Prof. Tutun Mukherjee, former Professor and Director at the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad, India, as well as a Joint Professor at the Centre for Women's Studies and Department of Theatre Arts, University of Hyderabad, has left us on January 07, at the age of 68. She is survived by her two children and husband.
A distinguished scholar of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, and an engaging teacher and a great mentor, Prof. Tutun Mukherjee taught at the University of Hyderabad and Osmania University for many years. Her primary research focused on Literary Criticism and Theory, World Literatures, Comparative Literature, Women's Writing, Translation Theory, Theatre and Film Studies. She worked extensively on these areas besides contributing a significant number of journal articles and book chapters with publishers of national and international repute. She jointly edited a volume titled, Companion to Comparative Literature, World Literatures, and Comparative Cultural Studies, with Steven Totosy de Zepetnek, published in 2014. This work attempted to bring together the current international scholarship in these three major areas of knowledge in Humanities. Her other works include - I. A. Richards and New Criticism (1990), The Chicago Critics: An Evaluation (1992), Translation: From Periphery To Centrestage (1998), Girish Karnad's Plays: Performance and Critical Perspectives (2006), The Plays of Mahesh Dattani (2012), Staging Resistance: Plays by Women in Translation (2012); and Androgyny and Female Impersonation in India: Nari Bhav (2016) with Niladri R. Chatterjee. She was also on the editorial team of numerous national and international journals. Under her supervision, a mega project of EPG Pathshala - English has been completed recently.
Prof. Tutun Mukherjee extensively translated from Bangla into English. She was engaged in compiling a translated volume of Dalit literature from Eastern India, the volume is yet to be published. She worked till last day of her life before being admitted to the hospital. A volume on Indian Epics is the last complete work which she prepared for publishing. Two volumes on Gender and Culture and Gender and Development will be published soon.
She played a pivotal role in advancing the discipline of Comparative Literature as the Head of the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad - to enhance the study of Comparative Literature in a multilingual context she introduced MA programme in Comparative Literature. Apart from formal academic activities she introduced many academic initiatives for engaging students and scholars with new dialogues such as - Researchers' at Work Conference (RAW.CON) which in her own words is "a conference organised by the students, for academic engagement of the students, researchers and early career researchers." She was a keen observer and always came up with suggestions to promote a peer-centric learning process. Introduction of regular meeting for researchers to share their work, organising students' panels for conference participation - Prof. Mukherjee was always proactive in such initiatives. She accepted several challenges to enhance and extend the significance and meaning of Comparative Literature in the Indian context. In addition to her intellectual rigour, Prof. Tutun Mukherjee's legacy also included introducing Translation Studies as a discipline in the Centre for Comparative Literature which she built up with exceptional scholarship and utmost dedication.
Prof. Tutun Mukherjee will always be remembered as a teacher with a smiling face, immense energy and dedication. She was a teacher with multiple qualities to be followed by anyone in academic life. She served in many administrative positions while refusing many attractive academic positions. Her uncompromising nature, vision made her a natural leader among her colleagues. She never believed that she has been suffering from any ailment. She was very happy to find that almost all the students whom she supervised are established in the academic world.
She was and will always remain a source of inspiration for innumerable students pursuing Comparative Literature and Translation Studies in India and abroad. Her passing away is an irreparable loss for the Indian academia. She has left behind a legacy of critical thinking and it is the responsibility of the present scholars to carry it forward, and to delve deeper into the discipline. The entire academic community pays homage to one of the most intellectual and diligent minds of our time.
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