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Govt encroaches upon Orwell’s ‘protected’ birthplace in Bihar

By Sagar Suraj
PUBLISHED ON JUN 26, 2016 11:36 AM IST

MOTIHARI: 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 2.5acre 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 150km from 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, chairman of 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 on Saturday to observe his birth anniversary.

“A boundary wall is also being constructed on the encroached land,” he added.

Additional collector Arshad Ali said the East Champaran district administration has received complaints of encroachment and the matter was being inquired into.

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