Club's History

The oarsmen and rowers gently wake up the Lakes at the crack of dawn every morning as the coxswain fours set out on the club raft. Some members ritually walk and jog amidst gleaming dew as others browse through newspapers over a steaming cuppa. Plush green lawns are dotted with seasonal blooms back dropped by the Lakes. A cluster of trees provide succour and shade on balmy evenings that see kids splashing water and practising their strokes under the watchful eye of the trainer. Fitness conscious members work out in the fully equipped gymnasium next door. Badminton and squash enthusiasts sweat it out at the newly furnished courts in the indoor arena. Some others focus on the perfect cue in the billiards room.

The scent of camaraderie. The sound of friendly banter. The feel of a home away from home.

Over the years, The Bengal Rowing Club has surged ahead as one of the premier social hubs in the city, offering an unmatched atmosphere that embraces modernity as effortlessly as it holds on to its traditions. With state of the art sporting and fitness facilities, a diverse and delectable culinary repertoire, carefully crafted cultural and musical evenings, carnivals and fiestas, the Bengal Rowing Club has set remarkable standards ensuring that its illustrious legacy only grows richer with every passing year.

The journey however started way back out of a need that the community felt in constituting a common social platform for the exchange and upkeep of traditions and ideas. A few progressive men came together to form ‘The Marwari Club’ that took its baby steps and started functioning out of the residence of its first Secretary, Shri Kanai Lalji Jatia, a situation that would repeat itself during the Second World War when the Club was shifted to the residence of another member. The foundation of the Marwari Club was laid on 25th August, 1929. It took six years to finalize all arrangements and the Club took its position at the Rabindra Sarovar Lakes in 1935. The rowing activities of the club were suspended during World War II, between 1942-45, as the premises were required by the army. It took four years and a lot of hard work to re-organize rowing. Under the guidance of its first President, Sir B D Goenka and its illustrious founder members such as Shri Ghanshyam Das ji Birla, Shri Kanai Lalji Jatia, Shri Raghunath Prasad Ji Poddar, Shri Ramprasad ji Rajgaria, Shri Gajanand ji Jatia, Shri Brijmohan Ji Birla, Shri Shiv Kishanji Bhatter, Shri Prabhu Dayalji Himatsinghka, Shri S.K. Chaudhary, Shri Radha Kishanji Chamaria and Shri Ramdhan Dasji Jhajharia, the Club began to spread its wings like a graceful swan. Even though its inspiration was European in nature, it fine tuned the concept to suit its own traditional ethos. In fact, for those times, BRC took some unprecedented steps such as enrolling women members for rowing. Smt. Umaraoji Kheruka was the first lady rowing member, way back in 1937!

In keeping with its name, rowing was one of the earliest sporting activities of the Club. 18 Rowing Boats at the total cost of £125.10 were imported from London in 1936! In 1949, the Club was affiliated to the Amateur Rowing Association of the East (ARAE) and then in 1978, to the Far East Amateur Rowing Association (FEARA). The Club is also the founder member of the West Bengal Rowing Association (WBRA).

With India gaining its independence, the club was re-christened as The Bengal Rowing Club on 9th November, 1948. Given its fast growing reputation as a club that offered a family atmosphere, held on to its Indian roots yet welcomed progressive ideas, membership began to be much sought after from diverse communities such as Punjabis, Gujratis, Bengalis and of course Marwaris.

Over the years, many steps were undertaken to transform your club into a sports club with state of art infrastructure and training facilities.

Today, BRC is as much home to a toddler, as it is to a teenager or a septuagenarian. Not only is it well regarded for its sporting, culinary and social traditions, it also continues to add feathers to its already well plumed cap as it in inching towards the 100 year mark!

Did you know?

  • The foundation of The Bengal Rowing Club (then Marwari Rowing Club) was laid on 25th August, 1929.
  • The rowing activities were suspended during World War II (1942-45) as the premises were requisitioned by the army.
  • Even when other colonial’ clubs discouraged the use of Indian attire, BRC encouraged its members to don the Indian look.
  • It came to be known as The Bengal Rowing Club on 9th November, 1948.
  • It was Bengal Rowing Club that introduced Calcutta to the game of Croquet.
  • BRC has had the privilege to host the National Billiards & Snooker Championships in the years 1978 and 1998.
  • The Club is also the founder member of the West Bengal Rowing Association (WBRA).
  • BRC Students Rowing Championship which was started with a few schools in 2002, today witnesses participation by over 350 boys and girls and lasts for over two months.
  • The Bengal Rowing Club Sports Carnival held every year in December, continues to be a red letter calendar event for all sports enthusiasts.