Thursday, 17 February 2011

History of Darjeeling District, India

Darjeeling in Bhagalpur, Bengal ... is north of Calcutta, near the Himalayas

The name Darjeeling is a composition of 'dorje' meaning 'thunderbolt' and 'ling' meaning 'place' ... 'the Land of Thunderbolt'.

From 1911 Encyclopedia:
DARJEELING, a hill station and district of British India, in the Bhagalpur division of Bengal. The sanatorium is situated 367 m. by rail north of Calcutta. In 1901 it had a population of 16,924. It is the summer quarters of the Bengal government and has a most agreeable climate, which neither exceeds 80° F. in summer, nor falls below 30 in winter. 

The great attraction of Darjeeling is its scenery, which is unspeakably grand. The view across the hills to Kinchinjunga discloses a glittering white wall of perpetual snow, surrounded by towering masses of granite

There are several schools of considerable size for European boys and girls, and a government boarding school at Kurseong

The buildings and the roads suffered severely from the earthquake of the 12th of June 1897. But a more terrible disaster occurred in October 1899, when a series of landslips carried away houses and broke up the hill railway. The total value of the property destroyed was returned at X160,000.

The district of Darjeeling comprises an area of 1164 sq. m. It consists of two well-defined tracts, viz. the lower Himalayas to the south of Sikkim, and the tarai, or plains, which extend from the south of these ranges as far as the northern borders of Purnea district. The plains from which the hills take their rise are only 300 ft. above sea-level; the mountains ascend abruptly in spurs of 6000 to 10,000 ft. in height. The scenery throughout the hills is picturesque, and in many parts magnificent. The two highest mountains in the world, Kinchinjunga in Sikkim (28,156 ft.) and Everest in Nepal (29,002 ft.), are visible from the town of Darjeeling.

From Encyclopedia Britannica:
Darjiling, also spelled Darjeeling, Tibetan Dorje-lingcity, extreme northern West Bengal state, northeastern India. Darjiling lies about 305 miles (490 km) north of Kolkata (Calcutta). The city is situated on a long, narrow mountain ridge of the Sikkim Himalayas that descends abruptly to the bed of the Great Rangit River. Darjiling lies at an elevation of about 7,000 feet (2,100 metres). On a clear day the city affords a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga (28,169 feet [8,586 metres]), and Mount Everest can be seen from a nearby viewing point. 

The name of the city means “Place of the Thunderbolt.” 

Darjiling was ceded by the raja of Sikkim to the British in 1835 and was developed as a sanatorium for British troops. It was constituted a municipality in 1850. 

The Chaurastha (“Four Roads”) district encompasses the Mall, where the roads converge; it is the city’s main shopping centre and the most attractive promenade.  

Observatory Hill, Darjiling’s highest point (7,137 feet [2,175 metres]), is crowned by Mahakal Temple, which is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. 

Birch Hill contains a natural park and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. 

The Lloyd Botanic Gardens, well-known for their varieties of Himalayan flora, were laid out in 1865. 

Besides these attractions, Darjiling has a zoo, a natural history museum, and a racecourse. 

It is well-known for its residential schools, and there are several colleges affiliated with the University of North Bengal (founded 1962) in and around the city.

The area in which Darjiling is situated receives plentiful rainfall and has a wide range of climates, from tropical to subalpine, owing to its varying elevations. 

Local coniferous and oak forests yield valuable timber. The local rural economy is based primarily on tea, which is plantation-grown up to elevations of 6,000 feet (1,800 metres). Other crops are rice, corn (maize), cardamom, and wheat. Pop. (2001) 107,197.

Get in
Darjiling is a noted hill resort, and the city’s economy is based largely on tourism; the peak periods for visitors are April to June and September to November. The city has major road, rail, and air connections with Kolkata.  

