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Monday, September 7, 2009

Pranabda’s Bengal division

Saturday , Aug 29, 2009
Tarun Vijay

‘Jinnah is out to destroy the very soul of India’ Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee
Pranab Mukherjee has said that Syama Prasad Mookerjee supported Partition. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the Nehruvian trait of blaming the patriot and yielding to the separatists that he showed once again, to score a false point.

Here is the factsheet:

First they bullied, threatened and declared they don’t care for ethics, and that they have pistols to use. They invoked Allah to incite murderous passions. It was followed by massacres so unparalleled that Syama Prasad Mookerjee, first elected to Bengal legislature on a Congress ticket, wrote, “What happened in Calcutta is perhaps without a parallel in modern history. St. Bartholomew’s Day, of which history records some grim events of murder and butchery, pales into insignificance compared to the brutalities that were committed in the streets, lanes and bylanes of this first city of British India.”

Those for whom India’s unity and integrity had remained an article of faith were shaken by the sheer ferocity of the Muslim League’s open call to violence under the leadership of Jinnah. After the ‘Direct Action’ resolution was passed by the Muslim League on July 19, 1946, its president, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, said in his valedictory speech: “This day we bid goodbye to constitutional methods... Now the time has come for the Muslim Nation to resort to direct action. I am not prepared to discuss ethics. We have a pistol and are in a position to use it.”

After the ‘direct action’ in Kolkata, during a debate on the no confidence motion in Bengal assembly, Dr. Mookerjee said (excerpts from assembly proceedings):

“When Mr. Jinnah was confronted at a press conference in Bombay on 31st July and was asked whether direct action meant violence or non-violence, his cryptic reply was ‘I am not going to discuss ethics’. (The Hon. Mr. Mohammed Ali : Good.). But Khwaja Nazimuddin was not so good. He came out very bluntly in Bengal and said that Muslims did not believe in non-violence at all. Now Sir, speeches like these were made by responsible League leaders . . . All this was followed by a series of articles and statements, which appeared in the columns of newspapers — the Morning News, the Star of India and the Azad. If . . . my friend Mr. Ispahani . . . . reads these documents . . . he will be able to find out that there was nothing but open and direct incitement to violence. Hatred of Hindus and jehad on the Hindus was declared was declared in fire-eating language . . . and the general Moslem public have acted according to the instructions . . .. It is therefore vitally necessary that this false and foolish idea of Pakistan or Islamic rule has to be banished for ever from your head. In Bengal we have got to live together.”

That was 1946, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. And that was Syama Prasad Mookerjee speaking. Pranabda’s half lies have tried to malign a patriot who remains a symbol of India’s unity.
It is amazing how a distinguished politician like Pranab Mukherjee can go so wrong on a great stalwart of India’s unity, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who lived for India’s unity and died mysteriously in Srinagar jail.

Syama Prasad was an ardent devotee of Sri Aurobindo and hence had unflinching faith in the necessity of a united India. He said, “the dangers in front of us are many; the latest addition in the shape of a movement for Pakistan should not be lightly brushed aside. This preposterous claim must be nipped in the bud by all lovers of Hindusthan.”(Sylhet, 7th April 1940).

So the dream was always a United India and not a truncated one. He begged all to help realise it. But Muslim belligerence was continuously rising. He wrote, ‘In provinces where constitutional powers have passed to the hands of Moslem ministers, reports of oppression and injustices daily pour in. I myself can bear testimony to a systemic policy pursued by the Ministry now in power in Bengal which is aimed at crippling the Hindus in every sphere of life-economic, political and cultural.” (Ibid).

The Congress remained a silent spectator to Hindu plight. Mookerjee wrote, “Much though we wish that the truth was otherwise, it is no use concealing the fact that the Congress has not succeeded in bringing within its fold any very large number of Moslems. And yet the Congress dare not openly fight for the protection of Hindu interests even though they are deliberately trampled underfoot.”(Ibid).

