The iconic landmark of Kolkata Aukhoy Coomar Laha celebrates it’s 150 year of foundation. Aukhoy Coomar Laha is not only just another paint shop; it was a dream endeavour of pre-independent period in Kolkata. So to cherish this precious moment the store decided to felicitate the painting and wallpaper technicians who dedicated their their skill and time to make our city more colourful.
This year the store felicitated 10 technicians. On this occasion Mr. Debasish Kumar Mayor in Council, Kolkata Municipal Corporation was present and along with him Mr. Subhamoy Laha and Debayan Laha the decedent of Aukhoy Coomar Laha family were present. Bengalis are perceived as singularly unsuited for doing business. Although second to none as far as intellectual abilities or educational/professional attainments go, the bhadralok Brahmins, Vaidyas and Kayasthas are considered to be devoid of entrepreneurial drive. The ones straying into trade and industry are either those with not-so-honourable credentials or real gentlemen, who may have done better confining themselves to the less murky world of Rabindra Sangeet, Satyajit Ray, Karl Marx and football. Such generalised caricatures as the above were defused by visionary Bengali businessman Aukhoy Coomar Laha, when he established his paint shop on 1870 at Esplanade opposite to Tipu Sultan Mosque.
“Actually those are days, when Dwarkanath Tagore. In 1836, he acquired the Raniganj collieries from an English agency house, Alexander & Co, and followed it with ventures — for operating tugboats between Kolkata and the mouth of the Hooghly, steamboat services connecting Kolkata and Allahabad, and a steam-powered floating ferry across the Hooghly — mainly to use the coal that was mined. Dwarkanath even envisaged a 160-km rail line from his Raniganj fields to Kolkata,project that the British authorities derailed for being promoted by a company under ‘native management”. So near to that time frame my great grandfather envisioned this enterprise and we are fifth generation continuing that legacy,” said Mr. Subhamoy Laha. He also added, “so this 150th year celebration is not just celebration of Aukkhoy Coomar Laha’s endeavour but also we want to recognise those people who were frantic-toil to this business. This is why we would like to felicitate every year these technicians and craftsman in recognition of service.”