Monday, 1 October 2012

DHAN GOPAL MUKHERJI

Dhan Gopal Mukerji
Date of Birth:Jul 6, 1890
Date of Death:Jul 14, 1936
Place of Birth:Calcutta

Dhan Gopal Mukerji was the first successful Indian man of letters in the United States. He studied at Duff School (now known as Scottish Church Collegiate School, a constituent unit of Scottish Church College, Calcutta), the University of Calcutta, in India, Tokyo University in Japan and at the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University in the U.S. He interpreted the cause of Indian philosophy, religion and spirituality in a lucid manner. He is best known for his 1923 autobiography 'Caste and Outcast'e and its 1925 sequel 'My Brother's Face'. He devoted much of his life to interpreting Hindu folklore, philosophy, and scripture for English-speaking children and adults in the West. He also wrote numerous stories based on the people, animals, and events encountered during his boyhood. Unfamiliar with colloquial terms, he used formal English, which many readers and critics found pleasing and effective. Mukerji was born near Calcutta, India, on July 6, 1890, and grew up in a small village near the edge of a jungle. His family belonged to the Brahmins, the priest caste of India, and operated the village's temple. As a teenager he completed a year-long pilgrimage of begging through India to become a priest, but unhappiness in the role led him to give it up. He attended the University of Calcutta and Tokyo University before emigrating to the United States in 1910. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley for three years and earned a degree in metaphysics from Stanford University in 1914. He married American Ethel Ray Dugan in 1918, and they had a son.
Mukerji published his first children's book, 'Kari, the Elephant', in 1922. The American Library Association presented him with the Newbery Medal in 1928 for 'Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon '(1927), a book about a carrier pigeon for the Indian army in France during World War I that goes to a lama's monastery for help in regaining his courage. Mukerji's other children's books include 'Ghond, the Hunter' (1928), 'The Chief of the Herd'(1929), 'Hindu Fables for Little Children' (1929), 'Rama, the Hero of India' (1930), and 'The Master Monkey' (1932). Many of his works were retellings of stories he heard as a child. Others were inspired by his own experiences in India.

Among Mukerji's writings for adults are 'A Son of Mother India Answers '(1928) (partly in response to Katherine Mayo's Mother India) , 'Devotional Passages from the Hindu Bible '(1929), 'Disillusioned India '(1930) and 'My Brother's Face'(1932). Although he wrote some plays, poetry, and novels for older audiences, he primarily focused on nonfiction. He also conducted several lecture tours. Mukerji's autobiography, 'Caste and Outcast', was published in 1923. He committed suicide by hanging on July 14, 1936, in New York City.

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