From ancient times, umbrella has been in use in India. But then it was exclusively used by the kings and wealthy Landlords and was considered more as a symbol of royal status. However, the backward tribes used the hats made by leaves as umbrellas. So the concept was present, only the form and shape changed with the passage of time. With the progress of civilization, the lifestyle of people changed drastically and the umbrella assumed greater importance. It transformed into an essential device, aimed and designed to protect people from rain and sun when they moved about in the open.
In the 19th century, sensational changes happened in the world of umbrellas in Kolkata. Mohendra Dutt , a music composer and a distinguished Pakhwaj (musical instrument) player, emerged as the pioneer in the manufacture of modern umbrellas in India at Mahatma Gandhi Road (formerly Harrison Road), Kolkata. After his death in 1909, his wife, Radharani Devi looked after the business till his son, Bhawani Charan Dutt took over the responsibility. He was farsighted and illustrious person who introduced the latest technology and kept pace with the changes in the manufacture of umbrellas in the Western world. He imported machines and raw materials and made no compromise in maintaining the quality of the products. Little wonders that his company attained first position in India.
It was during this time, that his son, Ashutosh Dutt joined the family business. He was a man of substance who possessed the intelligence, grit and determination and the flexibility to run his business in tune with the changing times. He left studying engineering and devoted himself fully towards earning name and fame in the manufacture of updated umbrellas. Besides his family business, he also carved a niche for himself in construction business, printing business, printing machine manufacturing, film production etc. He never confined himself solely to his family business but always worked towards the betterment for the greater number of people and thus he also came into close contact of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy who loved him immensely and very often had discussions with him in various aspects of social work. He performed with distinction as an executive committee Member of Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and was the Vice-Chairman of Durgapur Development Board. He also served remarkably as the Chairman of the Umbrella Merchants Association. He was the pioneer in forming Traders Association to look after the benefits and welfare of the small and medium traders and businessmen of West Bengal. He was also closely associated with Ramkrishna Mission, Bharat Sevashram Sangha, Ramkrishna Sangha- Adyapeath and Mahabodhi Society of India.
After his demise, his son Kalinath Dutt (great grandson of Mohendra Dutt) is now at the helm of affairs. The umbrella business is now facing a stiff competition with foreign ones storming the market in the open market business scenario. But Mohendra Dutt & Sons has maintained its tradition and is still engaged in offering umbrellas that speaks volumes in terms of quality while remaining at affordable prices. The Royal Collection Range fancy umbrella is the latest collection of the company, yet another first in India. Now, the company is also engaged in the business of Soft Luggages, Raincoats, Hot Water Bag, Winter Garments and Leather Goods.
Currently, his son, SUBHASHIS DUTT , has joined the business and pledges to take the organization forward with commitment towards maintaining its quality standards it has been proud of for over a century.