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SONALI MUKHERJEE

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 1/15/2016 |





SONGSOPTOK: We would like to start this interview with your opinion on the theme of our current issue. Do you think that cultural heritage has a role to play in modern society? Why?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  Cultural heritage is the essence of an individual. A child is shaped into an adult both physically and mentally by the cultural environment in which it ius brought up. So the theme is definitely very judiciously chosen.


SONGSOPTOK:  How would you define cultural heritage? In your opinion, is it something tangible or intangible? Or is it a combination of both? If so, in what way?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  Of course it combines both the aspects. As our mind, attitude, views are honed by our cultural heritage, our appearances, attires, accessories are also dictated by the culture of our guardians, whether natural or adopted. As that is the basic definition of cultural heritage, the environment in which we grow up encompasses our cultural heritage.


SONGSOPTOK:  In the country and the society you live in, do you think culture and cultural heritage are important? In what way?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  In any country or society these are factors affecting all the steps of life from birth to death. So this is obviously a very important issue.


SONGSOPTOK:  What, if any, are the outward manifestations of this heritage in the day to day life of the society you live in?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  Every aspect of our daily life reflects our cultural heritage. From the way we greet the morning , to the way we go to sleep greeting our near ones would reflect the way we have been brought up. Our hygiene, attires ,appearances, vocabulary, all reflect our cultural heritage every moment.


SONGSOPTOK:  Is culture, in its different components, taught or learnt? Should it, for example, be taught to children? Or is there a different way of transmission of cultural values to future generations?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  Yes, culture is taught actively. But I think, culture is more astrongly learnt and absorbed by each individual child from its respective environment, and that has a stronger effect on its personality and mental make up.


SONGSOPTOK:  In your opinion, can culture be equated to tradition? Or do you believe culture is actually a living thing that tends to evolve over time?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  Culture is partly tradition, but rest of it is built an individual's inherent mental ability and unique perspective.


SONGSOPTOK:  Do you think that the increasing importance of technology and mechanization of modern society play a significant role as far as cultural heritage is concerned? Does the word ‘heritage’ have any relevance to the society you live in? Can you please give us some examples to illustrate your answer?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  Technology is omnipresent. Now we have added " ggod morning " "ggod night" greetings to our social medias like Facebook and whatsapp too. Courtesy has also become technical.


SONGSOPTOK:  What, if any, are the impacts of your own cultural heritage in your very personal sphere? If you live in a multicultural society, how would you analyze the interaction between different cultures?

SONALI MUKHERJEE: My cultural heritage is compiled of Tagore,Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, AJ Cronin, Dickens,Reader's Digest etc on one hand and Vaishnab Padabali,  kathamrita,all bengali authors from Bankim chandra, Sarat chandra, Girish ghosh, Dinbandhu Mitra, even Krittibas, Kasidas onthe other, which trailed along till the current times. My medical sciences and cosmopolitan school never clashed in any way with my love for spending happy hours in the Puja Room,playing with


SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe that you have to stop being traditional – that is, give up some of your beliefs and practices in order to be ‘modern’? Or do you think that there is no incompatibility between the two? What is your personal experience?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  There is nothing  truly traditional or modern. These are all relative terms. We should only be concerned about the dignity we gift to our fellow beings and ourselves in every day life.


SONGSOPTOK:  Do you believe in ‘cultural imperialism’? What is your personal experience? In this context, do you believe that the world is increasingly becoming mono cultural based on the principles of the modern society?

SONALI MUKHERJEE:  The inherent tendency of man, from time immemorial, was to mark any body different from him in behavior, dress, language pattern etc as enemy, and to destroy those persons. Previously they killed,ate,burnt, beheaded those .  In so-called civilised times attacks were rationalized, verbal, moderate, due tyo cerebral inhibitions. Now we are reverting back to animal patterns of primitive times as more and more substance abuse and bwild behavior is being promoted in the name of liberalisation, or globalization.


DR. SONALI MUKHERJEE: JOINT SECRETARY INDIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (BEHALA BRANCH: KOLKATA), IS A MEDICAL PRACTITIONER BY PROFESSION. SHE IS ALSO A POET AND WRITER AND A CLASSICAL DANCER.



We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen

(Editor: Songsoptok)

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