McCluskiegunj – The Promised Land

A village that exists on an area of ten thousand acres. Since 1930, this village has been known as Mini London because of its Western culture and its fair skin residents who resided here once upon a time. The government of Jharkhand has declared McCluskiegunj a tourist centre.

This place is famous for having a Mosque, Temple, Church and Gurudwara at one place
This place is famous for having a Mosque, Temple, Church and Gurudwara at one place

McCluskiegunj is also spelt as McCluskieganj and is known as Lapra by the local residents, and its often visitors. It is considered to be and is called Mini London. This little village is very different compared to other villages in India. There’s a lot to know about McCluskiegunj and the history behind this small village of various caste and creeds but in brief, the founder Ernest Timothy McCluskie, a Calcutta based businessmen approached the Maharaja of Ratu for a piece of land that could be used to form a small township for Anglo-Indians. This was in 1932.

The Settlement

The request was granted and an area of ten thousand acres was given on a perpetual lease. A society was later formed and thereafter plots were prepared and families chose their areas and built their own houses. They had their respective properties registered which enabled many of them to sell-out while migrating to countries like Australia, Canada, and London etc. Many left their houses to their servants. Many just left it to nobody.

McCluskiegunj remained a jungle for years. Among the many people that remained or settled down because of their ancestral property, some remained for a few more years and on realizing the place was out of the world, shifted to cities like Kolkata and Mumbai. Then Calcutta and Bombay as known as in those days.

The Abandoned Bungalows of Gunj
The Abandoned Bungalows of Gunj
Some bungalows were built during the time British ruled India
Some bungalows were built during the time British ruled India

Life

People lived on pensions and earnings received by selling their guavas and mangoes. Agriculture was way beyond the Anglo-Indians and they had no interest, maybe.

The Thorpe Family of McCluskiegunj – one of the early settler of the Gunj, who left and settled in Australia later
The Thorpe Family of McCluskiegunj – one of the early settler of the Gunj, who left and settled in Australia later

Now, things have changed. People are quite happy and many of them are doing quite well. The credit for the good status of McCluskiegunj obviously goes to Mr. A G DeRozario, the founder of Don Bosco Academy, McCluskiegunj. He also served as the Anglo-Indian MLA Jharkhand, and did jobs for the Anglo-Indian community as well as for the development of McCluskiegunj.

Mr. DeRozario started the school in 1997 with many motives. One of which is the well-being of the Anglo-Indian families. He invited all those who showed their interest in his project. He offered people to open-up hostels in their homes. This idea clicked. There are now nearly 45 hostels catering for children studying at Don Bosco Academy, McCluskiegunj.

Currently there are approximately 1,200 students that are unequally shared among the actual number of hostels. The actual number includes hostels run by Anglos AND non-Anglos. If you had an interest for economics in school, you can gauge how the place benefits by having Don Bosco Academy.

How to reach?

There are two ways to get to mini London.

McCluskiegunj has a Railway station which is now being bettered. Here the official spelling goes as …ganj! Express trains like the Shaktipunj Express (Howrah- Singrauli ), Palamau Express (Patna-Barkakana), Garib Rath (Ranchi-Ajmer) and two locals that are available from Chaupan to Gomoh and another, Barkakana-Dehri on sone-Mughal Sarai. She is better known as the BDM. Some trains are not daily!

Gateway to the Gunj
Gateway to the Gunj

By road, you will have to branch-off from a place called Bijupara. Bijupara is in-between Ranchi and Gumla. It’s just around 60-65 Kilos from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state. You can book a taxi or you can avail the public transport that is the only vehicle to and from McCluskiegunj or Lapra.

The Climate

McCluskiegunj is not just a unique and good place for mankind but also for vegetation, birds, animals and varied creatures. There are many plants that grow here without any extra effort to keep them alive. Coffee, curry leaves, passionfruit, black pepper and other hot spices and many more are on the list not to mention the common fruit plants/ trees. The Bird’s eye chilies from Africa and chilies from Nepal along with the Akbar-e-Mirch from Assam all grow here naturally. The climate is perfect here. Eagles and Ravens that are becoming extinct are also found here.

These chilies were termed as “Monkey Chilies” because they are so hot that they would make one jump
These chilies were termed as “Monkey Chilies” because they are so hot that they would make one jump
The Annual Visitor of Gunj
The Annual Visitor of Gunj

Come and witness the history, heritage and hue…

Post Author: Malcolm Hourigan

Malcolm Hourigan, an Anglo Indian resident of McCluskiegunj, believes that the Gunj cannot yet be written off. Malcolm runs a student hostel at McCluskiegunj, writes a popular blog on the Gunj, documents the history of the place and lobbies for betterment of the place.

3 thoughts on “McCluskiegunj – The Promised Land

    Corey Samuel Cananza

    (February 14, 2017 - 9:00 am)

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      News Desk

      (March 13, 2017 - 3:46 am)

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    Mr. Spalding Pires

    (May 16, 2017 - 6:46 am)

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