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Uncle Robin : Padmashree Dr. Robin Banerjee

Uncle Robin Banerjee
Uncle Robin Banerjee
Robin Banerjee was born on 1908-08-12 at Baharampur in West Bengal and received primary schooling at Santiniketan. He went on to pursue medical education at the prestigious Calcutta Medical College in Kolkata, and later at Liverpool (1934) and Edinburgh (1936).

Banerjee had joined the Royal Navy in 1937 at Liverpool, and saw action in World War II. After the war, Banerjee decided to move back to India. In 1952, he visited Assam as a Locum-tenens to a Scottish doctor. in 1952 he joined Chabua Tea Estate, Assam, as Chief Medical Officer, and later shifted to the Dhansiri Medical Association, Bokakhat as the Chief Medical Officer.

During a visit to Kaziranga National Park some time in the 1950s, Banerjee fell in love with the wilds of Assam and decided to settle down at Golaghat, near Kaziranga. Banerjee’s first film on the Kaziranga National Park (one of the most important refuges of the Indian Rhinoceros) on Berlin TV in 1961 was one of the first widely distributed media on the park to Western audiences. It also garnered him international recognition as a wildlife film-maker. He made 32 documentaries in his career as a film-maker, and was the recipient of 14 international awards.

Banerjee remained a bachelor, and worked actively as an environmentalist besides his film-making career. Well known and loved among the local community as "Uncle Robin", he donated lands for setting up the local school, and health camps. He was particularly active regarding issues concerning Kaziranga National Park and was the founder of the non-governmental organization Kaziranga Wildlife Society, which actively protects the interests of the park. His house in Golaghat is a tourist spot for wildlife lovers, and based on his will and testament, has been converted into a natural history museum and contains a large number of his photographs and paintings. It is named Uncle Robin’s Museum, containing natural history items from all over India (especially Kaziranga), and other personal collections of Robin Banerjee, including a set of toys from across the world that he collected.

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