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Syama Prasad & Partition of British Bengal

syama prasad mukherjee

Partition (of a country or a province) always comes with  endless pain to the affected people of that land but the partition  for which Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee fought and succeeded, brought smile and relief to the majority population there. It is the tale of the partition of British Bengal. But today nobody remembers him as a great leader nor as a martyr nor as a savior of Hindus (from the clutches of Muslim League) except a political party that is BJP (foremerly Jana Sangha founded by him).  He is the architect of partition of “Bengal” province and creation of West Bengal, where we are proudly leaving today as a citizen of India. Had he not fought for this, we would have been in Bangladesh today. This is a very important piece of Historical information, we should all know.

 Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee was born on 6 July 1901 in Calcutta (Kolkata). His father was Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, a judge of the High Court of Judicature at Fort William, Bengal, who was also Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta. His mother was Lady Jogamaya Devi Mukherjee.

Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee was an ardent believer in the integrity of the country, but when he understood that the partition of India had become imminent and the emergence of Pakistan inevitable, he joined hands with similar minded leaders in demanding a partition of “Bengal” Province using the same logic as applied to the rest of India. In 1947, British Bengal Province was partitioned along religious lines. The Hindu dominated western part of British Bengal Province became the Indian state named as West Bengal. And the Eastern part of Bengal Province, joined to Pakistan as a province called East Bengal. Later it was renamed as East Pakistan, giving rise to independent Bangladesh in 1971.

At the time of partition of India, had Syama Prasad not raised this demand, the whole Bengal and Punjab provinces would have gone to Pakistan. West Bengal would have gone East Pakistan and there would have been no trace of Bengal and Punjab in India.  Can you imagine what would have be the fate of Hindus in a Muslim country like Pakistan? In Pakistan what is happening today, all we know from the media. Even in Bangladesh Hindus are not safe, in the broad day light Hindus being attacked and killed.

Dr. Syama Prasad  Mookerjee saved million of Hindus (Mostly Bengalis) of this part of India from the clutches of the Muslim League and remained with the Indian Union.

It is painful to see that nobody remembers Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherji today except his political party which was formed by him. Since he worked for the Hindus, objected for Kashmir’s special status and founded a political party with those lines, he is not a popular leader to the other political parties and their Governments. Thus he has no place in in the School level text / History Books. In vote bank politics today political parties (except BJP) are afraid to acknowledges his thinking, principles and works for the Hindu causes in his short life.

(His vision for Kashmir was very clear and was dead against the special status of Kashmir  This part will be posted in a separate post )

 
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Posted by on 14/05/2016 in Indian History, Uncategorized

 

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Pain of Partition

Citizens of Khulna and Jessore by heart wanted to be attached to India during partition in 1947. Many people from Barishal had even shifted to Jessore and Khulna hoping that these would be part of India. On 15th Aug 1947 they hosted even Indian National Flag but by noon they came to know that Khulna and Jessore were included in East Pakistan. Indian flag was brought down by sunset.

TRIPLE INDEPENDENCE DAY FOR NADIA :

The district of Nadia (in Indian state of West Bengal), has not one, but three Independence Days. Yes three Independence days. It’s quite an interesting story, all stemming from a cartographical error made 62 years ago.

The news on radio on August 12, 1947, was that INDIA had been granted freedom. But the same news also carried a devastating missive : a large part of Nadia District was no longer in India. The map created by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, which carved out two countries from undivided India, had awarded a large chunk of the district to East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh).

Pre-Independent Nadia had five subdivisions: Krishnagar Sadar, Meherpur, Kusthia, Chuadanga and Ranaghat. According to the map prepared by Radcliffe, all parts of Nadia — except Nabadwip, which is to the east of the Bhagirathi — were given to East Pakistan.

For Nadia residents, the joy of Independence soon turned to sorrow. Women protested by not lighting their ovens for two days, while the entire town maintained a blackout. Muslim League leaders hoisted Pakistan flags near the Krishnagar Rajbari and the Krishnagar Public Library ground, and their supporters patrolled the streets, shouting “Long Live Pakistan”.

