The Fifth Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor Hans Tijo, Director, EW Barker Centre for Law and Business, National University of Singapore on 6th of January 2020 in the University Auditorium. The lecture was on ‘CIS, Crypto and Coins as “New” Collateral’.
The Ashutosh Mukherjee Memorial Lecture in honour of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, popularly called the “Bangla Bagh” (or Tiger of Bengal) has had a long and illustrious history. Sir Mukherjee was an educator, jurist, barrister and mathematician, serving as the 2nd Indian Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University for 10 years, and also being responsible for founding the Bengal Technological Institute and the College of Science at Calcutta University.
Alongside that, Sir Ashutosh was instrumental in overseeing the setting up of the Hazra Law College, Ashutosh College, and the Calcutta Mathematical Society, which he also served as its President. Further, he has been the president of the Indian Science Congress, which is a premier scientific organisation of India, with a membership of over 30,000 scientists, and was elected as a member of several prestigious mathematical societies around the globe, including the Edinburgh Royal Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Mathematical Societies of London, Edinburgh, Paris, Palermo and New York.
However, he soon left his expertise in Mathematics to pursue a career in law, serving as both a Calcutta High Court judge, and it’s acting Chief Justice, playing a central role in the making of the modern Indian judiciary at that time. He was also knighted in 1911.
Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee had an unparalleled vision of Indian education, he believed in westernizing and modernizing institutions in India, without compromising on Indian values and culture. This vision led him to revolutionising universities in India, inviting professors from all over the world to teach at his universities. He was also an avid bibliophile, with a collection of over 86,000 books that were donated to the national library, and a collection which is present in our very own NUJS library. In the words of French scholar Sylvain Lévi. "Had this Bengal Tiger been born in France, he would have exceeded even Georges Clemenceau, the French Tiger. Ashutosh had no peer in the whole of Europe."
Previous editions of the lecture have been focused on promoting legal reflection on the social and economic contexts of law, and have revolved around topics ranging from legal education to constitutional law, featuring world-renowned speakers. This year the lecture was delivered by Professor Tijo Hans who has taught at the Faculty of Law, NUS, since 1990, and was previously Director of the Centre for Banking and Finance Law and Centre for Commercial Law Studies. He has published widely in international and local journals, and has written or co-written books on company law, securities regulation and trust law. He is also a contributor to Halsbury's Laws of Singapore on Contract Law and to Palmer's Company Law (Geoffrey Morse ed).
Professor Hans was previously seconded to the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Law. He is presently serving on the Securities Industry Council, is Deputy Chairman of the SGX Listing Advisory Committee, and a consultant with TSMP Law Corporation. He has been a visiting professor at National Taiwan University, Auckland and Shanghai's ECUPL and a visiting scholar at Stanford and Melbourne. He recently delivered public lectures at the law schools of NTU, Tsinghua and Zhejiang Universities.
Faculty Members and students attended the lecture in large numbers.