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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Unknown freedom fighter started Kolkata’s popular sherbet joint

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A popular sherbet joint in Kolkata has become more than 100 years old. Paramount Sherbet was started by a freedom fighter whose name is not much known till date.

India celebrated 74 years of freedom from the British Raj on August 15, Sunday. But the names of many freedom fighters are unknown, and even if you know about them, they are lesser known names. One such name is that of Nihar Ranjan Mazumdar. This unknown freedom fighter  started a legendary sherbet joint in Kolkata, while India was still fighting for its independence.

The sherbet joint, called Paramount Sherbet, is 103 years old and  popular among visitors to College Street. The street is frequently visited by book lovers who just cannot resist the cold drinks served at Paramount Sherbet.

How Paramount Sherbet started

Nihar Mazumdar opened the sherbet joint in 1918, in a quiet corner of what is known today as College Street. Paramount Sherbet soon became a popular meeting place for revolutionaries and intellectuals. The cold drinks joint served as a hangout for them.

Nihar Ranjan’s grandson, Partha Pratim Mazumdar, who now runs the sherbet joint, said, “My grandfather established this establishment as a cover for the British government. Behind this restaurant is a secret area where fellow rebels could conduct meetings and strategize while the dining acted as a cover. But that didn’t make the sherbets or drinks offered here any less important We have always prided ourselves on serving unique blends that would always leave you wanting more.”

Partha Mazumdar said, “Paramount Sherbet has some time or the other been visited by freedom fighters like Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose, a poet such as Kazi Nazrul Islam, or even people of the film industry like Satyajit Ray, Suchitra Sen, Uttam Kumar, SD Burman, and Manna Dey. Many inspiring  people have been gracing our humble abode earlier  and many still do it today.”

Paramount Sherbet today

He says the sherbet joint now serves a vast range of milk-based and water-based cold-drinks. Three of these sherbets or cold drinks, called the Dab Sherbet, Vanilla Malai, and Kairi (Green Mango) Malai, are still the star items of the restaurant.

He says that since Paramount Sherrbet started  it has constantly strived to further enhance its  menu. The sherbet joint has added  varieties with chocolate, coffee, passion fruits, etc. But the originality remains the same. And the decor has also not changed.

But, the sherbet joint is still further developing its business. In addition to new choices in the  menu, Partha Mazumdar and his family have begun to provide catering services as well as bottled versions of their distinctive syrups.

He said, “It’s fantastic to see how much our sherbets are loved and raved about by young people on the internet. Visitors from other countries come for both the food and the nostalgia.

Our clients appreciate the authentic, down-to-earth atmosphere here, and we want to preserve it that way. This is why, despite our growing popularity, we have never considered creating a franchise. We aim to keep this place as close to its original state as possible.”

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