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Today the ruins of abandoned colonial homes dot Mc Cluskieganj's landscape.Dirt roads lead to broken-down bungalows with missing doors and windows.

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The odd ceramic toilet or stone fireplace sits intact, flanked by crumbling cobweb-laden walls.As India inched towards independence, hundreds of mixed-race Anglo-Indians feared for their future and retreated to a self-styled homeland in a thickly forested part of the country.Ernest Mc Cluskie, an Indian of Scottish descent established Mc Cluskieganj in what is now the eastern state of Jharkhand, hoping to attract Anglo-Indians anxious about the impending demise of the British empire."We used to have more than 200 families, now we have only about eight or 10 families left," Mendonca said.Today the town's economy rests on the reputation of a local school, Don Bosco Academy, which opened 14 years ago."In the 1940s and 50s Mc Cluskieganj was more developed than Ranchi.

There were record stores, cosmetics shops, we had a bakery, a butchery, a cobbler," he said.

" "It was a very sociable place in those days," Judy Mendonca, president of the town's now tiny Anglo-Indian Society confirmed.

"We would hold dances, stage plays, organise fancy dress parties, play housie (bingo)," she said.

This place felt safe at a time when people were scared and afraid for their security," he told AFP.

"They were worried that they would lose all the comforts they were used to enjoying under the British Raj," he added.

66-year-old Noel Gordon's family arrived here in 1946, one year before independence.