Sunday, July 15, 2012

In memory of the 'Man' behind 'Mahimalay' - Silchar's own 'Coffee House'

Mahimda, standing outside Mahimalay. Photo Courtesy: Samayik Prasanga
At a time when Barak Valley, or for that matter Assam, has been in the in the news for all the wrong reasons and receiving scathing criticism from all circuits, when questions are being raised on the values and morale of the human race belonging to this otherwise socially and culturally rich region... passing away of one of the 'silent exponents' behind building these social values just adds more blues to the agony.

We are referring to a person who would run an ordinary tea stall in Premtola, known to have extra ordinary gentlemen as its regular customers. Yes, Mahimalay... Silchar's own Coffee House; a pilgrimage for the people belonging to the field of art, culture and literature in the town, which is also called ‘Ishaan Bangla’. That Mahimalay is history now, and very recently the man behind this unique yet legendary institution, has also left for the heavenly abode.

Mahimalay, where noted academicians, political personalities and social workers of Silchar discussed, debated and derived solutions to many socio-economic problems of the region, gave birth to so many path breaking ideas. Many budding poets and writers discovered and established their identity over cups of tea for decades. Therefore, it would be grossly unfair if the initiative of the man who created this platform goes unnoticed or unrecognized.

While, many of us would have seen 'Mahimalay', and were aware of what it was... not many would be aware of the fact that the place was named after the man who would serve tea over there, Mahim Chandra Deb. Despite not being that highly educated in the conventional way, he was an avid reader and found his own way of making contribution to the social and cultural development of the town as well as the region. Otherwise introvert, Mahim Chandra Deb, fondly known as ‘Mahimda’, would primarily act as a keen listener to the discussions that would take place there but at times would also contribute to the discussions with his valuable inputs.

We may not have been a part of the august company, but many of us would certainly have peeped in while passing though the Hospital Road - Premtola stretch. Somehow that dilapidated structure right at the center of the town would invariably make our heads turn towards it. May be out of curiosity, or because of the preconceived notion that it was a place meant for intellectuals and just to have a glimpse those faces sitting inside. Frankly speaking, other than its name which makes one somewhat curious, Mahimalay hardly had anything to draw attention. Leave aside any means of entertainment or comfort; it did not even have basic amenities like lights and fans. But there was something magical about the place due to which the regular visitors always seemed unfazed by the absence of such material needs.

'Mahimalay' had lost its physical existence a few years back, but still remains as one of the landmarks in the history of the town. The future generation would probably never know if there was anything called 'Mahimalay', or what it meant to Silchar in the past decades, but Mahimda will always live in the memories of his admirers for being instrumental, directly or indirectly, in building and nurturing a platform which produced some of the best sons of the soil of the region.

 This write-up is an attempt to reminisce and pay homage to a person who mostly remained behind the screen but created a forum for enlightened minds to share knowledge, a thought to become a poetry, a concept to take the shape of a novel, and an opinion to turn into a revolution. We do admit that there were ample scope for making this write-up more comprehensive, but we have been able to put it across as it is with the limited fist hand information we had. Team CFS pray for Late Mahim Chandra Deb's departed soul, and extends solidarity to his bereaved family.


  1. Thanks to Concern for Silchar for this article. RIP Mahimda

    Team Silchartoday

  2. It was Silchar's intellectual Colosseum.Myself in those days as a small kid used to wonder how my teachers and other well known personalities sit there and emerge deep into discussion in a place where there were practically no material amenities!


Silchar through the Lense