The Calcutta story

Calcutta Under Fire
Book Excerpt 

December 20, 1942, was a Sunday. On that day, Calcutta’s ‘Oldest Nationalist Daily’ (according to the masthead), the Amrita Bazar Patrika, reported that in Burma there was a possibility of ‘the end of defensive warfare on this frontier [by the Allies] and the beginning of a war of attack.’ Meanwhile, in the Don-Volga area, ‘the Soviet ring is drawing tighter around the enemy.’ Despite this optimistic note, the paper reflected evidence of wartime stringencies. The Imperial Tobacco Company appealed to its customers to accept cigarettes without packets in order to alleviate the paper shortage. The Government denied a shortage of rice. Women were told that they were ‘the Inner Wall of Defence’ and as such they should join the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (India). Indian political problems were also evident in the shape of the continuing Quit India campaign. An attack on a police station, bombs in Baroda and acid attacks on . . .