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Salt Lake Resident Donates Document Signed by Netaji to Heritage Exhibition

by Web Desk
Salt Lake Resident Donates Document Signed by Netaji to Heritage Exhibition

For many decades, Alok Kumar Mukherjee had carefully preserved a document signed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that was in his custody. The octogenarian lives in Labony Abasan J Block in Salt Lake. “I found it by chance while rummaging through my father’s documents one day. It was a copy of a citation for Netaji that was presented to him during his felicitation by the Uttarpara Municipality,” he says.

“It was dated July 17, 1938,” the 84-year- old told a media website in the city.

Last Saturday, the document was handed over to the Sabarna Roy Choudhuri Paribar Parishad. The Parishad holds an annual exhibition on the city’s heritage at Bara Bari in Barisha, Behala. The document will be included among the exhibits this year. The Parishad maintains an archive of old Calcutta documents.

“I was unsure about the fate of the document as I live all by myself since the demise of both my wife and son in 2004 and 2016 respectively. My daughter is a US citizen and keeps urging me to clear the clutter in my apartment,” said Mukherjee. “Ultimately, I decided that this is the place where it will be well-preserved for posterity,” Mukherjee told website while handing over the laminated paper to Parishad secretary Devarshi Roy Choudhuri.

Mukherjee is related to the zamindar family that sold the land rights of the villages of Sutanuti, Gobindopur, and Kolkata to the British East India Company in 1698. “Our family received land in Uttarpara in Hooghly district upon the marriage of a daughter of the Chatterjee family, which in turn had got the land from the Roy Choudhuri family through a marital allowance,” he explained about his Uttarpara roots.

Document Dated 1938 From Felicitation At Uttarpara To Honour Netaji

His ancestor, Joykrishna Mukherjee, developed Uttarpara from the village it used to be. There is a library and a road named after Joykrishna Mukherjee even today. In the British era, the local municipality used to be largely controlled by the Mukherjee family. His father, Kamalkrishna Mukherjee, was the councillor when the felicitation for Netaji was planned. By a coincidence, Netaji was also his uncle Binoykrishna’s classmate at Presidency College. So, it was his uncle who organized the freedom fighter’s visit to Uttarpara, he recalls.

While the original citation was handed to Bose, Kamalkrishna simultaneously got a copy autographed by him and preserved it carefully in the Mukherjee family.

After the felicitation, Bose had also visited the Mukherjee residence and spent some time in with the family.

Salt Lake And Uttarpara Have Changed Beyond Recognition, Says Mukherjee

Mukherjee himself is a mechanical engineer who specialized in pollution control. He is among the oldest living residents of Labony Abasan, having moved there in 1974. He is testament to the huge transformation that has taken place in Salt Lake City over the years.

“Taxis refused to enter the township,” he says. Once he got lost in Salt Lake as there was a thick fog. “There were no landmarks on the empty fields where you now have houses,” he shakes his head at the recollection. Both Salt Lake and Uttarpara have changed beyond recognition, he states.

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