It is interesting to note that the Don Bosco Academy opened a residential school in McCluskiegunj. This has given employment to the few Anglo-Indian families that are left in these parts. Moreover the old bungalows and houses which were deserted are being used as hostels and residential campuses for the students, teachers and staff of this school. This has boosted economy and employment opportunities in these parts after a long time.
That which flourished years ago is on a verge of disappearing from the hearts of men and that which flourishes now would soon overshadow the remnants of a glorious past. This post refers to a very special place which is hardly remembered by many but was a flourishing Anglo-Indian hub years ago – McCluskiegunj. This settlement lies 40 miles northwest of the capital of Jharkhand. This settlement was founded and established by the Colonization Society of 1933- especially by Earnest Timothy McCluskie. It was home to more than 400 Anglo-Indian families, though now only a handful remain in this settlement.
What is unique about this place is that no matter what happens in the world, McCluskiegunj has never succumbed to its modernity. Even though it is less inhabited now, it still remains full of greenery and one breathes fresh air on entering this place. For many, it goes unnoticed but a handful of them still continue to make it their favorite weekend getaway .
There are hardly any modern hotels in the area. Thus tourists mostly spend their time in lodges and guest houses run by the families living here. As the buildings used for accommodation facilities are old and antique, one could feel being transported back to the heydays of McCluskiegunj.
One very peculiar feature of this area is the projection of its secular culture with the presence of a Mosque and a Temple in the same complex. The chance to experiment two different religions within the boundary of a single complex often becomes a reason to draw tourists from all over the world. However, one should note that Churches are also present in this settlement. The St. Johns church is very famous in these parts and often sees the descendants of the old families coming in for a mass or a prayer. The presence of so many different religious structures makes us wonder sometimes about the people who originally resided here. Were there more communities other than the dominant Anglo-Indian Community? Were the Mosque and the Temple built before the Anglo-Indians came and settled here? The origins of these structures are still being traced though no particular date has been zeroed on till date.
The plaque and the fountain head which are now being protected and preserved in memory of the commemoration of this place in 1934 by Earnest Timothy McCluskie is a sight which one should not miss in these parts. Another interesting feature of the area is that the nearby forests used to act as hunting grounds long ago. Thus, hutments which are now nearly in shackles can still be seen.
However, not all bungalows are being used for either guest houses or school purposes. Many lie still in brambles and shackles with stories of their own to tell. Many are just properties in which foreigners and other Nationals have invested but are never used for staying purposes. Few had been captured by the Adivasis and when the descendants of the original owners came to claim it, they were driven out from the land. Some more have stories of apparitions and ghosts being attached to them due to an infamous suicide or a murder. But alas, one would never really come to know about all these stories as they have been lost in the sands of time or buried under the walls of the deserted bungalows. Many other stories must have just come to an end with the death of their owners.But the fact that this long gone community is trying its best to be recognized and draw in more people just to let them know about its presence is commendable in itself.
With this I hope I have been able to provide you with some of the reasons why this place is a must visit and tops my personal list of places to see before I die.