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Statue of Rana Pratap Singh Salim Manzil and Gauhar Jaan
The Haunted Hastings House - Captivating Calcutta
909    Dibyendu Banerjee    01/02/2020   

Situated along the Judges Court Road and considered as one of the impressive creations of the early colonial age, the Hastings House is said to be one of the haunted places in Calcutta. It was built in the late 1700's, to serve as the residence of Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor-General of India during the period of 1775 to 1785. The two storey white building, which replicates simple cubical western architectural style of the British era, includes a hall and a number of rooms in each floor and is complete with a stone and black stair case. Much later, the building was developed as a government guest house by Colonel Curzon, the viceroy of India in the year 1901.For some time it was also used as a lodge for Indian princes visiting Kolkata. Much later, in the year 1954, the historic building was transformed into a college, namely 'Institute of Education for Women' which is affiliated under the University of Calcutta.

the haunted hastings house

It is said that the Hastings House is a haunted place and from time to time, many people had described veracious incidents of the existence of unnatural spirit in the house. In the mid of 1930s George Williams, a tremendous race maniac, used to live in the house. He had five horses and among them, a pearl white horse named Pride, was his most favourite and profitable pet. It won lots of races and brought money and fame for Williams. However, a time came, when Pride was no more a winning horse. During those days, it was a tradition to gun down those horses whose prime days had over and after a defeat in one Saturday race, Pride was found shot dead in the race track at night.

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After the incident, many people have reported having seen a pearl white horse running in the garden of Hastings House on Saturday nights. It was also reported that many of them have heard or seen the shadow like horse-drawn coach entering in the campus of the house. It was believed by many, every year Warren Hastings visits the house, as it emotionally related to his memory of sadness, pain and unhappiness. Former Reserve Bank of India's governor (1936-1943) Sir James Taylor spent a long time in the Hastings house with his family and they were also said to be disturbed many times by the spirit of Warren Hastings. In 1947, Lady Braid Taylor, wife of Sir James Taylor, in her interview to ‘Life’ magazine revealed her eerie experience in the Hastings House. History says, Hastings’ notorious wife and children had unnatural death in that house, which may also add fuel to the stories of a haunted house.

the haunted hastings house

Over the course of time, the Hastings House was converted into a public school. Thereafter, it was transformed into the official residence of the Resident of the Eastern States of India. After the independence of India, it housed the Post-Graduate Basic Training College in 1948 and subsequently in 1951 the building came to be used as the Women’s section of David Hare Training College, the renowned institution for the training of teachers of the Secondary Institutions of West Bengal.

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Gradually, with the considerable increase of number of women trainee teachers, the women’s branch of David Hare Training College was established in the Hastings House in 1954, as a separate Women Institution and named the 'Institute of Education for Women'.

the haunted hastings house
Statue of Rana Pratap Singh Salim Manzil and Gauhar Jaan
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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