Shyama Prasad Mukherjee : A preacher of United India
Arjun Ram Meghwal
The saga of India’s exemplary journey as an epitome of the humanist culture is the conjunction of the ideas of the visionary stalwarts raised by this holy land. When the idea of India was contextualizing in the postmodern era, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s action, vision & deeds flipped the National consciousness for building a unified India in the truest sense. As we witness his 120th Birth Anniversary, it sounds like an apt moment to grasp his wisdom in further nuanced form for all of us and the upcoming generation.
Born in a Bengali family during the British era, Dr Mukharjee had witnessed the social & economic consequences of the Britishers’ oppression and percolated repercussions of the attacks on Indian culture& its underlying values. These mind-boggling circumstances and his determination to awake National conscience fuelled Nationalistic values in him. From the very initial days, Dr Mukharjee possessed a high degree of clarity on the Idea of India and meticulously raised voice at all platforms & inculcated patriotism among masses by strengthening the social fabric.
At the age of 26, he represented Calcutta University at the Universities of British Empire conference. He, later on, 33 year old Shyama Prasad went on to become the youngest Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University in 1934. His stint as a member of the Court & Council of the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore was also remarkable. His innovative administrations had built the ecosystem to tinker the wisdom & fulfil the aspiration of the upcoming pool of knowledge seekers.
Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee remains an evergreen preacher of Nationalism for a unified India & earnest supporter to eliminate the prevalent communal divide imposed by the Britishers through an institutional framework. He served as a Finance Minister of Bengal in the first Ministry during 1941-42. Being a working president of the Bengal Unit of Hindu Mahasabha in 1940, he rose to become National president in 1944. He emphasized the Hindu values of tolerance & communal respect in the first place. Still, he, later on, felt the need to counteract the communalist & separatist agenda of the Muslim League of Muhamad Ali Jinnah.
A consistent symphony inferred from the actions of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar & Dr SP Mukherjee provide us conversing thoughts & similar concerns for unity & protecting the sovereignty of the independent Nation. Both stalwarts opposed the miscalculated policies of the then Government from the planning stages itself that led to hampering the Nationalistic endeavors of independent India. Having differences on the issues of National integrity, both the non-Congress Cabinet colleague resigned from the Nehru Cabinet, and Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee took its lead in 1950 by leaving the Cabinet immediately before the Nehru-Liaquat Pact. He devoted himself whole-heartedly to the cause of the refugees and made extensive tours for the relief and rehabilitation of the refugees.
Later on, he set up the Bharatiya Jan Sangh on October 21, 1951, which has fructified to today’s Bhartiya Janata Party as the world’s largest Political Party. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 emerged as a ‘rights and relief giver’ to the religiously persecuted illegal migrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians from neighboring Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
On Jammu & Kashmir, clear and coherent views are visible as both leaders advocated a non-compromising stand for India’s sovereignty. During the 1st general election in 1951-52 political party Praja Parishad & Jan Sangh led by Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherji adopted the similar stand as of Dr BR Ambedkar to bring the State fully under Constitution of India by repealing Article 370 of Indian Constitution. It was the struggle of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Master Tara Singh that half of Punjab & Bengal continued to remain an integral part of India.
Dr Mukherjee virtually martyred to the cause of national integration. His slogan “Ek desh mein do vidhaan, do nishaan, do pradhaan nahin chalega” left an indelible print on the heart, mind and soul of millions of Nationalists. His patriotic vision kept on continuously igniting the Nationalistic conscience throughout the historical journey of the Nation that led to the revocation of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir on August 5, 2019, by the Modi Government.
Dr SP Mukherjee’s affiliation with the Mahabodhi Society was also a remarkable one. As president of the society, he significantly contributed to further strengthening India’s cultural ties with other Nations. The Buddhist artefacts & relics brought back from England were handed over to him by Prime Minister Nehru in 1949. Later on, he visited Burma, Vietnam, Sri Lanka & Combodia, and other southeast Asian countries as a cultural ambassador to strengthen cultural ties based on Buddhist values. Dr Ambedkar also visited Burma after losing the Bhandara by election and witnessed the Vesak Day celebration in 1954. This instinct also expresses their strong leaning towards building solid ties with South Asian countries.
Dr Mukherjee’s vision is a guiding light for the Modi Government to build a New India as a knowledge superpower and 21st-century global leader. The UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh are thriving on the development path. The implementation of the Central Government’s legislations are helping to ease the life of the people of the region. The under privileged section of societies has come into the mainstream development plan of the Government. The recently held meeting of PM Narendra Modi with all political leaders of J&K has further boosted the region’s development prospects. The more than seven-year-long journey of the Modi Government has underneath the ideals of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee adhering to the vision of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vishwas.
As the nation pays tribute on the birth anniversary of the torchbearer of Indian Nationalism, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, let us remember his noble thoughts & wisdom attached to a glorious and strong Nation.
(The writer is Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Heavy Industries, and Public EnterprisesMember of Parliament representing Bikaner Consituency, Rajasthan )