Partha Banerjee

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Partha Banerjee
Partha image
Banerjee at Brooklyn For Peace's 30th anniversary dinner in 2014
OccupationHuman Rights Activist, Educator, Writer.,[1] Musician[2]
LanguageBengali, English, Hindi
EducationMaster of Science (Columbia University) Ph.D. (Southern Illinois University) M.S. (Illinois State University) M.Sc. (University of Calcutta)
Notable awardsSevellon Brown Award, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Scripps Howard Scholarship, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Independent Press Association award for columns in ethnic media, New York.

Emigrant Savings Bank award for post-9/11 grassroots work with immigrants.
SpouseMukti Banerjee[3]

Dr. Partha Banerjee is a human rights activist, writer,[4] educator,[5] media critic,[6] and musician.[7] Born and raised in Kolkata (Calcutta), Banerjee now lives in New York with frequent visits to India.


Partha Banerjee spent the first half of his life in India, and the second half in the U.S.

Life in India[edit]

Partha Banerjee grew up in Calcutta (now Kolkata).[8] His father Jitendra Nath Banerjee (1924-2017) was a grassroots political organizer in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)[9] and its erstwhile political wing Bharatiya Jana Sangh (now Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP). Partha Banerjee received his first training in political organizing from his father while with RSS,[10] and later by his maternal uncle Buddhadev Bhattacharjee who belonged to Congress Party.[11] Partha Banerjee quit RSS out of ideological disillusionment with the organization's militant, fundamentalist doctrine, yet without disavowing his deep roots in ecumenical and secular Hinduism.[12]

In 1985, Partha Banerjee came to USA as an international student in biology.[13]

Educator and Organizer[edit]

Dr. Partha Banerjee has been a human rights activist and organizer with a focus on immigrants and workers.[14] Since moving to New York, he has worked first as a grassroots immigrant rights organizer,[15] and then as a labor educator.[16] He has also written major articles to champion the rights of women[17] especially women in the Indian subcontinent.

Life in USA[edit]

Partha Banerjee teaching his labor workshop.jpg

In 1985, after teaching biology at a remote, rural college[18] in West Bengal for four years, Banerjee left for USA to pursue a Ph.D. in biological sciences. He earned his second master's degree[13] from Illinois State University,[19] and then went on to earn his doctorate degree in plant biology[20] from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.[21] In 1992, he earned his Ph.D.[22] with a dissertation research award, and started working as a postdoctoral research scientist with the state system in Albany, New York.[23]

In 1999, Dr. Banerjee quit his science career, and moved to New York City to pursue his third master's degree, this time from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.[4] He received a prestigious Sevellon Brown award for his understanding of American media and ethics. He also received a Scripps-Howard fellowship[24] to travel with a group of fellow students to Israel, Palestine and Jordan, to report on religions of that region.

After a brief stint as a science journalist, and producing a number of two-minute-long stories for ScienCentral, an ABC TV-affiliate company in New York, he began working for a grassroots immigrant rights group New Immigrant Community Empowerment,[25] in the aftermath of the tragedies of September 11, 2001. NICE became known for its work against bigotry and hate crimes.[26] Later, New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, a statewide policy organization, hired him as its executive director. Banerjee organized a number of immigrant rights conferences,[27] and put together an umbrella coalition of rights and justice groups.

In 2005-2006, New York Civil Liberties union chose Dr. Banerjee as one of its five plaintiffs on a nationally publicized lawsuit[28] to challenge against the post-9/11 subway bag searches run by the New York Police Department.

In 2007, Dr. Banerjee was employed by the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies[29] at Empire State College in New York to teach English writing, immigration and diversity, and media to its labor union workers, and also as an Outreach Coordinator.[30] In 2011, Dr. Banerjee was hired to work as a labor educator and educational program developer at the Joint Industry Board of the Electrical Industry;[31] he has held the position since. One of his major responsibilities has been to design and teach an April-to-November, interactive, critical-thinking labor workshop[32] on various political, social and economic subjects.


Publications in the U.S.,[33] India[34] and Bangladesh have published Dr. Banerjee's books and articles in English and Bengali languages. He has written both professional and popular articles on a diverse array of subjects.[35] He has also translated Bengali short stories, poetry and songs. A Bangladesh-based, online literary magazine[36] has published Ghotikahini,[37] his Bengali-language memoir, in weekly segments. Ghotikahini is now published as a 350-page book (December, 2015) by Ravan Prakashana, Calcutta, India.

Bengali memoir "Ghotikahini" launch in Calcutta, December 2015.

In February 2018, his translation of Bengali short stories Music Box and Moonshine came out.

Work with Media[edit]

Noted publications such as the New York Times,[38] CNN,[35] the Progressive,[33] Outlook India,[39] Ananda Bazar Patrika,[40] Ebela, The Statesman and Aajkaal have published his letters and articles, or quoted him on various issues, especially his work on human rights and rights and justice for underprivileged immigrants.[41] A number of Bengali-language newspapers from USA have published his articles and interviews.[42]

Media Criticism and Ethics[edit]

A student of Noam Chomsky, world-renowned intellectual and critic of U.S. foreign policy and corporate media, Dr. Banerjee has written extensively on political and economic interests of mainstream media.[43] His interview with Noam Chomsky has been picked up by many news outlets and blogs.[16] Dr. Banerjee's association with Noam Chomsky is well known across the peace and justice community. In 2005, after having worked as the post-production translator of Oscar-winning documentary Born into Brothels, he came out with a strong critique[44] of the movie, pointing out its "ethical and stylistic flaws."

