Suniti Kumar Chatterji


Suniti Kumar Chatterji
Suniti Kumar Chatterji
সুনীতিকুমার চট্টোপাধ্যায়
Born 26 November 1890(1890-11-26)
Shibpur, Howrah, Bengal, British India
Died 29 May 1977(1977-05-29) (aged 86)
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Bengali Hindu
Religion Hinduism

Suniti Kumar Chatterji (Bengali: সুনীতিকুমার চট্টোপাধ্যায় Shunitikumar Chôṭṭopaddhae) (26 November 1890 – 29 May 1977) was an Indian linguist, educationist and litterateur. He was born on 26 November 1890 at Shibpur in Howrah. He was the son of Haridas Chattopadhyay, an affluent Kulin Brahmin.[1]

Suniti Kumar was a meritorious student, and passed the Entrance (school leaving) examination from the Mutty Lal Seal's Free School (1907), ranking sixth, and the FA (pre-university examination) from the renowned Scottish Church College, standing third. He did his Major (Honours) in English literature from Presidency College, Kolkata, standing first in the first class in 1911. In 1913, he completed his M.A. in English literature, again standing first. The same year, he was appointed lecturer in English at Vidyasagar College, Kolkata where his colleague was the thespian, Sisir Kumar Bhaduri. In 1914, he became assistant professor of English in the Post-Graduate Department of the University of Calcutta, which he held till 1919. He went abroad to study at the University of London where he studied Phonology, Indo-European Linguistics, Prakrit, Persian, Old Irish, Gothic and other languages. He then went to Paris and did research at the Sorbonne in Indo-Aryan, Slav and Indo-European Linguistics, Greek and Latin. His teacher was internationally acclaimed linguist, Jules Bloch. After returning to India in 1922, he joined the University of Calcutta as the Khaira Professor of Indian Linguistics and Phonetics. After retirement in 1952, he was made Professor Emeritus and later in 1965, the National Rsearch Professor of India for Hmanities. He caused a great uproar and controversy after declaring that the Ramayana has its origin in Buddhist Dasaratha Jataka [1] No. 461 in Asiatic society in 1968. The Ramayana controversy started with his extempore lecture at the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, in January 1976. He was vehemently criticised for his contention, in saying that Rama was the sister of Sita, whom he married. This was collated in his posthumous book on the same subject.[2]

Suniti Kumar accompanied Rabindranath Tagore to Malaya, Sumatra, Java, and Bali, where he delivered lectures on Indian art and culture. He was Chairman of the West Bengal Legislative Council (1952-58) and President (1969) of the Sahitya Akademi.

Among his important publications on both language and literature are

  • The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language [2]
  • Bengali Phonetic Reader
  • Indo-Aryan and Hindi
  • Ramayana: its Character , Genesis, History and Exodus: A Resume. Calcutta: Prajna.

Suniti Kumar died on May 29, 1977 in Calcutta. A large part of his house 'Sudharma' সুধর্মা, an architectural marvel, in South Calcutta has been converted into a Fabindia store.

See Also

References

  1. ^ Suniti Kumar Chatterji, Biography from Banglapedia.
  2. ^ The origin and development of the Bengali language,Calcutta University press, Calcutta (1926)



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