Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee the Hindutva Icon was a Collaborator, with the Muslim League as much as the British

Written by Shamsul Islam | Published on: June 29, 2016



Two sides of the same coin as the votaries of a Hindu nation and an Islamic state have always been, archival documents point to a sleazy collaboration between Mookerjee--whose death anniversary is being currently celebrated by the Modi regime –the Muslim League and the British  


Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953) is a prominent Hindutva icon for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janayata Party (BJP) combine. It was he who, on the advice of M.S. Golwalkar, the second chief of RSS and its most prominent ideologue, founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), the political precursor of present BJP, in 1951 and became the first president of the political arm of the RSS. He died in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on June 23, 1953, when he was under arrest. His death is mourned every year as 'End Article 370 Day' and 'Save Kashmir Day' by the proponents of a Hindu Rashtra (nation).
 
This year, 2016, too, the ruling Hindutva brigade is mourning his death by holding a meeting in Delhi on June 29, 2016 under the theme 'Syama Prasad Mookerjee: A Selfless Patriot'. Amit Shah, president of BJP will be the chief guest and Professor Tathagatha Roy, Governor of Tripura will deliver the 'special lecture' at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library which was established as an archive of the glorious anti-colonial Indian freedom struggle.
 
Interestingly –mindful of their political alliance in the state -- this year, the BJP/RSS have discarded much touted slogans 'End Article 370 Day' and 'Save Kashmir Day'. This move is governed by political expediency: their political alignment with the traditionally pro-separatist PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti.
 
The Hindutva brigade is fond of touting Dr. Mookerjee as great ‘nationalist’ and patriot who laid down his life for the unity of the nation. Modi described him as "a statesman, thinker and a patriot who devoted his life towards strengthening national integration."
 
This rhetoric around Dr. Mookerjee’s patriotism needs to stand the test of historical scrutiny through the contemporary documents available in the archives of the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha (HMS). A keen perusal of these documents clearly shows that the claim that Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was a 'selfless patriot' and a great patriot right from his birth is a white lie.
 
Dr Mookerjee, like most in the RSS, never-never participated in the anti-colonial freedom struggle. If patriotism means being part of the freedom struggle and making sacrifices, Dr Mookerjee not only kept aloof from the national movement for freedom from British yoke but in fact, also betrayed it by collaborating with both the British rulers and the Muslim League in order to crush and also communally polarise the anti-British liberation movement.
 
In pre-Independence times he was a prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, which was led by V.D. Savarkar. When, in 1942, the Congress gave a call to the British rulers to leave India by launching Quit India Movement, the colonial rulers responded to this mass movement by unleashing a reign of terror.

If patriotism means being part of the freedom struggle and making sacrifices, Dr Mookerjee not only kept aloof from the national movement for freedom from British yoke but in fact, also betrayed it by collaborating with both the British rulers and the Muslim League in order to crush and also communally polarise the anti-British liberation movement.
 
The Congress was banned, its provincial governments were dismissed, whole India was turned into a mass jail and thousands died in the repression unleashed by both the armed forces of the British and native rulers.
 
The only crime committed by many of those who were killed was to have carried the Indian Tricolour (Tiranga). An unholy alliance between Hindu and Muslim communal organizations collaborated against the mass movement and sided with the British.
 
Hindu supremacist (read ‘nationalist’) organisations namely, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS sided with the Muslim ‘nationalist’ organisation, the Muslim League and not only boycotted Quit India Movement but also decided to support the British government in its repressive campaign.
 
The Hindu Mahasabha president 'Veer' Savarkar chronicled this ganging up of Hindu Mahasabha with the Muslim League in his presidential speech to the 24th session of the Hindu Mahasabha at Kanpur in 1942 in the following words:
 
In practical politics also the Mahasabha knows that we must advance through reasonable compromises. Witness the fact that only recently in Sind, the Sind-Hindu-Sabha on invitation had taken the responsibility of joining hands with the League itself in running coalition Government. The case of Bengal is well known. Wild Leaguers whom even the Congress with all its submissiveness could not placate grew quite reasonably compromising and sociable as soon as they came in contact with the Hindu Mahasabha and the Coalition Government, under the premiership of Mr. Fazlul Huq and the able lead of our esteemed Mahasabha leader Dr Syama Prasad Mookerji, functioned successfully for a year or so to the benefit of both the communities.”[i]
 
Later this coalition arrangement was extended to North Wesdt Frontier Province (NWFP) also.
 
