DR. SHYAMA PRASAD’S BIRTH ANNIVERSARY

DR. SHYAMA PRASAD’S BIRTH ANNIVERSARY


Today is July 6, the Birth Anniversary of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of our party, Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which now functions as Bharatiya Janata Party. This blog is due to be released tomorrow.

On June 23, I had recalled how at the first National Session of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh held at Kanpur in 1953, Dr. Mookerjee had inspired Jana Sangh delegates from all parts of the country with his call for the complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir State with India. Why should this State’s situation be different from that of the other 563 princely states which had agreed to become fully integrated parts of independent India.

That Jana Sangh session decided to launch a movement against the permit system introduced by the J&K State Government. Dr. Mookerjee declared that he would be the first citizen to defy the system, and would enter the State without a permit. His incarceration, and subsequent martyrdom, are now part of history.

As I had pointed out in another blog, the Congress Parliamentary Party also had said the same thing to Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, whom Pandit Nehru had entrusted the responsibility of piloting Art. 370 through the Constituent Assembly in his absence.

It is a firmly established convention in Parliament since 1947 that on the Birth Anniversary of the Leaders whose portraits have been put up in the Central Hall of Parliament House, all MPs are invited to the Central Hall to offer floral homage to that leader.

This morning also, a large number of M.Ps. from both Houses, including the two LOPs in the two Houses, Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Shri Arun Jaitley, were present. But what struck me as odd was the fact that I did not see any Congress M.P. there, neither Member nor Minister. I know that in the case of Vir Savarkar whose portrait was unveiled in the Central Hall some years back by the then Rashtrapati Dr. Abdul Kalam, the Congress Party had formally decided to boycott the function and has continued to stay away from the ceremony on all his subsequent birthdays. The absence of Congressmen today is unlikely to be a deliberate decision. Unwittingly, though it may be, it does reflect innate partisan thinking.

I would like to mention at this point that it was the Marxist Government led by Shri Jyoti Basu which had decided to put up an excellent statue of Dr. Syama Prasad at the Maidan in Kolkatta. I requested late Shri R. Venkataraman who was Vice-President at that time to unveil the Statue. He readily agreed, and graced the function. 

I have recalled all this only to remind the Congress leadership today, that the country may be inclined to conclude that at least in so far as the Congress Party is concerned, the new generation is departing even from the tradition of their own elders!

TAILPIECE

I spent the first twenty years of my life in Karachi, Sindh. I left Karachi in 1947, and spent the next ten years in Rajasthan.

I recall that when I visited Jodhpur for the first time I asked someone:“What’s the time ?” The reply he gave was something that I just could not comprehend.  When I repeated the query, he said very clearly: “Seven thirty!” I told him that I was unable to follow what he had earlier said in Hindi.

Thereupon, my friend recounted to me an anecdote. He said that Rajasthan comprised of over twenty princely states. Citizens of every single state were naturally very proud about their own state. Also, he said, generally speaking, the state of Mewar to which Maharana Pratap belonged was viewed with great respect throughout Rajasthan because of the valour displayed by the warriors of the region over ages.

It was equally evident that the State of Jaipur, always inclined to be submissive towards the Moghul emperors in Delhi, generally did not command respect.

When at one stage, the Delhi rulers called Jai Singh and Man Singh and told them that the Moghul Emperor wished to confer on the Jaipur Maharaja the title of  SAWAI meaning thereby that while the value of other princes was ONE each, the Jaipur ruler was ONE plus a QUARTER.

My friend who was narrating this anecdote to me said that after this the people in all other states decided that they shall not pronounce SA and in stead replace it with HA. They will call the Jaipur ruler HAWAI, not SAWAI. So, he concluded, when you asked me what is the time, in stead of saying “Sadhe saat,” I had replied “Haade haath”! which you could not understand.

(Sa becoming converted to Ha is a common linguistic transformation.  Saptah becomes Hafta; Hindu is derived from Sindhu. But in this case, displeasure towards subservience to the Moghals found expression in anecdotes of this kind.)

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