Assam - DDPC

DDPC

DIbrugarh and District Planters Club

August 17, 2016

 Comments on old Dibrugarh

 Hilary Sheridan who visited the Dibrugarh area was pleased to be able to find a map and these was her comments:
 
Last year you very kindly put me in touch with some of your members who were able to help me with our trip to India (Dibrugarh). One of the things I was interested in finding was the old tennis club as I have a video of my grandmother playing tennis there. I knew that the club had been lost in the earthquake and floods but was keen to see a map of where it was originally sited. Unfortunately, the British Library had mislaid their maps and we could find none in Dibrugarh. However, since then I have found the attached and I wondered if you would like to put it on your website to help others as I had so much trouble finding a map before the earthquake and floods

 

If you choose to open this map with the Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can make the picture larger.

Click here to open the map

May 18 2012

Gogi Bajaj kindly forwarded this story of the 1905 Polo Cup-
the story was written by Timmy Singh, Gogi's old friend--we thank them both

 

 

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      However, the sport ceased to exist in Assam in the late fifties," Ranvijai Singh
       a tea garden executive and 
 


 


 

Panitola Silver Cup Trophy 1905 


A gentleman, Charles Pitt, living in Florida and a keen Polo player made the following offer;

I have in my possession a silver cup POLO trophy that was won by the Panitola Polo Club in 1905.  The players names listed on the Silver Cup are:

1.  L.C Green
2.  C.A.Langley
3.  H.W. Lavres
Back: L.A. Gramston Capt

He concluded by asking if you had interest in the trophy to go to this address

charlespitt2001@yahoo.com

The Editor subsequently spoke with Charles and was told that the Cup had been purchased in Miami Florida some years ago by his Uncle who was the actual owner His uncle was also a keen Polo player and was expecting several thousand dollars for the cup

 

2006

Below is dedicated to  recording of the  50th anniversary celebrations
of the  Dibrugarh & District Planters' Club held at the 
end of December 2005 The original Madden Club was destroyed 
|and the current Club is its worthy successor . The report kindly 
supplied by Shalini Mehra for the benefit of all to enjoy,  contains
a considerable number of excellent  of photos and text please 
click the lines below to go to the relevant section
 

#Once upon a time
#Madden Club on a Saturday
#The Night of Wounded Earth
#Resurrection of the Club
#Club Renovations
#Club Church/
#The Club Logo and MIP
#Glimpses Thro My Eyes   
#Phase Two --The committees
#Phase three --Scenes form the celebrations 
#Kawali
#Phase Five --Cultural
#Phase six--Felicitations
#Phase seven --Jubilee Cake
#Phase eight -Dance
#Phase Nine --Sports


 November 22 2006
   These four items about DDPC have kindly been supplied to this website by Shalini Mehra who is the Editor and driving force behind the Camellia magazine printed and published in Dibrugarh--The story is in four parts. 
Firstly  Once upon a time
Second  is of the new recruit arriving in tea prior to the disastrous Earthquake of 1950 
Thirdly  A description of the night of the Wounded Earth  and 
Fourth the  story of the rebuilding --
Thank you Shalini Mehra

Once upon a time .......... there stood on the lower reaches of the Dibru River, yet quite a distance away from the mighty Brahmaputra in the town of Dibrugarh, an old colonial building. One was mesmerized by the panorama it offered beyond its premises: a long stretch of polo ground, manicured tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, and, little further down, the headquarters of Assam Valley Light Horse (a paramilitary voluntary service training centre). The outer ring road, known as Red Trunk Road, separated it from the wide expanse of the Dibru River. Standing astride on the first floor of the club house, the  eye could sweep through the span of the waters of the Dibru onto the glistening sand banks of the Dibru island that further distanced it from the Brahmaputra; and if one peered sharply on a clear day, one could faintly discern the deep cascading forest line of distant North Bank extending to the Himalayan foothills with a few snow covered peaks dimly visible in the background. This edifice with its spectacular hinterland was a home away from home for Tea Planters, most of them expatriates, on the South Bank of the river. It was Madden Memorial Gymkhana Club' - (MMGC) - of which I speak.

Established in the year 1878, MMGC was initially a Polo Club. As we travel back, there was another club known as Dibrugah District Club, ‘THE ELITE CLUB' on the south bank in those days. In fact, the whole area along the Dibru River, most of which now lies submerged in water, was the place where the bastions of the haute society of Dibrugarh elegantly stood: the Masonic lodge, Anglican church, ITA office, bungalows of ABITA stipendiary, Bishop's residence, DC' bungalow, headquarters of Assam Valley Light Horse, Belhem Joan' bungalow who owned the biggest shipping company at the time, the War Graves Cemetery and many more such residential as well as official structures.

DIBRUGARH DISTRICT CLUB had the crème-de-la-crème of the town on its members' list. This included the district authorities from the judiciary, the armed forces, the police, the church and of course from the tea plantations. The club was registered as a limited company with very high profits and had most of its members as shareholders. It sprawled on acres of land with a number of buildings, a dozen tennis courts, and a swimming pool. It was also a residential club, a chic and stylish oasis oozing with an exceedingly English aura and offering personalized service with exclusive facilities to its expatriate members, their families and their visiting friends.

Evenings balls witnessed men arriving in tails and suits and ladies in gorgeous gowns. The kitchen had regular chefs who could produce the best of spreads served in style. It had its own store replete with pre-war luxuries crowding its shelves that would have made an English store in London look under stocked (remember England in the thick of the war in forties experienced  a shortage of essential rations, leave aside luxurious merchandise). This was the ultra ritzy utopia of its time and the fulcrum of all official and social activities. Most of the big Tea companies had their senior employees as members of this club.

It was around late thirties and early forties that most of the Tea Planters started shifting to Madden Memorial Gymkhana Club, converting the original Polo Club into a regular club with regular tennis, golf and movies. After Independence, over a period of time, the number of Europeans started declining as did the interest of the Dibrugarh District Club members and it was eventually sold out. The final blow to it was delivered by the river which finally sealed its fate, shutting its doors for ever.

The MMGC double storied building, though very well maintained, could in no way compare with the old DIBRUGARH DISTRICT CLUB. The ground floor housed a large hall that served as a bar too. Informal and relaxed, it was a place where one sat to watch people enter and exit, a place where members returned to change after playing games, and stayed back for a drink. There were washrooms for ladies and gents, an office and a pantry. It also had a billiard table. Walking up the staircase one could enter another large hall that had a paneled bar in a corner and a formal seating area, where senior members met to have a drink and discuss the happenings of the week. It served as a conference, dance and movie hall too. At the weekends, as the evening shadows lengthened, strains from the piano would reverberate and couples would glide on to the dance floor. If you half closed your eyes for just a moment, you could be in England. Though the club premises were open through the week, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays brought the bigger crowd for tennis, golf and chiefly polo. On weekends there would be a movie show (we dug out a circular dated November 1955 addressed to members with a roster of movies to be shown that month).

Climbing the steps of the building, now housing the office of the Industrial Tribunal, I feel a sense of loss for the glory it once basked in; yet suddenly standing on the balcony I am transported to the past and see the edifice coming alive, my ears picking up the murmur of voices, the neighing of polo ponies, the clinking of glasses; my eyes watching a chukka in progress, players charging gallops and even an evocative glimpse of swirling long gowns suchas ladies wore in the days of yore.

But that was another place, at another time, when MMGC stood pulsating with life. To restore an abandoned monument with parts of its land lying submerged beneath strong currents of a great river is a task only the Almighty can perform; to restore time, one needs to put the clock back, a task beyond the reach of mortals; so we bravely attempted to pursue the only path left to us - to resurrect memories. For this, we sought out those who had once ascended those staircases to reach the bar of MMGC or stood on its balcony to watch  polo ponies and the riders charging gallops, ....................

It was not an easy task, yet we made an effort... read on.

The information provided is from personal diaries of some of the people who were here more than five decades ago, and whose memories, on their own admission, play tricks, getting foggier now and brighter then. Let us walk with them through the corridors of MMGC.

From Personal Diaries

From the Diary of R.W.Palmer

There was a gentleman called Mr. Madden................ "Max Tweedie has told me that Madden was a big man bodily and as a personality. A genial host, who used to mount his guests for Polo. His stables at Panitola were situated at the Tinsukia end of Panbari, near the Bamboo Bari where the U.S. Army's supplies of Mustard Gas were stored.  Madden's name was perpetuated by the Madden Memorial Gymkhana Club. When the new Club was built at Chalkoaha, the old Madden building was sold to Sardarmall. Madden had a steam launch on the river which he used when he visited the North Bank gardens as Superintendent. He is also listed as Superintendent of the Makum Co 1892/96."                                                                                                                       

Larry Brown from Australia adds, ‘A.W.Madden died on the 17th May 1897 and is buried in Dibrugarh Cemetery. He was Superintendent of the Panitolah Division of the Jokai Company.'

From the Diary of F.R. Wilson, a member of DDC, MMGC and later of DDPC. One of the two Chota Sahibs, (the other was David Gibb from Dikom) Mr. Wilson was elected on the DDPC construction sub-committee.  He now resides in Gurgaon. Over a telephonic conversation he revealed:

 "The year was 1948, the month January, the ideal cold weather month when I arrived at Nagaghooli, which was a separate garden then; later on it merged with

Maijan. In 1951 I got married at Padre's bungalow in Dibrugarh as the old church was destroyed in the earthquake of 1950. Our daughter Patricia was born at Chubua St Luke Hospital in 1952.  Between my transfers twice from Naghagooli to Borborooah and back to Naghagooli and finally to Maijan I spent 24 glorious years of my Tea life in Dibrugarh District. I had the privilege of being member of MMGC for six years and later of DDPC for 18 years, not a mean feat in those days. I have wonderful memories of a lifetime spent in these clubs especially DDPC."  

Mr. Wilson corrects, "Since MMGC building was on Government land on lease, it was sold back to the Government and the money was utilized to build another building at Chaulkhowa." He adds, "MMGC initially was a Polo Club only. It was in the aftermath of the sale of Dibrugarh District Club , the most elite club of its time, the hub of all the sporting and social activities in and around Dibrugarh District, the MMGC became a regular Planters' club, adding six tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course. DDC was bought over by its permanent secretary Mr. Chatterjee who was on the club's payroll and also the largest share holder. Eventually that too went away into the river."

Through a child's eyes:

Over a telephonic conversation Mrs. Lalita (Pakhi) Jauhar (wife of the late Gulshan Jauhar), settled in Gurgaon, recollects her childhood days at MMGC. Her parents' house was close to the club building.

"Our home was spread over about four acres on the banks of the river Brahmaputra just down the road from the Madden Memorial Gymkhana Club. My parents R.K. and Ratna Baruah were among just a handful of Indians who were members of Madden Club. The double storied building with wooden floors had a verandah on each floor facing a very large Polo field. There was a very rudimentary golf course. I remember this as my father used to play golf with Hickory Shaft golf clubs in those days.

As a child my most vivid memory is of my mother asking me to run to the club store to buy something on their account. Yes, MMGC had a provisional store for its members. As I was very small at the time I do not remember much except accompanying my mother sometimes for coffee mornings and having to be polite to all the aunties. I also remember having attended wonderful children's parties on Christmas. It was a world that now seems so far off...." her voice, full of fond nostalgia laced with a sad tinge, trails off.

From the Diaries of Mr. J.N. Boruah

The ‘Red road' also known as Sindoori Road due to its brick surface, skirted along the Dibru River and ended at Perry's park. Dibru river continued little further down and then merged with the main Brahmaputra at the Streamer Ghat. The flooded tennis courts in the picture below were part of Madden Club. in the aftermath of the sale of the club a consortium led by Justice P.K. Goswami took over the tennis courts along with a small shed on the side and it came to be known as The Dibrugarh Club.  Over the years the shed was converted into a small two room building and tennis continued till very recently. As this area is almost touching the dyke the tennis courts remain flooded and unplayable during long monsoon months.

Some excerpts from Mrs. Ray's memoirs ‘Walk Back With Me'

 I came as a bride to Dibrugarh district and have had the privilege of being one of the members of DDPC's parent club, "Madden Club". On my first evening at the club I walked into the bar with my husband Sanjay accompanied by Mr. & Mrs. Alder, Sanjay's Manager and his gracious wife. The Alders introduced me to all the club members. I was in a sort of trance, so many new names and faces moving in and out of my mind's frame. I remember following Sanjay and shaking hands, accepting their congratulations. In the months to follow I would meet so many people, make so many interesting friends and learn about this "breed" called Tea Planter, most of them wild, at times even rowdy, but such a genuine and friendly lot. Sanjay being very keen on sports, especially tennis, played regularly at the club courts. There were 6 tennis courts and on sports day all six courts would be full. People at the club made an interesting motley of characters and there were very few Indian Planters. At Oakland were Johnny and Molly Yandell, a wonderful couple. Johnny, later became the Chairman of ITA.

Malcolm Smith, Jimmy Baines and Sam Weller of Finlays resided at Nahartoli. Malcolm left Finlays and joined Warrens and later became the Managing Director of the Company. All three of them loved their drinks and boogied Scottish dancing. They would put glasses on their foreheads and compete with one another to see who would last longest with the glass on his forehead. At the Madden Club they would bring the house down and just refuse to go back home. Malcolm spoke fluent French. After a late night at the club he would order: ‘Berrah, Isstu laggao (Bearer, Serve Stew)' and Sam who barely had some hair on his head would shout ‘hamara koni laoo (bring my comb).Those were crazy and yet carefree days. Life was woven around the time spent on the garden and the club.

Mrs. Moni Ray presided over the Golden Jubilee ceremonies as the Chief Guest. In 1955, she, along with her husband Sanjay Ray, was present when the club building shifted from Dibrugarh to Chaulkhowa.    

 

 

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A

Saturday  at  Madden  Club ......

                        Day  for  Polo,  Ponies  &  Riders,

                               Tennis  &  Tea.... &  of  jolly  good  spirits......

 

Excerpts from ‘ Events in the Womb Of Time' a  trilogy of Fictionalized Autobiography by J.L.C. Strang, a RAF  pilot who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in 1940; after the world war was over he sailed to the country of his birth and became a Tea Planter retiring from Joyhing T.E. ( Jokai) as Superintendent of the North Bank gardens.
We thank Mrs. Strang for her permission to quote from a powerful memorabilia. The excerpts quoted here take the readers back in time to attend an afternoon at Madden Memorial Gymkhana Club and watch a match on its Polo ground.  

The year was 1946.
The train had been chugging along slowly, and it was well after three a.m. when it hooted and came to a halt in a dimly lit ‘station'. There was no platform but this was the stop, a place called ‘Lahoal,' where a young man disembarked. He was here to start, in his own words, his ‘Dam fool career' as a Tea Planter- a LIFE & CAREER he lived and loved to the core.

 "On this, my first Saturday in Assam, Nicky, the Assistant Manager with whom I was staying for few initiating days took me in his newly acquired car into the town of Dibrugarh, a few miles away from where he lived. He drove through the main street and bazaar area, past the Anglican Church, and out to the north of the town where we could see the Brahmaputra river.

We went to the bank to put my application to open an account through its brass letterbox. We went to the Planters Stores where Nicky ordered things like light bulbs, a wire cutter, disinfectant for the dispensary and so on. Then we came to the Doom Dooma Stores, which widened my eyes with its stocks of pre-war luxuries in abundance.

At about four-fifteen we drove to the Planters' Club, parked the car, and Nicky took me in to see what it looked like. There were people in tennis kit coming and going, with tennis being played on the courts outside. We kept moving and left by the front door. From the front steps we could see the polo ground, about a quarter for a mile down sun.

Several riders cantered lazily around, hitting balls to each other, and we walked over the large expanse of grass to where there were about twenty horses tethered under a row of huge trees, with their syces (stable lads) tightening girth straps and brushing them down. There was a long trestle table placed between this row of trees and the edge of the polo field, where several ladies either sat on chairs facing the field across the table or busied about with teapots and plates of sandwiches, most of them wearing or carrying broad-brimmed hats. Nicky took me to where the players stood in various knots: most of them lean, brown men in riding kit, some wearing their polo topis. There were many new facesthat I couldn't remember names or locations, but several faces seemed to register. I think because of the character they portrayed. A team had come up from Jorhat, a place about sixty miles southwest on the South Bank.

