Mess Baris in Those Days

In his seminal work ‘Sei Somoy’, Sunil Gangapodhyay talks about the emergence of mess baris or boarding houses in colonial Calcutta. In this excerpt from The mesmerising confluence of history and fiction, we see the mention of a couple of early mess baris in the Boubazar area, including the one allegedly inhabited by the social reformer Iswarchandra Bidyasagar.

The accompanying pictures are from ‘Sei Somoy’ and ‘Those Days’, the former’s English translation.


Gangapodhyay, Sunil, Sei Somoy: Ananda Publishers Private Limited, 1991.
Gangopadhyay, Sunil, and Aruna Chakravarti. Those Days:Penguin Books, 1997.


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