By plane
The nearest airport is Bagdogra, near Siliguri, 96 km from Darjeeling.
Air India (fomerly Indian Airlines), India's largest airline, has flights from:
  • Delhi - IC 880 (Tu/Th/Sat) and IC 879 (Mon/Fri - via Guwahati)
  • Guwahati - IC 879 (Mon/Fri)
  • Kolkata - IC 721 (Tu/Th/Sat)
Jet Airways, a private airline, has flights from:
  • Delhi - 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri - Via Guwahati) and 9W 602 (Tu/Th/Sat/Sun)
  • Guwahati 9W 601 (Mon/Wed/Fri)
  • Kolkata 9W 617 (Daily)
Spice Jet also operates flights from Kolkata & Delhi.
Air Deccan also known as Kingfisher red, runs budget flights to and from Bagdogra from Delhi, Guwahati and Calcutta.
Indigo has also started direct/indirect flights to & from Delhi and Guwahati since April, 2009 end.
Druk Airways has also commenced direct flights to & from Paro as well as Bangkok, twice a week for both destinations
All other cities major cities can be accessed by taking a flight to Delhi/Kolkata and connecting.


Singapore Arabs

Raffles opened Singapore in 1819 and brought in the Arabs for trade. The Singapore Arabs came mainly from Hadramut in South Yemen (Selatan Yaman) who were already traders in Yemen.

Many Singapore Arabs also came from Indonesia, mainly from Java and Sumatra. Among the famous Indonesian Arabs who migrated to become Singapore Arabs included the Aljunaid, Alsagoff and Alkaff clans. These three clans were rich and famous as they owned businesses and lands in several parts of Singapore.

Beside trading, the Singapore Arabs built mosques and helped spread the teachings of Islam. Singapore has 59 mosques.

Link to YouTube video on The Arabs of Singapore.

The Singapore Arabs were very wealthy. Some were Sheikh Haji. The Singapore Arabs could afford to rent up to four steamships (kapal wap) for the hajj pilgrimages. There was once when the Indonesian pilgrims (jemaah) could not return to Indonesia as the Dutch East India colonial government had prevented their re-entry. The pilgrims were thus retained in Singapore and boarded the homes of the rich Indonesian Singapore Arabs.

Syed Ahmad Alsagoff was the Singapore Ambassador to Turkey. His mansion was named Constantinople Estate.

Syed Ibrahim Alsagoff was the Arab Consular to Singapore. He founded Madrasah Alsagoff.

Syed Ahmad bin Muhammad (of Alsagoff clan) married to Hajjah Fatimah, a rich Bugis princess. They had a son named Muhammad who was nicknamed Nungcik. Syed Muhammad Alsagoff's eldest daughter was Sharifah Badriah who owned the entire row of houses in Arab Street.

Hajjah Fatimah founded Masjid Kampung Glam in Singapore. Kampung Glam developed into a busy trading place. There were people smoking shisha (hookah) which contained aromatic herbs and smoke.

The Alkaff clan owned hundreds of rented houses in Kampung Kwitang in central Jakarta. In Singapore, they owned lands and lavish houses which have been turned into recreational parks, restaurants and botanical gardens.

Muhammad bin Abdurrahman Alkaff was the first Alkaff to arrive in Singapore from Java but he later died. His brother, Shaikh Alkaff succeeded him and managed the Alkaff lands in Indonesia, Singapore and Hadramaut. However, the Alkaff lands in Singapore were forcibly taken away by the Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kuan You (LKY) at very low price. Their lavish homes were taken over by ABRI at the time of the Konfrontasi between Indonesia and Malaysia. The Alkaff clan founded the Masjid Alkaff in Kampung Melayu in Singpore.

After WWII, the business and economy of the Singapore Arabs declined but their madrasah (religious schools) continued to build up and gained international recognition and fame.

Ali bin Muhammad Jamalullail, dari anak cucunya menurunkan Keturunan leluhur Al-Qadriy, Al-Assry, Al-Baharun, Al-Junaid.

As the Alsagoff and Alkaff had done, the Aljunaid built Madrasah Aljunaid near the Muslim community of Kampung Glam in Singapore.

Lulusan madrasah ini banyak dibiayai oleh Al-Azhar University di Kaherah . Madrasah ini memiliki 1,200 murid dari TK sampai SLTA. Di madrasah ini pemerintah Singapura yang sekular mengizinkan para siswinya untuk berjilbab, dan prianya berkopiah hitam.