One of the ladies came forward and asked if we would like some tea and sandwiches. I was introduced, and when she heard my name she said, ‘Ah! We've been hearing about you. Come and meet the others'. When I asked Nicky how on earth she had been hearing about me, he smiled indulgently and gave the answer I was to hear so often: ‘Jungle telegraph. George. Jungle telegraph, Calcutta, cooks meeting in the bazaar, one of the ladies seeing us in the Doom Dooma Stores. That kind of thing.' The tea was excellent, and when I said so one of the ladies gave a tinkling laugh and said her husband would be very pleased to hear what I had said. Apparently the polo players took it in turn to provide the tea leaf for polo days, and I learned there was fierce competition to earn praise, and it often led to much rough criticism and caustic humour. Eventually polo started, and although the horses - all called ponies - were very diverse in weight, height and speed, the game was full of action. It was astonishing to hear the torrent of abuse hurled between sides during the charging gallops, most of it being the sort of thing we would never have dreamed of using except in circumstances of mutual baccalaurean fury, far from the sensitive ears of ladies; but the ladies showed no sign of outrage or disapproval, and followed the chukkas with enthusiasm.

That's him, your future manager' Nicky said, pointing to a chukka in progress, ‘Jack Telford; a most unusual person. He'll look at you like a police detective, and he'll cross-examine you, but don't worry, he's always like that, with everybody .He's highly competent planter, and is always racing ahead with his ideas on everything. You'll learn a lot from him.  

I believe there's a bit animosity going on in the polo crowd,' said Nicky. ‘Telford is leading what he calls the young Turks, all of them older than me, to dislodge the old fogeys who select themselves for the tournament teams. Old Philip there: portly gent, who sits his horse well and hits a straight ball, but according to Jack hasn't got the drive and fury needed to beat Jorhat, Moran, Nazira and Cinnamara. You know, MacStorm, there's backbiting in all club activities out here. You have to watch it; be careful you don't agree with anyone. If you do you will reap a crop of enemies you haven't even met before you've been here a couple of months. When the chukka ended we strolled to the lists where Telford was holding forth in a gentle but insistent way to the others of his team.

Nicky intercepted Telford, and managed my introduction to him ‘Oh! MacStorm. Yes, you're coming to me, aren't you?" ‘Yes sir,' I said, shaking hands. He looked at Nicky with a wry grin. ‘You surely haven't taught him that, have you?' He looked at me, head titled forward and to one side.' We don't sir each other in Tea, you know. We have a kind of relaxed discipline, don't we, MacFortune?"

‘MacStorm was a pilot in the Air Force.' Nicky smiled apologetically. ‘It'll take him time to forget his service discipline.

Telford laughed slowly down the scale, ‘But he was in the Air Force you said. I know for a fact there isn't much discipline in the Air Force. I met them all at Chabua and Dinjan; Americans and British.

Mrs. Telford appeared from nowhere, shook hands with Nicky and me, and said she had guessed I was the ex-air force person coming to ‘our Estate'; She was a very good-looking dark-haired women with remarkably smooth skin showing the pleasant tone of very light sunburn. Her voice was pleasant, slightly nasal, with a studied King's English pronunciation. She asked us to have more tea and sandwiches, which we did, I with gusto, being quite hungry ever since my arrival in Assam. More people approached, introducing themselves and pleasantries were exchanged. One man, after introducing himself partially - wearing dark glasses asked me why on earth I had come out to this godforsaken country to start a career in Tea just as it was becoming likely it was all going to fold up, with the British government deciding to accelerate India's independence. Telford broke in to tell me independence for India was out of question. Nicky said it was time to move back inside the club.

 As we walked back across the huge cropped field the sun was just over the trees around the club, and hearing the thunder of hooves on the turf and the hoarse yelling of the riders, I turned to see what was happening in the last chukka. The late afternoon sun lit the scene with rich gold; the horses and riders looked splendid, one team in scarlet waistcoats, the other in bright blue, with the sun catching the gleaming sweat of the ponies, the floral dresses of the ladies, and the white clothes, coloured blankets and shawls of the local people lined up on the side of the polo field. The green grass and the huge trees made the scene similar to any rural area in Britain in late summer, and I reminded myself how ridiculous the idea would be to aspire to play polo there.

 By this time we had arrived at the club, and from the number of cars parked outside I saw a lot of people had arrived. We entered the main room where the bar was already crowded with men. There were fewer ladies, all sitting well away from the bar in circles round cane tables, mostly with what looked like gin and lemon. They had a good look at us as we went in. Nicky wrinkled his forehead and murmured in my ear that we needn't get involved in drinking unless I was desperate, and would have a drink when we got back. I nodded, and we began to meet people. I remember one large elderly Yorkshire man nearly crushing my hand in his huge fist, who introduced another Yorkshire man; a new ex-air force assistant coming to learn how to grow tea, with whom I chatted for a few minutes. He was ex-Bomber Command and had been on Lancasters, but because of the noise of conversations I found it difficult to understand what he was saying. We decided all the conversations we heard around us were difficult to understand, mostly being about tea, using a vocabulary of botanical and agricultural words mixed with Hindustani. I met several friends of MacFortune, and within half an hour he suggested we quietly disappeared, which we did. It became dark very quickly after sunset, and as we drove through Dibrugarh town we passed several of the polo ponies, well covered against the chill of the evening, being led by their syces".

Thus after attending the afternoon at MMGC the two young planters, one already weaned in Tea ‘dastoors', the other taking the first step, returned home to the garden; both oblivious that within a short span of time this very ground will be subjected to such a devastation never seen before in the history of Assam. 

BELOW IS A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE MADDEN CLUB AS IT IS TODAY

That Night Of Wounded Earth,   Howling Brahmaputra and Devastated Souls!  

Gradually a high wave inundated the banks of the Brahmaputra and the river level rose by 7.6 metres. A glass of water in a Tea Bungalow was in constant tremor for a week after the main shock. ---

1950 earthquake is considered to have been one of the most disastrous earthquakes in the history of Assam. It created havoc, especially in the upper reaches of the Himalayas, in and around the Siang and the Diboung river courses as well as in the upper Assam plains. There was considerable impact on the topography on both sides of the Brahmaputra Valley.

The first casualty was the small township of Sadiya on the north bank (and virtually the headquarters of the erstwhile NEFA) due to change of the course of the Digaru River, which eroded the entire township in a very short time. This was followed by the constant soil erosion of the Brahmaputra in and around Dibrugarh town on the South bank in upper Assam. About one-third of the total area of the township was eroded, cutting across the horseshoe-shaped bank of the river. A considerable population had to be shifted to safer places. This was the major ecological disturbance faced by the people of Dibrugarh and the neighbouring areas: because of the disturbance in the soil a strong undercurrent started cutting the soft soil of the bank on the Dibrugarh side. It was a sight to see how houses and trees collapsed and disappeared in the turbulent river.

From Personal Diaries:

So much tragedy in one night .........recollects Joan Stocker from Timona

I recollect so vividly: It was 15th August the Indian Independence day - rains have been incessant for last few weeks. At about 8.00 p.m. we had just sat down to dinner.   Suddenly there was a rumbling sound like a train approaching, which swiftly became louder and was followed by a mad dance as the bungalow started jerking in every direction.   The servants and we raced for the stairs in a dash to get out of the building, and we all clustered on the lawn, where we were soon thrown to the ground by the violent movement going on under our feet.  Inside the bungalow we could hear the commotion. The rumbling, the noise of plaster falling from the walls inside, crockery breaking, followed by several loud crashes like cannon going off far away in the mountains.  It felt as if it was the end of the world, and I was very frightened. Lights went off leaving all around an eerie darkness. Through the pitch darkness we could hear the terrified screaming of the coolies from the lines, and shouts of "Chordo, Chordo".   After a considerable time - though it may have been little more than six or seven minutes but seemed ages, the movement began to lessen, and the servants ran to their homes to find their frightened families. Our Land Rover, which was parked under the bungalow with no hand brakes on, had been rolling backwards and forwards as the earth heaved, and afterwards we moved it out on to the lawn where I sat in it all night, too afraid to go back upstairs.   The car keys did not stay still once, but swung gently the whole of the night as the earth - like a jelly - kept on palpitating for hours later before settling again.

