Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee presented with the Padma Shri at the Embassy of India at Paris, France, on 15 August 2022

Dear Friends and Well-wishers of Overman Foundation,

We are extremely happy to inform you that Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee, legendary author, researcher, scholar, musicologist and board-member of Overman Foundation was presented with the prestigious Padma Shri at the Embassy of India at Paris, France, on 15 August 2022. This honour was bestowed upon him for his invaluable contribution in the field of literature and education.

Born on 20th October 1936 to Tejendranath and Usha Mukherjee, Dr. Prithwindra is the grandson of the illustrious revolutionary Jatindranath Mukherjee alias Bagha Jatin. He came to Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1948, studied and taught at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. He was mentioned by the Sahitya Akademi manuals and anthologies as a poet before he attained the age of twenty. He has translated the works of French authors like Albert Camus, Saint-John Perse and René Char for Bengali readers, and eminent Bengali authors into French. He shifted to Paris with a French Government Scholarship in 1966. After defending a first thesis Doctorat d’Université on Sri Aurobindo at Sorbonne, he served as a lecturer in two Paris faculties, a producer on Indian culture and music for Radio France and was also a freelance journalist for the Indian and French press. His next thesis for PhD (Doctorat d’Etat) studied the pre-Gandhian phase of India’s struggle for freedom; it was supervised by Raymond Aron in Paris University IV. In 1977 he was invited by the National Archives of India as a guest of the Historical Records Commission. He presented a paper on ‘Jatin Mukherjee and the Indo-German Conspiracy’ and his contribution on this area has been recognized by eminent educationists. A number of his papers on this subject have been translated into major Indian languages. He went to the United States of America as a Fullbright scholar and discovered scores of files covering the Indian revolutionaries in the Wilson Papers. In 1981 he joined the department of ethnomusicology attached to the CNRS-Paris (French National Centre of Scientific Research) with the project of a cognitive study of the scales of Indian music. He was also a founder-member of the French Literary Translators’ Association. In 2003 he retired as a researcher in Human and Social Sciences Department of the CNRS. A recipient of ‘Sri Aurobindo Puraskar’, in the same year he was invited by Sir Simon Rattle who was to conduct Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the world premiere of Correspondances, opus for voice (with the divine participation of Dawn Upshaw) and orchestra, where the veteran composer Henri Dutilleux had set to music Prithwindra’s French poem “Danse cosmique” on Shiva Nataraja, followed by texts by Solzhenitsyn, Rilke and Van Gogh. In 2009 he was appointed to the rank of chevalier (Knight) of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Minister of Culture of France. Six years later the Minister of Culture appointed him Knight, too. In 2014, the French Academy recognized Prithwindra’s entire contribution by its Hirayama Award. He has penned more than seventy books in English, Bengali and French and some of his published works include Samasamayiker Chokhe Sri Aurobindo, Pondicherryer Dinguli, Bagha Jatin, Sadhak-Biplobi Jatindranath, Undying Courage, Vishwer Chokhe Rabindranath, Thât/Mélakartâ : The Fundamental Scales in Indian Music of the North and the South (foreword by Pandit Ravi Shankar), Poèmes du Bangladesh (welcomed by the literary critic of Le Figaro as the work of the “delicious Franco-Bengali poet”), Serpent de flammes, Le sâmkhya, Les écrits bengalis de Sri Aurobindo, Chants bâuls, les Fous de l’Absolu, Anthologie de la poésie bengalie. Invited by the famous French publishers Desclée de Brouwer, his biography Sri Aurobindo was launched with due tribute by Kapil Sibal, India’s ambassador in France. His PhD thesis, Les racines intellectuelles du movement d’independence de l’Inde (1893-1918) was foreworded by Jacques Attali: it ended up with Sri Aurobindo, “the last of the Prophets”. While launching Prithwindra’s biography Bagha Jatin published by National Book Trust, H. E. Pranab Mukherjee admitted: “It is an epitome of the history of our armed struggle for freedom.” To celebrate the centenary of Tagore’s Nobel award, in 2013, Prithwindra brought out a trilingual (Bengali-French-English) anthology of 108 poems by Tagore, A Shade Sharp, a Shade flat, it was launched by the President of the illustrious Sociéte des Gens de Lettres founded by Balzac. 

We take the opportunity to congratulate Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee for being conferred with the prestigious ‘Padma Shri’.

With warm regards,

Anurag Banerjee


Overman Foundation.

10 Replies to “Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee presented with the Padma Shri at the Embassy of India at Paris, France, on 15 August 2022

  1. Congratulations dear Prithwin da.
    Apart from being an outstanding literary figure you were also a musician .You make us so proud.

  2. Proud of the Great Prithwindra Dada. Much glad to read many things of his journey as presented here with this pithy discussion.

  3. Prithwin da, what a proud and happy moment for all of us who have been your students in school in Pondicherry before you left for France.

  4. Very happy to see glimpses of the special occasion, especially the photograph of the smiling
    Prithwin-da exuding a Sri Aurobindonian cheerfulness.

  5. Congratulations!
    And thank you for all your accomplishments. It is always a great joy to read and learn from your work.

  6. Dear Prithwin-da
    We all feel ,indeed ,proud of you and your worthy achievements ..
    – It looks like it was a very dignified and beautiful ceremony arranged by Indian Embassy to present this prestigious award to you which you so richly deserve it ..
    With the Divine Mother’s Blessings upon you —
    Warm regards
    Surendra S Chouhan SAICE’ 69

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