Independence Day special: Kolkata eatery, century-old, where they cooked nationalism

Kolkata’s heritage sherbet bar Paramount was a freedom fighters’ hideout, about 100 years ago. Established in 1918 by late Nihar Ranjan Majumdar who came with noted freedom-fighter Satin Sen from Borishal, now located in neighbouring Bangladesh, the place secretly evolved into an “Anushilan Samity” — a hidden practice centre for those who unitedly put up a strong front against the British Raj in India. A place that that also quenched the thirst of freedom from British Raj.

"Anushilan" is Bengali for "practice" or "rehearsal". There were other Anushilan Samitis, arguably more famous, that produced many freedom fighters of distinction. One such camouflage for freedom fighters was a body-building club founded by Satish Chandra Basu. Another was established by Sarala Devi.

The eatery, Paramount, was originally named Paradise. Founder Majumdar's daughter and grandchildren now run the show. The recipe for its dub sherbet was once brewed by no less than Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray (scientist).

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