By scrapping the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir, the ruling BJP has fulfilled the dream of its founder, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, whose slogan was: "Ek desh mein do vidhaan, do nishaan, do pradhaan nahin chalega". These words, which translate to "In one country, there can't two law codes, two prime ministers and two national symbols", were spoken in support of his demand that Jammu and Kashmir not be treated differently from other states in the country.
"What a glorious day. Finally d martyrdom of thousands starting with Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee for compete integration of J&K into Indian Union is being honoured and d seven decade old demand of d entire nation being realised in front of our eyes; in our life time. Ever imagined?" Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Ram Madhav tweeted soon after the decision was announced in the Rajya Sabha.
Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy responded to Ram Madhav's tweet with a correction. "Correction Ram Madhavji: 'Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee'. This is how he spelt his name," he tweeted.
Dr Mookerjee had virtually died for his slogan. He was arrested on May 11, 1953, when he tried to enter Kashmir to protest policies that - at the time - required Indians to carry an identity card for entering the state. He died in a Srinagar jail on June 23 the same year under circumstances that the BJP still considers suspicious.
The youngest Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, Dr Mookerjee began his political career in the Bengal Legislative Council in 1929 as a candidate of the Indian National Congress. He became a minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's government in 1947, but later quit to set up the Bharatiya Jan Sangh - the predecessor to the BJP - on October 21, 1951.
In a speech delivered in parliament on the June 26, 1952, the Jan Sangh parliamentarian challenged Jawaharlal Nehru's plans to provide special status to Kashmir. He expressed the fear that history will repeat itself, leading to the Balkanisation of India.
"I supported... publicly... the policy of the Kashmir government. I said this was a great experiment that was going on, and we have to keep quiet and see that the experiment is made a success. We must be able to show that India is not only in theory but also in fact a country where Hindus, Muslims, Christians and everyone will be able to live without fear and with equality of rights," he said.
"This is the constitution that we have framed and which we propose to apply rigorously and scrupulously. There may be some demands to the contrary here and there. But do not regard that whenever an attack is made on certain matters of policy, some narrow, sectarian communal motive is prompting us," the Jan Sangh founder added.
Dr Mookerjee claimed that Balkanisation of the country may help divisive forces in the long run. "Rather, it is the fear that history may repeat itself. It is the fear that what you are going to do is going to lead to the Balkanisation of India, may lead to the strengthening of the hands of those who do not want to see a strong united India, may lead to the strengthening of those who do not believe that India is a nation but is a combination of separate nationalities. That is the danger," he said.
Article 370 was drawn up and implemented, but India did not Balkanise. However, the bitterness over Dr Mookerjee's death never left the BJP.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reportedly said in July 2004 that Dr Mookerjee was originally supposed to be arrested in Punjab, before he could enter Jammu and Kashmir. "But that didn't happen. Later, we came to know that the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Nehru government had entered into a conspiracy, as per which it was decided that Mookerjee would be allowed to enter the state but not allowed to leave. The Jammu and Kashmir government (then headed by Sheikh Abdullah) was told that he should not be allowed to return," he was widely reported as saying.
For the BJP, the "historical wrong" of Article 370 was corrected today. It may have created an uproar in the country, but for the party, the end has justified the means.
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