Following the Hindu Mahasabha directive to co-operate with the British, it was the present day icon of Hindutva, Dr. Mookerjee who assured British masters of his full support, through a letter dated July 26, 1942. Shockingly, this is what it said:

“Let me now refer to the situation that may be created in the province as a result of any widespread movement launched by the Congress. Anybody, who during the war, plans to stir up mass feeling, resulting internal disturbances or insecurity, must be resisted by any Government that may function for the time being” [ii]
His letter to Bengal governor that the Fazlul Haq led Bengal Government, along with its alliance partner Hindu Mahasabha  (Mookerjee being Deputy CM in this ministry) made concrete suggestions for crushing the Quit India Movement (QIM). He wrote:

“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 defense and freedom of the province itself. You, as Governor, will function as the constitutional head of the province and will be guided entirely on the advice of your Minister.[iii]

A prominent historian R.C. Majumdar who is also regarded as a 'Hindu' historian by the Hindutva brigade commenting on this letter wrote:
"Shyam Prasad ended the letter with a discussion of the mass movement organised by the Congress. He expressed the apprehension that the movement would create internal disorder and will endanger internal security during the war by exciting popular feeling and he opined that any government in power has to suppress it, but that according to him could not be done only by persecution.... In that letter he mentioned item wise the steps to be taken for dealing with the situation..."[iv]

The Hindu Mahasabha decision to betray the Quit India Movement resonated with the RSS also. MS Golwalkar, the then chief of RSS admitted:
"In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organization of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too."[v]

Hindu supremacist (read ‘nationalist’) organisations namely, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS sided with the Muslim ‘nationalist’ organisation, the Muslim League and not only boycotted Quit India Movement but also decided to support the British government in its repressive campaign. 

Nowhere in pre-Partition RSS literature can there be found references to any work that the RSS might have done 'indirectly' for Quit India Movement.
As shocking was the decision of the Hindu Mahasabha, through Dr Mookerjee to help the British rulers in World War II. It was the time when Subhash Chandra Bose, known as Netaji, was organising the INA (Azad Hind Fauj) in a military campaign to force the British out. The extent to which the Hindu Mahasabha was willing to help the British masters is clear from the following directive issued by Savarkar as President of the Mahasabha:
 
So far as India's defence is concerned, Hindudom must ally unhesitatingly, in a spirit of responsive co-operation, with the war effort of the Indian government in so far as it is consistent with the Hindu interests, by joining the Army, Navy and the Aerial forces in as large a number as possible and by securing an entry into all ordnance, ammunition and war craft factories.... Again it must be noted that Japan's entry into the war has exposed us directly and immediately to the attack by Britain’s enemies. Consequently, whether we like it or not, we shall have to defend our own hearth and home against the ravages of the war and this can only be done by intensifying the government's war effort to defend India. Hindu Mahasabhaites must, therefore, rouse Hindus especially in the provinces of Bengal and Assam as effectively as possible to enter the military forces of all arms without losing a single minute.” [vi]
 
Despite all these shocking facts being available in the Hindutva archives, the Hindutva brigade continues on its journey to claim the nationalist mantle by falsifying history.
 
The Hindutva juggernaut has been relentless in demolishing the great, heroic and selfless sacrifices of thousands of Indian who laid down their lives for the freedom of India against the colonial masters and their stooges like Indian Princes and the Muslim League.
 
This project of manipulating our history is driven by a sinister motive: of trying to replace the braves and heroes of anti-colonial history with those who were stooges and collaborators. The ruling BJP/RSS regime does not have a single person whom they can present as a freedom fighter. Yet, the protests at this appropriation and manipulation of the glorious anti-colonial liberation movement is not being adequately protest; especially where the votaries of a Hindu nation (Hindutva) denigrates our real martyrs and freedom fighters even as they attempt to re-instate the collaborators as patriots. 

(For some of S. Islam's writings in English, Hindi, Urdu & Gujarati see the following link: http://du-in.academia.edu/ShamsulIslam)
Facebook: shams Shamsul; Twitter: @shamsforjustice)
 
[i] VD Savarkar, Samagar Savarkar Wangmaya (Collected Works of Savarkar), Hindu Mahasabha,  Poona, 1963, p. 479-480
[ii]Mookherjee, Shyama Prasad, Leaves from a Dairy. Oxford University Press. p. 179.
[iii]Cited in A G. Noorani, The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour. LeftWord Books. pp. 56–57.
[iv] RC Majumdar, History of Modern Bengal. vol. 2, G. Bharadwaj & Co, Calcutta,  p. 350.
[v]Shri Guruji Samagar Darshan  (collected works of Golwalkar in Hindi), volume IV, Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, nd, p 40. 
[vi]V.D. Savarkar, Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol. 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, p. 460.