J&K – The issues around the state

Syama Prasad Mookerjee and his Contributions


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Syama Prasad Mookerjee

Mains level: Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • Following judgment of the Supreme Court upholding the abrogation of Article 370, many invoked Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-53), an ardent opponent of Kashmir’s ‘special status’ in the Indian Union.

Who was Syama Prasad Mookerjee?

  • Syama Prasad Mookerjee, an eminent Indian politician, barrister, and academician, played a significant role in shaping India’s political landscape during the mid-20th century.
  • Born on July 6, 1901, in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Mookerjee emerged as a prominent leader and a staunch advocate of Indian nationalism and Hindu politics.

Early Life and Education

  • Bengali Brahmin heritage: Mookerjee hailed from a respected Brahmin family with roots in Jirat, Hooghly District, and West Bengal.
  • Academic brilliance: He exhibited exceptional academic prowess, pursuing his education at prestigious institutions such as Presidency College and the University of Calcutta.
  • Legal career: Mookerjee became a barrister, being called to the English Bar after studying at Lincoln’s Inn in London.

Political Career

  • Initial association with Congress: Mookerjee began his political journey as a member of the Indian National Congress, representing Calcutta University in the Bengal Legislative Council.
  • Hindu Mahasabha affiliation: He later joined the Hindu Mahasabha, a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization, and became its president.
  • Championing Bengal partition: Mookerjee actively advocated for the partition of Bengal to safeguard Hindu interests, leading to the establishment of a separate West Bengal within the Indian Union.
  • Resignation from Bengal cabinet: As Finance Minister of Bengal Province, Mookerjee resigned in 1942, condemning the British government’s oppressive policies and their attempts to hold on to India.

Contributions to Independent India

  • Minister for Industry and Supply: Mookerjee served as India’s first Minister for Industry and Supply in Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet after independence.
  • Nehru-Liaquat Pact and resignation: He resigned from Nehru’s cabinet in 1950, protesting against the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, which he believed compromised the interests of Hindus in East Bengal (now Bangladesh).
  • Founding Bharatiya Jana Sangh: Mookerjee, with the support of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), established the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951, laying the foundation for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Mookerjee’s Opposition to Article 370

  • Balkanization of India: Mookerjee strongly believed that Article 370 created a sense of separatism and division within the country, leading to the fragmentation of India’s unity.
  • Rejection of dual governance: Mookerjee famously stated, “Ek desh mein do Vidhan, do Pradhan aur Do Nishan nahi chalenge” (One country cannot have two constitutions, two prime ministers, and two flags), emphasizing his opposition to the separate status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Reservations about special status: Mookerjee expressed concerns that the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 would impede the state’s full integration into the Indian Union.
  • Inequality and separatism: He believed that granting special privileges to one state based on religion or regional factors would lead to a sense of inequality and separatism.

Ideological Stance and Legacy

  • Influence on BJP’s policy agenda: His ideology and vision continue to shape the policies and agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
  • Controversial demise: Mookerjee’s untimely death in 1953 while in custody remains a subject of controversy and speculation, with demands for an independent inquiry.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch