Arati Banerjee, B.A graduate, Agra University, 1954

“Arati Banerjee ( 82 years;) Graduated in 1954. Agra University. BA in English/History/Sanskrit

Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. BT ( Allahabad University)

Arati Banerjee nee Mukherjee completed her graduation in 1954 from Agra University in English, Sanskrit and History. One among 14 children in a middle-class family, Ms Banerjee’s thirst for knowledge was probably what kept her going. In those days, her hometown, Kanauj, in Farrukhabad (UP) had no facilities beyond the intermediate level. She had to commute to the industrial town of Kanpur, which  was 130 km from Kanauj , in infrequent  passenger trains ( there were only two trains between Kanpur and Kanauj then-one in the morning and another in the evening) to attend a degree college. This meant a total of 3 hours to Kanpur, and another 3 hours back home.  Of course, there were no buses or any other means of transport that she could avail of. Kanpur did not have a university then. And hence, she had to appear for her graduation exams under Agra University.  Probably, her father, a lecturer in Chemistry in the local college, was the biggest inspiration for her.

Bent on pursuing a career, she started working as a teacher in a primary school immediately after her Intermediate education, even while she pursued her graduation degree. She appeared for her graduation exams as a private candidate. Marriage the same year brought her to Allahabad, where she subsequently enrolled for post-graduation. Unfortunately, three little sons and the responsibilities of running a home prevented her from completing her post-graduation. However, even as a housewife and mother, she completed her Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad.

A decade later, she was back to teaching following a BT degree. She retired in 1993 as a Senior Teacher from the Annie Besant Girls Intermediate College, Allahabad.

Mrs Arati Banerjee belongs to my extended family. She is my Jethima/Taiji’s eldest  Bowdi/bhabhi. Mamima to all of us. To us all, she is a symbol of resilience, and a person who could fight all odds to follow her calling in life.”

Contributor:  Dr. Rina Mukherji,
Network of Women in Media, India –Bengal Chapter, Kolkata

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