Martyrdom of Syama Prasad Mukherjee

Satish Singh Manhas
Syama Prasad Mukherjee was born to Ashutosh Mukherjee, a high court judge and Jogamaya Devoi Mukherjee on 6th of July 1901 in Calcutta (Kolkata), west Bengal. He was a brilliant student who ranked second in his 10th standard in the then state of west Bengal board examination. He studied law, English and medical science and became the youngest vice chancellor of the University of Calcutta. Such was his calibre that he was also honoured with doctor of litt for his exceptional work, intellectual acumen and steadfastness in carrying forward the Indian thoughts during the times when the English pressure was the highest on every Indian institution.
He had also remained the president of Akhil Bhartiya Mahasabha from 1943 to 1946. He was so ardent to carry forward the nationalist mission that without caring for his cabinet berth, he fell out with Nehru on the Liaquat pact and resigned from the cabinet. He remained the President for the Association of Indian universities in 1941-42. He was so popular that he got elected twice as an independent candidate. The spirit of nationalism was imbibed to such an extreme that his movement was censured by the Britishers and he was even barred from visiting the flood affected families as he openly criticized the repressive policies of the Britishers.
Besides being vocal for the total integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had also launched a Bengali Hindu homeland movement for the safety and protection of Hindus who were to be settled in Pakistan as a result of partition. He was totally against the promulgation of article 370 and opposed it tooth and nail inside as well as outside Parliament and even went to the extent of describing it as the Three Nation Theory of Sheikh Abdullaha.
He referred to it as the balkanisation of India and coined the term which till 5th August 2019 was very commonly used by BJP as, “ek desh mein do vidhan, do pardhan aur do nishan nahi challenge”. For making this commitment and pledge fulfilled, he entered the state of Jammu and Kashmir and got arrested at Lakhanpur from where he was taken to Srinagar for lodging in jail. During his jail term the State Government declared that he had died on 23 June at 3:40 a.m. due to a heart attack. His death in custody raised wide suspicion across the country and demands for an independent inquiry were raised, including earnest requests from his mother, Jogamaya Devi, to Jawahar Lal Nehru which still may be lying buried in the files. So, whether Shyama Prasad Mukherjee died a natural death or was murdered is a mystery! Syama Prasad Mukherjee was the first person in independent India who sacrificed his life for national integration. Many top functionaries of RSS and leaders from different political parties including former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji in 2004, saying he was murdered or died under mysterious circumstances.
So if the cause of death or sacrifice of national icons like Subash Chandra Bose and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee remains a mystery even more than 70 years after independence, it is nothing less than a shame. If those responsible cannot be held or punished, at least the responsibility can be fixed. Dreams of Syama Prasad Mukherjee are almost fulfilled now. Thanks to our PM and HM, but millions in our country are eagerly waiting to see the mystery behind his death unravelled. Initiating an independent inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge can be the best tribute on his balidan diwas. Such was his nationalist approach that he was the only vice chancellor of an undivided Bengal who conducted a convocation in Bengali in 1930’s, when the Britishers were in a full repressive Swing and English was mandatory for conducting such business. He saved Bengal from slipping into the hands of Jinnah. Mystery of the passing away of all national heroes should come out in the public domain so that the generations down the line are inspired for national awakening, sacrifice and martyrdom. So Syama Prasad Mukherjee became the only revolutionary who fought in both eras, pre and post independent India and sacrificed his life for the unity and integrity of Maa Bharti.
His dreams came half true almost 67 years after his mysterious death in Srinagar when the state of JK was completely unified with India. But what remains the concern is that, can the present dispensation work towards unravelling the mystery of his martyrdom. That will be the real tribute to the warrior Syama Prasad Mukherjee. Although, after 5th august 2019, many newspapers carried the headlines that the dream of Syama Prasad Mukherjee is fulfilled but still a lot is needed to acknowledge his sacrifice. His mother may be waiting in swarg to know the actual cause of death of his beloved son, so let’s all wish to see the truth soon. Fingers crossed.
(The author is serving as Assistant Director in the Forest Protection Force.)