The Bharatiya Janata Party and its honourable members often evoke the name and legacy of Syama Prasad Mukherjee the founder of Bharatiya Jan Sangh, a precursor to the current party BJP. We have heard praises about the founding father at many important occasions post 2014 along with his legacy. However, there are certain historical facts about Mukherjee that makes him far less flattering as a nationalist figure then the party would have us believe especially with his role in aiding support to the British during the Quit India Movement.
Syama Prasad Mukherjee Founding Father of BJP Opposed Quit India Movement and Aided the British
The Hindu Mahasabha of which Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was a member not only opposed the Quit India movement but also boycotted it officially. Quit India Movement as we all know was a movement started by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942 demanding an end to the British rule in India. While the supporters of the movement were arrested hours after Gandhi’s speech including the leadership of Congress (Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel) without any trail, the British had full support of the Hindu Mahasabha and the All India Muslim League.
While Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the president of Hindu Mahasabha openly asked the Sabhaites (members of local bodies, legislatures and municipalities) not to join the movement at any cost and support the British in what he called as a responsive co-operation, Syama Prasad Mukherjee, the second-in-command to V.D. Savarkar serving the AK Fazlul Haq Ministry as its finance minister in Bengal (following the coalition government formed by Haq’s party and Hindu Mahasabha in 1941) approached the British Bengal Governor citing support. Interestingly, Haq was denounced by the Congress and termed ‘communalist’ as he had stirred the ‘Pakistan resolution’ that committed a separate Muslim nation to the Muslim league.
Shyama Prasad Mookerji, the Hindu Mahasabha leader from Bengal not only went a step ahead by writing a letter to the British Government but also preached them on how to respond to Congress if they call them to Quit India. In his letter he made it very clear that the coalition government of Bengal looked the British as the saviours of Bengal.
Here’s the Letter of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee to the British Governor of Bengal John Herbert dated July 26 1942
“The question is how to combat this movement (Quit India) in Bengal? 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. It should be possible for us, especially responsible Ministers, to be able to tell the public that the freedom for which the Congress has started the movement, already belongs to the representatives of the people. In some spheres it might be limited during the emergency. Indian 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 defence and freedom of the province itself.” (Source)
This letter is extremely embarrassing especially given the time when anti-British sentiment was running at fever pitch in Bengal and the rest of the India. Moreover, supporting the British and helping the Muslim League while the Congress remained in Jail during the Quit India Movement, make the leader not so righteous. What are your views given the above facts?