Mukherjee

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'Mukherjee , Mukerjee , Mookerjee , Mukerji , Mukherji or Mookherjee is a Kulin Brahmin surname of Hindu Religion, 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. In the eleventh century AD., the ruler of Bengal, Adisara, is reputed to have brought five Brahmins known for their superior rank to the region. These Vedic Brahmins were supposed to have nine gunas (favoured attributes), among which was insistence on same rank marriages.[1] Later,the Mukherjees, along with Banerjees, Chatterjees, Bhattacharjees and Gangulys moved on to settle on the western banks of the Bhagirathi river in Southern Bengal on the invitation of the Sena Dynasty of Bengal. The invitation was meant to establish Brahminism in Bengal which has been ruled by the Buddhist Pala dynasty for about four centuries. Though the first wave of Brahmin migration to Bengal started during the Maurya period and the Jain Acharya Bhadrabahu - regarded to be the preceptor of Chandragupta Maurya - is said to have been born in Brahmin family of Pundravardhana (or Puṇḍra), the medium to large scale migrations of Brahmins from other parts of India to Bengal, especially from the ancient Kanyakubja region, happened during the last part of the Buddhist Pala Empire and early part of Hindu Sena dynasty. .[2][3] 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 Bhumihars 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").[4][5]

There are several hypotheses on the origin of the jee in Mukherjee (and in the related Chatterjee and Banerjee surnames).[6]

Deogharia[edit]

Families with surname Deogharia are also Mukherjee. The title of Deogharia belongs to Chatterjee families and are of Kashyap gotra 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 significance of such title, many are reconverting surname of their children back to Mukherjee.[citation needed]

Notable Mukherjees[edit]

Notable people with the last name Mukherjee:

Pranab Mukherjee - The President of India

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Syama Prasad Mookerjee - the founder Bharatiya Jana Sangh which would later evolve into Bharatiya Janata Party, the current ruling party of India.

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See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reflections on Kulin Polygamy,p2
  2. ^ cf. Banger Jatiya Itihash, Brahman Kanda, Vol 3, Chapter 1
  3. ^ cf. History of Brahmin Clans,page 281
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ See also -ji.