Rasogolla, for the records - Great granddaughter pens KC DAS history

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By KINSUK BASU
  • Published 25.10.04
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Almost 136 years after the discovery of the rasogolla, the great granddaughter of the inventor, Nabin Chandra Das, has embarked upon the task of chronicling the history of the sweet orb that has become synonymous with a city and the Bengalis who live there.

In her first venture, which also happens to be the first such venture of the Das family, Manjulika Das, granddaughter of Krishna Chandra Das, has decided to pen the story of how her great grandfather Nabin Chandra discovered the rasogolla way back in 1868, and how Krishna Chandra took it a step ahead and served up rashomalai in 1930.

Titled Amar Baba, the book will delve into the history of the family, tracing its roots back to Madhusudan Das, father of Nabin Chandra, and how the Das? gradually shifted from their ancestral business of producing sugar to that of sweets. It?s not history alone. The book will focus on the changing face of the business, how the KC Das chain of shops stepped out of the confines of Calcutta. It will capture, in between, the trials and tribulations of an attempt to open shop in Australia and how her father Sarada Charan revolutionised the concept of preparing the rasogolla, hygienically.

As a tribute to her father, Manjulika plans to publish the book in 2005, the year from which KC Das will kick off the birth centenary celebrations of Sarada Charan, the brains behind Amrita kumbha.

?It?s almost over 600 years since the Das? first set foot on Kashi Mitra ghat in Sutanuti. From buying sugarcane fields to setting up sugar mills at the eastern end of the Hooghly, and finally to the discovery of rasogolla, it?s a long story. There are parts that I have heard from seniors and I have collected others myself. And it is not just sweets. We were one of the biggest patrons of art ? Bengal School ? and music. Jamini Roy, for instance, found tremendous support from the Das? and so did many other budding artists,? says Manjulika.

Sixty-plus, Manjulika divides her time between managing the business within the city, taking stock of the situation in Bangalore and also sitting across the table with those eager for ventures abroad, including New York.

In spite of their success story, failure is not unknown to the Das?. Having nearly lost out on a proposal to open an outlet in Australia, the overseas ventures have been shelved for now. Worse still, a project that was nearly ready to hit Mumbai is on the backburner. But setbacks have not come in the way of innovations. So even this Puja, there was something new from their kitchen ? Gangajuli. ?It?s a concoction of coconut powder, sugar and other stuff. Try it,? Manjulika smiles.