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About Syama Prasad Mookerjee

Focus: GS I: Personalities In News

Why in News?

The Prime Minister has paid tributes to Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee on his Punya Tithi.

Syama Prasad Mukherjee:

Life and Education
  • Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was born on July 6, 1901, in a Bengali family. His father was Ashutosh Mukherjee, a judge of the Calcutta High Court.
  • He started his education in Bhawanipur’s Mitra Institution in 1906 and later studied at Presidency College.
  • He stood seventeenth in the Inter-Arts Examination in 1916 and graduated in English, securing the first position in first class in 1921.
  • He lost his father in 1924, and that same year he enrolled as an advocate in Calcutta High Court.
  • In 1934, at the age of 33, he became the youngest vice-chancellor of Calcutta University.
Demand for Partition
  • During Mukherjee’s tenure as Vice-Chancellor, Rabindranath Tagore delivered the university convocation address in Bengali for the first time, and the Indian vernacular was introduced as a subject for the highest examination.
  • In 1946, Mukherjee demanded the partition of Bengal to prevent its Hindu-majority areas from being included in a Muslim-dominated East Pakistan.
  • A meeting held by the Mahasabha on April 15, 1947, in Tarakeswar, authorised him to take steps for ensuring partition of Bengal.
  • In May 1947, Mukherjee wrote a letter to Lord Mountbatten telling him that Bengal must be partitioned even if India was not.
  • 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.
Political Career and Death
  • Due to differences with then-Prime Minister Dr Jawaharlal Nehru on Jammu and Kashmir issues, he left the Indian National Congress.
  • In 1977-1979, he co-founded the Janata Party, which later became the Bharatiya Janata Party.
  • Mukherjee died after 40 days of being arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir State police for entering the state without a permit. He passed away in jail under mysterious circumstances.

May 2024