A month after the first massive quake, there was another big one, which brought the cracked tower of the Anglican Church in Dibrugarh crashing through the roof. We were stranded at Timona until the bridge over the river was repaired. The bungalow had suffered only minor damage as it was built to withstand earthquakes - the ceilings were of Hessian and the walls plastered bamboo matting on timber frames - so they could really sway.

No doubt there were many hundreds killed in the foothills of the mountains, when landslides wiped out their isolated villages, yet due to dearth of communications nobody knew the extent of the damage.  Three young planter pilots did the rescue missions; they flew the small planes in Assam over to the North Bank, which was the hardest hit, dropping food to the survivors and to tea gardens, which were isolated by the flood waters that followed. The Subansiri, which was dammed up for several days by landslides so that the river ran dry lower down, finally burst through its blockage and flooded washing away many miles of jungle and some of the tea gardens in its path."

Another story:

And that night of August a party was on at my bungalow when......................says Jimmy  Strang, one of the two pilots on the rescue mission who flew perilously low in the Monster, evacuating earthquake victims, dropping food, medicine packages and carrying emergency cases to Panitola Hospital from marooned gardens and villages. On that terrible night he was in his bungalow in a garden near Lahoal, Singlijan.

"The 15th of August 1950 arrived in a hurry. There had been torrential rain, which abated three days before the holiday on which we had plenty of hot sun with a fairly friendly wind. The leaf was growing vigorously, and it looked as if great efforts would be necessary to keep plucking it hard in order to prevent it outstripping us. Of the fifteen men I had invited to our celebration only twelve had been able to accept. Darkness fell around seven in mid-August, and on the night of the party everyone had arrived before seven-thirty. The mood was festive, my servants being delighted at last to participate in such an occasion with all the niceties they had learned in years gone by from various memsahib, having said to me often it was time for me to entertain fellow sahibs in order to protect my prestige. I poured drinks a few whiskies, a lot of beer, two orange juices, and three glasses of Naga ‘zu', an attractive rice beer of which Nick had brought three bottles. Having tasted it I decided to take some myself. Sandy Warren, with whom I had played polo in earlier days, was the senior person present and his infectious laugh spread amongst us as I filled the last glass: my own. I made a short speech, and had begun to announce a toast, raising my glass, when I noticed Sandy had turned his head to one side with an expression of concern on his face. I was about to ask him what was wrong when he grabbed his glass and jumped from his chair uttering a kind of rising gurgle as he dashed to the door and shot down the verandah stairs, shouting. Then, as we all stared in humorous amazement at Sandy's behaviour, we all became aware of a strange deep and powerful sound, rhythmic and rising in volume. Within seconds the bungalow began to vibrate and we realised, most of us for the first time, it was the beginning of an earthquake. There was a rush to follow the wily and experienced Sandy as the vibration of the bungalow became a thudding and increasingly violent swing, back and forth, north and south. Being host I had to go to Frank Lincoln who was staggering uncertainly when all the others had gone, with a silly smile on his face and not making an effort to hurry downstairs. Having rolled his small car a month previously and suffered concussion he was still living in a kind of daze and I had to seize his arm and propel him to the stairs. It was by now difficult to keep one's balance, and as we negotiated the stairs a large beam fell from the roof truss crashing on to the stairs, missing us by inches. Reaching the ground we sought safely on the lawn where everyone was tottering, as the rhythmic shocks were now swinging wider, back and forth. The sight of the bungalow, swinging about three feet from side to side on its ancient timber pillars, began to be terrifying, with the plaster panels cracking and falling. Kike Connell had parked his fairly new Austin saloon close to the bungalow, and someone yelled the chimney had broken and would fall any minute. Beardy Beasely (ex-Fleet Air Army pilot) and I rushed in and began pushing the car from its front, but we heard Sandy roar that the chimney was coming down, and fled just before the ton of masonry bounced down the roof and crashed on to the bonnet of the beautiful new car. We were finding it difficult to keep our balance, and when the naked electric wires clashed together with flashes and sparks and extinguished all light, we all became silent with disbelief that the quake was continuing and seemed every minute to become worse. The sound of terrified human screams, with male voices shouting "Hari Bol" bellowing of cattle and howling of demented dogs rose and became more prominent in the dense darkness. I heard Rani, my horse complaining with an almost screaming whine but reckoned her stable was not likely to collapse.

I confess it would soon not be possible to stand upright any more, to reaching the sudden cessation of fear when one finally resigns oneself to a powerful and irresistible force. I told myself the end of the world had to come sometime and if this was it - well - this was it. Later we found we had all come to this point, and realized nothing could be done about it."

Yet another story:

A letter from Richard Palmer to R.G.Barton.

"Considered worthy of mention to you the earthquake of 1950 as it 'lost' Jokai 2 gardens, Bordeobam and Pathalipan - the later was managed by your father in the 1920s.

 

The Earthquake happened between 8.30 and 9.00 pm on August 15th 1950. Epicentre said to have been in the hills/mountains north east of Sadiya, the then headquarters of the North East Frontier Tract. It is said to have registered 8 on the Richter scale. The knife edges of the

seismscope at the Tea Research Station at Jorhat were 'shaken apart'. (I saw it before it went for repair) so no reading there!

 

The only means of access to gardens in the N. Lakhimpur Subdivision was by air and luckily, all the gardens had short grass strips capable of accommodating the light aircraft available. These were the Auster flown out from home by John Collins after he learnt to fly in 1947 and which the Company took over from him when he went on leave in 1950 and an ancient De Havilland monoplane belonging to the 'syndicate' - mostly Jokai people and based at Panitola. Three ex-wartime pilots, two RAF, one Fleet Air Arm. Additional local transport was available in the shape of a big dugout with outboard engine belonging to Pathalipam, which survived and was operated by an Assamese from Jamirah - skilled in such things - with a sort of 'in command' a man who had been a jungle warrior in Burma.

The 'quake devastated Bordeobam (out in the blue, East of the Subansiri). The factory was torn apart and in the planted areas where there had been hollows, there were bumps and where bumps, there were hollows now. Clumps of bamboo uprooted and Frost/Page fencing "turned upside down". Of course, no cameras were available. Pathalipan's manager was there on his own with no assistant and his wife who was visiting on the S. bank was completely broken by events. He was flown out as soon as a replacement could be arranged - actually within a day. Hearing the roar and feeling the terrific vibration, the old Pathalipan Indian doctor rushed to the factory and sounded the gong and everyone went into one of the leaf houses - hospital patients included - and watched the flood waters pass through and under them. Probably it was a good thing it was dark else people would have been petrified by what must have been awe inspiring to say the least. Factory flooded and some of the houses in lower lying 'lines' flood marks up to the eaves. Flood took a little longer to make itself felt at Bordeobam where workers spent several days sitting on their house roofs and being visited and fed by the old Assamese Manager using the garden's boat. What a man! Bordeobam factory never worked again. Herculean efforts got Pathalipam going again in under a week. Bordeobam labour who wanted to move were distributed amongst other gardens and when conditions permitted all factory machinery was taken out and installed elsewhere, some to S. bank.

The flying men and boat operators must have been responsible for saving lives of many people marooned after the flood. Aircraft would spot them and the boat would rescue them. All labour at both gardens was given the requisite 'jabs'. Extra serum being flown over from the S. bank. Happily the tube wells were unaffected so water supply was available.

Strangely despite the sterling work they did rescuing people - not only Tea garden people - transporting Govt. officials etc, etc, the pilots and boat commander got no recognition from the Govt. of India. From the Company, the Manager of Bordeobam was awarded a gold watch suitably inscribed; the old Pathalipam doctor a set of medical books he had hankered after all his life; the Assamese boat operator a Swiss wristwatch and the pilots and boat operator, canteens of cutlery also a job for as long as they wanted. That's about it!

