The internet is an amazing place and it keeps surprising us with treasure troves from years gone by.

The Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania recently acquired an album with 60 photographs of Calcutta taken between 1945-1946. The photographer, Claude Waddell, was a military photographer & we have retained his original captions (just to give you an idea of how the world perceived us ‘natives’ then). Hope you enjoy this pictorial time travel back to the Calcutta of 1940s. This is the second part of this series, thrid part coming soon!

 

Hindusthan building, one of the most modern in Calcutta, was built for an insurance company but occupied upon its completion by the U.S. Army.  Located in the heart of the city, it is the nerve center of all military business, containing post office, finance office, Base Section offices, air, rail booking offices, a radio station, giant post exchange, officers mess and living quarters, signal offices and others.
Hindusthan building, one of the most modern in Calcutta, was built for an insurance company but occupied upon its completion by the U.S. Army. Located in the heart of the city, it is the nerve center of all military business, containing post office, finance office, Base Section offices, air, rail booking offices, a radio station, giant post exchange, officers mess and living quarters, signal offices and others.
The American Red Cross Burra Club, leave center for GI's and recreation spot for all enlisted men. The unpretentious facade belies an interior complete with dormitory, snack bar, restaurant, music room games room and lounge, barber and tailor shops, wrapping service department and Post Exchange.
The American Red Cross Burra Club, leave center for GI’s and recreation spot for all enlisted men. The unpretentious facade belies an interior complete with dormitory, snack bar, restaurant, music room games room and lounge, barber and tailor shops, wrapping service department and Post Exchange.
Indians are the bravest commuters in the world.  They hang from every handhold.  The two shown here, however, are bent on clinching a seat before the car fills.  Ancient double-decker buses sway and chug under the strain of double overloads and trams make packed New York subways seem comfortable by comparison.
Indians are the bravest commuters in the world. They hang from every handhold. The two shown here, however, are bent on clinching a seat before the car fills. Ancient double-decker buses sway and chug under the strain of double overloads and trams make packed New York subways seem comfortable by comparison.
Sacred cattle and coolies push and pull great carts to the loading platform of the Howrah railroad station in background, one of the city's two stations.  Howrah is on the west bank of the river, and Sealdah, the other station, is in another section of Calcutta on the east side.
Sacred cattle and coolies push and pull great carts to the loading platform of the Howrah railroad station in background, one of the city’s two stations. Howrah is on the west bank of the river, and Sealdah, the other station, is in another section of Calcutta on the east side.
Probably the largest market in the East is the New Market.  Covering several blocks in the downtown area, the 2,000 stalls offer most anything you could ask for, wartime shortages accepted.  In addition to all the items appealing to the local and tourist trade, the market contains giant food departments.
Probably the largest market in the East is the New Market. Covering several blocks in the downtown area, the 2,000 stalls offer most anything you could ask for, wartime shortages accepted. In addition to all the items appealing to the local and tourist trade, the market contains giant food departments.
Highlight of the out-of-bounds visit is of course, a look-in on the lassies.  These dusky ladies of the night ask from $3.00 to $6.00 for the dubious pleasure they offer.  The GI seems to find making choice hard.
Highlight of the out-of-bounds visit is of course, a look-in on the lassies. These dusky ladies of the night ask from $3.00 to $6.00 for the dubious pleasure they offer. The GI seems to find making choice hard.
In contrast to the magnificent palace in background, two sweating coolies strain at a load of precious firewood.  The building is known as the Marble  Palace & contains a rich collections of paintings, lavishly furnished.  It belongs to a Bengali family who are alleged to feed hundreds of poor daily.
In contrast to the magnificent palace in background, two sweating coolies strain at a load of precious firewood. The building is known as the Marble Palace & contains a rich collections of paintings, lavishly furnished. It belongs to a Bengali family who are alleged to feed hundreds of poor daily.
The Hooghly river is lined with bathing ghats like the one shown here.  The troop transports in the background seem out of place in the old-world atmosphere created by the temple at left and the sampans at anchor.
The Hooghly river is lined with bathing ghats like the one shown here. The troop transports in the background seem out of place in the old-world atmosphere created by the temple at left and the sampans at anchor.
The Jain temple, Parashnath Mandir, is Calcutta's gaudiest and most elaborate temple.  The Jains are a sect of the Hindus, a great many of whom belong to the money-lending class, are shrewd and frequently wealthy. Jains do not believe in taking a life, often even wear a nostril veil to prevent inhaling of insects.
The Jain temple, Parashnath Mandir, is Calcutta’s gaudiest and most elaborate temple. The Jains are a sect of the Hindus, a great many of whom belong to the money-lending class, are shrewd and frequently wealthy. Jains do not believe in taking a life, often even wear a nostril veil to prevent inhaling of insects.
A little snooping in Chinatown will turn up the little opium dens stuck down an alley (not recommended without police escort).  Actually, the smokers shown in this picture do it legally.  Each den is licensed for so many pipes.  Each pipe costs a rupee, a phial of opium five rupees.  Average smoker consumes a phial a day and there are about 186 pipes licensed in Calcutta.
A little snooping in Chinatown will turn up the little opium dens stuck down an alley (not recommended without police escort). Actually, the smokers shown in this picture do it legally. Each den is licensed for so many pipes. Each pipe costs a rupee, a phial of opium five rupees. Average smoker consumes a phial a day and there are about 186 pipes licensed in Calcutta.

We’ll come up with the next lot of images before you can say Gariahat… Till then LIKE our Facebook page so you don’t miss any stories from BONGFeed.com

 

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Teen Kori

Staff Writer & Beer Buyer at BONGFeed
Teen Kori (translates to THREE PIPS) is the lazy, laid back, food loving Bong bibliophile who can spend days sitting on his arm chair and doodling or reading while there's a steady supply of colored fluids and music.

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