Harish Mukherjee Road: Remembering a Scribe

Harish Mukherjee Road stretches from Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road (formerly Lower Circular Road) in the north to Hazra Road in the south. The original name of Harish Mukherjee Road (the stretch between AJC Bose Road to Sambhu Nath Pandit Street) was Beriapara Road.

Earlier, Beriapara Road connected Lower Circular Road with Peepulputty. Following the sale of the remaining plot of land (measuring about two cottahs and four chittacks; it was the Corporation’s Stone Metal Depot, lying on the west of 8, Harish Mukherjee Road) a major portion of the road got incorporated in the Presidency General Hospital premises and consequently the road was closed in 1917 as stated in the Calcutta Municipal Gazette published in May 20,1950.

The Corporation, on October 1, 1913, named the whole length of the road from the culmination of Lower Circular Road near the Calcutta Maidan and continuing through Bhowanipore till the end of Hazra Road (which was previously known as New Kalighat Road) as Harish Mukherjee Road in recognition of the invaluable services rendered to the country by Harish Chandra Mukherjee, the Editor of the Hindoo Patriot.

The road was first opened up to the Maidan in extension of Bediapara Road, formerly the resort of gypsies, and was called Harish Chandra Mukherjee Road on April 13, 1898, on an application from Srish Chandra Chowdhury, Secretary to the Harish Memorial Committee, to perpetuate the memory of the great journalist. Incidentally, his ancestral property at the crossing of Harish Mukherjee Road and Chaulputty Road (later Suburban School Road and now Suhasini Ganguli Sarani) had been acquired for the construction of this road. On the wall of the entrance to the building at 68/3A, Harish Mukherjee Road (originally 48, Suburban School Road) a memorial tablet has been affixed which reads: “Here stood the house in which lived, worked and died Hurrish Chunder Mookherjee, Editor of the Hindoo Patriot and Father of Indian Journalism. Born 1824 – Died 1861.”

In the year 1909 this road was extended up to Kalighat Road at an estimated cost of Rs 14,550 and then in June 1910, additional fund of Rs 28,778 was sanctioned for further extension up to Hazra Road. This road owes its inception to the Commissioner of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, Pran Nath Pandit Saraswati. The road was declared a main thoroughfare on August 29, 1930. The Corporation’s Free Municipal Dispensary is situated at 56, Harish Mukherjee Road.

Harish Mukherjee Road runs through the heart of Bhowanipore which is perhaps among the first ‘posh’ south Calcutta neighbourhoods. In the early 19th century, it was just a small village on the southern outskirts of Calcutta. Soon it developed into a preferred home to many immigrants into the city from the countryside in the west and east Bengal. These immigrants were mostly well educated and prosperous, with a desire to settle outside the more famous localities of northern Calcutta. The Lower Circular Road had just been constructed and the area just south of the road became home to many Indians who wanted to live near the city and yet away from it. The area also caught the imagination of many Britishers and they began settling here but were far outnumbered by the local populace. Even till this very day, innumerable beautiful old houses from the days of the Raj can be found dotting both the sides along the length of Harish Mukherjee Road.

Mitra Institution, Maharashtra Niwas, SSKM Hospital, Gurudwara, Gokhale Memorial School and Harish Park are some of the prominent landmarks along this stretch of road.

Harish Chandra Mukherjee
Harish Chandra Mukherjee was born in 1824. He was a journalist and patriot, who fought against oppression by the British and forced them to bring about changes. He was a student at Union School but gave up studies because of poverty. He started working in a small firm but later found employment, through competitive examinations, as a clerk in the office of the Military Auditor General. He gradually rose to a high position in that office and worked there all his life.

In 1852, he became a member of British Indian Association and soon rose to become one of the members of its think-tank. He was one of the founders of the Bhowanipore Brahmo Samaj. He severely criticised the Government in newspapers such as Hindu Intelligencer edited by Kasi Prasad Ghosh and The Bengal Recorder edited by Ramgopal Ghosh. He was associated with the Hindoo Patriot right form its inception in 1853. In 1855, he secured the ownership and became the editor of the newspaper.  Harish Chandra Mukherjee died on June 14, 1861.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons