A tribute to Mookerjee

Ravi Rohmetra
Dr Shyama  Prasad Mookerjee was born in a Bengali Hindu family on 6th July 1901 in Kolkata, the capital of British India. His father was Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee, a well respected advocate, well known as Bengal tiger, who became the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calcutta and his mother was lady Jogmaya Devi Mookerjee, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee grew up to be “an introvert” rather insular a reflective person, also an emotional person” who needed someone else by his side to give him emotional support. He was seriously affected by the early death of his wife Sudha Devi and never remarried. Mookerjee graduated in English securing the first position in first class in 1921 and also did MA in 1923 and BL in 1924. He became a fellow of the senate in 1924  after his father’s death. Subsequently, he left England in 1926 to study at Lincoins INN  and became a Barrister in 1927. At the age of 33 years Mookerjee became the youngest Vice Chancellor of the University  of  Calcutta and held the office till 1938. He enjoyed only eleven years of married life and had five children. He was elected as member of the Legislative Council of Bengal, as an Indian National Congress candidate representing Calcutta University but resigned next year when Congress decided to boycott the Legislature. Mookerjee started his political career in a small way in 1929 as a Legislative Council member. Subsequently, he contested the election as an independent candidate and got elected. He renamed the Finance Minister of Bengal province during 1941-1942. He emerged as a spokesman for Hindus and shortly joined Hindu Mahasabha and in 1944. He later on became the President to Sabha.
He was political leader who felt the need to counteract the communalist and separatist Muslim League of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who were  Muslim state of Pakistan. He wanted Hindu Mahasabha not to be restricted to Hindus alone. Following the assassination of Mahatama Gandhi by a Hindu fanatic, the Mahasabha was blamed chiefly for the heinous act and became deeply unpopular.
Mookerjee himself condemned the murder and left the party. The then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru inducted him in the interim Central Government as a Minister for Industry and Supply. On issue of  1949 Delhi Pact with Pakistani Prime Minister Liyaqat Ali Khan, Mookerjee resigned from the cabinet on 6th April 1950. Mookerjee was firmly against Nehru’s invitation to the Pakistani Prime Minister and their joint pact to establish minority commissions and guarantee minority rights in both countries. He wanted to hold Pakistan directly responsible for the terrible influx of  millions of Hindu refugees from East Pakistan, who had left state fearing religious suppression and violence aided by the State. Mookerjee considered Nehru’s actions as appeasement and was hailed as a heroy by the people of West Bengal.
After  consultation with Shri Golwalkar Guru Ji of RSS Mookerjee founded Bharatiya Jana Sangh on October 21, 1951 at Delhi and he became the first President of it. In 1952 elections Bharatiya Jana Sangh won 3 seats in Parliament of India including his seat. The Bharatiya Jana  Sangh (BJS) also favoured a uniform civil code governing personal law matters for both Hindu and Muslims. He also favoured to ban cow slaughter and  end the special status given to the Muslim- Majority state of Jammu and Kashmir. The BJS founded Hindutva agenda which became the wider political expression of India’s Hindus majority.
He opposed the Indian National Congress’s decision to grant Kashmir a special status with its own flag and Prime Minister. According to Congress’ decision, no one including the President of India could enter into Kashmir without the permission of Kashmir’s Prime Minister. In opposition to this decision, he once said “Ek Desh Mein” Do Vidhan”, “Do Pradhan” and “Do Nishan” Nahi Challenge” (A single country can’t have two constitutions, two Prime Ministers and two National Emblems)
Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee went to visit Kashmir in 1953 and observed a hunger strike in protest against the law that prohibited Indian Citizens from settling in a State within their own country and mandated that they carry ID cards. Mookerjee wants to go to Jammu and Kashmir  but because of the prevailing permit system, but he was not given permission. He was arrested on 11th May while corssing border into Kashmir. Although the ID-card rule was revoked owing to his efforts, he died as detenue on 23rd June 1953 under mysterious circumstances.
Dr Mookerjee was arrested on entering Kashmir on 11th May 1953, thereafter he was jailed in a dilapidated house. Dr Mookerjee had suffered from dry pleurisy and coronary troubles and was taken to hospital one and a half months after his arrest due to complications arising from the same. He was administered Penicillin despite having informed the doctor-in-charge of his allergy to pencillin and he died on 23rd June 1953. No post mortem was ordered in total disregard of the rule. Maulana Azad, who was acting Prime Minister (in absnece of Nehru, who was away in London) did not allow body to be brought to Delhi and dead body was directly flown to Calcutta. His death in custody raised wide suspicion across the country and  demands for independent enquiry were raised, including earnest requests from his mother, Jagmaya Devi, to Jawahar Lal Nehru. Nehru declared that he had enquired from a number of persons who were privy to the facts and according to him, there was no mystery behind Mookerjee’s death. His death therefore remains a matter of some controversy.
Atal Behari Vajpayee claimed in 2004 that the death of Mookerjee was a conspiracy. However it was Mookerjee Martrydom, which later compelled Nehru to remove permit system, post of Sadar-e-Riyast at and of Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. On 22 April 2010, Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s newly constructed Rs 650 crore building (The latest building in Delhi) was named “Doctor Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Civic Centre”. The Civic Centre was inaguruated by then Home Minister P Chidambaram. The building which will cater to an estimated 20,000 visitors per day will also house different wings and offices of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Delhi also has a major road named after Dr Shyama  Prasad Mookerjee on 27 August 1998, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation named a bridge after Mookerjee. A best bus Junction near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum) and Regal Cinema in Mumbai is named as “Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Chowk” in his honour. In 2001, the main research funding institute of the Government of India CSIR instituted a new fellowship named after him. The Shyama Prasad Mookerjee fellowship is the most prestigious fellowship given in India for doing PhD, only the top 20% students who clear the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF CSIR/UGC) are eligible to sit for this examination. Mathikere flyover under Bangalore city Limits was inaugurated and named “Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Flyover.”
‘‘We firmly believe that our plea for the full and complete intergration of Jammu and Kashmir with India is consistent with true nationalism and the needs for the security of India including Kashmir”.
On 20th March 2010 Madopur Punjab at Ekta Sathal, statue of Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was inaugurated in his honour in the presence of RSS Chief Mohan Jee Bhagwat”’, L K Advan, Nitin Gadkari and Sukhveer Singh Badal.
A newly big building of BJP Office is being constructed in Trikuta Nagar Jammu (the Tallest building) named as “Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Bhawan” in his honour and work is in progress.