Bharat Kesari Shyama Prasad Mookherjee – The Father of West Bengal returns the historically suppressed fighter to relevance once again

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(L to R sitting) B. R. Ambedkar, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Sardar Baldev Singh, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, John Mathai, Jagjivan Ram, Amrit Kaur and Syama Prasad Mukherjee. (L to R standing) Khurshed Lal, R.R. Diwakar, Mohanlal Saksena, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, N.V. Gadgil, K. C. Neogy, Jairamdas Daulatram, K. Santhanam, Satya Narayan Sinha and B. V. Keskar.
(L to R sitting) B. R. Ambedkar, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Sardar Baldev Singh, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, John Mathai, Jagjivan Ram, Amrit Kaur and Syama Prasad Mukherjee. (L to R standing) Khurshed Lal, R.R. Diwakar, Mohanlal Saksena, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, N.V. Gadgil, K. C. Neogy, Jairamdas Daulatram, K. Santhanam, Satya Narayan Sinha and B. V. Keskar.
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Bharat Kesari Shyama Prasad Mookherjee – The Father of West Bengal returns the historically suppressed fighter to relevance once again

By Suman Munshi

Kolkata,23 June 2024

Bharat Kesari Shyama Prasad Mookherjee’s ideology is it return of prodigal thoughts or a demand for the historically suppressed patriotic fighter’s legitimate rights in India to decide. But for sure he was one of the best voices for the people of India. None can deny his fight for the Hindus and create West Bengal by breaking Pakistan’s initial proposal by the Muslim League.

Today some may say his ideology is against the minorities of India but are you eliminating Shikh, Jain, Buddhist Christian, or other smaller dignified communities as minorities and only considering the second largest religious unrest group as only minorities?

When they had asked for their pie out of India during partition why treat them special class and keep all other legitimate people under constant fear and threat of terrorism? This question was asked by one of the 97-year-old freedom fighters Arun Kumar Bagchi from Bengal in 2004 July just before his death. But the surprise was he was part of the socialist party and thought against Shyama Prasad Mookherjee during independence. But when his family faced the riots at Pabna and Dhaka and came to India during the 1950’s he became fan of Shyama Prasad Mookherjee because of that man he had a place to live safely.

Bharat Kesari Shyama Prasad Mookherjee (also spelled Mukherjee) was a prominent Indian politician, barrister, and academic who played a significant role in India’s political landscape in the mid-20th century. Here’s a detailed overview of his life and contributions:

Early Life and Education:

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee portrait in Parliament
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee portrait in Parliament
  • Birth and Family: Shyama Prasad Mookherjee was born on July 6, 1901, in Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, India. He hailed from a distinguished Bengali family; his father, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, was a renowned educator and jurist.
  • Education: Mookherjee was highly educated. He graduated with honors in English from Presidency College, Calcutta, in 1921. He later earned a law degree and became a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in London.

Academic and Early Professional Career:

  • Academia: Following his return to India, he became the youngest Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta at the age of 33, serving from 1934 to 1938.
  • Politics: Initially, Mookherjee was not actively involved in politics, focusing instead on his academic career. However, his political engagement began to grow in the late 1930s and 1940s.

Political Career:

  • Congress and Hindu Mahasabha: Mookherjee entered politics through the Indian National Congress but soon joined the Hindu Mahasabha, where he became a prominent leader. His involvement with the Mahasabha marked his emergence as a significant voice in Indian politics, particularly in advocating for the rights of Hindus during the partition period.
  • Role in Partition: During the time leading up to the partition of India in 1947, Mookherjee was a staunch advocate for the protection of Hindu interests in Bengal and the wider region.

Founding of Bharatiya Jana Sangh:

  • Bharatiya Jana Sangh: In 1951, Mookherjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), which was the precursor to the present-day Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJS was formed as a right-wing political party that aimed to serve as a counterbalance to the Congress party and to promote a nationalist agenda.
  • Vision and Policies: Under Mookherjee’s leadership, the BJS focused on advocating for the integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India, a uniform civil code for all citizens, and a strong stance against communalism. He was particularly vocal against the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Imprisonment and Death:

Syama Prasad Mookerjee
Syama Prasad Mookerjee
  • Opposition to Article 370: Mookherjee vehemently opposed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the requirement of permits for Indian citizens to enter the state. He led a campaign against these policies, which culminated in his arrest in 1953.
  • Death: Shyama Prasad Mookherjee died under controversial circumstances on June 23, 1953, while in custody in Kashmir. His death remains a subject of debate and speculation, with many of his supporters alleging that it was due to medical negligence or foul play.

