India – History and Society – for those who wish to think and learn for themselves
The town of McCluskieganj in modern day Jharkhand in India is a quaint reminder of India’s past. It is also a reminder to the sensible that artificial creations of homelands within India are doomed to failure. Community is important no doubt, but simple economic realities triumph social aspirations time after time.
McCluskieganj lies approximately 60 kilometres north of Ranchi, the capital of the mineral-rich state of Jharkhand in eastern India. It was founded by Ernest McCluskie, an Anglo-Indian, who wished to form a community of Anglo-Indians, as they felt increasingly insecure with the independence movement of the 1920s and the 1930s. In 1932, he acquired the rights to build homes across nine villages. Invitations were sent to Anglo-Indians across India, welcoming them to their new exclusive town. Up to a few thousand Anglo-Indians did take the plunge to a remote corner of India. A town with churches, temples and mosques with roads was laid out. The town flourished only briefly. World War II and Indian independence convinced a large number of families to relocate either in India or to other pastures in Europe or New Zealand. Within a few decades, there were only 20 families left. As the older generation passed away, the youth left, diminishing the population even more.
All that remains now are old bungalows and a handful of lonely faithful octogenarians. Its only building of note is the railway station through which thousands travel each day without pondering for a second about how the town was founded. The government of India is now trying to encourage tourists to this remote yet scenic corner of India.
Here are a few interesting links:
Images of McCluskieganj from Tasveeronline