The legacy of great men are remembered long after they leave their mortal remains. Today, on the occasion of his birth anniversary, we need to remember the sacrifice and the legacy of one such agreat man- the late Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee whose life was dedicated in helping the nation stay secure and prosper. In today’s era when certain expansionist states are rearing its ugle head, we are reminded of the time when a large chunk of the then undivided Bengal and Punjab was coveted by the Muslim League for their demands of Pakistan. It was the fearless Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who ensured most of Bengal remained within India to save the non muslims of the province.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru selected Dr Mukherjee to be part of the first cabinet of independent India because he was aware of the latter’s credentials despite personal political differences. It is noteworthy that Dr Mukherjee offered his resignation from the cabinet on 6 April 1950 after the Delhi Pact was signed between Pandit Nehru and then Pakistani PM Liaquat Ali Khan absolving Pakistan of the organized terror meted out on non Muslims remaining in Pakistan.
Above all else, he was a fearless patriot. The patriotism of Dr Mukherjee was always on the forefront as seen in his role as the Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University when he offered his unwavering support to nationalist scholars who worked on Indian history, culture and philosophy from an Indian viewpoint. Notably, he invited Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore to deliver the university convocation address in an Indian language i.e Bengali for the first time, and with it also introduced as a subject for the highest examination. He was also the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951 which is the precursor to my party, the BJP.
One of Jan Sangh’s earliest goals was the abrogation of Article 370 stating “Ek desh mein do Vidhan, do Pradhan aur Do Nishan nahi chalenge” (A single country cannot have two constitutions, two prime ministers, and two national emblems). Dr Mukherjee marched towards Kashmir in 1953, raised the tricolour flag and observed a hunger strike to protest the law that treated Kashmir as a separate territory within India. He was detained by the then government authorities and sadly died as a détenu on 23 June 1953 under mysterious circumstances. Even though the life of Dr Mukherjee abruptly had a tragic end, his dedication inspires and guides all of us in the Bharatiya Janata Party which motivated the government at the centre to take the bold and much needed steps of passing the Citizenship Amendment Act along with abrogating Article 370. They were I daresay belated gifts to the great Dr Mukherjee.