Legacy:

  • Political Impact: Mookherjee’s legacy lives on through the BJP, which has become one of India’s major political parties. His vision for a united and strong India continues to influence the party’s ideology and policies.
  • Recognition: He is remembered for his contributions to Indian nationalism and his role in shaping the political discourse of post-independence India. The title “Bharat Kesari,” meaning “Lion of India,” reflects his stature and influence.

Key Contributions and Ideals:

B. R. Ambedkar and Syama Prasad Mukherjee talking on the Campus of Parliament, 1951
B. R. Ambedkar and Syama Prasad Mukherjee talking on the Campus of Parliament, 1951
  • Hindu Nationalism: Mookherjee was a strong advocate of Hindu nationalism and worked towards the consolidation of Hindu political influence in India.
  • Education: As an academic and Vice-Chancellor, he contributed significantly to the development of higher education in India.
  • Advocacy for Jammu and Kashmir: His stance on Jammu and Kashmir remains a cornerstone of his political legacy, influencing contemporary discussions on the region’s status.

Shyama Prasad Mookherjee’s life and work have left a lasting imprint on Indian politics, especially in the realms of nationalism, integration, and education.

The Death of Shyama Prasad Mookherjee: Mystery and Conspiracy

Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, a pivotal figure in Indian politics and the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, met a sudden and controversial end on June 23, 1953. His death while in custody in Kashmir sparked widespread speculation and continues to be a subject of debate and inquiry. This article delves into the circumstances surrounding his death, the ensuing controversies, and the legacy of unanswered questions.

Background Leading to His Arrest

Shyama Prasad Mookherjee was a vocal critic of the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. He believed that this provision, which allowed the state a significant degree of autonomy, was a threat to India’s unity and sovereignty. In 1953, Mookherjee embarked on a journey to Jammu and Kashmir to protest against the requirement for Indian citizens to carry a permit to enter the state, as if it were a foreign land.

Mookherjee’s political stance was rooted in his belief in “Ek Vidhan, Ek Nishan, Ek Pradhan” (One Constitution, One Flag, One Prime Minister), advocating for the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India. His campaign aimed to challenge the policies of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah, the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Arrest and Detention

On May 11, 1953, Mookherjee entered Jammu and Kashmir without a permit, accompanied by his colleagues. This act of defiance led to his arrest under the Public Safety Act by the state authorities at Lakhanpur, on the orders of Sheikh Abdullah. He was detained and subsequently moved to a cottage in Srinagar, which was converted into a temporary jail.

Mookherjee’s health began to deteriorate during his detention. His condition, which included asthma and heart problems, worsened under the stress of imprisonment and inadequate medical care. Despite requests from his family for better medical facilities, the response from the authorities was deemed inadequate.

The Controversial Death

Shyama Prasad Mookherjee’s health took a severe downturn on the night of June 22, 1953. He was administered an injection by Dr. Ali Mohammed but continued to suffer. He was eventually moved to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with pleurisy and bronchitis. On June 23, he succumbed to his illness.

The official cause of death was reported as heart failure, but the circumstances of his medical treatment and the conditions of his detention raised suspicions.

Conspiracy Theories and Speculations

Shyama Prasad Mookherjee Death & Mystry
Shyama Prasad Mookherjee’s Death & Mystery

The suddenness of Mookherjee’s death and the circumstances under which it occurred led to several conspiracy theories. Some of the key points of contention include:

  1. Medical Negligence: Critics argue that Mookherjee did not receive adequate medical attention and that the treatment provided was insufficient and delayed. Questions were raised about the competence and intentions of the medical staff who attended to him.
  2. Political Motives: Given Mookherjee’s staunch opposition to Nehru’s policies and his growing influence, some speculated that his death might have been orchestrated to eliminate a significant political rival. The fact that Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah were in positions of power at the time fueled these suspicions.
  3. Inadequate Inquiry: Mookherjee’s family and political followers demanded a thorough investigation into his death, but no formal inquiry was conducted. This lack of transparency and accountability has kept the door open for ongoing speculation and debate.

Reactions and Aftermath

Mookherjee’s death sent shockwaves across the nation. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh and other nationalist groups accused the government of foul play and demanded justice. His death became a rallying point for those opposed to Article 370 and the policies of the Nehru administration.

In the years following his death, various political leaders, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have paid tribute to Mookherjee’s legacy and called for a re-examination of the circumstances surrounding his demise.

