Mukherjee

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Mukherjee or Mookerjee or Mukerji or Mukherji is a Kulin Brahmin Bengali surname, common among residents of the Indian state of West Bengal. The traditional Bengali version is Mukhopaddhae, which is sometimes written Mukhopadhyay, which is alternately spelled as Mookerjee or Mukerji.


Origins[edit]

Main article: Kulin Brahmins

All Mukherjees belong to the Bharadwaj Gotra or the clan of Rishi Bharadwaj. The Mukherjees belong to the Kulin Brahmin class and are also classified as Radh Brahmins. The origins of most Brahmins in Southern Bengal was the Gangetic plains of Northern India, chiefly Kanauj. The Mukherjees, along with Banerjees, Chatterjees and Gangulys moved on to settle on the western banks of the Bhagirathi river in Southern Bengal during the reign of the Sena Dynasty of Bengal. This region is known as Radh or Radh Bhoomi, leading to these clans of Brahmins being categorized as Radh Brahmins.

For several decades from the 1970s to the 1990s, the West Bengal Higher Secondary board mandatorily changed all spelling variants (Mukherjee, Mukerjee, Mookerji etc.) to Mukhopadhyay (as was done with Bannerjee, Ganguly, etc.)

Etymology[edit]

Note that "Mukherjee" evolved from the Sanskrit Mukhopadhyay (Bengali: মুখোপাধ্যায় Mukhopaddhae). Mukhopadhyay is from the purer Sanskrit form Mukhyopadhyay (in Sanskrit Mukhya – chief, Upadhyay – teacher, not necessarily a religious teacher). In modern parlance, the two are often used interchangeably, much like other such pairs (Banerjee/Bandhyopadhyay, Chatterjee/Chattyopadhyay, Ganguly/Gangopadhyay), with the latter being used primarily in religious contexts. How these interchangeable pairs arose is unknown. Another theory is that Upadhyay from Kanauj settled at different villages in present day West Bengal and thus earned the prefixes of the villages before their Upadhay surname.[citation needed]

Mukhuti[edit]

Families with surnames Mukhati or Mukhuti are believed to be of the same origins as Mukherjees and it is possible that these surnames represent the older forms of the Mukherjee surname.[citation needed] According to another alternative hypothesis in common belief, Mukhati or Mukhuti came to be the surname of some Mukherjees who took to the fields and worked with the langol (plough) akin to the Bhumihar Brahmins in neighbouring Bihar and are therefore sometimes called "langla bamun".[citation needed] Mukhoti village near Bankura, West Bengal may be the original village in this case (refer to Niharranjan Ray's "Bangalir Itihas").[1][2]

There are several hypotheses on the origin of the jee in Mukherjee (and in the related Chatterjee and Banerjee surnames).[3]

Deogharia[edit]

Families with surname Deogharia are also Mukherjee. The title of Deogharia belongs to Mukherjee families of erstwhile Panchkot kingdom (near Adra, Purulia, West Bengal). The title of Deogharia was given by the kings to the Mukherjee families of that place who were involved in religious activities. However, now as neither there is any kingdom, nor any signification of such title, many are reconverting surname of their children back to Mukherjee.

Notable Mukherjees[edit]

Notable people with the last name Mukherjee:

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  1. Mahua Mukherjee, dancer

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See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sherring, M.A. (2008) [First ed 1872]. Hindu Tribes and Castes as Reproduced in Benaras (new ed.). 6A, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi-110049, India: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 978-81-206-2036-0. 
  2. ^ Saraswati, Swami Sahajanand (2003). Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Rachnawali in Six volumes (in Volume 1). Delhi: Prakashan Sansthan. pp. 519 (at p 68–69) (Volume 1). ISBN 81-7714-097-3. 
  3. ^ See also -ji.