When word reached outgoing Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, he immediately ordered Radcliffe to look into the matter. Radcliffe went back to the drawing board. And, after careful scrutiny, he identified the problem. It was, in fact, a minuscule error : A line had been drawn wrongly and, with a single stroke, a large part of Nadia had gone to East Pakistan.
Radcliffe rectified the map, which finally placed only Chuadanga, Kusthia and Meherpur in Pakistan. Ranaghat, Krishnagar, Shikarpur in Karimpur and Plassey were kept in India. The rectifications, however, took a little time and the final announcement took place only on the night of August 17, 1947. The Pakistani flag at the Krishnagar Public Library ground was finally brought down and the Tricolour hoisted a day later —on August 18, 1947.

Since then, there has been two schools of thought as to celebrating Independence Day in Nadia. Some insist on August 17, when the announcement reached them, while others feel that the more important moment was on August 18, when the Tricolour was finally hoisted.

‘18 August, 1947 Committee’ celebrate I-Day on August 18, a practice they started in 1998. The ‘Nadia Zilla Independence Day Celebration Committee’ celebrate Independence a day —on August 17, which they have been doing for the last seven years. Rest of Nadia district has no reason to celebrate either on 17 or 18 but on 15 Aug .So Nadia district as a whole has three Independence Days to celebrate.

(Source : Times of India of 17 Aug 2009)

 
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Posted by on 26/08/2009 in Indian History

 

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Rare historical photographs

Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah in heated conversation. A well-known photograph recently attributed to Kulwant Roy.

Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah in heated conversation. A well-known photograph recently attributed to Kulwant Roy.

The iconic historical photographs of a photo-journalist , anonymous until now,  is finally acknowledged.Kulwant Roy (Born 1914, Lahore, then in India) was an Indian photographer. As the head of an agency named “Associated Press Photographs”, he was personally responsible for several iconic images of the Indian independence movement and the early years of the Republic of India.

Jawaharlal Nehru addresses the press in Delhi in 1947, shortly before Independence

Jawaharlal Nehru addresses the press in Delhi in 1947, shortly before Independence

Twice, over 24 years, Aditya Arya tried to open the boxes that photojournalist Kulwant Roy delivered to him, bit by bit, on his Lambretta scooter before he died, anonymous and impoverished, in 1984. But each time, he gave up. There was just too much in those boxes, explains Arya, an advertising photographer with a busy schedule.

Sardar Patel and the Maharaja of Patiala confer during a meeting of the Phulkian Union, an umbrella body of princely states, in Patiala, shortly after Independence

Roy’s iconic images were reprinted many times, but credited to nameless stringers. But the 7,000-odd that Arya has digitally scanned since December 2007 when he finally began to unpack the legacy that Roy, a family friend, had bequeathed him, are glimpses of a historical treasure house.

Nehru with his grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, in an undated photo from the Kulwant Roy Collection. (Aditya Arya Archives, Kulwant Roy Collection )

Nehru with his grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi, in an undated photo from the Kulwant Roy Collection. (Aditya Arya Archives) 

One part of the unfolding story is that several striking images, capturing scenes from the last years of British rule and the early decades after Independence, have turned out to be Roy’s work. : Gandhi and Jinnah arguing in 1939, Nehru and Ghaffar Khan strolling in Simla while Sardar Patel goes past in a palki, Nehru’s hand curled tenderly around grandson Rajiv’s neck and many more. The photographs have been reprinted over the decades but credited to nameless stringers. Only now are these omissions beginning to be repaired. Some of his treasures are reproduced here to make sure people know his name and his pictures.

Kulwant Roy is no longer with us but his historical works will remain and will be remembered as long as his photographed characters are remembered .

Kulwant Roy

Kulwant Roy

Acknowledgements : Herald Tribune, Yahoo group circulation, Aditya Arya.

 

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