a sub-divisional town in North 24 Parganas district, which also houses a major cantonment of the Indian Army, has been witness to the extreme respect Mangal Pandey commands. Barrackpore Trunk Road, one of the oldest metal roads in India, has many impressive architectural wonders on the way to Barrackpore.A beautiful park ‘Sahid Mangal Pandey Uddan’ facing the Ganges at Barrackpore relives the rich past of British India where romanticism and history is richly combined into religious practices bringing in a sense of awe and wonder.

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Few can forget the busty moustached statue glaring over the close embraces of romanticism in the park with artifacts decorating the near neighbourhood; a church in distant locality brings in more flavour to the touch of history where history and modern day wonders have blended beautifully. As scores of couples romance in the park, most seem unaware of the history which is associated with the name of Mangal Pandey and the First War of Independence which was ignited by the bravery of this hero. As the sun sets, distant boats wind their way through the waters with religious offerings. One wonders, “if Mangal Pandey was not there, if Barrackpore loses its link with history, will such beauty of nature’s romance get its due?”

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