This Week in History from FPJ Archives: Gandhiji undertakes fast unto death, riots break out in Calcutta and more

From Gandhiji's fast unto death to riots in various parts of India - there is a lot that has happened during this exact week in the past. We dug deep into the FPJ archives to look at various historical events that have taken place between January 11 and January 17 in different years - going all the way back to 1948 for this particular article.

More specifically, we've taken a look at the time when Gandhi undertook a fast on January 13, 1948, the day when East Pakistan officially adopted the name 'Bangladesh' on January 11, 1972 and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman assumed a leadership role. Several other excerpts from the archives included in this article also pertain to the 1964 Calcutta riots that left hundreds dead or injured. Another moment of historical import mentioned here is the day KM Cariappa became the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army (January 15, 1949).

1. Gandhi's final fast

In January 1948, mere weeks before his death, Gandhi undertook a fast. "Gandhiji decides on indefinite fast," reads the Free Press Journal's banner headline on January 13, 1948. The article quotes him to add that the fast will end "when hearts are reunited and India saved".

As Gandhi explains, he had felt impelled to undertake such a fast as a form of protest against some wrong doing by society - taken up when a "votary of Ahimsa has not other remedy left".

Unrelated, but rather interesting to note is also the exclusive interview from George Bernard Shaw that is present on the front page of the paper that day.

This Week in History from FPJ Archives: Gandhiji undertakes fast unto death, riots break out in Calcutta and more

2. The 1964 Calcutta riots

The 1964 clashes do not have their roots in Calcutta (now Kolkata in West Bengal). What began with the alleged theft of Prophet Muhammad's hair from the Hazratbal shrine in Jammu and Kashmir eventually devolved into riots and an attempt at ethnic cleansing of Bengali Hindus from East Pakistan.

"Army in full charge of riot-hit Calcutta," screams the front page headline on January 13. A day later, the situation appears to become far grimmer.

"Tonight one-third of Calcutta is under 24-hour curfew. While the military reported no incidents in five areas under their complete administration, looting and arson spread to five more sections, where a 24-hour curfew was imposed promptly," reads beginning of a top-of-the-front-page article on the Free Press Journal's issue on January 14, 1964.

This Week in History from FPJ Archives: Gandhiji undertakes fast unto death, riots break out in Calcutta and more

3. East Pakistan renames itself as 'Bangladesh' and the rise of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

In December 1971, Bangladesh was liberated. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 that ended on December 16 also brought the Bangladesh Liberation War to a successful conclusion. The Pakistani Instrument of Surrender was signed on December 16 - an occasion marked as Vijay Diwas by the Indian Army.

And in the months that followed, as the new country settled into its independent state, there were several other milestones that made headlines. For one thing, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was released from Pakistani custody. The entirety of the front page of the Free Press Journal's issue on January 11, 1972 is dedicated to the topic.

This Week in History from FPJ Archives: Gandhiji undertakes fast unto death, riots break out in Calcutta and more
This Week in History from FPJ Archives: Gandhiji undertakes fast unto death, riots break out in Calcutta and more

4. Indian Army gets first Indian Commander-in-Chief

On January 15, 1949, Field Marshal Kodandera M Cariappa took over from General Sir Francis Butcher. This too found a mention on the Free Press Journal's front page - on January 15.

This Week in History from FPJ Archives: Gandhiji undertakes fast unto death, riots break out in Calcutta and more

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in