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.