This POST OFFICE was once a court

Divya Suri rediscovers the Kakori Train Robbery special court

August 9 was a historic day for small town Kakori. In 1925 on that day, freedom fighters of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan and Chandrashekhar Azad, along with a few others, decided to raise funds to fight the British by looting a train that carried cash of the British treasury.

Once caught, a special court was set for the trial of the freedom fighters who were termed terrorists by the ruling colonial government. The court came to be at what is today the city’s General Post Office (GPO) in Hazratganj that is witness to a series of events of changing times. This is no mere building but a spectator of some famous incidents that have taken place here in the past.

Built by the British, the building was once a Ring Theatre. It was used by British families for recreation purposes like screening of English films and staging of plays. A board was permanently hung at the entrance gate of the building bearing the text: Dogs and Indians not allowed!

The entry of Indians was strictly prohibited here. After a few years the theatre was converted into a special court. Between 1929 and 1932, the post office housed in the Begum Kothi, now called Janpath, was shifted to this building which was permanently transformed,’ says Roshan Taqui, eminent historian.

Today this historic site is neglected. The clock at the top of the tower does not work. This could have been a heritage monument and a perfect place for exhibitions but it is sad to know that the concerned authorities seem unconcerned about the importance of the building constructed with red bricks and lime stone in Gothic style.

The most outstanding feature of this magnificent building is that iron is not used anywhere in its construction. The outer facade of the structure is painted white. The building comprises a spacious hall in the centre which serves as the main post office.

On one side a tall clock tower is attached to the building while a triangular shaped garden embellishes this complex further.

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