A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Centenary of ‘Tiger of Bengal‘ Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, an Indian Bengali educator, jurist, barrister and mathematician, father of Syama Prasad Mukherjee :
Issued on Jun 29, 1964
Issued for : On the 29th June, 1964, which is the birth centenary of Dr. Asutosh Mookerjee, the P & T Department considers it a privilege to honour by the issue of a special commemorative stamp of a great lawyer, a great judge and above all a great educationist.
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Gold Green and Dark Brown
Denomination : 0.15
Overall size : 3.91 x 2.90 cms.
Printing size : 3.63 x 2.62 cms.
Perforation : 13
Watermark : All over Multiple Lion Capital of Asoka
Number printed : 2.5 million
Set : 35 per issue sheet
Printing process : Photogravure
Designed & printed at : India Security Press
Name : Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay
Born on Jun 29, 1864 at Kolkata, India
Died on May 25, 1924 at Patna, Bihar, India
- Dr. Asutosh Mookerjee was born in Calcutta on the 29th June, 1864, into a middle-class family. His father, who was a noted physician of his day, looked to his education himself. Young Asutosh was a mathematical prodigy, and even while he was a schoolboy, his original contributions to mathematics won appreciation overseas.
- After an exceptionally brilliant academic career culminating in a Doctorate of Law, he enrolled himself as a Vakil in the Calcutta High Court. After a brilliant career at the Bar, he was raised to the Bench in 1904 at the comparatively young age of forty. While on the Bench he quickly won fame far and wide as one of the most eminent judges of the Calcutta High Court.
- While he won laurels in the legal profession, his life’s passion was in the field of education and he devoted himself heart and soul to the furtherance of its cause. He was associated with the Calcutta University almost throughout his life in some capacity or the other. He was elected to the Syndicate of the University in 1897 and became Tagore Professor of Law in 1898. He was Vice Chancellor from 1906 to 1914 and again from 1921 to 1923. As Vice Chancellor he broke new ground in the system of education in this country and was a pioneer in introducing a modern system of education. His stewardship of the affairs of the University was characterised by boldness and imagination. The framing of the new regulations, which completely altered the character of the University, was entirely his work. The reforms which he introduced made university education in Bengal accessible to the widest possible number of students and transformed the Calcutta University from a mere examining body into one of the greatest teaching universities in the world.
- He was a pioneer in the field of post-graduate education, for he realised that the bounds of knowledge cannot be confined and advanced studies and research were a pre-requisite to the building of a nation. He had to fight against heavy odds to put his ideas into practice and many other Universities in India followed suit. It was as a result of his efforts that the higher forms of learning and research in the Arts and Sciences became accessible to Indians. He also made Bengali a compulsory language in the University and was responsible for restoring the local language to a place of prestige. It was he who encouraged the study of our cultural heritage by introducing several subjects on Indian Art, Literature and Philosophy into the curriculum of the University. It is a tribute to his breadth of vision that he gathered round him a teaching staff recruited from amongst the best talents in the country irrespective of parochial considerations. Most of the teachers and scholars whom he attracted to the University were later to attain high eminence in several fields. Among these may be mentioned Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. C. V. Raman and Sir B. N. Seal.
- Himself a person of versatile genius, he introduced new subjects of study embracing all fields of learning. He had an abiding interest in mathematics and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and mathematics was a hobby which he kept up throughout his busy life. He recognised the importance of Science and Technology in the modern world and established a University College of Science and Technology under the direction of Dr. P. C. Ray, a noted scientist. He was the founder and the first President of the Indian Science Congress.
- His knowledge of educational matters gained him a wide reputation and he was made a member of the Sadler Commission, which was appointed to review the educational system of the country.
- Dr. Mookerjee was a man of varied interest and tremendous energy. Law and education were not the only matters, which engaged his mind. He was a prominent figure in public life in Bengal and notwithstanding the exacting nature of his duties as a judge he took an active part in it. He was a Commissioner of the Calcutta Corporation, member of the Bengal Legislative Council at different times. In social matters he held very liberal views and did not flinch from the wrath of contemporary society when he decided to get his daughter remarried. In his personal habits he was simple and unostentatious and his political persuasion he was a nationalist to the core of his heart.
- He had an intense love of liberty, which was manifest in all that he did. It was the same love of liberty, which made his beloved University, and he fought a classic battle with the all too powerful bureaucracy of his dry to preserve its independence in its own field of education. The same spirit of independence was handed down to his illustrious son, the late Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. He retired from the judgeship of the Calcutta High Court in 1923 and soon thereafter, death cut off in 1924, a life full of promise of further public service. His was a life of activity and achievements and cannot be summed up better than in the words of the late Deshbandhu C. R. Das. “It has been said that he was a great lawyer, so indeed he was, but his greatness was greater than the greatness of a mere lawyer. It has been said that he was a great judge but here again his greatness was greater, far greater than the greatness of merely a great judge. It has been said that he was a great educationist. Undoubtedly, he was. He was one of the foremost, and if you count the number of the educationists all the world over, I doubt whether you can come across a greater educationist than Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee. But here again I stand on my original observation – he was far greater than merely a great educationist. His heart was with the nation. He was a builder. He tried to build the great Indian nation and honour it with his activities“.