Born in Tezpur, Assam, in 1929, Somnath Chatterjee was educated at Presidency College in Calcutta, at Jesus College in Cambridge, and at the Middle Temple. Chatterjee began his career as a lawyer and joined active politics in 1971, when he was elected to the Lok Sabha. He continued to remain an MP till he stepped down from active politics in 2009. In his long and illustrious career as an MP, Somnath Chatterjee adorned several parliamentary committees as chairman and as member. In 2004, he was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabha. His conduct of the proceedings of the House evoked widespread appreciation from a cross section of citizens from India and overseas. He now lives near Santiniketan.