In Memoriam, Meenakshi Mukherjee


The news that Meenakshi Mukherjee is no more is quite a shock... A colleague who was the very definition of collegiality, a major intellect who came to define the JNU Center for English, a well-wisher, and friend...

She taught at a number of places in India- Patna, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, and at the Jawaharlal Nehru University- as well as at several universities outside India- UT Austin, Chicago, Berkeley, Macquarie, Canberra, and Flinders. And her scholarship was formidable- the number of books she wrote or edited bear testimony to that. She also played a major role in nurturing what has become known as Indian Writing in English, be it by encouraging authors and poets, or through her own writing, in a series of remarkable critical essays, many of which have been collected in different volumes.

She received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2003 for her book The Perishable Empire: Essays On Indian Writing In English. Her other books include

  • The Twice Born Fiction (1971, reprinted in 2001)
  • Realism and Reality: Novel and Society in India (1985, paperback 1992)
  • Re-reading Jane Austen (1994)
  • The Perishable Empire (2000, paperback 2002).
  • Considerations: Twelve Studies of Indian Literature in English (1977),
  • Midnight's Children: A Book of Readings (1999), and
  • Early Novels in India (2002)
  • Another India (jointly with Nissim Ezekiel, 1990).
Her most recent books include the edited volume, Nation in Imagination Essays on Nationalism, Sub-Nationalisms and Narration, of the papers presented at the 13th Triennial conference of the Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS), held in 2004 in Hyderabad, and Elusive Terrain: Culture and Literary Memory a collection of thirteen essays that examine the various strands that exist in the tangled texture of our plural existence—language, translation, religion, politics, gender, caste, community, films, migration, and nostalgia for a lost home.

And An Indian for all Seasons: The many Lives of R.C. Dutt, just published by Penguin, which, like all her work, is "meticulously researched and elegantly written".

A scholar who will be missed. For her intellectual enthusiasm, for her kindness, for her insight. But most, because she made that difference.

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