Indian Politician, Syama Prasad Mukherjee gave India a true vision for education. He believed that education was the main instrument to get Independence. He gulped the principle that freedom was not an intellectual category but an ontological category, which means freedom from social, economic, political, and spiritual suffering. India must learn a lesson from his opinion and faith to build a stronger nation.
Within one year in politics, Sarvakar appointed Dr Mukherjee as the president of the All India Hindu Mahasabha and this enabled him to tour the entire country. Thus, Dr Mukherjee became an all India leader. His courage, determination, organisational skills, oratorial skills and tireless work propelled him to national fame and he became a rallying point for Hindus all over the country.
It was in 1940 in Lahore that he addressed a rally of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and observed, “I see in this organization the one silver lining in the cloudy sky of India.” In 1950, the East Pakistan Government launched an anti Hindu program all over East Pakistan with the intention of de-Hindusing the country. As a result, a huge Hindu exodus started in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura.
Nehru wanted an agreement with the Liaquat Ali Government but Dr Mukherjee was opposed to this agreement. This led to his resignation from the cabinet. Further, the Kashmir Policy of Pandit Nehru forced Dr Mukherjee to establish a separate way in politics. Now he was a leader without a party. It was then that Sri Guruji Golwalkar, Sarsanhchalak of RSS suggested him to start a political party to be backed by the RSS cadre. He finally founded the Bharatiya Jan Sangh on October 21, 1951.
Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee was a proud Indian and a great nationalist. He was an Indian at heart and advised us to keep our head staright because of the inherent power of assimilation that the Indian mind has shown itself capable of. According to him, the aim of our culture is the complete realisation of life. Nature, man and God make for life’s entire knowledge and service. He had the firm belief that the cause of Indian advancement is just and righteous and standing at the foot of the Himalayas and near the holy rivers that have from time immemorial witnessed the mighty career of the Indian civilisation.
Let us draw inspiration from the glorious past, sustain fortitude and strength to face the trials and turbulence of the present and fearlessly contribute our humble share in the rebuilding of a tree and a united India of the future. Let us gather in our own voices the sounds of India’s oppressed millions and proclaim in the words of our beloved poet, our determination to march along the path of truth and justice and to consider that no sacrifice, no preparation is great for the emancipation of our Motherland.
Dr Mukherjee and his party Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) had an extremely strong view on Kashmir, ‘Kashmir’ is an inalienable part of India and should be treated as any other state. BJS was pro Hindu and propagated ultra nationalism. Referring to Nehru’s threat of crushing BJS, Dr Mukherjee said, “I will crush this crushing mentality of yours.” Dr Mukherjee aligned with Pandit Dogra against Sheikh Abdullah and emerged as the most vociferous speaker in the entire Opposition. On the request of Pandit Dogra on May8, 1953, he set out on a journey by passenger train from the Delhi railway station accompanied by Vaid Guru Dutt, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Tek Chand and Balraj Adhok along with a few people from the media.
He was arrested by the Jammu & Kashmir police on the grounds that he was about to act in a manner prejudicial to public safety and peace. He was taken in preventive custody and was kept in an isolated concrete hut in a highly cramped and uncomfortable condition. Dr Mukherjee’s condition worsened and sadly he died in confinement without proper medical care on June 23, 1953. Several people had sought enquiry to find out the background and the conspiracy behind it.
Dr Mukherjee’s untimely and suspicious death on the other hand took place in secret, far away from family and friends in hostile territory which was beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India. It is therefore natural that his family, colleagues, admirers, party men and common men who took an interest in public affairs would demand an enquiry into it.
Thus ended the life of one of the greatest sons of Mother India. The party that Dr Mukherjee founded, the ideals for nation building that he set before the people and workers ultimately found their realisation in the form of commitment to protecting nationalism and to work towards realising a great and united India. The life of Dr Mukherjee as seen through the prism of ideas of many luminaries will enthuse generations to come with his ideas and ideals for which he made the ultimate sacrifice.
The ultimate sacrifice made by him must be put to use in building the modern India. The first and the foremost thing we must do is bring merit and honesty in the public life. India is a continent with varied cultures, hence to integrate the variables, we need a person like Dr Mukherjee to demolish the barriers of caste and creed and the division of languages. The public life must not be treated as a profession to build family businesses but the objective should be to serve over 1.3 billion people living in this great country.
He was a strong believer in Indian cultural values like service, sacrifice and care for all among others, and advocated the primacy of social harmony, for he saw internal conflicts as the main cause of India’s plummeting fortunes. On umpteen occasions in his discourse, he stressed the need for harmony and saw education as the main instrument of enforcing it in the country. His concern for education was integral to his yearning for India’s Independence.
His vision of a free India was to be an able country capable of catering to the needs of all stages of education as part of one comprehensive national system — from primary to university levels. He saw education in India holistically; gender — men and women, area — rural and urban, religion — Hindus, Muslims and Christians, of all segments from primary to higher education, and all constitutive elements of human personality-physical, mental, intellectual, rational, aesthetic, relational, moral and spiritual — as equal participants.
Education to Mukherjee was the instrument for attaining Independence. He had imbibed the principle that education liberates but also that liberation was not an abstract category but an ontological category meaning freedom from economic, social, political and spiritual suffering. We must learn a lesson from Dr Mukherjee’s life to build a stronger nation. Education, merit and values must come first in public life and it is more relevant for the party that is presently ruling the country because most of the values professed by him can turn the country into a stronger, peaceful and yet, a powerful nation.
(The writer is Editor-in-Chief, Opinion Express Group)
Writer: Prashant Tewari
Courtesy: The Pioneer