As a reiteration of his stand he declared, “as Hindus our position is perfectly clear. We want communal harmony and amity. We fully recognise that this country must continue in future, as it has been in the past, the home of many people other than Hindus. We beg of them to treat this country as their fatherland and identify themselves with the joys and sorrows of the people of India.”(Ibid).

He remained hopeful till the last — “We shall rise, we shall unite. We shall live in a country whose destinies shall be in the hands of her children alone and where the flag of a free and United Hindusthan shall proclaim for ever the glory of peace and progress, of tolerance and freedom.” (North Bihar Provincial Hindu Conference,14 th April 1940).

He knew of the British hand behind the demand for Pakistan and said,”The British government is reluctant to transfer power to Indians for it apprehends that the Hindus constituting 70 per cent of the Indian population would then have the dominant voice, which leading Moslems would not be prepared to accept. It is open to government to institute national electorates and leave administration in the provinces and at the centre to be run by majority parties who will be returned through such electorates with a mandate for giving effect to political programmes that transcend the bounds of sectarian interest. It will not do that for it knows that the acceptance of joint electorates will ultimately reduce communal misunderstandings, lead to national solidarity and may sound the death knell of British supremacy in India....”(ibid).

He didn’t approve of Gandhi’s Muslim appeasement policy and said “Gandhiji committed a fresh Himalayan blunder by trying to placate Jinnah.”(30th Sept. 1944). He warned Gandhi and Congress again and again against appeasing Jinnah. In fact, to keep Jinnah’s divisive politics at bay he supported Fazlul Haque in 1939. He warned C. Rajagopalachari that Jinnah keeps changing his stand and even if his Partition proposal is accepted, he will demand district-wise plebiscite.(Bharat Kesari: Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee with Modern Implications by S. C. Das).
In Ludhiana he declared, “There can be no compromise with any fantastic claim for cutting India to pieces, either on communal or on provincial considerations. India has been and is one country and must remain so, whatever self-constituted exponents of so-called Hindu Moslem unity may declare. It is a most dangerous pastime to try to placate that section of Moslems who think it beneath their dignity to live in India as such and therefore demand a territory of their own, sovereign and independent, carved out of our motherland, a territory where crores of Hindus will continue to live bereft of their Indian nationality. It is nothing short of stabbing Indian liberty and nationalism in the back...I sincerely hope that in the period of struggle that lies ahead of us Hindus, Moslems, Christians, Buddhists and all others will merge themselves wholeheartedly in the cause of Indian emancipation and thereby baffle the machinations of those reactionary elements that create disunity or dissension among ourselves or seek to thrive on them.”(November 12 1944, Ludhiana).

Lastly, the Congress surrender to Jinnah left the nationalists no choice, and Mookerjee supported the partition of Bengal in 1946 as a fait accompli only to prevent the inclusion of its Hindu-majority areas in a Muslim-dominated East Pakistan (“If 25 per cent Muslims could not agree to live in India, how could 44 per cent of Hindus live in Bengal under 54 per cent Muslims?”). He also opposed a failed bid for a united but independent Bengal made in 1947 by Sarat Bose, the brother of Subhas Chandra Bose and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, a Bengali Muslim politician.

The massacres of Hindus shook everyone, and Hindu leaders couldn’t find a solution, but to accept division. Syama Prasad said,”Today we stand disillusioned. As Hindus we have been prepared to make sacrifices and forego many of our rightful interests in furtherance of a possible unity with the Moslems of India for the attainment of our goal (freedom for united India). Our anxiety to obtain their support has been often misunderstood for weakness and helplessness... Not only do the Hindus and the Moslems stand divided but among the Hindus artificial barriers have been imposed and our dream of a United Indian nation is receding to the background.”(Awake Hindusthan).

He never supported the vicious idea of Partition, but was helpless when the Congress surrendered to Muslim separatism. Like millions of unyielding Indians.

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