Syama Prasad Mookerjee  (1901-1953)

Founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh

The BJP is the successor party of the BJS, which merged itself into  the Janata  Party in 1977. The BJP was formed as a separate party in  1980 after internal  differences in the Janata Party resulted in the  collapse of it’s government in  1979.
A brief life-sketch Dr. Mookerjee’s mother Jogmaya Debi exclaimed, on hearing of her son’s death. “Proudly  do I feel that the loss of my son is a loss to Mother India !”
Born on 6th July 1901 in a famous family. His father Sir Asutosh was  widely  known in Bengal. Graduated from Calcutta University he became a  fellow of the  Senate in 1923. He enrolled as an advocate in Calcutta  High Court in 1924 after  his father’s death. Subsequently he left for  England in 1926 to study in  Lincoln’s Inn and became a barrister in  1927. At the age of 33, he became the  world’s youngest Vice-Chancellor  of the Calcutta University and held the office  till 1938. During his  tenure, he introduced a number of constructive reforms  and was active  in Asiatic Society of Calcutta as well as was a member of the  Court and the Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and  Chairman of the Inter-University of Board.
He was elected as member of the Legislative Council of Bengal as a  Congress  candidate representing Calcutta University but resigned next  year when Congress  decided to boycott the legislature. Subsequently, he contested the election as  an independent and got elected.
He became the opposition leader when Krishak Praja Party – Muslim League  coalition was in power 1937-41 and joined the Progressive Coalition  Ministry  headed by Fazlul Haq as a Finance Minister and within less  than an year  resigned. He emerged as a spokesman for Hindus and shortly joined Hindu  Mahasabha and in 1944, he became the President.
After the assassination of Gandhiji, he wanted the Hindu Mahasabha not  to be  restricted to Hindus alone or work as apolitical body for the  service of masses  and broke away from it on this issue on November 23,  1948.
Pandit Nehru inducted him in the Interim Central Government as a  Minister for  Industry and supply. On issue of Delhi pact with Likayat  Ali Khan, Mookerjee  resigned from the Cabinet on 6th April 1950. After  consultation with Shri  Golwalkar Guruji of RSS Shri Mookerjee founded  Bharatiya Jana Sangh on 21st  Oct. 1951 at Delhi and he became the first President of it. In 1952 elections,  Bharatiya Jana Sangh won 3 seats  in Parliament one of them being that of Shri  Mookerjee. He had formed  National Democratic Party within the Parliament which  consisted 32  members of MPs and 10 of Members of Rajya Sabha which however was  not  recognised by the speaker as an opposition party.
To voice his opposition he turned outside Parliament and on Kashmir he  termed  the arrangement under Article 370 as Balkanisation of India and  three nation  theory of Shaikh Abdullah. Bharatiya Jana Sangh along with Hindu Mahasabha and  Ram Rajya Parishad launched a massive Satyagraha  to get removed the pernicious  provisions. Mookerjee went to visit  Kashmir in 1953 and was arrested on 11th  May while crossing border. He  died as detenu on June 23, 1953.
A veteran politician, he was respected by his friends and foes alike for his  knowledge and forthrightness. He outshined all other Ministers in  the cabinet  except perhaps Pandit Nehru by his erudition and culture.  India lost a great  son at a very early stage of Independence.