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Harendra Coomar Mookerjee

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

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 1
  • Christian leader 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Born in Bengali family in the 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 4 August 1956. While working as Bengal governor, he served as the president of "DeshBandhu Memorial Society" from 1953. He died in office on 4 August 1956 in Calcutta.[15]

Christian leader

He represented Bengali Christians in Bengal, and after his entry into national politics, he was elected as the president of "All India Council of Indian Christians," representing All-Indian Christians other than Anglo-Indians.[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:


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:

Preceded by
Kailash Nath Katju
Governor of West Bengal
Succeeded by
Phani Bhusan Chakraborty

See also


  1. ^ B. Schemmel (2008). "States after 1947". Rulers. Retrieved 29 July 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "What was the Constituent Assembly of India?". Retrieved 26 May 2012. The Vice President of the Constituent Assembly was Professor Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, 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". 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". 26 January 2010. 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: 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". Retrieved 25 May 2012. H.C.Mookerjee, speaking on behalf of the Christian community 
  8. ^ a b c "The Constituent Assembly". H.C. Mookherjee(1887–1956) – Reputed author, educationalist, Congress leader. Member of All India Christian Council and Bengal Lesislative Assembly. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  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". Retrieved 26 May 2012. Prof. Harendra Coomar Mookerjee served the University in many capacities – as Lecturer, Secretory, 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.  
  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.  
  13. ^ Nigel, South (1988). Policing for Profit: The Private Security Sector. SAGE. p. 134.  
  14. ^ Hasan, Zoya; Eswaran Sridharan; R. Sudarshan (2004). India's Living Constitution: Ideas, Practices, Controversies. Orient Blackswan. pp. 213–217.  
  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.  
  17. ^ "Constituent Assembly:-". 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". 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". Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  20. ^ "CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA – VOLUME II". 25 January 1947. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 

External links

  • Minorities Sub-Committee – H.C. Mookherjee
  • Constituent Assembly : The Minority Community Chairman Mr. Harendra Coomar Mookerjee represented all Christians
  • A Mind to Work
  • Debate in the Constituent Assembly
  • Buddhism and the Parliament of Religions

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