Harendra Coomar Mookerjee

Harendra Coomar Mookherjee (3 October 1887 – 7 August 1956), also spelt as H.C. Mukherjee, was the Vice-President of the Constituent Assembly of India for drafting the Constitution of India before Partition of India, and the third Governor of West Bengal after India became a republic with partition into India and Pakistan.[1][2][3]

Harendra Coomar Mookherjee
3rd Governor of West Bengal
In office
1 November 1951 – 8 August 1956
Preceded byKailash Nath Katju
Succeeded byPhani Bhusan Chakravartti (acting)
Vice President of Constituent Assembly of India
PresidentRajendra Prasad
Preceded byOffice Established
Chairman of Minorities Sub-Committee
LeaderVallabhbhai Patel
Personal details
Born3 October 1887
Died7 August 1956(1956-08-07) (aged 68)

He was an educationalist, prominent Christian leader of Bengal, and was the chairman of the Minority rights committee and Provincial constitution committee of the Constituent Assembly—consisting of indirectly elected representatives to draft the Constitution of India, including for provinces of present Pakistan and Bangladesh (then East Bengal) – the assembly considered only Muslims and Sikhs as religious minorities – after India became republic, the same Constituent Assembly became the first Parliament of India in 1947.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Biography edit

Born in Bengali Christian family in Bengal, he did MA, PhD, D.Litt, and was the first Indian to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree (from the University of Calcutta). Mookerjee's doctorate was in English literature, and he went on to become a philanthropist, and teacher.[9]

At Calcutta University, he served at various positions—as lecturer, secretary, council of Post-Graduate Teaching in Arts, Inspector of Colleges, professor of English from 1936 to 1940, and head of English department. He was later nominated to "Bengal Legislative Council" and elected to "Bengal Legislative Assembly."[8][10][11]

While he was vice-president of the Constituent Assembly of India, and chairman of the Minority rights sub-committee and Provincial constitution committee, he began suggesting reservation for the upliftment of minorities in all fields, including politics. With partition of India, he changed his stance and limited it to provision for preservation of the language and culture of minorities—over the period, this has been interpreted to open educational institutes and other institutions by minority communities.[2][3][4][5][7][12][13][14]

Following the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Mookerjee was appointed Governor of West Bengal from 1 November 1951 through 7 August 1956. While working as Bengal governor, he served as the president of "Desh Bandhu Memorial Society" from 1953. He died in office on 7 August 1956 in Kolkata.[15]

Christian leader edit

He represented Bengali Christians in Bengal, and after his entry into national politics, he was elected as the president of All India Conference of Indian Christians, representing All-Indian Christians other than Anglo-Indians, who were organized as the All India Anglo-Indian Association.[16][17]

He was also the member of Indian National Congress and participated in national movements representing Bengali Christian community.[18][19] He confessed to his community as:

We have to demonstrate by every word we utter and by every act we perform that the professing of a different religious faith has not tended in the least to make us less Indian in our outlook than our non-Christian brethren, that we are prepared to play our part and to shoulder our share of the responsibility in every kind of work undertaken for the benefit of our country as a whole.[19][8]

He was the only candidate to be unanimously nominated for Vice-Presidency, with a resolution moved by Pattabhi Sitaramayya, a member of Indian National Congress and Constituent Assembly of India; consequently, he expressed his gratitude in the Constituent Assembly of India that met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi as:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen. I trust that you will accept in advance an apology because I am going to place before you a history of the way in which from a Christian Communalist I became a Christian Indian Nationalist. It was merely an accident that brought me into politics. It was a case of zid and nothing else. Some people had egged me to seek election, but at the last moment deserted me and I was determined to show that though I have been a school-master all, through my life, It was possible for a schoolmaster to be a better man than the black-mailing voter. It so happened that the gentleman against whom I was fighting was a more experienced man with a longer record of service to the community than myself. It also happened that in those days it was more profitable to appeal to communal than to national feelings. I admit with a sense of the deepest shame that I dabbled with the matter. He appealed to communalism. I appealed even more strongly to communalism and that is how I got into politics. But when as President of the All-India Council of Indian Christians the members requested me that I should go and visit poor Christians it was then and then only that I found out that the cause of the 'poor Christian Indian was no better than the cause of the equally poor Hindu Indian and the equally poor Mussalman Indian. It was then that from a Communalist I became a nationalist and if today you have done me the honour of putting me into the position of the Vice-President. be sure that while I am there. I shall not act as a communalist, but I shall remember the duty which I owe to the poor masses of my country. I am not a lawyer. I am not even a politician, Forty-two years of my life have been Passed as a teacher or as a student. I do not know whether I am qualified to discharge the duties with which you have entrusted me but I do know one Win. that I shall try to do it honestly and thereby I hope to add to the dignity of the House and add to the reputation of my community, which has hitherto had at least one thing in its favour. and that is, that It has never stood directly or indirectly against the political progress of my country.[20]