Bengali and Indian Diaspora[edit]

Dr. Banerjee has remained involved with the Bengali and Indian immigrant communities. Voice of America's Bengali radio section has found him as a speaker on many of their shows especially those pertaining to immigrants and human rights.[45]

Musician and Cultural Activist[edit]

Partha Banerjee wrote and spoke—both in English and Bengali—on the subjects of cultural erosion and "kitsch," and drew illustrations from the life and creations of Nobel Poet Rabindranath Tagore.

Recording Tagore's Music[edit]

In 2012, Banerjee published "Aro Ektu Bosho" (Stay a Little More), his solo CD album of Tagore songs.[46]

Political Philosophy: Second Circle[edit]

Dr. Banerjee began his political career in India as a member of right wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) because of familial connections: his father has been a lifelong activist of the organization. He quit RSS and its political wing [Bharatiya Janata Party] (BJP)[47] and student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), because of ideological disillusionment. His book on RSS and BJP was a product of his years of association with the groups. After working informally with left-leaning organizations both in India and USA, he developed his own, unique political and social doctrine. He designed a broad-based, coalition-building model to bring together all the moderate and non-violent, working men and women—both from the left and right—to a common platform. He calls it the Second Circle, as illustrated in his publication Second Circle—Middle Majority of the Working People[48]

Second Circle Stage 3

Books and Journal Articles[edit]

Books (1) Banerjee, Partha. 2018. Music Box and Moonshine. Rubric Publishing,New Delhi. ISBN 978-81-935295-0-8. (2) Banerjee, Partha. 2015. Ghotikahini. Ravan Prakashana, Calcutta, India. ISBN 978-81-931890-4-7. (3) Banerjee, Partha. 1998. In the Belly of the Beast: Hindu Supremacist RSS and BJP of India – An Insider's Story. Ajanta Books International, Delhi, India. (4) Banerjee, Partha. 2005. Straight Terror Warped Terror, Half Terror Full Terror. Ankur Publishers, Dhaka, Bangladesh (in Bengali).

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles (outside of science) (1) Banerjee, Partha. A Matter of Extreme Cruelty: Bride Burning and Dowry Deaths in India.[49] Injustice Studies, 1(1), 1997. (2) Banerjee, Partha. Second Circle: Middle Majority of the Working People: A Simple Spin Wheel Model to Build Alliance and Power across the Soft “Left and Right”.[50] International Journal of the Humanities, 9(2), 2011. (3) Banerjee, Partha, et al. The Unprecedented Income Inequality in America. Published on website of [51] July 19, 2017.

Selected Science Articles (1) Banerjee, Partha. Successful isolation and growth of tissue cultures of Pluteus species[23] (2) Banerjee, Partha. Preliminary observations on germination of Pluteus basidiospores[52] (3) Banerjee, Partha. A Systematic and Phylogenetic Study of the Genus Pluteus with Special Reference to Section Pluteus[53]


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  13. ^ a b Banerjee, Partha (December 1990). "Laboratory experiments on competition between two rhizoplane microfungi Penicillium chrysogenum and Trichoderma harzianum". Proceedings: Plant Sciences. 100 (6): 375–378. doi:10.1007/BF03053483 (inactive 1 December 2019).
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  15. ^ Bernstein, Nina (27 March 2006). "Groundswell of Protests Back Illegal Immigrants". The New York Times.
  16. ^ a b "Noam Chomsky: Republicans 'dedicated with utter servility' to the needs of the 1 percent". 5 December 2014.
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  32. ^ "Critical Thinking Workshop at the L.I. Education Center".
  33. ^ a b "Partha Banerjee".
  34. ^ "Partha-Banerjee: Latest News on Partha-Banerjee, Partha-Banerjee Photos - Outlookindia".
  35. ^ a b Moni Basu, CNN (12 December 2012). "Ravi Shankar's gift went beyond his skills on the strings -". CNN.
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  38. ^ "Opinion | Elite School Diversity (1 Letter)". The New York Times. 25 August 2006.
  39. ^ "ParthaBanerjee: Latest News on ParthaBanerjee, ParthaBanerjee Photos - Outlookindia".
  40. ^ পার্থ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়. "আনন্দবাজার - সম্পাদকীয় - ফার্গুসন কোনও বিচ্ছিন্ন ঘটনা নয়". (in Bengali).
  41. ^ Bernstein, Nina (29 April 2006). "Immigrants Panicked by Rumors of Raids". The New York Times.
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  43. ^ "The Orwellian US media". dna. 15 December 2014.
  44. ^ "Documentary "Born Into Brothels" and the Oscars: an insider's point of view : Cleveland IMC (((i)))".
  45. ^ "বিশ্ব মানবতা দিবস উপলক্ষে ড: পার্থ ব্যানার্জীর সাক্ষাৎকার". ভিওএ.
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  47. ^ "Bharatiya Janata Party - The Party With a Difference".
  48. ^ "Second Circle: Middle Majority of the Working People: A Simple Spin Wheel Model to Build Alliance and Power across the Soft "Left and Right"".
  49. ^ Partha Banerjee. "A Matter of Extreme Cruelty: Bride Burning and Dowry Deaths in India".
  50. ^ "Second Circle - Middle Majority of the Working People: A Simple Spin Wheel Model to Build Alliance and Power across the Soft "Left and Right"".
  51. ^ "The Unprecedented Income Inequality in America".
  52. ^ Banerjee, Partha; Sundberg, Walter J. (23 March 1993). "Preliminary observations on germination of Pluteus basidiospores".
  53. ^ Banerjee, Partha (1992). "A Systematic and Phylogenetic Study of the Genus Pluteus with Special ... - Partha Banerjee - Google Books".