Harendra Coomar Mookherjee was born in Calcutta on 3 October 1877. He was educated at Ripon College and Presidency College, both in Calcutta. He served as a Professor of English at City College, Calcutta from 1898 to 1914. Later, he served in the University of Calcutta in many capacities: as a Lecturer, Secretary, Council of Post-Graduate Teaching in Arts, Inspector of Colleges, University Professor of English, and as the head of the English Department from 1937-42. Mookherjee went on to become the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
He was the President of various teacher’s associations and a member of the Bengal Legislative Council (later Assembly) from 1937 to 1942.
Role in India’s Independence Movement
He was a prominent Bengali Christian leader and was elected as the President of the All India Council of Indian Christians. He was also a member of the Indian National Congress where he represented the interests of the Bengali Christian Community.
Contribution to Constitution Making
Along with V.T. Krishnamachari, Mookherjee was unanimously nominated as the Vice-President of the Assembly. He made interventions in debates relating to reservation for backward communities.
Mookherjee was appointed as the Governor of Bengal from 1951 to 1956, while simultaneously serving as President of Desh Bandhu Memorial Society from 1953.
He passed away from a heart attack on 8 August 1956.
Mookherjee was a prolific writer, and wrote on a number of subjects. Some of his writings were Congress and the masses, Indians in British Industries, Why Prohibition?, and Some non-political achievements of the Congress.
- Mookherjee argued that reservation for backward communities in the legislature should be subject to a ten-year time limit. He famously gave up reservations on behalf of the Christian community.
- Harendra Coomar Mukerjee, by Padmini Sengupta (National Book Trust, 1977)
- Who’s Who 1950, (Parliament of India, 1950)