Special Honour for Dr. Prithwindranath Mukherjee


Dear Friends,

This is to inform you that the Government of Bangladesh is arranging an official ceremony on 20 October 2012 to honour the “Friends of Bangladesh” who had rendered contributions to the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. And it gives me immense pleasure in announcing that as a mark of recognition of his support and invaluable contribution to the War of Liberation as well as for the freedom of Bangladesh, Dr. Prithwindranath Mukherjee has been invited by the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh to the said ceremony as a guest of the government.

We take the opportunity of congratulating Dr. Mukherjee for this rare honour.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee


Overman Foundation.


  1. Sandeep said,

    September 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    for the sake of the wider audience, could you elaborate on the specifics of his contribution to the Liberation War of Bangladesh?

    • Anurag Banerjee said,

      September 28, 2012 at 6:18 am

      Here is a small write-up by Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee explaining his contribution to the Bangladesh War Efforts.

      With warm regards,
      Anurag Banerjee


      (Passages of a reply from Prithwindra Mukherjee)

      My wife Catherine (Ishani) has not yet found the full page that I had published on “Poèmes du Bangladesh” in the daily Le Monde on 10 December 1971; I have also enquired with the journal’s archives and shall keep you informed about the result. Instead of discussing politics, I enhanced the tone of revolt of the oppressed people of the then East Pakistan. Three days after this, André Malraux congratulated me for setting the stone rolling, and promised his backing.

      Since this publication, as I mention in my mini anthology, several eminent literary magazines – Nouvelles littéraires, Lettres nouvelles, Europe – invited me to write more on the subject. Judging from the increasing number of poems, I was encouraged by my colleagues and René Sieffert, the President of the Oriental School to bring them out in a book form. When the book came out – one of the first titles of the university publications (P.O.F.) – , the literary critic of the Figaro wrote a warm article to welcome this endeavour of “the delicious Franco-Bengali poet Prithwindra Mukherjee”. With a view to promote this anthology, Jean-Louis Barrault, Madeleine Renaud and Jean-Pierre Granval proposed to read out extracts of the book for a gramophone record, with the famous company Adès from Paris.

      (1) Madeleine Renaud (1900-94) was the glamorous actress well known all over the world for her interpretation of classical and contemporary authors like Ionesco, Beckett, Duras for the stage, and a good number of prestigious films. Having been member of the national theatre (Comédie française 1921-46), she founded with her husband Jean-Louis Barrault their Renaud-Barrault Company (1946).

      (2) Jean-Louis Barrault (1910-94) was both a stage-director and actor for classical and contemporary masterpieces. A personal friend of avant-garde authors like Artaud, Claudel , Genet, Beckett, he had considerably influenced these playwrights. With his wife, he was fully engaged in progressive art forms.

      (3) Jean-Pierre Granval 1923-98) was the son of the actor Charles Granval and Madeleine Renaud. He worked for the stage, the cinema and the tv films.

      As far as the Solidarity Movement was concerned, I was requested by my friend, the then Indian Ambassador in Paris, Dwarkanath Chatterjee, to collaborate with his First Secretary K. Sibal : we had to keep the French intelligentsia and the press informed about events in the then East Pakistan. For instance, personally I met journalists on desk with copies of the book by Masquranhes, The Rape Of Bangladesh. In 2000, on returning to Paris as India’s Ambassador, K. Sibal openly recognised how intimately we had collaborated.

      Fond of working from behind the curtain, I had, however, rushed to Orly Airport to support the adventurous French author Jean Kay’s action in seizing a Pakistani aircraft; about to be arrested by the security police, I was timely rescued by Mathieu Thuret, a friend of mine who had been working for the KLM company, insisting that I had an appointment with him for lunch.

      People like the Bengali author Manoj Basu at times asked Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (“Bangabandhu”) whether he was aware of my active participation in the Bangladesh War. Bangabandhu always replied that he knew well my pedigree and had been awaiting my visit when he would welcome my homecoming. Indeed, in October 1973, when I went to see him, he hugged me warmly : “I greet in you the Fire that has led us till now.” Having always admired as a senior leader Bhupendrakumar Datta (one of Bagha Jatin’s closest disciples), he asked me : “How is Bhupen-da ?” In his Cabinet there were three Ministers who had been Bhupen-da’s followers.
      Then Bangabandhu informed me that he had requisitioned Bagha Jatin’s native home and property in Koya, near Shilaidah, to establish there Bagha Jatin Military Academy. Offering a souvenir book, he wrote with his elegant signature : “abar asben.” (“Come again”).

      It was a few months before his assassination.”

  2. Dayanand said,

    September 27, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Please convey our congratulations too from Pondicherry…Dayanana

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