Animal Farm author George Orwell’s birthplace ‘encroached upon’ by Bihar govt
An organisation which celebrates his life and work in India said that the urban development department has started construction work within a 2.5-acre land declared as a protected site by the state government. It is named Orwell Park.india Updated: Jun 25, 2016 18:38 IST
The protected birthplace of celebrated British writer George Orwell in Bihar’s Motihari has been allegedly encroached upon – by the government itself. And it came to light on Saturday, the birth anniversary of the author who penned the classic allegorical novel Animal Farm.
An organisation which celebrates his life and work in India said that the urban development department has started construction work within a 2.5-acre land declared as a protected site by the state government. It is named Orwell Park.
Orwell, whose real name is Eric Arthur Blair, was born on June 25, 1903 in what is now known as the Gyanbabu Chowk locality in Motihari.
Motihari, around 150 km from capital Patna, was then in the British Bengal Province where his father worked in the opium department.
He spent only a year at this Bihar town before he was taken to England by his mother. He never returned to India though he was posted for a brief period in Burma, now Myanmar, as an officer of the Indian Imperial Police.
He died in 1950 aged 47.
Deopriye Mukherjee, the chairman of the George Orwell commemorative committee said ticket counters and a water tank for Satyagrah Park, coming up beside the protected site, have been constructed on a 12,000 square feet area of the Orwell Park.
He said they had no idea of the construction till they gathered at the place on Saturday morning to observe his birth anniversary.
“A boundary wall is also being constructed on the encroached land,” he added.
In 2010, the state government declared half of the 5-acre compound of Orwell’s birthplace as protected site and handed it over to the art and culture department to develop a park named after the writer, Mukherjee said. A decision on the remaining 2.5 acre land was then kept pending.
“Despite repeated protests, the remaining 2.5 acre was later allotted to the urban development department for constructing a Satyagrah Park at the cost of Rs 2 crore,” he said.
Additional collector Arshad Ali said the East Champaran district administration has received complaints of encroachment and the matter was being inquired into.