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Bow Barracks: Home To Kolkata's Anglo-Indians | 101 Traces

Rejected by American soldiers in WWI, it's now home to this dwindling community in the city.

The Bow Barracks was a garrison's mess built for the American army soldiers posted in India during World War I. Back then, the US army soldiers thought it beneath them to stay in such housing. The apartments were handed over instead to the thriving Anglo-Indian community, who have held onto them ever since. Located in central Kolkata, just behind the Bowbazaar police station, it is currently home to over 80 Anglo-Indian families, along with several Anglo-Chinese families too. 

Over the course of the last 50 years, members of the community have been moving out from Kolkata to places like Australia and the United States. Today, Bow Barracks is a community trying to hold on to its identity as the world moves on.

101 Traces looks at the last of anything: ethnic communities, folk craftsmen, disappearing trades, forgotten people. It sketches portraits of these unique individuals, locked in a battle they cannot win: a battle against the future. Together, they represent the dying whispers of ancient heritage and traditional individuality. As India moves towards homogenized global pop culture, 101 Traces honors the people, the objects, and the skills that connect us to our ancient identity.