Pradip Chattopadhyay

(28.01.1961 / Kolkata)

That summer night in a dungeon


They gasped for breath in that dark dungeon cell
A hundred and forty six men huddled in black hell
In that hole of Fort William eighteen by fourteen
The screaming souls realized next morn wouldn't be seen.

Two tiny windows were all there was high up on the wall
Slowly passed that night of June hung in deadly lull
Water water they wailed their throats were desert dry
The summer heat poured in sweats as the tears of their cry.

Two women were among them they were the first to go
Suffocated by lack of air their breathing began to slow
Was dying Tom's fiancée and he wrung his sweated shirt
If could revive his moisture's drop save life of sweetheart.

One by one they collapsed amid the buzz of death's din
Begging for a drop of water in despair drinking urine
The dead stood on their feet there wasn't a space to fall
Survived only forty three men among them Holwell!

In the history it's known as the tragedy of black hole
With many riddles still misty the Bengal Nawab's role
Account of that summer night the ghastly horror's tale
It's now known was exaggerated by Commander Holwell.

Submitted: Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, June 04, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

On 20 June 1756, as per the account of Holwell, out of the 166 Britons imprisoned at the order of Bengal's Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah 123 perished in a tiny dungeon cell at Fort William in the city of Calcutta among them soldiers and civilians. The incident became known as the Black Hole of Calcutta. He reported only 43 survived. However later history with further researches prove his account was grossly exaggerated.

Comments about this poem (That summer night in a dungeon by Pradip Chattopadhyay )

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  • Colleen Courtney (6/5/2014 11:08:00 AM)

    What an interesting write and a wonderful history lesson! Thanks so much for sharing. Had never heard of this tragedy before. (Report) Reply

  • Colleen Courtney (6/5/2014 11:08:00 AM)

    What an interesting write and a wonderful history lesson! Thanks so much for sharing. Had never heard of this tragedy before. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (6/4/2014 8:50:00 AM)

    .......oh this was an unspeakable tragedy....only humans do such things....thanks for sharing this write... (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

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