Legacy and Continuing Impact

Shyama Prasad Mookherjee’s death remains a significant event in Indian political history, symbolizing the intense ideological conflicts of the era. His martyrdom has been instrumental in galvanizing the nationalist movement in India, particularly the ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which continues to draw inspiration from his vision.

In recent years, calls for declassification of documents related to his death have grown louder. The BJP and allied organizations commemorate his death anniversary, emphasizing his contributions to the cause of national integration and his opposition to Article 370, which was abrogated in 2019, a move many consider to be a fulfillment of Mookherjee’s legacy.

Conclusion

The death of Shyama Prasad Mookherjee remains shrouded in mystery and controversy. Whether a result of medical negligence, political intrigue, or natural causes, it undeniably altered the course of Indian politics. His legacy as a crusader for India’s unity and a key architect of modern Hindu nationalism endures, continuing to influence and inspire political discourse in India.

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s death in 1953 remains one of the most controversial and debated events in Indian political history. Mukherjee, a prominent politician and founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (which evolved into today’s Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP), was a fierce critic of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies, especially regarding the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

Circumstances Leading to His Death

In May 1953, Mukherjee embarked on a mission to Jammu and Kashmir to protest the state’s special status and its requirement for Indian citizens to obtain a permit to enter. His slogan “Ek desh mein do vidhan, do pradhan, aur do nishan nahi chalenge” (“In one country, there cannot be two constitutions, two prime ministers, and two flags”) encapsulated his opposition to Article 370 and the special privileges granted to the region​ (Swarajya – Read India Right)​​ (BJP)​.

On May 11, 1953, Mukherjee was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir government led by Sheikh Abdullah for entering the state without a permit. He was subsequently detained in a house in Srinagar, which was turned into a sub-jail.

Health Deterioration and Death

During his detention, Mukherjee’s health began to deteriorate. Reports indicate that he complained of severe pain in his legs, possibly due to varicose veins, and suffered from high fever​ (Swarajya – Read India Right)​. Despite these complaints, the medical care he received was widely considered inadequate. On June 20, he was administered streptomycin, an antibiotic to which he had reportedly been allergic​ (OpIndia)​. His condition worsened, and on the morning of June 23, 1953, Mukherjee died, purportedly of heart failure.

Controversy and Allegations

Mukherjee’s death sparked widespread outrage and speculation about the possibility of foul play. His supporters and family members raised several questions and allegations, including:

  1. Medical Negligence: It was claimed that the administration of streptomycin was inappropriate given his known allergy, and that the overall medical treatment provided was subpar​ (Swarajya – Read India Right)​​ (Home)​.
  2. Lack of Communication: Mukherjee’s repeated requests to inform his family about his deteriorating health were reportedly ignored by the authorities until after his death​ (Swarajya – Read India Right)​.
  3. Political Motives: Many believed that Mukherjee’s death was politically motivated, orchestrated by those who viewed him as a threat. His vehement opposition to Nehru’s policies and his growing influence as a leader of the Hindu nationalist movement led to suspicions that his death was more than a result of medical mismanagement​ (BJP)​.

Investigations and Official Stance

Despite these allegations, no conclusive evidence was found to substantiate claims of foul play. The Nehru government at the time faced significant criticism but maintained that Mukherjee’s death was due to natural causes exacerbated by his health condition. Over the years, various inquiries and demands for a thorough investigation have been made, but no official inquiry has confirmed any conspiracy​ (Swarajya – Read India Right)​​ (OpIndia)​.

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Signature
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Signature

Legacy and Impact

Mukherjee’s death had a profound impact on Indian politics. It intensified the debate over Kashmir’s status and spurred the Bharatiya Jana Sangh to continue advocating for the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India. His legacy is remembered annually on June 23rd, and his death is often cited by his followers as a martyrdom for the cause of national unity and integrity​ (BJP)​.

The unresolved nature of the circumstances surrounding his death continues to be a point of reflection and speculation in Indian political discourse, underscoring the complexities of the early years of India’s independence and the contentious issue of Kashmir.

For further details, you can explore more about Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s life and the controversy surrounding his death on Swarajya Magazine and OpIndia.

References:

  1. The Hindu: Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s death – mystery and conspiracy
  2. India Today: The unresolved questions of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s death
  3. Indian Express: Who was Syama Prasad Mookerjee and why his legacy is important for the BJP
  4. The Wire: Remembering Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and the controversy around his death
  5. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee: A Profile – Britannica
  6. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee: The Founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh – The Hindu
  7. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee: Life and Contributions – The Indian Express

About Post Author

Editor Desk

Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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