Few people know that Dr Manmatha Nath Chatterjee popularly known as MN Chatterjee, one of the earliest eye surgeons in the country was a top class musician.
In order to pay homage on his sesquicentennial birth anniversary, a function will be jointly organised by Sutradhar and Dr Manmatha Nath Chatterjee Memorial Committee on May 14. Dr PB Sarkar, a well known eye specialist who made Gitabitan Archieve will be felicitated on the occasion.
Chatterjee was a friend of Dr RG Kar and joined the Carmichael Medical College as the senior Professor of Ophthalmic Surgery. His colleagues were Dr BC Roy, Dr Lalit Banerjee, KC Dass, who invented Dass’ forceps, Dr UN Bramhachari, who discovered the medicine of Kaala Zaar, Dr Panchanan Chatterjee, Dr Amal Roychowdhury among many others. He donated his house at Rajabazar where an eye hospital has been set up.
Chatterjee was a trained bina and sitar player and had cut five single sided 10 inch disc records.
This hitherto unknown fact came to light from a famous book The Gramaphone Company’s First Indian Recordings, 1899-1908 written by Michael S Kinner, the famous Australian discographer.
He wrote that the second recording expedition of The Gramaphone and Typewriter Limited in India was led by William Sinkler Darby and was assisted by Max Hampe in 1904-05.
In addition to the vocalists, recordings of various Indian musical instruments like sitar, bina, clarionet, shahnai and esraj by amateur performers were taken which were later reproduced on gramophone records from elsewhere. Chatterjee was among the amateur artistes.
Apart from Manmatha Nath, his two brothers, the elder one Narayan Chandra was a trained pakwaj player and his younger brother Jitendra Nath played esraj.
Chatterjee was a brilliant scholar with bright academic career. In the final MBBS examination he was honoured with five gold medals. Nath, who was an animal lover, created a mini zoo garden at his house where he kept birds, an elephant and a cub.
Despite his busy schedule Chatterjee used to play sitar and he maintained it till his old age.