It was a cold day of December 8th 1930 when the trio entered the Writers Building which at that time was being used by the writers of the British East India Company for official purposes. All three of them were dressed in western outfits, their loaded revolvers carefully concealed under their garments. Purpose of the visit was simple yet difficult, find Colonel N.S. Simpson and shoot him dead. Two of them were merely 22 years old and the third one was just 19 yet their patriotism and determination of doing something for their country had left no place for any fear in their hearts. After roaming around in the halls of the writers building for a while, they finally found Colonel N.S. Simpson who at that time was serving as Inspector General of Police and was notorious for his brutal oppression of the prisoners in the jail. Weapons were drawn, shots fired and minutes later Simpson was dead. What followed was a long gun battle between the three young revolutionaries and the British police. Several other officers of the police force were injured and when they finally managed to overcome the trio, one of them killed himself by consuming cyanide while the other two shot themselves with their own weapons.
If you thought that I was telling a made up story, you are wrong. If you thought we were talking about Bhagat Singh here, you are wrong again. The above mentioned incident took place in the infamous Writers Building of Kolkata on December 8, 1930. The three young revolutionaries were Benoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta who assassinated Simpson in order to send a message to the British government that their time in India was coming to an end. Badal killed himself after the long gun battle by consuming poison while Benoy and Dinesh shot themselves but surprisingly both of them survived. Benoy died 5 days later in a hospital while Dinesh was tried in the court and hanged on 7 July 1931. Our history is full of such tales of heroism and self sacrifice. While the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh is celebrated and very well known, there are several other revolutionaries who died for their country but only a few know about it. In case of Badal, Benoy and Dinesh, Dalhousie Square is named after the trio and is called B. B. D. Bagh but I can bet that even some people living in Kolkata wouldn’t know why it is called so. Their sacrifice was long forgotten and it is a shame in itself. And as if forgetting them was not enough, the place of their martyrdom was not remembered for their heroism, but as being haunted which to me is kind of making a fun of their sacrifice.
Writers Building is considered as one of the most haunted places in the busy city of Kolkata. Some of the rubbish tales include sounds of someone crying late at night, reports of footsteps and voices from within the building well after the earthly hours, sounds of laughter, appearance of a lady in white, a figure appearing and disappearing at night but the most outrageous belief is that the spirit of Simpson still resides here and haunts the place. Think about it, is it really not insulting the memory of the three young boys who died for their country?
Designed by Thomas Lyon in 1777, the writers building now serves as the secretariat building of the State Government of West Bengal. The purpose of this construction originally was to accommodate junior servants of the East India Company. The writer here doesn’t mean the literary personalities, it used to be the junior servants (the clerical and administrative staff) residing in the building and hence the name, Writer’s Building. Over a period of centuries, this building went through numerous changes, mostly serving as an official building for the government. People who visit here are still the government officials or people who are interested in spooky tales. I have never been to Kolkata so haven’t yet seen the structure but one thing is for certain. When I visit here, it would not be to meet the ghost of Simpson but to see the place of martyrdom of three young patriots.