Mccluskieganj-Little London in India
Mccluskieganj is a village in the Jharkhand. It is situated about 40 miles north-west from state capital Ranchi. It was established by Timothy McCluskie on the 10,000 acres of land he got from Ratu Maharaj who was local ruler. He wanted to establish a place where Anglo Indians could live together.
McCluskie was a property dealer based in Calcutta. He used to visit some villages in the area for hunting, and even built a hutment at a place called Harhu. His friend PP Sahib worked as the manager of Ratu Maharaja’s estate. And it was PP, who convinced the maharaja to lease out the land to McCluskie.
So, in 1933, Colonisation Society of India Limited was formed and the maharaja signed an agreement with it.
It was decided that the Anglo-Indians could build their settlement in nine villages on land not occupied by the original rahiyats (tenants) of those villages. It was also agreed that the settlers would not be allowed to acquire the rivers and the hills.
The Colonisation Society acquired 10,000 acres of land spread across the villages of Harhu, Duli, Ramdagga, Konka, Lapra, Hesalong, Mayapur, Mohulia and Baseria. The society was registered as a company and started selling shares to the Anglo-Indians who wished to settle at the new colony.
It all started off well. Thousands of shares were sold and around 350 families came to settle down. The Anglo-Indians had dreamt of founding a city here, a homeland of their own. It was a Utopia, the dream of a visionary — a dream that never came true.
Today, McCluskieganj is just a rundown little village, a ghost from the past. Past glory is over. The dream is gone. Of the 350 Anglo-Indian families which settled here in the 1930s, only about 23 are left. It’s a place where — like many other Jharkhand villages — the Maoists rule the roost; where venturing out after sundown is not really safe. People here have got used to the sounds of country bombs and bullets.