Along the winding course of the river Ganga in India there were several ghats in the cities and towns of UP, Bihar and West Bengal which were used for the shipment of cargo and passengers across the river in the British period. These Ghats used to be the important links for trade and commerce. However such a Ghat would lose its importance as soon as a bridge was constructed across the river.
Mokama Ghat was one such Ghat in Bihar about which I had heard from the people. It used to be a very thriving center of transport in East India during the British period. Thousands of tons of cargo and passengers would be shipped everyday from there across Ganga to Simaria Ghat. A railway station, a port, several ships, a huge warehouse for the storage of goods and a large colony for the accommodation of the railway officials (most of the senior officials were British Citizens) and workers existed at Mokama Ghat.
Just as it happens with the fate of any such Ghat, Mokama Ghat too became history as soon as its purpose was fulfilled by Rajendra Bridge that was constructed near it across Ganga in 1960. Its docks, ships, the station, tracks etc. all disappeared over a period of time. Even though the bridge was inaugurated in the same year in which I was born I was a witness to the wiping away of the tracks and the other structures of Mokama Ghat. I saw it becoming a part of history. What remained with me were only some stories, myths or memories that could not be erased so easily. These included its association with the freedom movement or with some important persons like Jim Corbett, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar or Prafulla Chand Chaki.
I kept on wondering about this place over the years. The questions lurked in my mind how such a huge center of transport worked? Who were the people who managed? While so many of them were the British, what were their experiences? Did anyone like Jim Corbett describe these experiences and has any of these been published? I tried to discover these through the various tools of the Google Engine like G books, news, images etc. or through Wikipedia. I found there was no article on Mokama Ghat on Wikipedia and except for Google books, it was trace less even on Google maps. I soon realized how such a thriving center of activity was on the brink of extinction.
I decided I must create an article on Mokama Ghat on Wikipedia. Reading and researching through more than 10 books on the net I could get some interesting facts about the place:
Jim Corbett , the famous naturalist, writer and hunter had worked at Mokama Ghat railway sation from 1893 to 1913 —— as a fuel inspector, transshipment manager and labor contractor.
While staying at Mokama Ghat he would go for hunting the man eating tigers in the jungles of Uttarakhand from time to time. Later he joined the British army as a major in the first world war. He wrote all his stories and books of adventure after retirement from Kenya in Africa.
Prafulla Chand Chaki was one of the revolutionaries of the freedom struggle who along with Khudiram Bose had thrown a bomb on a carriage in Muzzafarpur on April 30, 1908 in which a British lady and her daughter were killed. Prafulla Chaki was spotted at Mokama Ghat railway station after a few days and after a stand off with the police, he killed himself with his own revolver there. On the other hand Khudiram was arrested in Muzzafarpur and finally awarded death punishment.
Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, the well known Hindi poet of India, was a student of Mokama Ghat railway high school.
One author named Malabika Chakrabarti mentions the congestion at Mokama railway Ghat in May 1897 as one of the reasons for the failure of the supply of grains during the Bengal famine of 1896-97 in her book on the said famine.
Many more questions are still lurking in the mind. Perhaps a lot more excavations are required to answer these questions.
You may visit the following to see the article that I have created on Mokama Ghat on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokama_Ghat