Syama Prasad Mookerjee

Syama Prasad Mookerjee was an Indian politician, barrister and academician who founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh party.

Updated: June 16, 2022

Syama Prasad Mookerjee was an Indian politician, barrister and academician who founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh party. He  served as the Minister for Industry and Supply in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet. But in 1951, after falling out with Nehru, Mukherjee quit the Indian National Congress and founded the right wing nationalist political party Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a predecessor to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 


He protest against the 1950 pact which was proposed to establish minority commissions and guarantee minority rights in both India and Pakistan. Though by no means anti-Muslim, he was a staunch Hindu and is considered the Godfather of modern Hindu nationalism. He was born on July 6th, 1901 and died on June 23rd, 1953.


Childhood of Syama Prasad Mookerjee:

He was born into an eminent Bengali family in Calcutta to Jogamaya Devi and Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee. His father was a judge of the High Court of Judicature at Fort William and also served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta.


Education of Syama Prasad Mookerjee:

Syama attended Mitra Institution in Bhawanipore from where he passed his Matriculation examination in 1917. After that he enrolled at the Presidency College, Calcutta from where he passed B.A. in 1921 with first class first in English Honors.


His father wanted him son to get his education in the vernacular language and thus Syama Prasad was persuaded by Ashutosh to take up Bengali Language and Literature from Calcutta University. He completed his M.A. in 1923. He enrolled as an advocate in Calcutta High Court in 1924, the same year in which his father had died. He left for England in 1926 where he joined Lincoln's Inn to study for the Bar. There he represented Calcutta University at the Conference of Universities of the British Empire.


Family of Syama Prasad Mookerjee:

In 1922 he married Sudha Devi, daughter of Dr. Benimadhav Chakravarty. The couple had been happily married for 11 years and was blessed with five children when tragedy struck. His youngest child died of an illness and soon his wife too died. Mookerjee was left shattered by the untimely death of his life partner and never married again. His sister-in-law helped to raise his children.


Some facts about Syama Prasad Mookerjee:

  • Syama joined the legal profession in 1927 first as a Vakil and then as a member of the English Bar.
  • He entered the Bengal Legislative Council as a Congress candidate representing Calcutta University in 1929.
  • At the age of 33, he became the youngest Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta and held the office until 1938. During his term 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.
  • On 10 September, 1938, Senate of Calcutta university resolved to confer honorary D. Litt. on Ex-Vicechancellor in its opinion 'by reason of eminent position and attainments, a fit and proper person to receive such a degree.' Mukherjee received the D.Litt from Calcutta University on 26th November 1938.
  • He founded an Indian Nationalist party known as the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), in 1951 with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as its political arm. The party existed till 1977 after which it was merged with several other parties to form the Janata Party. After the fall of Janata Party government in 1980, the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh formed a new party called Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on 6 April 1980.
  • He tried to enter the state of Jammu & Kashmir in 1953, to protest against the special status given to the state, where he was arrested and jailed in a dilapidated house. He fell ill there and was administered penicillin even though he was allergic to the drug. Mookerjee died mysteriously during the trip and no inquiries were made to ascertain the actual cause.
  • Shyama Prasad Mukherji College of University of Delhi was established in 1969 in his memory.
  • On 7th August 1998, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation named a bridge after Mukherjee.
  • Delhi has a major road named after Mukherjee called Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Marg. Kolkata, too, has a major road called Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Road.
  • In 2001, the main research funding institute of the Government of India, CSIR, instituted a new fellowship named after him.
  • On 22 April 2010, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) newly constructed the tallest building in Delhi worth 650-crore, which was named the Doctor Syama Prasad Mukherjee Civic Centre.
  • In 2012, a flyover at Mathikere in Bangalore City Limits was inaugurated and named the Dr Syamaprasad Mukherjee Flyover.
  • The International Institute of Information Technology, Naya Raipur is named after him.
  • In 2014, a multipurpose indoor stadium built on the Goa University campus in Goa was named after Mukherjee.
  • In 2015, the Government of India launched Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission to drive economic, social and infrastructure development in rural areas and create 300 rurban areas to stem increasing migration to urban areas. This scheme was operationalised in February 2016.



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