Wearing a ‘gamcha’, Mukherjee used to stroll 2 km barefoot to high school in monsoon: Friend

Kolkata, September 1

Pranab Mukherjee, who headed a number of key ministries earlier than changing into the President, used to stroll two kilometres barefoot whereas going to a village college in West Bengal’s Birbhum district sporting a ‘gamcha’ (conventional towel) throughout the monsoon within the 1940s, his buddy Prof Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay mentioned.

Reminiscing about his affiliation with Mukherjee for almost seven many years since they had been admitted to a school within the district in 1952, the eminent academician rued that he couldn’t fulfil his buddy’s want to write a biography of him.

The two associates had a while again determined that Mukhopadhyay would to write down a biography of the previous President in English.

“A few days before he fell ill, Pranab telephoned me and said it was getting late and told me that after the corona pandemic is over, he will come to Kolkata and give me three complete days to record his interview for the book, but that was not to be,” Mukhopadhyay advised PTI.

The former head of the Department of Political Science at Presidency College right here mentioned that Mukherjee went to a free village college at Miriti for his major training after which to Shibchandra Uchcha Vidyalaya (High School) at Kirnahar.

“At that time, those who pursued high school education in the area were sent to Labhpur town, but since Pranab’s father Kamada Kinkar Mukhopadhyay was an idealist, he wanted him to pursue his schooling at the institution in nearby Kirnahar,” Mukhopadhyay mentioned.

“Since village roads were generally muddy and waterlogged during the monsoon, he would have to wear a gamcha at times with his pants in his bag and walk barefoot two kilometres to school,” he mentioned.

On July 1, 1952, two half-pant clad boys Mukherjee and Mukhopadhyay—began attending courses at Suri Vidyasagar College and the seeds of a life-long friendship had been planted there.

After commencement, Mukherjee got here to Kolkata and enrolled for Comparative Philology at Calcutta University, however he didn’t take a liking to the topic and switched to Political Science, Mukhopadhyay mentioned.

After doing his grasp diploma in Political Science, Mukherjee additionally did his Masters in History, earlier than getting an LLB (Bachelor of Law) diploma.

Mukhopadhyay mentioned that his buddy used to work as a non-public tutor at the moment as he had determined to not take cash from his father whereas pursuing his grasp’s diploma in Kolkata.

While doing his Masters, Mukherjee married his pupil Suvra Ghosh in 1957.

“This was a revolutionary decision at that time on two counts. First, he married while he was still a student, and secondly, it was an inter-caste marriage. He came from a conservative Brahmin family,” the retired professor mentioned.

Mukhrejee later joined energetic politics.

As a younger Rajya Sabha member in 1969, Mukherjee, who was an avid reader, caught the eye of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, when she discovered him studying within the Parliament library for hours every single day.

“One evening, when he was to speak in the Rajya Sabha for the first time, there was no quorum in the House. On learning of this, Gandhi came with her ministers to attend it and was pleased to find Mukherjee’s speech very informative and logical and later made him a deputy minister in the Industries ministry,” he mentioned.

Mukherjee progressively rose to newer heights and headed a number of essential ministries together with finance, defence and exterior affairs earlier than changing into the President in 2012, crowning a political profession of over 5 many years. PTI


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