Subsidiary tremors continued for months. I remember a member of the Jokai Board coming out in November. Just off the plane at Mohunbari and having a pre-lunch drink at Bokel when, as so often happened, all the world shook, we had become used to it and went on talking. He, looking a bit apprehensive said, "When are we thinking of making a move?"

Mr. Strang, recovering from a serious injury at Panitola hospital after his plane crash-landed during rescue mission, mentions in his book that he received a telegram from none other than the then Prime Minister of India Jawahalal Nehru, "Thank God you are safe. We were very worried. I wish you a quick recovery. "

Madden Club too was not spared.

 

The quake opened up craters swallowing all that came in its way and so did the violent River. The area along the Dibru River where the bastions of ‘haute society' of Dibrugarh once stood elegantly wore a dismal picture. The swollen Brahmaputra diverted its course running inside. Very soon its fast currents swirled in overpowering Dibru River. Now there were no separate courses; instead there was a vast turbulent sea of water slopping up and down the bank. The rumbling noise at times was quite deafening. The aftershocks continued for many weeks and those who were present then swear they still get jitters recollecting the devastated scene. Pakhi Jauhar recollects "I was in boarding school when the first tremor struck. We had two houses in acres of land. One house along with the major part of the land was destroyed in the earthquake. Later on river waters took toll of the other house too." Mr. J. N. Boruah recollects "whole area starting North West from Army headquarters, ABITA bungalows, and Bishop's house, Steel & Haddow Solicitor John Buckingom's bungalow gradually surrendered first to the fury of the earth and later whatever remained of it to the river."

There were some buildings that did not fully succumb but these too could not bear the other onslaught - soil erosion.  The grey-brown water carried trees, shrubs and along with these huge ridges of mud and sand were thrown up, cutting the river bank that collapsed beyond belief.

 

Madden Club too was not spared. The gradual soil erosions started cutting away MMG Club compound. In 1953 / 1954, the sporting activities of MMG Club were seriously curtailed by loss of land and 
also due to requisitioning of its land for the construction of camps for displaced persons. The time had come to shift its premises on to safer grounds, somewhere far away, where the mighty arms of the river 
would never be able to devour its land again.

 

The Resurrection

A Loss....A Necessity...A Plan...&... The Resurrection.

This is to salute the perseverance and painstaking endeavour of a generation of Planters, who, like Phoenix, rose to restore the institution they had lost to the fury of nature, rebuilding it in a safer place and giving it a new name - Dibrugarh & District Planters' Club. They were not doing this for the first time. Sometime before this they had suffered another loss of a building, the elitist of all - Dibrugah District Club. The present club inherits its name from this one, making it a successor not only to Madden Memorial Gymkhana Club but to some extent to Dibrugah District Club also, at least for its name. And there was another building to be resurrected too, the seat of God - Dibrugarh Church. The Planters took it upon themselves to erect both the buildings at the same time within close proximity to each other. 

In the aftermath of the Earthquake members of Madden Memorial Gymkhana Club must have realized the necessity to rebuild the club building far away from the onslaughts of the most unpredictable and formidable river Brahmaputra, and in familiar surroundings within the tea planters' domain. Moreover, a club building amidst tea gardens, surrounded by tea bushes, would be a safe haven and more convenient for both, the club and the club members. On behalf of the Madden Club, the U.K.C.A. approached the ITA at Calcutta for financial assistance to shift the Club. Their joint effort aided by the I.T.A., London and thanks to the generosity of the Tea Agency Houses and business firms with interest in Dibrugarh District  resulted in raising sufficient funds to build the new Club on land leased from Jokai (Assam) Tea Company Limited. In an Extraordinary General Meeting of MMG Club held on 22nd January 1955, it was resolved that the new Club area and building would be named DDPC- Dibrugarh & District Planters' Club.  All the correspondence pertaining to this is signed by Mr. R. Davison, Manager Muttuck, the then Honorary Secretary of MMGC.

With the finalization of the draft, construction work commenced. Quite a few plans were made but finally the one by Jimmy Ingram, Manager Romai, was frozen and work commenced. Since the building was on Bokel land, naturally the Bokel group of Jokai gardens was very much involved in the venture. They included R. Davison, Manager Muttuck (Hony Secretary, the name on the Draft of Resolution), George E. Ingram, Supt. of the group at Bokel and Joe lyss, Manager Bokel. Tom Carter, the Group Engineer at Bokel and his Assistant Ashish Ghosh would regularly supervise the electrical and plumbing side of the construction.

 L.F. Paget was then Supt Maijan and Jimmy Monroe, the Manager.  F.R. Wilson, then the Assistant Manager at Nagaguli near Maijan was a very active member of MMGC and one of the two chota sahibs, the other being David Gibb from Dikom, among the bigwigs on the construction committee of DDPC. They were very much involved with the whole process of shifting.  

                 BELOW IS A PHOTO COPY OF THE ACTUAL DOCUMENT

Other names on the resolution draft are Mr. Tom Alder, Manager Hazel Bank, and S. Ray, Assistant Manager Hazel Bank. According to Mrs. Ray the bar foot railing was provided by Hazelbank. It is very difficult to build a complete picture of the time and the people, yet our interweaving of the jigsaw revealed a great deal about the commendable team work that Dibrugarh district gardens and companies did. The toilets were done by Messers J. N, Baruah & company and the fittings were all imported. Mr. Baruah recollects, but is not sure, that R. Ingram was most probably the Hony. treasurer of DDPC's first Club committee, as their bills were signed and passed by him.

Thus the sincere efforts by members of the committee conducted the construction process on a war footing and the building was completed in record time in the form that it is today: bar room, auditorium, dance hall, pantry, billiards room, tennis courts, and swimming pool. Ergo, DDPC was established at its present site in December 1955 and was ready to welcome its members.

A grand opening night was planned in great detail. Invitations were sent out to the whole planting community, cold cuts flown in from Calcutta, the bar well stocked, music for the dance arranged, and the dance floor polished, waiting for the glitterati to arrive. And arrive they did from all over the countryside showing the solidarity and the affinity that Tea community shared. The premises sparkled with visitors from both the banks of the Brahmaputra. Those who attended the star studded celebration talk fondly of the splendors of the evening.  Kishore Malhotra, retired Suptd Manager of Assam Company recollects "I came from Dirai and what an evening that turned out to be. It seemed the whole Tea community had turned up, the bar room glistening in its newness was jam packed with the Who's Who of the Tea industry. To everyone's delight, on the dance floor was the great John Powrie, who danced the whole night leading couples onto the dance floor."

 According to Frank Wilson some very persistent enthusiasts got an all Anglo Indian band from Calcutta, which was to leave on a cruise liner within the next two days but agreed to come at short notice to perform for the night. They were literally flown in and out for the evening courtesy Assam Travels. They played till beyond the witching hour and were replaced by recorded music upon their exit. Couples glided on the waxed dance floor till the wee hours of the morning in the customary manner of the era - from vintage ballroom waltzes to the fox trot, tango and salsa. Pakhi Jauhar adds that there was a cabaret dancer invited to perform on the inaugural night. It was a memorable evening ....an historic event.

Five Decades later The INHERITORS, following the steps of the TREND SETTER PIONEERS of yore, reconstructed the event on the 50th Birthday of the Club - the GOLDEN JUBILEE of Dibrugarh & District Planters' Club to celebrate and salute fifty years of togetherness. Invitations were sent to every past member who had served the institution in his day and also to various Zone and Circle Chairmen, other Planters' clubs, Presidents and Secretaries and senior people of various companies.

On the night of December the 25th DDPC was once again decked out in glory and invitees started rolling in from far off.  We were back in 1950, creating the scene as it must have been then on the inaugural night. Those were the days of the waltz, the foxtrot, the jive, the cha cha cha, the twist, the ramba, the samba! Bringing alive the spirit of the time were DDPC youngsters jiving on popular old numbers: ‘I had a Hammer', ‘Oh Carol' and ‘Let's Twist Again' and singing country songs of UNA PALOMA BLANCA and INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. A sonorous Assamese chorus, a cabaret and kawali numbers merged yesterday with today beautifully, making the transition from then to now smooth and harmonious.  The curtain came down to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. As the night was still young, strains of music from the songs of yesteryears played by a Jorhat band carried on. A feel of nostalgia was in the air; everyone was reliving his/her days at DDPC "when I was here in the year......." toasts were raised, photographs taken; no one seemed to be in a hurry to call it a day.  The night had come to a standstill, a picture perfect ‘Still Life', framed in gold and ready to be put up somewhere for all to see. No one wanted the night to end...but nothing is permanent. Eventually goodbyes and good nights were compelled to be offered. The resurrection was complete. If those blessed souls who had helped create this institution fifty years ago were listening and watching from heaven, it must have made them proud and content to observe that they left the baton in very capable hands and that their legacy still continues.

***************************************

March 18 2006
Below
are the photographss of the DDPC 'before and after' 
the 50th Anniversary celebrations. What a wonderful job of 
renovating that  has been  done by the DDPC team

Before

and after

  March 18 2006
The club Church showing the before and after restoration 

The Club Church Before


The Club Church and after


  March 18 2006
|Two more pictures to add to the collection just received
   

The Club Logo & MIP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


DDPC emblem, 

 the MIP (Most Important Place)

 

January 28 2006
Glimpses Through my eyes
by  Shalini Mehra

                Dibrugarh & District Planters' Club
Golden Jubilee Year 1955-2005

Celebrating 50 Years Of Togetherness

The Winter sun, warm and soothing, flower beds sitting ready to burst out in an array of colours of seasonal flowers, my garden umbrella beckons me to sit underneath, put my feet up and bask in the sun.  Whiffs of tea wafting through the air, the aroma bracing like manna from heaven from my teacup, has a resting effect. I feel drowsy and shut my eyes to relax. After a fortnight of hectic activities, it is a welcoming leisure.

 I close my two eyes but there are thousands of eyes inside the mind, which would not shut; passing by are the images of last three days, when the celebrations began, moving on to images of last thirty years, when I arrived at DDPC, a 24 years old chota memsahib, a Lilliputian among Bigwigs.  Opening and flipping pages of memory albums, I see pictures of the people I came to know and loved, of stage shows that we organized, of the menus and decors discussed, of kilos curries cooked and brought in aluminum degchies, of chaat and kebab stalls, handicraft shows, of dances and Dos, of welcomings and farewells, of celebrations and mournings.  A lifetime seemed to have passed through the door of DDPC for me.  My roots here are as deep as the roots of DDPC, almost.

 
   

The occasion of DDPC golden jubilee celebration was very close to my heart and I wanted everything to be perfect.. As for me it was the culmination of a dream, my dream of bringing people together to accomplish a goal. Who says the koi hai clubs are only entertainment centers; for me and many like me, these have been great learning and grooming grounds and will remain so. I wanted people to remember this historic moment for years to come and now recollecting, I want to put it on papers for coming Tea generations to have a glimpse of it, 50 years later in 2055, when they celebrate DDPC centenary.

 I know I wont be around but somewhere here in some corner will be a voice singing:
Age bhi Jane Na tu, jo bhi hai bas yahi ik pal hai, (no one knows what lies ahead, this is the moment -the real moment), the song I began compeering the show with, the song I had sung thirty years back, on the same stage.

Yes the moment is everything, the golden moment of the Golden Anniversary of DDPC.

The club had been gearing up for the grand occasion for last few months on a war-footing but sans war cries, instead an amicable atmosphere prevailed all through the celebrations, literally living up to the golden jubilee and now the DDPC motto ‘Celebrating 50 Years Of Togetherness'. Each detail was looked into, every problem foreseen and solved, from painting of the club, renovation of the church building, decor, food, welcome of guests, felicitations, entertainment, accommodations, transports etc.

Various committees were formed and very committed, each, working day and night brought in wonderful results, It was celebration not only of club Golden Jubilee but also of great camaraderie, of teamwork that showed all through the function.

Fifty years for any institution is a long journey. Some memories fade while some linger. The occasion for the year for DDPC was to stitch together those lost and faded memories which culminated in its Golden Jubilee. Invitations to every past member, who had served the institution in their day, were sent with fondest Good wishes - a letter which carried the love and affection of the present ones. To many the invitation evoked an emotional chord as they could see their past through a mirror of time.

The day one, Friday 23rd December, DDPC looked like an elegantly dressed up bride, all freshly painted up, smiling and waiting: waiting to welcome guests, waiting to celebrate and waiting to add a new chapter in its life of 50 years. The warm and snug atmosphere enveloped you and the place, spic and span, was a treat for the eyes. The St. Pauls Church was restored to its pristine glory never ever seen before and a service was held. 

The theme, apt for the grand occasion was white, gold and a touch of red. Ladies got together to make three thousand and more white paper flowers, which had semblance to real carnations; grand and elegantly erected carved pillars and arches in the dance hall took everyone back to Victorian era.   Lacy glittering gold curtains shimmered from the arches and bamboo pedestals carried vases full of white flowers. Badminton court, covered with white and red canopy was the center of all the activities from dining to prize distribution. Dining tables were adorned in shimmering white satin linen and gold tussles; all around were white fresh gladiolas, red roses and carnations. At the back of this area was the stage for the band on Friday and Sunday.

It was the night of felicitations, members arrived in time to welcome the guests, ladies looking gorgeous in white & gold mekhlas / saris (a pre-decided dress code) and gentlemen in dark suits. The guests started arriving and were welcomed by the reception committee members. Later on they were ushered into auditorium to the front seats. All this while the band from Jorhat kept playing in the background, filling the festive atmosphere with nostalgic old numbers.

Once all the guests and the members settled in their seats, the back stage was ready to take charge.  I was in a different mood, elated to see such an esteemed gathering, some had traveled from long distances and as I held the mike to start evening proceedings, so many images flashed back:  thirty years back I had stood at the same place, a very young chota memsahib and faced the audience, faces were different then but welcoming smiles as encouraging as they were now but this time I knew all of them. 

In last three decades I have grown roots in this club, seen many come and go and shared wonderful moments with so many then, and have been sharing ever since. It was an emotionally charged moment for me, as in the 50 years history of DDPC, I and my family have been part of it for thirty years, our children came in their carrycots to this club, learnt to walk and run here, played and swam, cuddled and adored by so many uncles and aunties, whom they both remember so fondly even today and this year they brought their respective wives to show them each nook and corner of the club that they carry in their everlasting memory. 

Both Rajan and I felt like we had carried the past and today linked it to the present, for us it was a dream coming true.

Among the audience were invitee guests, some DDPC ex Committee Members; various Zone and Circle Chairman, other Planters' clubs' Presidents and Secretaries and senior people of various companies.

Mrs. Ray, wife of late Sanjoy Ray, was the chief guest and lit the ceremonial lamp to formally inaugurate the function. She was here in the year 1955 when the club premises shifted from Dibrugarh town to Chaulkhowa. 
Pic One


Mr. N.K. Bhagat retired Supt. Manager ACL, the guest of honor, was the next to be felicitated. He and his late wife Yaman Bhagat had contributed lot to DDPC and he had traveled all the way from Ranchi for the occasion. Felicitation followed of the guests, who had been DDPC Presidents and Secretaries in the past. Speech from the Club President Rajan Mehra was very enlightening as he narrated the history of the club, thanking all those, who had contributed in the last fifty years. In his tenure of thirty-eight years in Tea, he has been in DDPC for as long as thirty-five years and has known most of the veterans from club's past. Speeches from the guests followed. Each one was nostalgic about his time spent in this club; each had a story to tell, and each concluding that he still felt a part of this renowned club.

After a short interval, when the drinks and snacks were served around, the guests returned to their seats and a short and brisk cultural program started.

And what a program it turned out to be! Absolutely mind blowing with a variety never seen before, the theme here was YESTERDAY MEETS TODAY. Starting with a welcome Assamese chorus, we were back in nineteen fifties, scene recreated goes like this:

The evening dawns, the club premises are lighten up, sahib enters calling " koi hai???? The bearer appears ‘jee sahib' and sahib orders ‘ lagao' As the evening progresses, the carpets are rolled; memsahibs are ready to shake a leg or too, their sahibs too busy downing a few but slowly the couples move onto the dance floor and dances go on till the wee hours of the morning.

