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The Life and Times of David Hare by Sarojesh Mukerjee – GetBengal story

12 December, 2023 15:55:29
The Life and Times of David Hare by Sarojesh Mukerjee – GetBengal story

Oxford Bookstore became witness to an extraordinary evening filled with intellectual ardour and historical rediscovery on December 6, 2023, as the book "The Life and Times of David Hare: First Secular Educationist of India" by author Sarojesh Mukerjee was launched. The event was graced by renowned novelist and poet Amit Chaudhuri and acclaimed historian Dr. Rosinka Chaudhuri. Published by Neogi Books, the biography explores the life and time of David Hare, the Scottish gentleman who visited India in the early 19th century and eventually revolutionized the country’s societal fabric.

Author Sarojesh Mukerjee, poet Amit Chaudhuri, and historian Dr. Rosinka Chaudhuri at the Oxford Bookstore, Kolkata

It was this watchmaker who arrived in Calcutta in 1801, only to be the catalyst for popularising both English and Bengali education. More than just a common educationist, David Hare was a visionary who challenged societal norms with all his might, and ignited the flame of knowledge for all. He even backed several progressive issues, including press freedom and judicial parity between Indians and Westerners. The biography goes into further detail about Hare's unrelenting commitment to apply education to bridge gaps between communities, his sympathy for the impoverished, and his conviction in the transformational potential of education. This multi-faceted genius craved no reward but like a steadfast soldier he kept running behind the quest that helped him lift thousands of Indians out of poverty.

Sarojesh Mukerjee's The Life and Times of David Hare


Hare's struggles against the prevalent social and political resistance to establish institutions like Hindoo College (Presidency College) and Calcutta Medical College, as the author depicted during his conversation with Dr. Rosinka Chaudhuri, were sure enough to pique the interest of the audience. Besides, Amit Chaudhuri delivered a speech in which he elaborated on his perspective on Hare’s impact on the education system in general.

The debutant author, Sorojesh Mukherjee, was born in his 150-year-old ancestral house in Kolkata. His undying craving and multidisciplinary approach towards 'History' as a part of liberal arts education was formed when he was at Knox College, USA. Mukherjee is also the founder of the Cambridge School, Calcutta, where he teaches economics and occasionally history. As the question “How did English education begin in India?” disturbed him, he delved deep into a wide-ranging investigation, the result of which has been summed up in this book. As Mukherjee likes to put it together, “This book is not just a biography, but a window into a pivotal era in Indian history."

The book is indeed a treasure trove for those who are interested in knowing how modern education in India took its first leap and the groundbreaking efforts that went into its process.

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