Eyes on Bengal prize, BJP plans Syama Prasad Mookerjee museum and archives in Kolkata

Moves are afoot to compile and publish the works of Mookerjee within a year, and spread awareness of his Bengal connection which, sources said, will be crucial to the BJP strategy in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Published:April 26, 2017 4:16 am
kolkata, kolkata museum, BJP kolkata, Kolkata BJP museum, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Ministry of Culture, indian express news, india news, kolkata news Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s house in Kolkata. Source: Subham Dutta

As the BJP turns its gaze towards West Bengal, its government at the Centre plans to open a museum in Kolkata with a permanent exhibition on Syama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh which became the BJP a quarter century later.

Moves are afoot to compile and publish the works of Mookerjee within a year, and spread awareness of his Bengal connection which, sources said, will be crucial to the BJP strategy in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Officials of the Ministry of Culture said the proposed museum in Kolkata will have a permanent exhibition on Mookerjee. A letter he wrote to Rajendra Prasad, then President of the Constituent Assembly, expressing his “apprehensions” on possible attacks on Mahatma Gandhi — this was written a month before Gandhi’s assassination — will be one of the key exhibits at the museum, sources said.

The museum will also showcase files pertaining to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, declassified in 2016.

The Ministry of Culture has also created a task force which, with the help of the National Archives, will be compiling the collected works of Mookerjee — the collected works of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya were released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2016.

An official of the Ministry of Culture said the 184-year-old Currency Building — it overlooks Dalhousie Square in Kolkata and had housed the Reserve Bank of India until 1937 — is likely to be the site for the museum. The building is currently under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), also under the Ministry.

The BJP is already pointing to Mookerjee’s letter to Prasad. “The Congress has been using Gandhi for the longest time. But what did they do when this letter reached their government? Rajendra Prasad sent the letter to the Nehru government. The correspondence is there. Why didn’t they react and take precautions,” a senior BJP leader said.

A party leader from West Bengal said: “Even at the peak of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, Bengal did not react the way other states did. So, while we might be promoting Ram Navami in the state to show Hindu unity, it is also important to look at Bengali icons like S P Mookerjee and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee”.

The demand for the collected works of Mookerjee has been raised by the RSS. State RSS organisational secretary Bidyut Mukherjee told The Indian Express: “There would be no West Bengal without Syama Prasad Mookerjee. But somehow people, particularly the new generation, do not know about his contribution to the state and the country. We are working on different fronts, including the collected works, to change this.”

An official of the Ministry of Culture said: “The plan is to advertise to people, track relatives of Mookerjee who might have letters he wrote. Together with the letters in the archives, the idea is to have all his letters at one place. A task force has been created by the Ministry of Culture which, along with the National Archives, will work on this project.”

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  1. N
    nag
    Apr 28, 2017 at 6:45 pm
    SP mukherjee was the founder of BJS where all the right wing members of the independence movement joined after independence. The CONgress, under which banner all the independence political movements were fought, was usurped by the left wing of the party after independence. Hence there was the need for creating the BJS
    Reply
    1. C
      C M
      Apr 26, 2017 at 8:03 pm
      Good initiative. Kudos !
      Reply
      1. S
        Santanu Roy
        Apr 26, 2017 at 12:42 pm
        "Even at the peak of Ram-Janmabhoomi movement Bengal did not respond the way other states did"True.Bengali Muslins are united but Bengali Hindus are not.This is rather surprising considering the fact that Bengal happens to be the worst victim of par ion and experienced one of the worst communal carnage during and before par ion.A race that forgets it's history can be called a dead race.For majority of Bengali literatures,musicians and film-makers Bangladesh is a bigger market than West-Bengal and that is why any talk of Hindu consolidation is anathema to them.The task before BJP is to bring Bengal out of this cocoon and integrate it with the civilizational heritage of India this task they can take succour from Bengali icons like Swami Vivekanananda,Bankimchandra,Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.For Hindu awakening to happen in Bengal,Bengal not only needs a political revolution but before that a cultural revolution
        Reply
        1. K
          karthikmj
          Apr 26, 2017 at 5:11 pm
          Good thoughts .
          Reply
        2. T
          Truth
          Apr 26, 2017 at 8:40 am
          Criminal-Amit-Shah is doing a Desh-Bhraman starting from Bengal, as a part of his pre-election survey-strategy before 2019.........'Donkeys of Gujarat' are all set to break records in every State of India.........Looking at the current trends in "poll-sweep" , have all the voters of India really turned into blind bhakts ?
          Reply
          1. S
            sdas
            Apr 26, 2017 at 8:02 am
            Excellent - history that the hi-Nehru combine had sought to deprive the Indian po tion from. But gratefully, that has come to the fore again.
            Reply
            1. R
              rajan
              Apr 26, 2017 at 7:57 am
              First of all these BJP leaders should be confined to the dustbin of history.
              Reply
              1. R
                Rahul
                Apr 26, 2017 at 10:27 am
                Yes my lord...everyone in India is just existing to obey your lordship's wishes...thoo!
                Reply
              2. S
                Sheik Mohamed
                Apr 26, 2017 at 7:40 am
                Will the fact about Late Sh S.P. Mukherjee that he was opposed to Quit India movement against Britishers shall also be placed in Museum so that young Generation can able to know truth in this regard/about him?
                Reply
                1. R
                  rajan
                  Apr 26, 2017 at 8:04 am
                  A party of liars is spreading canards to show itself as the true Patriots & Congress in bad light. Didn't have any contribution in India's Independence yet making tall claims about Sangh. BJP is just a bunch of Sunshine Patriots & Summer soldiers.
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Rahul
                    Apr 26, 2017 at 10:28 am
                    Mahatma hi never thought that his surname would become an italian copyright.. dira congress is a family bussiness.. dependence movement, my foot!
                2. A
                  AK
                  Apr 26, 2017 at 6:46 am
                  Now a new drama after Bose files Fiasco.
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    rajan
                    Apr 26, 2017 at 7:58 am
                    True, very true.
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Man
                      Apr 26, 2017 at 8:55 am
                      British left India after WW2 and they already looted everything, there was nothing left in India for them. After WW2 there was a pact that no country can rule another country. Germany left Russia, Russia left Poland, British left India, Indonesia, Burma, Malaysia, Keniya, Nigeria, Fiji and several colonies. Therefore congress is irrelevant. Moreover hi and congress supported Khilaphat movement, when M00slim people wanted to be rules by Turkish rulers and M00slims cant be ruled by Christ1ans. In conclusion, you have very less knowledge on history. Please read proper history not the ones fed by C0N gress opposite of PROgress.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Man
                        Apr 26, 2017 at 8:56 am
                        British left India after WW2 and they already looted everything, there was nothing left in India for them. After WW2 there was a pact that no country can rule another country. Germany left Russia, Russia left Poland, British left India, Indonesia, Burma, Malaysia, Keniya, Nigeria, Fiji and several colonies. Therefore congress is irrelevant. Moreover hi and congress supported Khilaphat movement, when M00slim people wanted to be rules by Turkish rulers and M00slims cant be ruled by Christ1ans. In conclusion, you have very less knowledge on history. Please read proper history not the ones fed by C0N gress opposite of PROgress.
                        Reply
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