Gooroodas Banerjee

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Gooroodas Banerjee
গুরুদাস ব্যানার্জী
Statues in Kolkata 04.jpg
Statue of Gooroodas Banerjee in Calcutta University
Born(1844-01-26)26 January 1844
Died2 December 1918(1918-12-02) (aged 74)
Alma materOriental Seminary
Scottish Church College
University of Calcutta
OccupationUniversity academic

Sir Gooroodas Banerjee, today also written Gurudas Banerjee, also Gurudas Bandyopadhyay[1][2] (Bengali Sir Gurudasa Banerjee স্যার গুরুদাস ব্যানার্জী) (Calcutta, 26 January 1844- Calcutta, 2 December 1918) was a Bengali Indian judge of the Calcutta High Court.[3] In 1890, he also became the first Indian Vice-Chancellor of University of Calcutta.[4][5]


Guru Das Bannerjee.jpg

He received his early education at the Oriental Seminary, and the Hare School at the Presidency College in Kolkata.[6] the General Assembly's Institution (now Scottish Church College), the University of Calcutta.[7][8][9][10][11] He obtained an M.A. with a focus on Mathematics in 1865, winning a University medal for attaining first place in his examinations, and passed the B.L. examination in 1866.[6] in 1877, he obtained a Doctorate in Law.[6]


Banerjee briefly taught as an Assistant Lecturer in Mathematics, before joining the General Assembly's Institution, now known as the Scottish Church College, as a Professor of Mathematics.[11][12][6]

Banerjee began his legal practice in Berhampore, simultaneously teaching law and mathematics on a part-time basis at Berhmapore College. In 1872, he moved his legal practice to Kolkata, representing clients such as the erstwhile Nawab of Murshidabad at the Calcutta High Court.[6] In 1878, he was appointed to the Tagore Professorship of Law, and delivered the Tagore Law Lectures in the same year, on 'The Hindu Laws of Marriage and Stridhan'.[13] The Tagore Law Lectures were later published as a legal text on Hindu marriage laws.[6]

In 1888, Banerjee was appointed as a judge of the Calcutta High Court, retiring in 1904 from the Bench.[6] In addition to serving as a judge, he was the first Indian to be appointed as the vice-chancellor of the University of Calcutta, serving in that capacity from 1 January 1890 to 31 December 1892. He was knighted by the British government on 22 July 1904.[14] He was also the President of the Board of Mathematics and Sanskrit during this time.[6]

He also became one of the teachers of Bengal National College of which the great freedom fighter, Aurobindo Ghosh, was the principal. He made notable contributions to the spread of education by making sure that Narkeldanga High School got raised to secondary standard.[citation needed]


There is a prestigious post in the Department of English of the University of Calcutta named after Sir Gooroodas Banerjee. The professor who holds this post comes to be known as Sir Gooroodas Banerjee Professor. There are two undergraduate colleges in Kolkata that commemorate his name, the Gurudas College and the Sir Gurudas Mahavidyalaya. In memoirs of him, Sir Gurudas Banerjee Halt railway station was established in sub urban railway of Kolkata.

Banerjee was quite well known for his devotion to his mother who was very orthodox in her ways of life. Every day, he would bring the sacred Ganges water for her mother. She, on her deathbed, ordered her son Sir Gurudas to invite Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar to her obsequies. Vidyasagar had by this time become an object of attack by the orthodox Brahmins owing to his introduction of widow remarriage. Defying all social obstacles, Sir Gurudas invited Vidyasagar to her mother's funeral to fulfill her last wish.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Bengal's Renaissance - Page 41 Sitansu Sekhar Mittra - 2001 "In his convocation address given on 24th January, 1891 to the graduates from the University of Calcutta Gurudas Bandyopadhyay, the first Indian Vice Chancellor of an Indian university, insisted on making Bengali the medium of instruction in ..."
  2. ^ Review Indian Economic & Social History 3 Jul 2010 – "Encyclopaedia Indica... Jagdish Sharan Sharmah..... For example, Gurudas Banerjee, the lucky stiff, gets three entries. First, on page 110 of volume 1, he is 'Banerjee, Gooroodas (1844-1918). ' In the very next entry on the very same page he is 'Banerjee, Sir Gurudas. (1844-1918).' Then on page 121, after meandering around through 'Banda Nawaz Chisti, Shrine of,' 'Banaras Hindu University,' 'Bamaur,' 'Banaji, ......"
  3. ^ Sushil Chaudhury (13 September 2016). Trade, Politics and Society: The Indian Milieu in the Early Modern Era. ISBN 9781351997270. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  4. ^ Rediff Q&A Answer for: The first Indian to become Vice Chancellor of a university? Archived 24 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Khanna, H.R. (1985). "Chapter 5: Great Names in Indian Judiciary". Judiciary in India and Judicial Process: Tagore Law Lectures. Calcutta: Ajoy Law House. pp. 67–69.
  7. ^ The Indian nation builders: Volume 3 After a bright career at school and in college Mr. Gooroodas Bannerjee took his M. A. Degree in Mathematics in the year 1865, and was soon after appointed Lecturer in Mathematics in the Presidency College, Calcutta. In the following year he ...
  8. ^ Uma Dasgupta Science and Modern India: An Institutional History, C. 1784-1947 2011 Page 745 "Gurudas Banerjee (1844-1918): Was a mathematician who turned to the practice of law; became the first Indian vice-chancellor of the Calcutta University"
  9. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Events & Dates - Page A-128 S. B. Bhattacherje - 2009 "1844 Gooroodas Banerjee was born on July 26 in Calcutta."
  10. ^ Scottish Church College Magazine(Year - 1999,2000 and 2001.Volume - 87,88 and 89).
  11. ^ a b Some Alumni of Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. page 592
  12. ^ Staff List: General Assembly's Institution in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008. page 568
  13. ^ "Tagore|Law|Lecture". Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  14. ^ The London Gazette, 22 July 1904

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