Home of the architect of modern Kolkata in shambles
Kolkata: It is a paradox that the ancestral house of the architect of modern Kolkata Sir R N Mookerjee in North 24-Parganas, has virtually become a pile of rubbles, due to lack of maintenance.
Some engineers, scholars and professionals have written to the state Heritage Commission, to declare the house as a heritage building, on the eve of Mookerjee's 164th birth anniversary, which falls on June 23.
The building, situated at Bhabla, was constructed by Sir R N Mookerjee's father, who was a Mukhtar in Barasat Court. Mookerjee was born in this house on June 23, 1864.
Though he lost his father when he was six-years-old and was raised by his mother, Mookerjee had a weakness for his ancestral village. He set up the one-storied Lady Jadumati Primary School, charitable dispensary, the school where he studied and which he upgraded to a senior secondary one over a period of time and created a trust fund for its continued maintenance - now called Sir Rajendra High School, with a bust of him in front.
Tarun Rana, a researcher and a biographer on Sir R N Mookerjee who had visited the place, said the rooms have not been cleaned for several years and are full of droppings of pigeons and bats. There is a bed, one or two broken tables and chairs and an earthen pitcher in one of the rooms.
An iron staircase from the first floor takes one to the large open space with walls on all sides. This used to be the garden but is now full of bushes and shrubs.
Rana said if the state Heritage Commission doesn't declare it as a heritage building, the structure will be pulled down by some builders.
It may be mentioned that the house which Mookerjee had constructed at 7, Harrington Street, has been renovated by the person who has purchased it.
Mookerjee was the architect of modern Kolkata. He was the founder of Martin Burn, the firm which was involved in the construction of Victoria Memorial, Askashbani, Belur Math and Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture among many others.