Mukherjee, Suroopa

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Mukherjee, Suroopa

ADDRESSES:

Home—India. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Educator and writer. Teacher of literature at Delhi University, Delhi, India; research fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti House, Delhi.

WRITINGS:

Victorian Poets, Book Land Publishing (Mumbai, India), 2001.

Doctor Faustus, Book Land Publishing (Mumbai, India), 2001.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: The Worst Industrial Disaster in Human History, a Book for Young People ("Focus" series), photographs by Raghu Rai, Tulika Publishers (Chennai, India), 2002.

A Tale of the Forest, Rupa (Kolkata, India), 2003.

Across the Mystic Shore (novel), Macmillan New Writing (London, England), 2007.

Also author of other books for children and young adults.

SIDELIGHTS:

Suroopa Mukherjee is an English literature teacher in India, where she coordinates a student group that focuses on creating awareness among youth about environmental issues and corporate crimes that cause environmental damage. With Bhopal Gas Tragedy: The Worst Industrial Disaster in Human History, a Book for Young People, Mukherjee writes of the night on December 3, 1984, when forty-one tons of deadly gas leaked from the storage tanks at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. She writes of the thousands of people who were instantly killed and of the many more who suffer health problems to the present day. Mukherjee bases her history on interviews with survivors and information she obtained from the media and health and human rights organizations. She notes that Union Carbide at first denied the incident, then said the leak was of a tear-gas type of substance. They offered no antidote. In addition to providing the details of the disaster, the book emphasizes the necessity of responsible science and technology with regard to human rights and safety. Mukherjee writes: "This story has a starting point, but unfolds as a continuing saga because Bhopal is not one single event that happened and is past. Eighteen years later, Bhopal is still happening. If, by the end of this story, I can show the reader that a human disaster is never inexplicable, or divinely ordained, or simply the result of ill luck; that the human side of a tragedy is not an unalterable, given condition; that every tragedy can be understood, analysed and prevented from recurring—then this story would have been well worth told."

Mukherjee's next book, Across the Mystic Shore, is a novel. The story is about four women friends who reunite and must resolve issues surrounding a boy born in an ashram in Varanasi. Shalini Umachandran reviewed the novel for Hindu Online, writing: "Authors, of course, are not responsible for appallingly sloppy editing but typographical and grammatical errors do make reading a book an absolute trial." Umachandran added that this "is an unusual story with appealing characters that could have been rescued from mediocrity by a couple of strict editors." Shameless Words reviewer Seamus Kearney similarly faulted the editing, but about the story itself, Kearney wrote: "There is no doubt that this book has been written with an enormous amount of passion, and it's clear the author has a great sense of what ingredients are needed for a mesmerising tale."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2007, review of Across the Mystic Shore.

ONLINE

Hindu Online,http://www.hindu.com/ (October 1, 2007), Shalini Umachandran, review of Across the Mystic Shore.

Shameless Words,http://shamelesswords.blogspot.com/ (August 21, 2006), Seamus Kearney, review of Across the Mystic Shore.

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