Ramparts and old buildings have a curious way of telling stories.
The NEEL KOTHI is the symbol of the worst of a Cruel Colonial past. It represents Monopolies , Imperialism and Brutality at it’s worst.
Neel is Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) , also called BLUE GOLD.
The cultivation of Indigo in Colonial India ( 1777 till 1947) is an example of greed, cruelty and horror. It is also the cause of a Genocide unparalleled in Human History.
The Indigo crop was forcefully grown on the rich fertile Gangetic plains of India by INDIGO PLANTERS from Scotland and England .
By 1810 , 95% of Indigo imported in GREAT BRITAIN came from India. Indigo was then called BLUE GOLD and was an extremely valuable and sought after commodity in Europe.
The land was left fallow, where not a blade of grass could grow after Indigo was cultivated on it. Consequently the peasants starved to death for lack of food.
An Englishmen .W.L. Tower then stated and I quote:
“not a chest of Indigo reached England without being stained with human blood”.
Remnants of the NEEL KOTHI, Neel is Indigo in Hindi,in Greater Noida. Kothi is Home or House.
Indigo was an IMPERIAL crop forced upon poor peasants of India by their COLONIAL masters.
The Neel Kothi ( Neel kuthi in Bengali) was once Home to Raw Indigo buying, processing and packaging.
The Purchasing of Plantation Land Act in 1833 ensured vast land holdings came under INDIGO cultivation.
It was also home to atrocities unleashed upon thousands of peasants who were forced to work in Indigo farms.
Millions starved to death in the infamous Bengal famine of 1896-97.
Indigo farms were virtually wiped out from Bengal after the INDIGO REBELLION in 1859. It then spread its vicious seeds to Bihar and other parts of Northern India.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became Mahatma Gandhi as a result of the successful non violent movement called INDIGO SATYAGRAHA or CHAMPARAN SATYAGRAHA ( 1917) .
Tears well up in my eyes as I write this tale of a horrific past narrated by THE NEEL KOTHI.