Preceded by Governor of West Bengal
Succeeded by

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ B. Schemmel (2008). "States after 1947". Rulers. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "What was the Constituent Assembly of India?". rishabhdara.com. Retrieved 26 May 2012. The Vice President of the Constituent Assembly was Professor Harendra Coomar Mookherjee, former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University and a prominent Christian from Bengal who also served as the Chairman of the Minorities Committee of the Constituent Assembly. He was appointed Governor of West Bengal after India became a republic.
  3. ^ a b c "Drafting of Indian Constitution – The beginning". gktoday.in. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b "The Constitution-framers India forgot". NY Times Co. 6 November 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2012. Represented Bengal. Was vice-president of the assembly and member of the minority rights sub-committee and provincial constitution committee. Went on to become governor of Bengal.
  5. ^ a b "Forgotten fathers of the Constitution". zeenews.india.com. 26 January 2010. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012. H C Mookerjee: A representative of Bengal apart from being the former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University and a prominent Christian
  6. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. (12 June 2010). "Threats against RI atheist teen being investigated". Calcutta, India: telegraphindia.com. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2012. he sole exception for a while was West Bengal's devoutly Christian rajyapal, Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, whose attire occasioned merriment in the school where no one followed his Biblical references.
  7. ^ a b "Reservations for Muslims". drthchowdary.net. Retrieved 25 May 2012. H.C.Mookerjee, speaking on behalf of the Christian community
  8. ^ a b c H.C. Mookherjee. "The Constituent Assembly". scribd.com. Retrieved 27 May 2012. (subscription required)
  9. ^ NIC, Darjeeling district centre. "Step Aside". NIC, Darjeeling district centre. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
  10. ^ "A study of the Department of English University of Calcutta". uvm.edu. Retrieved 26 May 2012. Prof. Harendra Coomar Mookerjee served the University in many capacities – as Lecturer, Secretary, Council of Post-Graduate Teaching in Arts, Inspector of Colleges, and University Professor of English (1936–40).
  11. ^ Chatterj, Joya (2007). The Spoils of Partition: Bengal and India, 1947–1967. Cambridge University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0521875363.
  12. ^ Weiner, Myron; Ashutosh Varshney; Gabriel Abraham Almond (2001). India and the Politics of Developing Countries: Essays In Memory Of Myron Weiner. SAGE. p. 134. ISBN 0761932879.
  13. ^ Nigel, South (1988). Policing for Profit: The Private Security Sector. SAGE. p. 134. ISBN 0803981759.
  14. ^ Hasan, Zoya; Eswaran Sridharan; R. Sudarshan (2004). India's Living Constitution: Ideas, Practices, Controversies. Orient Blackswan. pp. 213–217. ISBN 8178240874.
  15. ^ Land and people of Indian states and union territories, p. 514, at Google Books
  16. ^ Stanley, Brian; Alaine M. Low (2003). Missions, Nationalism, and the End of Empire. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 129. ISBN 0802821162.
  17. ^ "Constituent Assembly:-". lexvidhi.com. Retrieved 27 May 2012. The Chairman of the Minorities Committee was Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, a distinguished Christian who represented all Christians other than Anglo-Indians
  18. ^ "History of Christianity in India". system46.blogspot.in. 14 April 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012. There were Indian Christians such as Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, S.M. George Joseph, J.C. Kumarappa and H.C. Mookerjee who were member of the I.N.C and were actively involved in the National movements.
  19. ^ a b "Happy Gestures". hindubooks.org. Archived from the original on 29 December 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  20. ^ "CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA – VOLUME II". parliamentofindia.nic.in. 25 January 1947. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.

External links edit