Friday, June 24, 2011

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee’s virile influence on Indian politics can’t be erased

The new book of Prashanto Kumar Chatterjree “Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee & Indian Politics” has been an imperative addition to annals of history in the Indian sub continent and compels the readers to think in a new manner. However, had the struggling mindset of Dr. Mookerjee been expressed more, the better would have been.

Whatever it is, while sitting in the armchair and going through the pages of history like an ardent student, ascendancy in Dr. Mookerjee’s career seems to be no less than meteoric. To be precise, his short yet highly significant political life (we are not heeding his brilliant academic career at the moment) is divided into a few phases.

These include his stint as Bengal’s Finance Minister (1941-42), mounting esteem of Hindu Mahasabha in Indian politics (1945-47), as a Union Minister (1947-50) and formation of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (1950-53). Well, his gallant sacrifice in Kashmir agitation, especially against the capitulation of Nehru ministry to desires of global forces shielding Pakistan, rabid anti-Hindu since its birth, forms a different chapter altogether. But even in such paucity of time, Dr. Mookerjee had made whole-hearted efforts to save Hindu community, especially Bengali Hindus, with a prodigious ardor. All these indicate his untimely death in 1953 has bereaved India. His pragmatic policies, principally regarding Pakistan, could have saved the country from an assortment of flaws.

Let’s scrutinize his political career. Without a shred of doubt, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was one of the very few Hindu leaders having experiences to work under a Muslim Premier, representing a Muslim-majority province of Bengal. Closely he had perceived stratagems of Fazlul Haq Ministry to lessen power of Hindus and turn them into second-class citizens or a hopeless minority – a minority group that can listen but can’t speak. He also noticed how mounting communalization of secondary education, discrimination in the matter of employment, abduction of Hindu women, forcible destruction of Hindu temples and hermitages were breaking moral fiber of Hindus. What led to all these? The answer is simple – Congress’ refusal to form a coalition with Haq. Fazlul Haq had to collide with Muslim League.

He resigned from Haq ministry on March 31, 1943, citing his inability to save Hindus. In his words , the greatest crime committed by anyone is that he/she is a Hindu (legacy is in full swing till date). In this context, the author quotes Prof Balraj Madhok: “The way he (Mookerjee) let go of the ministership, when he found that he could do no good to his people by continuing in the ministry, made it clear to all that here was a man whom no temptation could deflect from the path of duty. He had joined the coalition cabinet as a representative of the Hindu Mahasabha, but he came out of it as the undisputed leader of entire nationalist Bengal.”

Taking lessons from these, Mookerjee devoted himself entirely to the spiraling of the Hindu Mahasabha. He was convinced that the Congress was no more devoted to the welfare of the nation, mainly Hindus, on account of its policy of appeasement and soft attitudes while dealing with Muslim League.

1945-46 election results had proved yet again that the League was the one and only representative of Indian Muslims while Jinnah was their undisputed leader. To reinforce their claim for a separate homeland for Muslims on a religious basis, Jinnah gave a call for Direct Action in 1946 leading to Great Calcutta Killings of August 16, 1946. there were setbacks for Muslims indeed but the call solidified the image of Jinnah once and for all. Muslim League, following 1945-46 election, had laid claims to the addition of the whole of Bengal and Punjab provinces in Pakistan. But these vigorous attempts were foiled by the leonine presence of Dr. Mookerjee and had he not fought valiantly for division of said provinces (on religious lines) there were no hopes. Congress was too feeble compared with Muslim League.

Following independence, Dr. Mookerjee, owing to innate (but rare) qualities like perseverance and merit, was appointed a Minister in the first Cabinet under Jawaharlal Nehru. Before long thereafter, Pakistan resorted to the policy of ethnic cleansing of Hindus in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Mass migration of Hindus occurred and getting anxious he told the Prime Minister that it was India’s duty to make protection of Hindus in Pakistan certain. Reluctance of Nehru to adopt strong measures against Pakistan made Dr. Mookerjee resign from the Central Cabinet.

Dr. Mookerjee, on November 15, 1952, with conviction stated in Parliament: “The question of the minorities in Pakistan has been settled during the last five years in different ways. So far as West Pakistan is concerned, today it stands virtually denuded of its minority population. The creation of a homogenous Islamic state was the principal aim of the founder of Pakistan and those who have come into his shoes have carried that deal into execution in every possible way. Hindus have been deprived of their rights in every sphere — social, cultural, economic, religious and political. They are treated as zimmis or protected citizens on regular payment of jizya.”

The same saga continues and Hindu persecution in Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) and Pakistan (despite having virtually no substantial Hindu-Sikh population) is rising by leaps and bounds.

No comments:

Post a Comment