Syama Prasad Mukherjee | Lion of Bengal!

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His Life: A Versatile Leader

  • Year 1901 – Born in Kolkata.
  • Year 1922 – Married Sudha Devi.
  • Year 1924 – Joined Calcutta High Court.
  • Year 1939 – Joined Hindu Mahasabha.
  • Year 1944 – Elected the President of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha.
  • Year 1950 – Resigned from the Cabinet of PM Nehru.
  • Year 1951 – Founded Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS).
  • Year 1953 – Left the mortal world.

“Whatever work you undertake, do it seriously, thoroughly and well; never leave it half-done or undone, never feel yourself satisfied unless and until you have given it your very best..”

Syama Prasad Mukherjee was a noted Indian politician, educationist and lawyer. He was the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh party, the precursor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Before that he was the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India from 1947 to 1950 under the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Childhood

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was born to the Ashutosh Mukherjee and Jogamaya Devi Mukherjee. He was born in Kolkata on July 6, 1901. His father was a judge of the High Court of Calcutta and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta. He had three brothers Rama Prasad, Uma Prasadand Bama Prasad, and three sisters Kamala, Amala and Ramala.

Personal Life

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He received his elementary education from the in Bhawanipur’s Mitra Institution in Kolkata. He joined the Presidency College, Kolkata in 1914. In 1926, he went to the Lincoln’s Inn in London for the further studies. Also, University of Calcutta gave him D.Litt in 1938. He married Sudha Devi in 1922 with whom he had four children Anutosh, Debatosh, Sabita and Arati.

After completing his law he joined the Calcutta High Court in 1924. In 1929, he entered the Bengal Legislative Council as the candidate of Indian National Congress (INC) representing the Calcutta University. He resigned next year and contested as an Independent candidate. He won again. In 1939, Mukherjee joined Hindu Mahasabha and became its acting president the same year. In 1944, he was elected the President of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and held that position till 1946.

He was elected the Finance Minister of Bengal Province from 1941 to 1942. After the assassination of Gandhiji in 1948, he quit Hindu Mahasabha shortly. He joined the Cabinet of PM Nehru after the independence as the Minister of Commerce and Industry. He began to have disagreement with the government on the issue of the 1950 Delhi Pact. He resigned from the Cabinet in the same year. On October 21, 1951 he founded Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) with the help of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and became its first President.

The party contested elections in 1952 and secured three seats. He then formed National Democratic Party incorporating 32 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha. However, Speaker of the House refused to recognize it as the opposition party. Mukherjee was against the special status given to the state of Jammu & Kashmir and Article 370. He voiced his opinion to scrap the Article 370 and application of Uniform Civil Code. He fought very hard against it as he saw it as the threat to united India.

Later Life

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He entered Kashmir in 1953 without the permission of the government. He staged the hunger strike to oppose the special status given to the Jammu and Kashmir along with other provisions. He was arrested by the police on May 11, 1953. They took him and his two companions Guru Dutt Vaid and Tekchand Sharma to the Central Jail in Srinagar. He suffered illness during his detention and was admitted to the hospital. He died in the early morning of June 23, 1953 under mysterious circumstances.

His death was received with nationwide speculations. His mother Jogmaya Devi wrote to the PM Nehru demanding an independent enquiry of his death, but was refused by him.

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