GUWAHATI, May 1 � Some beautiful two-storey timber buildings added to the charm of Gauhati, which is now renamed as Guwahati, in the last century. Most of them came up in the early part of the last century, while some of them came up in the middle of the bygone century. Significantly, majority of the owners of these buildings were either officiating or retired bureaucrats under the British Raj. Most of these structures still exist.
The first of these structures was the one built by Pachugopal Mukherjee, the first Indian Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Assam in the colonial era, near the present Panbazar Police Station. He built the house in 1901 and it still exists and now houses the famous Maharana Club.
It was followed by the one built by Ikram Rasul in the Lakhtokia area in 1903. Rasul was a senior Excise Department official of the State Government. The house was known as Rasul Lodge. This house was gutted by a fire in the wee hours of April 27 last.
Colonel Jalnur Ali Ahmed, the first Assamese MD who was the second Assamese man in the Imperial Medical Service (which was later renamed as the Indian Medical Service) and father of former President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, was the maternal uncle of Rasul.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed used to stay at this house since his coming to Assam in 1928 with his parents. It was from this building that the journey of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to the Raisina Hill Rashtrapati Bhavan started, said noted writer and researcher Kumudeswar Hazarika.
Hazarika, who was speaking to this correspondent, said Bharat Chandra Das, an ex-Deputy Commissioner, built another such building in the Kumarpara part of the AT Road locality around 1910. It was popularly known as Bharat Hakimor Bangla.
The same year, Kaliram Medhi, another former DC, built his two-storey timber abode in Panbazar Dr J C Das Road (formerly Nathan Road) area. It still exists in front of the Sankardev Academy. Medhi was a writer too and he was the father of noted writer and educationist Suren Medhi, who is popularly known by his pen name Saurav Chaliha.
Between 1915 and 1920, another two-storey timber building was built by Kumudeswar Goswami, the Mouzadar of undivided Gauhati Mouza near the Uzanbazar Fish Market on the then Strand Road (presently MG Road). Goswami was popularly known as the Nao Gosain. He was the father of former Assam Assembly Speaker Hareswar Goswami. This building also still exists.
Around 1920, another such building came up in Guwahati. It was built by Suryakanta Baruah, a former DC, at the crossing of the Manik Chandra Road and the KK Bhatta Road (erstwhile Chenikuthi Road). It still exists.
Around 1930, another such building was built by Jogendranath Barooah, a retired District Judge, on the present Jogendranath Barooah Lane. It was named Barooah Niloy and it still exists.
Around the same period, Chandranath Barua, a former Superintending Engineer of the PWD, built a semi two-storey building, with a unique design, at Latasil. Barua was the father of noted filmmakers Brajen Barua and Nip Barua.
Around 78 years back, Kamal Kagti built a two-storey timber building on the Hem Chandra Road, just behind the MCME School. Its fa�ade was completely renovated around 20 years back.
Former Civil Surgeon Khalilur Rahman built a similar structure at Kumarpara Pachali 70-80 years back. It also still exists, said Hazarika.