Suniti Kumar Chatterji

Suniti Kumar Chatterji
Native name সুনীতিকুমার চট্টোপাধ্যায়
Born (1890-11-26)26 November 1890
Shibpur, Howrah, Bengal, British India
Died 29 May 1977(1977-05-29) (aged 86)
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Nationality Indian
Religion Hinduism
Awards Padma Bhushan (1955)

Suniti Kumar Chatterji (26 November 1890 – 29 May 1977) was an Indian linguist, educationist and litterateur. He was a recipient of the third highest Indian civilian honour of Padma Bhushan.[1]


Chatterji was born on 26 November 1890 at Shibpur in Howrah. He was the son of Haridas Chattopadhyay, an affluent Kulin Brahmin.[2]


Suniti Kumar was a meritorious student, and passed the Entrance (school leaving) examination from the Mutty Lal Seal's Free School (1907), ranking sixth, and the FA (pre-university examination) from the renowned Scottish Church College, standing third. He did his Major (Honours) in English literature from Presidency College, Kolkata, standing first in the first class in 1911. His childhood friend was famous industrialist Nagendra Nath Das founder of Power Tools And Appliance Co. Ltd. In 1913, he completed his M.A. in English literature, again standing first. The same year, he was appointed lecturer in English at Vidyasagar College, Kolkata where his colleague was the thespian, Sisir Kumar Bhaduri.


In 1914, he became assistant professor of English in the Post-Graduate Department of the University of Calcutta, which he held till 1919. He went abroad to study at the University of London where he studied Phonology, Indo-European Linguistics, Prakrit, Persian, Old Irish, Gothic and other languages. He then went to Paris and did research at the Sorbonne in Indo-Aryan, Slav and Indo-European Linguistics, Greek and Latin. His teacher was internationally acclaimed linguist, Jules Bloch. After returning to India in 1922, he joined the University of Calcutta as the Khaira Professor of Indian Linguistics and Phonetics. After retirement in 1952, he was made Professor Emeritus and later in 1965, the National Research Professor of India for Humanities.

World tour with Tagore

Suniti Kumar accompanied Rabindranath Tagore to Malaya, Sumatra, Java, and Bali, where he delivered lectures on Indian art and culture. He was Chairman of the West Bengal Legislative Council (1952–58) and President (1969) of the Sahitya Akademi.


Among his important publications on both language and literature are


Suniti Kumar died on May 29, 1977 in Calcutta. A large part of his house 'Sudharma' সুধর্মা, an architectural marvel, in South Calcutta has been converted into a Fabindia store.

See also


  1. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  2. Badiuzzaman (2012). "Chatterji, Suniti Kumar". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  3. The origin and development of the Bengali language,Calcutta University press, Calcutta (1926)

External links

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