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Cornwallis Street’s legendary shop: Kar-Mahalanobis

14 January, 2021 14:13:09
Cornwallis Street’s legendary shop: Kar-Mahalanobis

210 Cornwallis Street

House No. 210 on Cornwallis Street has a special significance as it belonged to Gurucharan Mahalanobis, grandfather of Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, famous statistician and scientist. He had a medicine shop in his house. His second son, Prabodh Mahalanobis shut down the shop and then in collaboration with Dr Nil Ratan Sarkar opened a sports equipment store on Chowringhee. They named it ‘Kar-Mahalanobis.’ The ‘Kar’ word was a shortened form of ‘Sarkar.’ Prabodh Mahalanobis was married to Sir Nil Ratan Sarkar’s sister, Nirodkamini Devi. Their son was the legendary scientist, mathematician and statistician, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis.

Prabodh Mahalanobis shut down the shop and then in collaboration with Dr Nil Ratan Sarkar opened a sports equipment store on Chowringhee. They named it ‘Kar-Mahalanobis.’ The ‘Kar’ word was a shortened form of ‘Sarkar.’

Similar to Kar- Mahalanobis, there were two other establishments in that era where ‘Kar’ was part of the name. One was set up much before Kar- Mahalanobis and it was named, ‘Carr-Tagore & Company.’ Prince Dwarakanath Tagore had set up this company in collaboration with William Carr, William Princep and others. Another company that was founded at the same time when Kar- Mahalanobis was established was ‘Kar Tarak & Company.’ It was founded by Tarak Sarkar. Here Kar is not any British title but is the tail-end of Tarak’s surname. Tarak Sarkar lived on Beadon Street. He had three sons – Bipin Behari, Nalin Behari and Pulin Behari Sarkar. His eldest son left his parental house and   constructed his house in the European part of the city and went to live there.

His second son inherited his father’s house on Cornwallis Street. He was a distinguished man who later became the Sheriff of Calcutta and the Municipal Commissioner of the city. He also held a number of eminent public positions. There is a street, Nalin Sarkar Street, named after him that lies to the North of Grey Street. The youngest one, Pulin Behari, left his parental house and constructed his house on the corner of Manicktolla Street and Madan Mitra Lane and lived there.

Similar to Kar- Mahalanobis, there were two other establishments in that era where ‘Kar’ was part of the name. One was set up much before Kar- Mahalanobis and it was named, ‘Carr-Tagore & Company.’ Prince Dwarakanath Tagore had set up this company in collaboration with William Carr, William Princep and others. Another company that was founded at the same time when Kar- Mahalanobis was established was ‘Kar Tarak & Company.’ It was founded by Tarak Sarkar.

The seventh house on the same lane belonged to Bipin Roy’s brother, Kedarnath Roy.  Dwarakanath Gangopadhyay resided here. This was also the dwelling place of Lokenath Moitra (a famous homoeopath doctor from Benaras and father of Professor Surendranath Moitra and Dr Dwijendralal Moitra who was also Natyacharya Amritalal Basu’s homoeopath teacher). He edited Probasi and Modern Review from his office set up in this house. These two magazines were published from this house between Baishakh 1908 to Jaistha 1924 (according to Bengali calendar). An exclusive printing press for Probasi was set up in the month of Asharh 1924 (Bengali calendar) on No. 91, Upper Circular Road and the office of the two magazines was shifted to its new address. Ramananda Babu also followed suit and set up residence on 91, Upper Circular Road. Before Ramananda Babu moved in here, this was the residence of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy who started his business venture, the iconic Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works from this new address. 

(To be continued)

Story Tag:
  • Cornwallis Street

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