Commonly referred as ‘Old Alipore Jail’, Presidency Correctional Home got the status of first Central Prison in Bengal in the year 1864. Though few old structures inside this prison have already been reduced into ruins, the rest which are still surviving witnessed the history being written by the luminaries who were incarcerated in this jail include Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Barindra Kumar Ghosh, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sarat Ch Bose, Bina Das, Suhasini Ganguly, Kamala Dasgupta, Lila Roy, Ujjala Majumdar, Ex-Chief Ministers – Prafulla Chandra Sen and Jyoti Basu and those executed include Kanailal Dutta, Satyendra Nath Bose, Charu Charan Bose, Birendra Nath Dutta Gupta and Gopi Mohan Saha.
As the advent of British Raj in India took place from undivided Bengal, a large number of jails of Bengal still have their past British time heritage. During the freedom movement against the British regime, some great sons of Bengal as well as eminent national leaders were imprisoned in these jails. Many freedom fighters martyred themselves, being hanged to death, at the gallows of these jails for fighting for the cause of India’s freedom. This page will introduce you to some of such heritage sites still existing in today’s correctional homes of West Bengal:
Presidency Correctional Home
Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, the great revolutionary was imprisoned in a solitary cell 6 Degree, at Presidency Jail in connection with famous ‘Alipore Bomb Case’ from 2.5.1908 to 09.05.1909. He attained divine enlightment during his stay here and became ‘Rishi Aurobindo’. He wrote his famous book ‘The Life Divine’ here. Every year on the 15th August the correctional home becomes a pilgrimage centre for the followers of Rishi Aurobindo as they visit the premises from different parts of country to pay homage to him on his birth anniversary.
This Cell is located at the first floor of ‘European Block’, a separate enclosure inside Presidency Correctional Home. Here Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, another great freedom fighter of India was imprisoned by the British Government from 02.07.1940 to 05.12.1940. It was here that he resorted to hunger strike from 29th November, 1940 and was released on 5th December, 1940.
The following freedom fighters martyred themselves at the gallows of ‘Old Alipore Jail’, now known as Presidency Correctional Home:
Kanailal Dutta (1908), Satyendra Nath Bose (1908), Charu Charan Bose, Birendra Nath Dutta Gupta (1910), Gopi Mohan Saha (1924).
Every year on Martyrs’ Day (January 30) veteran freedom fighters and a large number of spectators pay their homage to these martyrs by offering wreaths at the gallows.