Tuesday, July 30, 2013

History revisited : Slideshow on the Darjeeling Disaster of 1950.

The Jun1950 Darjeeling Disaster

More PowerPoint presentations from praful rao

Human memory of disasters is often flawed and very short-lived. As such it is important to chronicle and preserve these records as accurately as possible and the above slideshow on the ‘Jun1950 Darjeeling Disaster ’ is an effort this direction.
Not much data exists on the Jun1950 disaster which struck the Darjeeling district and whatever is available is, at best sketchy :-

  •   The ‘Report of the Expert Committee on Landslides in the Darjeeling Hills’ states that 127 people died, mostly in Darjeeling town. No information is available on casualty figures in Darjeeling district or in Sikkim.
  •   ‘Floods, Flood plains and Environmental Myths’, a CSE document, talks of a cloud burst in the Teesta valley which dumped 546mm of rain on 12Jun1950 whereas the official government website pegs the rainfall at 965mm for the whole month of June1950.
While rummaging through records for this event on the internet, I stumbled onto the ‘Annual Report of 1950’ of St Joseph’s School, Darjeeling which had a rather quaint account of the disaster – that of a student in the school and I have included it in the slideshow.
I also was extremely fortunate to discover that Mr Durga Das Pradhan of DAS Studio, Darjeeling, who had given me these photographs sometime back, was also the photographer who had taken these images more than 60yrs ago! As such I was lucky that he could pinpoint the locations where the landslides had taken place in the vicinity of Darjeeling town.

Praful Rao,
Darjeeling district

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