Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

Elders recount memories of 1950 mega quake

By STAFF Correspondent

DIBRUGARH, Sept 27 � As reports of the recent earthquake caused mass destruction in Sikkim and elsewhere continue to occupy newspaper space, senior citizens here recount their terrific experience of the high magnitude Assam earthquake of 1950.

Elderly men still have fresh memories of what occurred soon after the tremor that lasted, as per records, for about 4 to 8 minutes. The earth trembled at around 7:39 pm on August 15, 1950 with about 8.6 magnitude. Senior citizens who experienced the high magnitude tremor narrated to this correspondent how people had raised hue and cry then by calling the names of God they worship.

�The earthquake totally changed the face of the historic town here. The tremor caused the Brahmaputra to change its navigating channel, and high rising water waves brought siltation on the river bed and its adjoining areas. Barring the present Judicial Court, the mass erosion following the quake, swallowed away the bungalows of the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Circuit House, Civil Surgeon Building, Park, European Club, Planters Club, railway tracks, church and a school,� Kalyan Kumar Barua, retired principal of DHSK College, told this newspaper. Barua who was 32 years old then, said that continuous erosion would have swallowed the entire city and the adjacent tea gardens, had it not been for Jawaharlal Nehru who ordered construction of the river dyke immediately after his visit in September.

Dr Shristidhar Dutta, former Dean of Social Sciences of Rajiv Gandhi Central University, Itanagar experienced the worst earthquake as a child. �I was just eight years. I was in Hatkhola Gaon, Madarkhat, some 12 kilometres from here. The magnitude of the quake was so much that we could not stand on our feet. All of us had to lie down prostrate. High decibel sounds were heard as though rocky hills were falling. The earth trembled after every 5 to 10 minutes on that night. Even as we heard people chanting prayers, fear and nervousness had gripped us. Some old men and women had fainted but recovered later,� Dr Dutta recalled. He further said that there were no casualties compared to the magnitude of the tremor.

Most of the people spent sleepless night, as the earth kept trembling after very short durations thereafter. Bhudeb Phukan, president, Eastern Assam Chamber of Commerce and Industries, who was about 7 years when the earthquake occured said that they had spent the night on their courtyard in Maud Gaon in Sivasagar. �I had gone to stay in the farmhouse of my father in Sivasagar on that day. Minutes before the earthquake occurred, I was washing my face with a bowl in my hand. As soon as the shock came, the bowl fell off my hand and the tremor was almost throwing me to the ground. So I held one of the posts of our house tight with both my hands,� he said. Phukan further said that several trees were uprooted, roads cracked and culverts broken but no casualties were reported in the area.

Bireshwar Gohain, a retired tea garden employee of Greenwood tea estate who was 14 years during the 1950 earthquake also had similar experience to narrate. Gohain who was in Balijan North tea estate then said that they could see big live fishes on the ground, which had been left behind by water waves on silts as they retreated. But what touched his heart was the social service rendered by one Europeon tea garden manager of Balijan North tea estate to the earthquake victims. �Several workers and nearby villagers were stranded in silt, slash and some were wounded as their thatch houses collapsed. But the Europeon on his own set up a relief camp and started nursing and providing food to the victims.�

The epicentre of the earthquake was somewhere in Tibet, near a place called Rima, a few miles from the Assam frontier. The tremor was purely of tectonic origin and not volcanic in nature, as per official data.

Next Story
Similar Posts

— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Elders recount memories of 1950 mega quake

DIBRUGARH, Sept 27 � As reports of the recent earthquake caused mass destruction in Sikkim and elsewhere continue to occupy newspaper space, senior citizens here recount their terrific experience of the high magnitude Assam earthquake of 1950.

Elderly men still have fresh memories of what occurred soon after the tremor that lasted, as per records, for about 4 to 8 minutes. The earth trembled at around 7:39 pm on August 15, 1950 with about 8.6 magnitude. Senior citizens who experienced the high magnitude tremor narrated to this correspondent how people had raised hue and cry then by calling the names of God they worship.

�The earthquake totally changed the face of the historic town here. The tremor caused the Brahmaputra to change its navigating channel, and high rising water waves brought siltation on the river bed and its adjoining areas. Barring the present Judicial Court, the mass erosion following the quake, swallowed away the bungalows of the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Circuit House, Civil Surgeon Building, Park, European Club, Planters Club, railway tracks, church and a school,� Kalyan Kumar Barua, retired principal of DHSK College, told this newspaper. Barua who was 32 years old then, said that continuous erosion would have swallowed the entire city and the adjacent tea gardens, had it not been for Jawaharlal Nehru who ordered construction of the river dyke immediately after his visit in September.

Dr Shristidhar Dutta, former Dean of Social Sciences of Rajiv Gandhi Central University, Itanagar experienced the worst earthquake as a child. �I was just eight years. I was in Hatkhola Gaon, Madarkhat, some 12 kilometres from here. The magnitude of the quake was so much that we could not stand on our feet. All of us had to lie down prostrate. High decibel sounds were heard as though rocky hills were falling. The earth trembled after every 5 to 10 minutes on that night. Even as we heard people chanting prayers, fear and nervousness had gripped us. Some old men and women had fainted but recovered later,� Dr Dutta recalled. He further said that there were no casualties compared to the magnitude of the tremor.

Most of the people spent sleepless night, as the earth kept trembling after very short durations thereafter. Bhudeb Phukan, president, Eastern Assam Chamber of Commerce and Industries, who was about 7 years when the earthquake occured said that they had spent the night on their courtyard in Maud Gaon in Sivasagar. �I had gone to stay in the farmhouse of my father in Sivasagar on that day. Minutes before the earthquake occurred, I was washing my face with a bowl in my hand. As soon as the shock came, the bowl fell off my hand and the tremor was almost throwing me to the ground. So I held one of the posts of our house tight with both my hands,� he said. Phukan further said that several trees were uprooted, roads cracked and culverts broken but no casualties were reported in the area.

Bireshwar Gohain, a retired tea garden employee of Greenwood tea estate who was 14 years during the 1950 earthquake also had similar experience to narrate. Gohain who was in Balijan North tea estate then said that they could see big live fishes on the ground, which had been left behind by water waves on silts as they retreated. But what touched his heart was the social service rendered by one Europeon tea garden manager of Balijan North tea estate to the earthquake victims. �Several workers and nearby villagers were stranded in silt, slash and some were wounded as their thatch houses collapsed. But the Europeon on his own set up a relief camp and started nursing and providing food to the victims.�

The epicentre of the earthquake was somewhere in Tibet, near a place called Rima, a few miles from the Assam frontier. The tremor was purely of tectonic origin and not volcanic in nature, as per official data.

Similar Posts

— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)