Heritage & People of Chandernagore Team
The South Eastern corner of the Kanailal Vidyamadir looked quite gloomy. It is in this gloomy corner of the earth, just near the junction where once stood the two hundred years old Das bakery. Just as it is said “in the midst of the gloom, it’s the crimson that blooms” so was the das bakery. In this shady, gloomy place delicacies were created that had enough strength to attract people from different parts of chandernagore. The place was mundane to people who were unaware of its magic but for the ones who knew, it was a Pandora’s Box filled with wonder like “boat shaped bun” and “crocodile shaped bun”.
Being featured in a number of documentaries and in other media fields das bakery remained one of the many specialities of chandernagore that presently lost its glory. The new trend of urbanisation and development had its effect on the loaves as well. The scene completely changed with the end of 2o13 .As the modern day concept the land was given to promoters therefore shifting the factory with its 30 feet brick chimney to Lalbagan at the Das’s residence. The houses in the locality of the dim corner that cherished the delicious smell from the chimney of the bakery now satisfy themselves looking at the sales counter. The bakery that once topped the list in Harihar sett’s ‘Sankhipta Chandernagore Porichoy’ lost all its glory being reduced to a mere sales counter. The magic was lost and loaves started being imported from outside.
In its initial years, Mannath Das one of the owners brought in other French objects along with loaves to be sold in the shop. Evidences show French wine, books, and even French mineral water constituted “the other” in the das bakery. Das bakery enjoyed the monopoly of these objects. In the year 1947 India won its independence but chandernagore did not. Being a home to revolutionaries and witnessing the Swadeshi movement, Das bakery had to give away all its foreign objects. The French wines and books were now replaced by biscuits.
It is interesting to note that Nandalal, tantubae by birth took up baking as a profession which was further carried on by his eldest son Manmohan Das latter being passed on to his sons, Tarini Charan and Karali Charan Das. It is said that Karali Charan started Das Co. Which only lasted for 10 years . All these members of the Das family reside at Lalbagan in ‘Nandoloy’, named after their ancestor. It is here that the factory later came up. Being near to Padri Para the Das bakery attracted a lot of foreigners. The star cast of the bakery was the, boat bun and the crocodile bun. There were a number of workers throughout its 200 years of journey one of them is Tarun Dutta who can give his first hand experiences in the factory. It is said the ladle used while baking the bread was made of a special kind of wood that was brought from Calcutta.
It is said that the Das bakery of chandernagore has reached its 200 years of creating master pieces and therefore stood by a number of changes but it never changed itself, the boat kept sailing and the crocodiles kept swimming without water on the shelves of das bakery .