Moni Banerjee Memorial Lecture
In memory of our beloved founder Secretary Late Prof. Moni Banerjee, we organize ‘Sanjoy Sen Memorial Lecture’ on his birthday 15th March every year since 2011.
Biography of Moni Banerjee
Born in erstwhile East Bengal, now Bangladesh, on 15th March 1921, Prof. Banerjee joined the “Certificate In Tanning” course of Bengal Tanning Institute after graduating with distinction in science from Bangabasi College, Kolkata, in 1942. During this time, he met Dr. B.M. Das, another great intellect who influenced him and would later be the guiding light that showed the young Moni Banerjee what his chosen path should be.
With a first class first in the departmental and University examinations in 1944 and ’45, Prof. Banerjee was awarded the prestigious Guruprasanna Ghosh scholarship which helped him take up higher studies in Leather Chemistry in the University of Leeds, encouraged and patronized by none other than the late Dr. B.C. Roy, “Prime Minister” of Bengal in those days. In Leeds, Prof. Banerjee worked with the great Dr. K.H. Gustavson, another leading light, and in fact was felicitated by Dr. Gustavson as “a remarkable Indian scientist…”. Passing out from Leeds in 1948, Prof. Banerjee worked in Ziln, Czechoslovakia, under a fellowship and toured Europe extensively. Ever ready to experience something new, he joined an international youth movement involved in rebuilding war ravaged Czechoslovakia, an experience which he later said was a turning point in building his character.
On his return to India, Prof. Moni Banerjee set up his own business and started producing some of the most modern finishes in leather unknown to Indian tanners at that time. But that was for a very short time, as he was soon persuaded by Dr. B.M. Das and Dr. B.C. Roy to join his old alma mater, BTI, in 1951. It was his own untiring efforts that led to BTI introducing B.Sc. (Tech) Degree course in Leather Technology in 1955 and with him being re-designated as Superintendent-cum-Principal, the institute itself was re-christened as “College of Leather Technology” in 1958. Due recognition also came from the W.B. Government, which appointed him ex-officio Dy. Director of Industries in view of his vast exposure in industry. Even Mr. Thomas Bata, of Bata India, personally recognized Prof. Banerjee’s contribution to the industry and his epoch making work to provide employment to young graduates and also poor artisans. Prof. Banerjee believed in the use of technology for social upliftment and, post-retirement, he had a successful stint as an industrial development consultant for under developed countries under the aegis of the FAO of the UNO.
It was also his dream to lead the college to a premier post-graduate institution, and he did much of the foundation work before his retirement.
It was Prof. Moni Banerjee who spearheaded the ILTA, which binds us all together, as its founder-General Secretary.
Prof. Moni Banerjee was a prime factor in shaping many a great career, and servicemen/business persons alike will testify to the guidance they have got from him. His structured approach to self-help cooperatives brought out many artisan communities out of deep poverty. He walked tall among his peers both for the breadth of his knowledge and the integrity with which he could air his views.
Today, we have his values to see us through. He was a self-motivated, fair, honest, caring and fearless man. For us, it will be the most fitting tribute if we can walk the same road.
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Renowned Personalities who delivered Sanjoy Sen Memorial Lecture
2011 Dr. Buddhadeb Chattopadhyay, Officer-in-Charge, GCELT, Kolkata
2013 Dr. N. R. Banerjea, Former V.C., BESU, Former Chairman, Webel and present President of FOSET
2014 Prof. (Dr.) Sanjoy Chakraborty, GCELT, Kolkata
2015 Dr. Samir Dasgupta, Ph.D, FSLTC, Eminent Scientist of Leather Technology, Newzealand
2016 Prof. Sonath Mukherjee, Professor, Environmental Engg. Division, Civil Engg Department, Jadavpur University