Rasul Lodge, a heritage building in the heart of Guwahati that had been a witness to many important meetings and decisions pertaining to the freedom movement, was gutted in a devastating fire in the wee hours of Sunday.
Built in 1910, the double-storeyed eight-room building made of Burma teak and iron beams was home to eminent freedom fighters like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, V V Giri, Maulana Azad, Khan Bahadur Mustaq Ahmed Girmani (later Governor of NWF Province in Pakistan), Aruna Asaf Ali when they visited Guwahati during the freedom movement. Former President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed had also stayed in the lodge on his return from England as a barrister in 1928.
“A fire broke out in a cluster of hutments that stood in a plot of land just behind the heritage structure at around 2. 30 am. It took 20 fire tenders to bring the fire under control. Till then, the 104-year-old historic house had been totally destroyed,” said Guwahati City SSP Anand Prakash Tiwari.
Historian Kumudeswar Hazarika said: “It is sad that Guwahati has lost a landmark heritage building. One of the first two-storeyed houses that came up in Guwahati after the devastating earthquake of 1897 had reduced the city to rubbles, Rasul Lodge was witness to several major decisions pertaining to India’s Independence.”