Syama Prasad Mookerjee was the founder of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the predecessor of the ruling BJP. Born in a Bengali family in Kolkata on July 22, 1901, Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s tryst with politics began in 1929 when he entered the Bengal Legislative Council as an Indian National Congress (INC) candidatere presenting Calcutta University. He, however, resigned and fought as an independent candidate in the same year. On his 66th death anniversary today, know more about the BJP icon.
After completing his education in law in 1924, he enrolled as an advocate in the Calcutta High Court. He later went to study at the Lincon’s Inn in England in 1926.
In 1937, Syama Prasad Mookerjee was elected as an independent candidate in the elections which brought the Krishak Praja Party-All India Muslim League coalition to power.
At 33, he became the youngest Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta and held office till 1938. He received Doctor of letters from the University in the same year.
He then went on to join the Hindu Mahasabha in Bengal in 1939 and became its acting president. He was the president of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha from 1943 to 1946.
Syama Prasad Mookerjee was part of Minister for Industry and Supply in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet from 1947-1950, but after a fall out with him, he quit the Indian National Congress.
After quitting Congress, Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951, which is a predecessor to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Bharatiya Jana Sangh was created with the objective of nation-building and “nationalising” all non-Hindus by “inculcating Bharatiya Culture” in them. The party was ideologically close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Syama Prasad Mookerjee strongly opposed to Article 370 that gave autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. He saw it as a threat to national unity. He visited Kashmir in 1953 illegally, and went on a hunger strike to protest the law that prohibited Indian citizens from settling within the state and directing that they carry ID cards. Owing to his efforts, the ID card rule was revoked but he died there June 23, 1953 under mysterious circumstances.