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Postcards of a crumbling past

created Mar 17th 2019, 10:49 by Aman Aman



129 words
1 completed
          An online project in Kolkata is documenting, and trying to save, some of the city's most iconic messbaries. These colonial-era town houses were some of India's first working men's hostels and housed legends of Bengali literature too.
Dip into Bengali pop culture and it won't be long before you come upon the term messabari. Byomkesh Bakshi, the famous fictional detective, lived in one; as did creator, the author Sharadindu Bandypopadhyay. Classic novels has been set in the messbaris, films too. But you don't hear the word often, even in Kolkata, where most of them stand. The messbaries were some of India's first urban hostels. By the early 1900s, they were housing and feeding thousand of young men who had headed to the readily industrializing colonial province of Benagal.  

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