The first and the last time I saw Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was in Bangalore in the first week of June, 1953. I was just 15 years old, yet had come in contact with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, thanks to the RSS.
Dr Mookerjee addressed a public meeting at Bannappa Park, adjacent to the K.R.Road. A large number of people had gathered as words had spread that a leader?who had dared to oppose Nehru and quit the minister'spost ? would speak mostly on Kashmir, Bangladesh and cow slaughter issues.
I was fortunate to stand very close to the dais with a Jana Sangh cap on my head and a flag in my hand. Dr Mookerjee was tall, his face was radiating conviction and confidence. Though his speech was fiery, it was full of hard facts. He sounded logical and convincing. His personality inspired awe and respect.
He explained the danger to the country'sunity, integrity and security due to the lack of vision, vote bank politics and needless soft attitude towards militants of the Congress-government headed by Pt Nehru. ?If such a attitude continues ? and I fear that it would continue because of the appeasement politics of Congress ? it would be difficult to hold on to Kashmir in future,? Dr Mookerjee had thundered.
This leader with a long range vision has been proved prophetic as the successive governments at the Centre led by pseudo-secular parties starting from Congress and its creed, have messed up the Kashmir issue.
That this sensitive border state continues to remain a trouble spot for the country is a testimony for the failure of the so-called statesmanship of Pandit Nehru who took ?keen interest? in resolving the Kashmir issue. Look at Sardar Patel. He ensured ? by love, affection and firmness ? the integration of 542 princely states into Indian Union.
All along his speech, Dr Mookerjee repeatedly emphasised that Nehruvian model of economic development and said that Nehruvian socialism would hinder the country'sprogress and India would not be able to develop in accordance with its ethos and commensurating with its potential. ?One day or the other the commanding height syndrome and socialistic pattern of economic development propounded by Nehru will have to be dumped. The country will accept the Jana Sangh'stheory of nationalism and economy with ancient ethics and without shackles,? he had said.
True to his words, India of the 90s rejected the Nehruvian economic policy by adopting and accepting liberalisation and globalisation in 1991. That it was initiated by the government of Nehru'sparty, the Congress, is an irony.
Nehru'ssecularism too was dumped by the citizens of India when they voted in overwhelming number to the BJP which had called upon the people to reject pseudo-secularism and vote nationalism. The Ayodhya movement is not just a temple, but a powerful instrument to remove distortions that had crept into our psyche and mindset, both in economic and social aspects.
With the fiery words delivered powerfully still ringing in my ears, I went home, proud of having heard a great leader and with a firm conviction to work for the country through the Jana Sangh. Seeing a young, frail looking boy?that was me?standing very close to the dais, Dr Mookerjee while getting down from the stage, placed his hand on my head and smiled at me. I cannot forget that smile even today.
I was shocked when I heard on the radio that Dr Mookerjee died in Srinagar Central Prison on June 23, 1953. That he died under mysterious circumstances made me go numb. I could not believe my ears. Tears rolled down my eyes. I was inconsolable. I felt that I have lost a close member of my family.
?A week is a long time in politics?, said British Prime Minister Harold Wilson. If a week is a long time, then 2,640 weeks are like an eternity. That is the distance in time we have travelled ever since we lost Dr Mookerjee. The need for such a person and personality is being felt more than ever before. Alas, there is no such thing as ?rewind? in human'slife, to bring him back.
But Mother India has numerous such gems and today, we have in Atalji and Advaniji, the spirit and conviction, daringness and ability of Dr Mookerjee to translate the late leader'sdream into reality.