Ukilbari (a Bengali word, meaning Lawyers' House) was established
about 175 years ago by Sri Manmathanath Chatterjee at erstwhile Mondal Street
(now Netaji Subhash Road). Manmathanath was a lawyer and became subjudge in
Dacca (now in Bangladesh). However, this house is still called Natun Bari
(new house) by other Chatterjee family members whose ancestral house is
known as 'Chatterjee bari'
Few notable persons of this house
1) Nalini Mohan:
Eldest son of Manmathanath famous Ayurvedacharyan and principal of a renowned
college. He translated William Shakespeare's "Mid Summer Night's Dream"
into Bengali which was published by a Calcutta Publisher.
2) Jamini Mohan
Youngest son of Manmathanath. He was a famous lawyer & practiced at
Chinsurah and Serampara courts. His large portrait still adorns Serampara
Bar Association Library.
Manmathanath's other two sons were also lawyers who practiced in Hooghly
3) Alokenath :
Second son of Nalini Mohan, Aloknath (popularly known as Alkubabu),
was a brilliant student of Calcutta University in law & English.
He started his carrier as a lawyer in Serampara court but soon relocated
to a humble village high School in Uttarpara as Assistant Headmaster,
leaving his high profile law practice. Aloknath subsequently became
Headmaster of Uttarpara Town School (Now Amarendra Vidyapith).
He was a leading educational light in Uttarpara and took active part
in setting up large number of educational institutions in and around
4) Byomkesh :
Youngest son of Nalini Mohan, Byomkesh was an accomplished actor and
organizer of cultural functions. He took part or directed many memorable
cultural performances in Uttarpara. His contribution towards development
of Uttarpara Jai Krishna Public Library" is still remembered by library
5) Hrishikesh :
Grandson of Manmathanath and son of Mohini Mohan - Hrishikesh was an eminent
Uttarpara resident who organized numerous social and cultural movements.
He joined Indian National Congress and took part in non-cooperation movement
led by famous Gandhian leader Satish Desguptha, while studying in College.
His other colleagues were Sri Atulaya Ghosh, Sri Binoy Chowdhary, Sri S K
Sirajul Haque etc of that period.
Hrishikesh, a cousin of Biplabi Amarendranath Chattopadhya,
took active part in freedom movement and went to jail several
times. He was one of the founder members of Indian People's
Revolutionary Party. Later, Hrishikesh joined trade union
movement and was associated with numerous trade union
organization. He took active part in the development of
Uttarpara Joy Krishna Public Library and was founder member
many local organizations like Uttarpara Sangeet Chakra, West
Bengal Tourist's Association, Uttarpara Sri Arabinda Parishad etc.
Front View of Ukil Bari - recently renovated
6) Chaitanya Dev:
Eldest son of famous lawyer Jamini Mohan - Chaitanya Dev was a notable person
for many reasons.
A famous artist and revolutionary - Chainatanya Dev took
to gun and paint brush with equal ease and aplomb.
He took his first lessons of fine arts at Calcutta Govt. Arts
College and later learnt the fine nuances of subtle Bengal art from
at "Jorasako Thakur Bar" under the guidance of Silpacharya
Involved in revolutionary movement and convicted in famous
"Dakshineswar Bomb" case, he was exiled to a remote place near
Kalimpang, Darjeeling from Alipore Central jail. He was
principal of "Indian Society of Oiental Art."
He is famous for his "Bengal Style" water colour paintings,
popular among art connousiers. His paintings were published
in Prabasi, Bharat Barsha, Modern Reviews etc. He became
president of Prabasi Banga Sahitya Sanmelan. His two books
Kalipuja Chitrabali and Durga Puja Chitrabali were published
by Calcutta University. His disciples have set up "Chaitanya Kala
Bigyan Kendra" art gallery in his memory.
7) Sisir Kumar :
Grand son of Manmathanath and son of famous lawyer Gopi Mohan, Sisir Kumar
was a brilliant student of Calcutta University. After completing his M.Sc
Geology - he went to England and did his Ph.D. from the Imperial College of
Science and Technology, affiliated with the London University.
He became Supt. Geologist in Geological Survey of India after
returning from England. However, soon became disgusted with
Bureaucratic system. Finally, he left his job and set up a shop
in College street "Indian Silk Kutir" to popularise Indian silk
in domestic and foreign markets
We gratefully acknowledge help from Dr. Niranjan Chatterjee, son of Sisir Kumar,
who, following his father's footprint, did Doctorate from the University of
Goettingen and held a professorship for Mineralogy at the Ruhr University
Bochum from 1970 to 1997. Interested persons may contact him at Detmold, Germany - Editor
The Ukil Bari still stands tall in Netaji Subhash Road, Uttarpara.
Though divided in many parts among the grandsons and great grand
sons of its founder Manmathanath - it is a familiar landmark in
Uttarpara. The famous play ground, theatre stage, garden and ponds
are no longer there - but people of Uttarpara still remember and
respect the family and its contribution to social, academic and
cultural development of Uttarpara.