200-Year-Old Establishment Of Guwahati- Fancy Bazar Bargola

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Buzz

200-Year-Old Establishment Of Guwahati- Fancy Bazar Bargola

Barasha Das | August 02, 2020 17:32 hrs


Guwahatians are well acquainted with Fancy Bazar. After the introduction of GST (Goods and Service Taxes) in 2017, what’s become common to every shop is displaying their respective GST number with pride in front of the shop; some are even glow-lit. 

But did you know that the oldest business enterprise of Fancy Bazar bears the CST (Central Sales Tax) number 1 with the Imperial Bank of India? 

Yes, renowned as Bargola, the business house was one of the oldest taxpayers of the country, way prior to Independence. 

Fancy Bazar Bargola, located at one corner of the ‘phal market’ (fruit market), was established in 1828 by Raibahadur Mahasingh Rai Meghraj Kuthari. He belonged to a Rajput family of Bikaner, Rajasthan, who resettled in Azimganj, Murshidabad district of West Bengal.

Mahasingh Rai Meghraj Kuthari first sailed to Assam in 1812 as a trader on a ship named ‘Bajra’. He landed in Manccachar.

Kuthari traded in food grains at wholesale rates. He was the first to introduce ‘Masur Dal’ (Red Lentils) and ‘Nimakh’ (white ocean salt) to the people of Assam. Large boats that traded these products to Assam carried back the state’s famous jute, cotton and ‘Paat Kapur’ (Assam Silk) to be traded elsewhere. 

When the RSN and IGSN companies started steamship carriers in eastern India, the Kuthari family became their chief carrier partner. They also acquired exclusive rights for radio-telephone transmission network of the vessels.

After a few years of business, Meghraj Kuthari opened his business headquarters at Tezpur in 1818. The place is still renowned as Bargola, as in Guwahati. His son, Zalim Singh Kuthari came to Guwahati and opened the Fancy Bazar Bargola business. That shop is the 18th of the total of 64 shops the family-owned in 1930. They were the oldest and largest wholesalers of food grains in the region in 1950.

Apart from the wholesale business, the Kutharis established close liaison with the tea gardens of Assam and even financed a few. Around 1860, they started issuing ‘hundis’ to a few gardens against a commission.

Due to Meghraj Kuthari’s contributions in support of the British Army during the Bhutan War, he was conferred the title of ‘Rai Bahadur’ by the British Raj on October 8, 1867. 

Apart from contributing to various aspects to Assam’s society and economy, the Kutharis followed the tradition of ‘guptadaan’ (secret donation). They contributed to the establishment of several religious and charitable institutions of Guwahati like Sangenaria Dharmasala, Panchayeti Thakurbari, Hanuman Mandir, and Mahavir Akhra. They also dug many wells across Assam.

The old business house still has an old iron chest that was made in England which bears a golden British Royal insignia and is cemented to the floor of the old ‘gaddi’. Occasionally, the British government also used the chest for safekeeping of the revenue collected. 

The 200 years old establishment, Bargola, apart from holding the CST number 1, also owned the first motor vehicle of Guwahati, a Ford with registration number ASK 1.

(Source: Heritage Guwahati) 

(Photo Credit: Asha Kuthari, HOD, English Dept. GU)

Comments (3) Post Comment
  • Stanley Adrian

    Are you interested in selling one of your k1dney for a good amount of 14Cr,7 cr Advance kindly Contact us now,as we are looking for k1dney donor, Interested person should contact us now Dr. Stanley L Adrian. Whats-App No +919663960578 Call us on +919663960578 Email:highlandorganpreservation@yahoo.com . https://highlandorganpreservation.doodlekit.com/home

  • Stanley Adrian

    Are you interested in selling one of your k1dney for a good amount of 14Cr,7 cr Advance kindly Contact us now,as we are looking for k1dney donor, Interested person should contact us now Dr. Stanley L Adrian. Whats-App No +919663960578 Call us on +919663960578 Email:highlandorganpreservation@yahoo.com . https://highlandorganpreservation.doodlekit.com/home

  • Stanley Adrian

    Are you interested in selling one of your k1dney for a good amount of 14Cr,7 cr Advance kindly Contact us now,as we are looking for k1dney donor, Interested person should contact us now Dr. Stanley L Adrian. Whats-App No +919663960578 Call us on +919663960578 Email:highlandorganpreservation@yahoo.com . https://highlandorganpreservation.doodlekit.com/home