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College Street Coffee House House of Henry Louis Derozio
Harish Mukherjee Memorial - Captivating Calcutta
3240    Dibyendu Banerjee    16/01/2019

People of Calcutta are aware of a long stretch of road from AJC Bose Road in the north to Hazra Road in the south, known as Harish Mukherjee Road. Mitra Institution, Maharashtra Niwas, SSKM Hospital, Sant Kutiya Gurudwara, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School & College and Harish Park are some of the prominent landmarks along the stretch. The road was named after Harish Chandra Mukherjee, a journalist, who bravely fought for the indigo cultivators and forced the ruling British to bring about changes.

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Born in 1824, Harish Chandra was brought up in his maternal uncle’s place and was a free student at Union School. However, due to poverty, he had to give up his studies and start his life working in a small firm. Later, through competitive examinations, he got a job as a clerk in the office of the Military Auditor General and gradually rose to a high position and worked there all his life. He was a self-taught person and attained proficiency in history, politics, law and English. He was one of the founders of the Bhowanipur Brahmo Samaj and in 1852, became a member of the British Indian Association. He was also associated with the ‘Hindu Patriot’ right from its inception in 1853 and became its owner and the editor in 1855. Apart from that, he severely criticised the government in ‘Hindu Intelligencer’ and ‘The Bengal Recorder’.

Harish Mukherjee Memorial
Harish Mukherjee Memorial

People of Calcutta are aware of a long stretch of road from AJC Bose Road in the north to Hazra Road in the south, known as Harish Mukherjee Road. Mitra Institution, Maharashtra Niwas, SSKM Hospital, Sant Kutiya Gurudwara, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School & College and Harish Park are some of the prominent landmarks along the stretch. The road was named after Harish Chandra Mukherjee, a journalist, who bravely fought for the indigo cultivators and forced the ruling British to bring about changes.

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Born in 1824, Harish Chandra was brought up in his maternal uncle’s place and was a free student at Union School. However, due to poverty, he had to give up his studies and start his life working in a small firm. Later, through competitive examinations, he got a job as a clerk in the office of the Military Auditor General and gradually rose to a high position and worked there all his life. He was a self-taught person and attained proficiency in history, politics, law and English. He was one of the founders of the Bhowanipur Brahmo Samaj and in 1852, became a member of the British Indian Association. He was also associated with the ‘Hindu Patriot’ right from its inception in 1853 and became its owner

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During the 18th century, the cultivators were forced to undertake indigo cultivation for which they hardly got anything in return. The oppression gradually became so much intense that finally the poor farmers revolted and refused to undertake indigo cultivation. Without any hesitation, Harish Mukherjee fully supported the movement and began to expose the oppression and atrocities of the indigo planters on the Indian peasants in Hindu Patriot. It inspired Dinabandhu Mitra to write his famous play ‘Nil Darpan’ and all these things taken together created a huge outcry against the indigo planters and they became desperate. In an attempt to throttle the Hindu Patriot, they filed a lawsuit. However, the case fell through, as Bhowanipur was outside the jurisdiction of the English Supreme Court at that time. It prompted the government to set up the Indigo Enquiry Commission, which actually did not solve the problem, but some checks on the despotic behavior of the planters.

Harish Chandra Mukherjee
Harish Chandra Mukherjee

Harish Chandra Mukherjee died on 14 June 1861. Long after his death, on 1 October 1913, the erstwhile Beriapara Road was named after him. There is Public Park on the road, also named after him, which contains a small memorial monument dedicated to him. and the editor in 1855. Apart from that, he severely criticised the government in ‘Hindu Intelligencer’ and ‘The Bengal Recorder’.

Harish Mukherjee Memorial
Harish Mukherjee Memorial
College Street Coffee House House of Henry Louis Derozio
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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