Those were the days of waltz, foxtrot, jive, cha cha cha, twist, rumba, samba,

Bringing the spirit of Yesteryears, were DDPC youngsters jiving, brining alive cha cha and twist dance forms on popular old numbers: ‘I had a Hammer, Oh Carol and   Lets twist again...............'

The country music was one of the most popular forms, prevalent those days,

Lipi and Prantor sang the popular numbers UNA PALOMA BLANCA and INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.

DDPC GOLDEN JUBILEE SONG, lyrics written specially for the occasion by Dr Trita Das from Thanai T.E. and set to music by Phany Goswami followed. 

And then arrived the best surprise of the evening, a Cabaret number by Greenwood that brought the hall down. Sexy siren Rekha at her seduction best was none other than young man Aikya Thoumoung, surrounded by all the greenwood ladies turned into men admirers.  The last but not the least was the kawali ‘The DDPC signal item' that left everyone asking for more??? With that the stage curtain came down.

But night was still young, strains of music from yesteryears numbers by Jorhat band carried on. The feel of nostalgia was in the air, everyone was reliving his/her days at DDPC  "when I was here in the year.......", toasts were raised, photos taken; no one seemed to be in hurry to call it a day.  The night had come to a standstill, a picture perfect ‘Still Painting', framed in gold and ready to be put up somewhere for all to see. No one wanted the night to end...yet as it goes, nothing is permanent, soon goodbyes and good nights were offered but there was a bright side, we were all meeting the next day and the day after.

Second day started with golf and tennis but due to 12 hours Assam Bandh called on 24th, the entries were fewer than expected but the evening saw a huge crowd of over 400 people jiving away to Moon Wind, the popular Guwahati band. For this evening the dance hall looked a perfect postcard picture with white pillars, arches, thousands of white flowers adorning pedestals and some from hanging baskets. The band, keeping up with its reputation played on and after some time there was no space left on the dance floor. Couples moved on the floor (sparkling with polish) like gliding on ice. It was way past mid night when some reluctant ones moved on to the dining area. DDPC town members wholeheartedly supported the event and hosted the continental supper that day. There were special prizes for golden jubilee couple and best dancers in various age groups.

Final day was mainly the sporting day. The Tennis and Golf events attracted a number of people who made the occasion a success.  The addition of the Golf Hut promises good golfing at the club.  A great effort has been put by the Dibrugarh Circle Members to renovate the Golf Hut (Index 2005 Par 0).  The tennis courts have been playing true.  Competitive Tennis was seen.  My congratulation to both the Tennis and Golf Captain to organize the tournaments in such grand fashion. After finishing rounds of golf and tennis the Planters as usual headed towards the bar, the busiest counter awaiting them.

The curry lunch was elaborate and carried on till late afternoon. The concluding prize distribution ceremony too had a different touch.  The present club committee sat on the stage, each one was given mike to say something and prizes, wrapped up in white and gold, were presented to the winners and runners ups in various sporting events during the last two days, also to the winners and runners up of in-house GOLDEN JUBILEE SPORTS COMPETETIONS IN TENNIS, BADMINTON, TABLE TENNIS AND GOLF.  People who had worked hard behind the scenes were felicitated and given a token of appreciation and the club working staff (some bearers have been here for over 40 years) were given each a pullover and blanket.

Raffle prizes were aplenty and went to the garden workers mainly.

The last but not the least were the thanks giving speeches from some of the guests after which like a big joint family DDPC bid good bye to its esteemed guests. That brought the three-day grand function to its closing stage.

It will be indulgence, if as an age-old member I put in the last comments on the success of the show but some of the quotes from the guests will sum it up all:

Mr. Ranbir (Brownie) Malhotra had missed the golden jubilee evening due to flight cancellation from Delhi at Guwahati and heard a friend calling him on the phone urging him not to return but to come next day, quoted

"In my 20 years in tea I have never enjoyed a club evening like this"

Mr. Saurab Shankar president Moran polo club

"DDPC has set an example of how well a function can be organized to perfection, setting standards so high and making very difficult for other tea clubs to come up to."

Yes we did it, but not to just set an example but to celebrate the sanctity of an age-old institution, which binds people like nothing else, on tea plantations.

Well done DDPC; keep it up; you have been the leader and will always be. In the end feeling happy and contented I held the mike the last time in the show and  my voice choking with emotion I could barely say  "At this moment I feel like a contented mother, who feels proud at the achievements and commitments of her children. Today you made me and the past generation sitting here, proud that they left the baton in very capable hands. 



  Phase Two --The committees


Pic Two--Sitting down are members from DDPC past committees from L To R:

Probin Dutta ( Secretary 1997-98, now in kolkata ), Rajesh Girme (President 2003-04 ), 
Baljit Singh ( secretary 1994-95, President 2000-01)  
Narendra Bhagat (Secretary 1977-78, President 1991-92-93) 
Moni Ray ( Member Madden club 1953, among the first members of DDPC 1955),
Deepak Modi (Secretary 2000-01)
Rajan Baruah( Secretary 2001-02)Manojit Barkataky ( Secretary 2004-05) 
Sanjib Bhuyan  ( Secretary 2005-6)

Standing are the Committee members of Today (2005-2006) from L to R:

Nobin Deka ( Golf captain),  Sandeep Boparai ( Sports captain), 
Abrar Haq Choudry (Treasurer), Mr. Bhandari (circle secy.gas grid, co-opted senior member)
Shalini Mehra (Lady member)   Reet Boparai  (Library Incharge), 
Kashmiri Bhuyan (Flower show convener), Sandeep Ghosh (ABITA ZONE 1 Secretary) 
Dr. J. Rahman (Tennis captain)   Rajib Bordoloi (Dibrugarh Circle Chairman)
Rajan Mehra (Hony President 1993-94, 2001-02, 2005-06),    Anjan Gogoi (Bar Member), 
Pranjal Kaushik (Entertainment Member),  Baljit Sekhon (house member not present)



Pic Three -- 
Sitting S.Ghosh, R. Mehra, Mrs.S. Mehra, Mrs Bhuyan, S. Bhuyan
Standing P. Kaushik, Dr. J. Rahman, B. Sekhon

  Decoration committee:

Sitting from l To R: Mani Sekhon, Shalini Mehra, Kashmiri Bhuyan, Rashi Verma,
Standing from l To R: Sameer Lodhi, Rahul Samyal, 
Pranjal Kaushik ( In white shirt), W.H.Tham, Ashok Chutia, Amitabh Gogoi

  Phase three--Scenes from the Celebration


--DDPC at night



Decor of the dance hall
The pillars are irrigation pipes painted white , arches made of rope and 
white muslin cloth and sprayed with white paint further pillar carving is 
of thermocol, and underneath are thick bamboo stands made in Thanai 
factory and paper flowers made by the ladies in thousands.



church has been restored and a service was held.


Santa visits
*********************************************************
  Phase Four--Kawali
--Kawali


kawali
Front L to R-Jayshree, Madhusmita,Sunitthi,Rupali,Archana, Shalini, Reeta, 
Pubali
Back Standing L to R: Rahul, Dipankar, Dibyajyoti, Babli, Rajesh, Phani 
Goswami, Manish

  Phase Five --Cultural 

on 23rd December 2005 after the felicitations we had a short cultural program I (Shalini Mehra) was anchoring the show. following is the text of my compeering which will have the list of names also,

Ladies and gentleman 
This auditorium, which was primarily a cinema hall, has over the years staged many a cultural programs---------, ranging from Shake spear's plays, classical dances like Tagore's dance drama Shyama and some very ENTERTAINERS. But the closest to my heart was the children gala Nite in the year 2002 when 42 children from 3 years old to 23 years old put up a five hour long variety program ending with a fashion show.

Keeping colorful DDPC tradition alive, HERE I WOULD ADD THAT DDPC HAS GREAT TALENTS BUT DUE TO CONSTRAINT OF TIME we present a short cultural program and request you all to give your full support and appreciation to the participating members.

We begin our cultural evening with a group Assamese song----- glorifying the past and welcoming the coming years. Very appropriate for the occasion: we are very honoured the the lyricist and composer of the song is with us here tonite. Ladies and gentleman give a big hand to Mr.                             

