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A Visionary Leader With Lofty Idealism

Updated: September 18, 2010 12:56 pm

This book is in the form of a biographical monograph and deals with a vital period of the life of an illustrious son of the soil Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, one of the most remarkable figures that adorned the Indian political scene in the crucial pre and post-Independence decades of Indian history. It is an exemplary expression of his elegant personality and brilliant intellect along with his admirable lofty idealism, impeccable character and simple lifestyle. Beginning his career as an educationist at the young age of 23 years, he rose to be the youngest vice-chancellor of the Calcutta University. Entering politics a few years later, he made his mark as a dynamic and a foresighted political leader, successfully uniting the

nationalistic forces in Bengal to oust the League Ministry replacing it by a coalition ministry in which he became the finance minister.

Later, he was greatly influenced by the pragmatic personality of Veer Sawarkar, his pure nationalism, patriotism and realism and he became the most effective spokesman of nationalist opinion on the critical question of the unity of the country. He was appointed as the president of Hindu Mahasabha in 1940 and it became the beginning of his active political career and his personality gave Hindu Mahasabha a new status and prestige. The manner in which he took up the cudgels against the British government on behalf of nationalist India in 1942 was remarkable. When he failed to persuade the viceroy to release the leaders after the Quit India Movement, he resigned from the Bengal Ministry and led the nationalist forces against the British.

It was in the recognition of these services that he was included in the first central cabinet of independent India. His contribution as an Industries Minister in formulating the industrial policy of free India was truly prodigious. But on major questions of policies pertaining to defence and foreign affairs particularly regarding relations with Pakistan and inaction over the persecution of Hindus left behind in Pakistan, his differences with Pt Nehru came to the surface, just as soon as the new cabinet started functioning. The differences came to the surface when Nehru-Liaquat pact was being signed. He failed to persuade the Prime Minister not to sign the pact and finally, decided to resign from the cabinet and took up the challenging task of educating and mobilising the public opinion against Nehru’s policies. Later, he forged a nationalistic democratic alternative to the Nehru government and to propogate against his poltical philosophy. He formed Bharatiya Jan Sangh in October 1951 and decided to contest the first general election under its banner. He was elected to the Parliament and his superb achievements as a parliamentarian earned him the title “Lion of Parliament.”

The first challenging task the Jan Sangh took up was the Kashmir issue as the Jan Sangh leadership felt most intensely, the reluctance of the Government of India to deal firmly with Pakistan and its apparent indifference to the sufferings of the Hindu minorities. Article 370 of the Constitution left the Jammu and Kashmir government with a virtual control over the wide range of internal affairs of J&K.

Coming to a close, this book is an account of the life of an outstanding political leader and is a pioneering work on the multi-faced contribution of Dr Mookerjee.

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By Prof KD Sharma

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