She investigated agrarian history in the Punjab also
Ludhiana: 23 April 2016: (Punjab Screen Bureau):
Mridula Mukherjee was born in 1950 in New Delhi, India. Her parents, Vidya Dhar Mahajan and Savitri Shori Mahajan had been history teachers in Lahore, from where they emigrated to New Delhi following the Partition of India in 1947.
She graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi. She joined Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as a post-graduate student in 1971, from where she obtained a PhD degree. Her doctoral thesis advisor was Bipan Chandra.
In 1972, while working on her doctoral thesis, Mukherjee was hired by the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, as a faculty member.
She investigated agrarian history in the Punjab. She argued that despite extensive irrigation works, colonialisation caused agricultural involution, with the number of workers per unit area rising and production dropping. She also analysed peasant movements in the erstwhile princely states of the Punjab across the pre- and post-1947 periods. Her critical analysis of a Marxian orientation of peasant consciousness has been highlighted.
A common thread running through Mukherjee's work has been a criticism of the Subaltern mode of historical inquiry, which informs her analysis of peasant movements as well as her other major contribution: modern Indian history. This is encapsulated by the two books co-written with Bipan Chandra et al: India's Struggle for Independence and India after independence: 1947-2000. In the former book, the authors sought to "demolish the influence of the Cambridge and Subaltern 'schools' reflected in the writing on colonialism and nationalism in India
Areas of Interest/Specialization
Agraraian History, Peasant Movements and the Indian National Movement, Gandhi
Joined as faculty in JNU in 1971
Awards & Honours
Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. 2006-2011
Editor of the Series, ‘Sage Series in Modern Indian History’ published by SAGE publications. (Thirteen monographs already published in the series)
Editor, Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, (Volume 44 in progress)
Chairperson, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New Delhi 2003-05
President of the Indian History Congress for Modern India, 2010-11
Visiting Scholar at Duke University, North Carolina, U.S.A., Spring 1986
Visiting Scholar 1999-2000, and Spring 1996 at University of Tokyo, Japan
Visiting fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, Lancaster, UK, October, 2007.
Fellow, Nantes Institute for Advanced Study, France, April-July 2010