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Calcutta Club by Night

During the early colonial days when Calcutta was the capital of India, Bengal Club, restricted for the whites only, was considered as the best and the most aristocrat club in Calcutta. Lord Minto, the then viceroy of India (1905-1910), used to have dinner at the Bengal Club on the days of Christmas. It is said that on one such particular occasion he informed the Club authorities that he would like to invite Sir Rajen Mookerjee for dinner along with his other guests. Since the Club was not in a position to disregard the Viceroy’s command, its top brass hit upon a plan and arranged for a temporary tent (shamiana) and Sir Rajen Mookherjee had to dine there. When the discriminatory policy of the club was thus nakedly exposed, a decision was taken to form a club with an indiscriminate membership policy.

Lord Minto
Lord Minto (Viceroy of India (1905-1910)
Sir Rajen Mookerjee
Sir Rajen Mookerjee

As a result, Calcutta Club was established in 1907, with His Highness the Maharajah of Cooch Behar, Sir Nripendra Narayan as its first president. Thus, though the Calcutta Club is not the oldest private members club in the city, it is proud of the history of its own. Today situated on Lower Circular Road, now known as A.J.C.Bose Road, the Club is a popular social hub for the wealthy community in the city. Ironically, though the Club was formed as a reaction against discrimination, the Club has historically restricted membership to men only. However, this discriminating policy was also changed in 2007 and the Club started admitting women members.

The Main Dining Hall of the Club, known as the “Coffee Room”, has a huge hall with two connecting chambers with high ceiling. With its light colored long curtains, vintage wooden chairs, age-old hanging chandeliers, waiters in traditional attires and the aesthetic paintings on the walls – the Hall creates a magical atmosphere of the century old British environment around the guests. It serves continental dishes and genuine English Dinner. Indian and imported drinks like beer, wine, whiskey, vodka are also served here along with mocktails and cocktails. The premium lounge in the central region of the club, which is open for the members to sit and relax, is just behind the well maintained green lawn. It has a bar and provides facilities for snacks and Italian dishes. The Club also has a bakery of its own.

Calcutta Club Dinning Hall - Old Days
Calcutta Club Dinning Hall – Old Days
Calcutta CLub Dinning Hall - Recent Days
Calcutta CLub Dinning Hall – Recent Days
Calcutta Club
Calcutta Club Main Entrance
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.

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