Dr Mukherjee -- A torch-bearer of Indian nationalism
Since Independence, if one name that comes to mind who promoted the idea of nationalism it is none other than Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.
By JP Nadda
National President, BJP
Since Independence, if one name that comes to mind who promoted the idea of nationalism, who persevered for national integration, who sowed the seeds of a strong political alternative in the country, it is none other than Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Though Dr Mukherjee did not survive for long after Independence, his ideology and his struggles have left an indelible mark on the Indian political firmament.
It was Dr Mukherjee who understood the problem of Jammu and Kashmir and forcefully raised his voice demanding its complete resolution. He was also the one who successfully fought for the rights and interests of India when Bengal was being partitioned. Dr Mukherjee also played an important and leading role in the post-Independence era in opposing the Congress’ imposition of imported ideologies and doctrines on Indians.He was instrumental in promoting and establishing the political and social ideology of ‘India, Indian and Indianness’ as the most suitable and sustainable way of life for every Indian.
Dr Mukherjee was India’s first Industry and Supply Minister in the Nehru Government after Independence. Though he joined the government, he resigned over the complete disregard of the interests of the Hindus by the Congress in the Nehru-Liaquat Pact. His resignation is the glowing example of his ideological consciousness. Dr Mukherjee never compromised with his ideological commitments. His resignation from the Nehru Cabinet was the precursor of the emergence of a political alternative in the country.
It is a well-known fact that political leaders and people believing in various ideologies came under the umbrella of the Congress to fight for India’s Independence. But after Independence a debate started to find an alternative of the Congress which could fill the political vacuum. India was eagerly looking for a political ideology which rooted for national integration through cultural nationalism and also countered the politics of appeasement. It was Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who emerged as the flag-bearer of this debate in the country, which ultimately led to the formation of Jan Sangh.
It was due his yeoman’s efforts that the Jan Sangh was formed on October 21, 1951. Seeds of a political party were sown which had inherent qualities of nationalism and Indianness in it. Over the past many decades we have crossed many important milestones, fought many battles and survived many upheavals to reach where we are today.
In the first general elections of 1951-52 Jan Sangh managed to win three seats. Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee won the Kolkata seat to reach Parliament. Convinced by his clarity of thoughts, his commitment for his ideology and his farsightedness, Opposition parties came together to elect him as the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. As the Leader of Opposition, Dr Mukherjee forcefully raised the problems of the people, and emerged as the most potent voice of the Opposition.
Dr Mukherjee always considered imposition of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and permit system as big obstacles to India’s integrity and sovereignty. For this, he raised his voice in Parliament on several occasions. On June 26, 1952 while participating in a debate on Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Mukherjee had said that in a democratic and federal India how can the rights and privileges of the citizens of one state be different from any other state; and this is detrimental to India's integrity and unity. He also vehemently opposed the permit system for entry into Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Mukherjee was arrested while entering Jammu, which led to massive protests and arrests across India. On June 23, 1953, 40 days after his arrest, Dr Mukherjee, the great son of Mother India, died in a government hospital in Jammu under mysterious circumstances. His martyrdom led to many unanswered questions, but the then Nehru government completely turned a blind eye to all this. Dr Mukherjee’s mother, Yogmaya Devi, wrote to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru seeking investigation into his son’s mysterious death. But this request too was turned down. Till date all mysteries regarding the arrest and death of Dr Mukherjee remain unsolved.
Dr Mukherjee used to say -- "Ek desh mein do Vidhan, do Pradhan aur do Nishan nahi chalenge" (India cannot have two constitutions, two Prime Ministers, and two national emblems). This slogan went on to become the resolution and guiding principle of, first, the Jan Sangh and, later, the Bharatiya Janata Party. For decades the question, whether this dream of Dr Mukherjee -- "Ek desh mein do Vidhan, do Pradhan aur Do Nishan nahi chalenge" -- will ever be fulfilled, remained etched in the minds of the people of India.
This was an ideological battle. On one side there were the parties including the Congress that always practised the politics of appeasement, and on the other side there was the BJP which was firmly committed to abolish Article 370. Be it the era of the Jan Sangh or the journey of the BJP, there has been absolutely no change in our ideology, our commitment to see a united and strong India.
It was the iron will and devotedness of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and efficient strategy and planning of Union Home Minister Amit Shah that India was in August 2019 successful in removing forever the Article-370. Prime Minister Narendra Modi fulfilled the dream of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee of seeing India under “One Vidhan, One Pradhan and One Nishan”.
The supreme sacrifice of Dr Mukherjee did not go waste as we succeeded in realising his dream of seeing India as one strong and united nation by removing Article 370 and unifying Jammu and Kashmir with India in its true sense. Dr Mukherjee will always be remembered as a true son of ‘Bharat Mata’ who formed a political entity that remained truly committed to its ideology, worked tirelessly to see a united and strong India, and attained martyrdom for his noble cause. I pay my rich tributes to the great son of soil.
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