Skip to main content

Shyamaprasad Mukherjee had "supported" Kashmir autonomy, opposed Quit India

By Our Representative
A new book by Subhash Gatade, "Hindutva's Second Coming", published by Media House, has revealed that Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, considered by BJP as one of the main Hindutva ideologues, who died in 1953 under "debatable circumstances" after being arrested for opposing the special status to Kashmir, had "initially accepted" the inevitability of Article 370, which provides autonomy the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Taking a leaf from the past on the basis of "documents, letters, memorandums, white papers, proclamations and amendments" brought to light by AG Noorani in ‘Article 370: A Constitutional History of J and K’, Gatade, a Left activist and author of several books and articles in Hindi and English, states, these are enough to "clear many a confusions about the tumultuous era in post-Independence times" pertaining to J&K.
Negotiated between Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah, says Gatade, special status to J&K "had a stamp of approval from Sardar Patel and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, with Patel playing an "important role in getting the provision for J&K’s special status cleared by our Constituent Assembly."
He adds, "Contrary to the BJP propagated opinion, Patel intervened in a dispute between some Congress party members opposed to the special status and Jawaharlal Nehru’s minister (without portfolio but entrusted with the task of dealing with the issue) Gopalaswamy Ayyangar to ensure the smooth passage of Article 370 (called 306 then)."
Gatade quotes Jitendra Singh, former spokesperson of BJP for J&K and its national executive member as acknowledging Mukherjee "had suggested to first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to put a time-bound rider on ‘Article 370’ and specify for how long it was being envisaged.”
According to Gatade, "In his write-up in ‘The Greater Kashmir’, Balraj Puri, veteran journalist, has provided further details about the same: '[S]hyama Prasad’s prolonged triangular correspondence with Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah on the status of the state, which was published at that time by the party, is the most authentic evidence of his stand on the issue'."
In his letter dated January 9, 1953 to both of them, Mukherjee wrote: “We would readily agree to treat the valley with Sheikh Abdullah as the head in any special manner and for such time as he would like but Jammu and Ladakh must be fully integrated with India.”
Notes Gatade, while Nehru rejected the idea warning against its repercussions in Kashmir and the world, Abdullah sent a detailed reply in which he said, “You are perhaps not unaware of the attempts that are being made by Pakistan and other interested quarters to force a decision for disrupting the unity of the state. Once the ranks of the state people are divided, any solution can be foisted on them.”
Abdullah further quoted Mukherjee's letter to Pandit Nehru on February 17, 1953, where it was suggested that "both parties reiterate that the unity of the state will be maintained and that the principle of autonomy will apply to the province of Jammu and also to Ladakh and Kashmir Valley", and that the "implementation of Delhi agreement -- which granted special status to the state -- will be made at the next session of J&K Constituent Assembly.”
Gatade asserts, "Nehru replied that proposal for autonomy to the three provinces had been agreed by him and Abdullah in July 1952. If Mukerjee had realised his mistake, he should withdraw the agitation unconditionally. Mukherjee was unwilling to do it as it amounted to surrender. The deadlock prolonged over some way which could provide, what may be called, a face saving to the Jana Sangh."
Revealing this and more in the books's chapter "Can the Real Shyamaprasad Mukherjee would ever Stand Up?", Gatade says, Mukherjee -- born in 1901, joining the Hindu Mahasabha in 1939 to "espouse the cause of the Hindus" and was "a close associate of Savarkar" -- even joined the joined the Muslim League ministry headed by Fazlul Haq as finance minister and continued sharing power in Bengal during the tumultuous times of the ‘Quit India’ movement.
"The experiment to share power with Muslim League by the Hindu Mahasabha then was not limited to Bengal alone, it extended to Sind and as well as North West Frontier Province) and was part of a conscious policy adopted by the Hindu Mahasabha", Gatade says, adding, Mukherjee, who later became President of Hindu Mahasabha, "had no qualms in British efforts to suppress people’s movement against the British rule."
Thus, in his book ‘History of Modern Bengal’ Ramesh Chandra Mazumdar is quoted as referring to the Bengal Governor as saying that Mukherjee "ended the letter with a discussion of the mass movement organised by the Congress. He expressed the apprehension that the movement would create internal disorder and will endanger internal security during the war by exciting popular feeling and he opined that any government in power has to suppress it, but that according to him could not be done only by persecution."
Mukherjee's letter allegedly said that "anybody, who during the war, plans to stir up mass feeling, resulting internal disturbances or insecurity, must be resisted by any Government that may function for the time being... The question is how to combat this movement (Quit India) in Bengal?"
Mukherjee is claimed to have added, "The administration of the province should be carried on in such a manner that in spite of the best efforts of the Congress, this movement will fail to take root in the province... Indians have to trust the British, not for the sake for Britain, not for any advantage that the British might gain, but for the maintenance of the defense and freedom of the province itself."
However, Mukherjee got disillusioned with the Hindu Mahasabha, and after Gandhi’s assassination. He declared on February 6, 1948 that .."[i]n my considered judgement the Hindu Mahasabha has today two alternatives before it. The first is that it can break away from its political activities and confine its attention to social, cultural and religious matters alone.The other alternative is for the Hindu Mahasabha to abandon its communal composition, to reorient its policy and throw its doors open to any citizen, irrespective of religion..."

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.