Lohia Matri Seva Sadan - Captivating Calcutta
softetechnologies
12-05-2019    85 times
Lohia Matri Seva Sadan Calcutta

Located on 296/B Rabindra Sarani, just opposite to the Ghariwali Building, stands gracefully the massive building of the Lohia Matri Seva Sadan. It is a beautiful piece of colonial architecture with tall columns of the Ionic order, joined by their entablature and complete with a decorated pediment. The building somehow resembles the Raj Bhawan, tor its huge gateway, complete with the imperial lion. Strangely enough, he who had once owned this house finally became bankrupt.

Initially, Shri Krishna Mullick, the owner, constructed the massive building for his private residence. Gorgeously decorated with the magnificent columns, the attractive façade of the structure almost looked like a magnificent ancient Greek temple. To make it more impressive, Shri Krishna Mullick wanted to decorate it with a gorgeous gateway, to resemble the gates of the Governor House. However, it earned him the wrath of the British Government, who finally took the matter to the court of law. As the court ruled against him, he appealed to the Privy Council, where he won the case. However, in the course of the long process, Shri Krishna Mullick went bankrupt and was forced to the sell the property to a well-known musician, Harendrakrishna Seal, who was considered as an important personality of the Subarna Banik Samaj.

The grand gateway
The grand gateway

During those days, the affluent mercantile group of Bengal, mainly dealing in gold and silver, was known as Subarna Banik Samaj. They also had business of spices, conch-shells and other items. Probably in the 11th or 12th century, they migrated from Rajasthan and settled in Bengal, particularly in Hoogly and later in Calcutta.

Private Teacher

When the British came into the power, the bene (banik) or the trading families like Basacks, Lahas, Seals and Mullicks, soon earned the trust of the East India Company as underwriters of imported goods, guarantors of loans and money lenders and started to anglicize their titles from Basack to Bysack, Laha to Law, Mondal to Mundal and so on. Soon they became patrons of art, education and music, apart from constructing huge palaces of European architectural style in north and central Calcutta.

Lohia Matri Seva Sadan

Nevertheless, this Harendrakrishna Seal was an exponent of Indian classical music and he himself was reckoned as a reputed musician in his days. He was a different man, had no attachment towards his property and used to spend indiscriminately on the musicians and arranging musical programmes. As a result, he also could not keep this property and sold it to Baboo Pradumnya Mallick, who was one of the grandsons of Jadulal Mallick and a younger son of Manmatha Mullick. Jadulal Mallick was a philanthropist, while his son Manmathanath Mallick was known for his expensive habits. He even bought a pair of zebra from Alipore Zoological gardens to pull his carriage through the streets of Calcutta and got his carriage painted in Zebra colours. His son Pradyunno Kumar Mallick, the new owner of the building, also inherited the extravagant attitude of his father and had a band of 35 cars, out of which 10 were Rolls Royce. Due to his extravagant attitude and expensive habit, he too went bankrupt and the building was sold to Lohias, who converted it into a maternity hospital and named it as Lohia Matri Seva Sadan.

Tutorial at home
Tutorial at home

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the Lohia Matri Sadan has remained closed for the last few years and today the palatial building is used for some film and serial shooting purpose.

The Zebra Carriage
The Zebra Carriage
softetechnologies
softetechnologies
    Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
    Related Post
  Query About the post