Time is the all-powerful entity-------
Today it has given us a chance to celebrate the historically great occasion. The fond memory of the past 5 decades enlighten us and speed up our minds to look into future with new hope and new ideas. We hope the time would continue to inspire us to sing new songs of togetherness, prosperity and happiness.


A chorus by DDPC members.
Participating members were : on the synthesizer is Siddharth Sharma.
Singing are Phani Goswami, Dr. Trita Das, Prantor Baruah, Dipanker Bannerjee, Divyajyoti, Sharma , Nobin Deka, Sharadi Das, Bubli Borkataki , Kashmiri Bhuyan, Madhusmita Baruah, , Jeena Das, Nasreen Rahman. Mansi Sharma, Junali Deka 
 Mohan & Rita Singh Jamwal
Dr. Purnananda .& Sushmita Khaund
Dipankar & Krishana  Banerjee
Amitabh & Pratima Gogoi
Sadanand & Saralata Patgiri
Ashish Mohanty
Aikya & Sunitthi Thoumong
Prabahan &Madhusmita Baruah
Miss Kriti Jamwal
Miss Diksha Khaund

From here Lets move on to koi hai clubs the word koi hai stands for tea planters club was coined very early by planters.

From Oriental Inns to Scottish Taverns: None so wild as Koi-hai Dens
Lively & spirited ; Tea Planters' watering holes.
Planters & their bearers ; Play to hilt their respective roles.

One orders, the other abides ; Night advances. Bacchus arrives
Transcending the spirits ; Into joy Divine;
Downing one too many ; Sahib forgets to sign.


Bearer brings out the bar slip ; For sahib to remind,
"you Incorrigible man ; You catch me so late
My legs are wobbly ; My hands shake"

Sahib knows not : How many he has downed,
Sahib knows not ; How many he has signed.
Between ‘ghuraoo' and ‘lagaoo" ; Planters & their bearers
Keep Koi-hai clubs chalaoo....


Now close your eyes and imagine we are back in 1950, The evening dawns, the club premises are lighten up, sahib enters calling " koi hai???? bearer appears jee sahib and sahib orders ‘ lagao' As the evening progresses, the carpets are rolled; memsahibs are ready to shake a leg or too, their sahibs too busy downing a few but slowly the couples move onto the dance floor and dances go on till the wee hours of the morning.

Those were the days of waltz, foxtrot, jive, cha cha cha, twist, ramba, samba,

Bringing to you the spirit of Yesteryears, are DDPC youngsters
are  Aikya & wife Sunitthi Thoumoung jiving together on a very peppy and popular old number I had a hammer.





They were having fun ! !
From L TO R: Kriti Jamwal, Gautam Girme, Bonny Ghosh, Shreya
Bhuyan, Sunny Ghosh, Diksha Khaund


The party is on------ moving on to cha cha cha by
Years go by.... The  inevitable change brings in other forms---- it is the time for a twist so  Lets twist again............


Introduction of dancers and choreographer Reeth

TWIST                Cha Cha
1. Diksha Khaund              1 Neelanjana Kaushik
2. Kriti Jamwal                  2.  Pranjal Kaushik
3. Gautam Girme            3. Amar Baruah
4. Shreya Bhuyan            4. Pubali Baruah
5. Siddhartha Ghosh
6. Sneha Ghosh

if music be the food of love
play on , surfeiting
so the appetite may sicken and die
but no it never does, appetite for music is insatiable.
The country music was one of the most popular forms------- prevalent those days


Here are Lipi Khaund , Prantor Baruah singing the popular numbers that will make all of you hum with them, don't feel shy sing along and tap along as I am sure you all know these popular numbers
UNA PALOMA BLANCA and INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT


Reet takes over 
GOOD EVENING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN I AM REET BOPARAI TAKING OVER THE MIKE FROM HERE FROM MRS MEHRA.

DDPC song
Change is the only constant yet the present always carries the past with it, today in the era of remixes we have our own DDPC talents -----who bring to you Assamese English remix specially written and set to music by our own members for this historic occasion



L TO R:  Sharadi Das,  Jeena Das,  Mansi Sharma,  Kashmiri Bhuyan,
Nasreen Rahman,  Junali Deka,  Babli Barkataki,  Madhusmita Baruah.

Ladies and gentleman DDPC golden jubilee chorus. It says

For all of us--------------- DDPC stands for continuity of a tradition. It is evergreen, youthful not just a recreation place but a place which binds us.
Evening spent here are lovely and lively
So it is the time to say to say
We all love DDPC
DDPC GOLDEN JUBILLEE


Song lyrics are written by Dr Trita Das, set to tune by Phony Goswami and music arranged and conducted by Sri Kulen Burgohain
Singers are Mr. & Mrs Phany Goswami, Dr. Trita Das, Prantor Bora, , Divyo Jhyoti Sharma , Lipi Khaund, Jeena Das, Mansi Sharma.

Hold your breath and wait for the arrival of one and only Sex Goddess on this earth , Rekha, blessed with eternal youth, and oomph, she does a Heart Throbbing Cabaret Number, along with some very sophisticated extras from greenwood tea estate.

Mohan & Rita Singh Jamwal
Dr. Purnananda .& Susmita Khaund
Dipankar & Krishan Banerjee
Amitab & Pratima Gogoi
Sadananda & Saralata Patgiri
Ashish Mohanty
Aikya & Sunitthi Thoumoung
Prabahan &Madhusmita Baruah
Miss Kriti Jamwal
Miss Diksha Khaund

And now Hold on to your seats and be ready for the concluding josheela mastibhara item
On the stage are DDPC  kawals and khatoons who will bring the hall down with their masti and ada. I promise you will be clapping with them and later for them.

Don't miss out on the nawab sahib surrounded by beautiful khatoons enjoying his hukka

With this we conclude the cultural program but no this is not good-bye.
Evening is still young, lets move on to the bar, refill your glasses, there is music in the air outside too a live band waiting to entertain you.

  Phase Six  Felicitations


Moni Ray Felicitated, Kashmiri Bhuyan, Shalini Mehra, Junali Deka



N.K. Bhagat by Pradnya Girme

 
Club President Rajan Mehra addresses



Deepak Modi ex DDPC Secretary year 2000-2001  felicitated by Naomi
Haqchoudhury


Baljit Singh Ex- President 2000-2001 felicitated by Babli
Barkataky

Pic Seventeen

Probin Dutta ex -secretary 1997-98 felicitated by Roshmi
Bordoloi
************************************************
The following three pictures are a cross section of the audience during the
Felicitation Presentations
The vacant chairs are of people who have been called
up on the dias.                                        Pic Eighteen





Pic twenty


***************************************************************
    Phase seven-- Golden jubilee white and red cake......Pic Twentyone


Golden jubilee white and red cake on a beautifully laid out table in white and
gold, at the centre court and surrounded by beautiful ladies all dressed up in
white and gold, waiting for the cake to be cut by the chief guest Mrs. Ray


2nd day
Dance on live band and dinner                                                 Pic Twenty Two



  Phase Eight-- Dance  with live band and dinner

Men sauve and handsome in black
lto r: Kultar Bhinder, Narendra Bhagat, Browni Malhotra, Rajan
Mehra, Baljit Singh and Shaukat Rahman

  
Narendra Bhagat, Julleen Ahmed, Bonani Borthakur, Browni Melhotra,
Shalini Mehra, Rajan Mehra, Robin Borthakur, Moju Ahmed



2nd day Dance & dinner with live band Moon Wind from Guwahati


Pranjal and Neelanjana Kaushik , Sandeep and Reet Boparai


one more of the dance--Abhijit and Madhumita Sharma,
and Dibyajyoti and lady wife

  Phase nine-
Day 3 --sports 
Pic Twenty Seven

L to R: Rajib Bordoloi, Prashant Choudhury, Pulin Neog, Nobin Deka ( DDPC 
Golf Captain)

Pic Twenty Eight


L to R: a guest, Jamshed Khan, Deepak Sarmah, a guest


Tennis -- mixed doubles
Pic Twenty Nine


Naomi Haq Choudury and partner, Usha Singh and A.Parmer



Vivek and Mridula Anand (Son Dhruv), Tarveen and Prem Grewal