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The Pigtail Revolt of Chitpur 1911

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Lawrence Liang




These short pieces are speculative /fictional reconstructions of newspaper and archival stories about the Indian-Chinese community


Fifty young Chinese men, with the help of ten local barbers, collectively cut off their pigtails (queue) on a street in Chitpur, not very far from the main entrance of the Nabaratna temple.

They then set ablaze the pile of fifty pigtails.

At around the same time, celebrations were underway in the Chinese temples in Bentinck street and Blackburn lane. Earlier in the afternoon a lunch was hosted in the Seavoy club, attended by representatives of 40,000 Chinese in Calcutta.

In the morning the Seavoy club has received a telegram from Hong Kong that Peking had finally fallen and the revolutionaries had captured the city, ending the reign of the last imperial dynasty of China, and with it the law making it mandatory for Chinese men to maintain the queque.

It wasn’t till eleven years later that Pu Yi, the last emperor of China copied the Chitpur revolutionaries and cut off his queue.


Article 3 The Times of India (1861-current); Nov 10, 1911

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