Prof. Rai Bahadur B.M. Das is revered as the father of the leather industry. He founded the Indian Leather Technologists Association in August 14, 1951 and every year the day is celebrated as the ‘Founder’s Day. Prof. Das was born in the year 1885. After his early education, he joined the Victoria College in Cooch – Bihar. Later passing his B.A. in Science, he studied at the Calcutta College for his M.A., in Chemistry and stood first. His teacher was Acharya P.V. Ray who advised him to do research in the industrial manufacture of sulphuric acid in the Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
Prof. Das was asked to study leather technology by Ashutosh Mukherjee and with a government scholarship he left for England where he worked under Prof. Proctor in the Leeds University. He worked with Prof. Stiastny in the field of ‘double-bathchrome tanning process and developed the ‘DAS-STIASTNY THEORY’. He then went to Germany, Spain and other countries spending four years in Europe. After he returned to India he joined the National Tannery founded by Sir Nilratan Sarcar.
Prof. Das Realised the need for an institution to train technologists and founded the Calcutta Research Tannery which was later renamed Bengal Training Institute.
In 1932, Mr. Thomas Bata came to India, consulted Prof. Das and started a small unit in Konager for manufacturing canvas shoes and later the factory was shifted to Batanagar.
Prof. Das was asked to take charge of Central Leather Research Institute in 1950. During 1949-50 he lived in the tannery building to personally supervise the institute’s work. In those days Adyar was almost a jungle and Prof. Das had to face many hardships but his love for leather made him face any type of ordeal and moved out only after his son compelled him to do so. Prof. Das was a keen agriculturist and a scholar in Bengali literature. He had often given talks in the All India Radio. Whle his son Mr. N.P. Das was in London, Prof. Das would write to him regular letters on science, technology, leather manufacture etc.
A stalwart with a rare sense of humour, Prof. Das was loved and respected by his students, leather manufacturers and people belonging to various sections of the society. Prof. Das died in the year 1956.