Syama Prasad Mukherjee, Delhi Pact of 1950 & Pakistani Hindus

Politics is a paradoxical business. Yesterday on NDTV’s show ‘The Buck Stops Here’, Senior BJP leader Chandan Mitra was repeatedly citing the exodus of Pakistani Hindus as a complete violation of the 1950 Delhi Pact between Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan. It’s true that Pakistan’s track record in terms of religious autonomy and freedom towards its minorities is pathetic enough to be labelled as horrendous but what amazed me was the hypocrisy surrounding Mitra’s arguments.

Syama Prasad Mukherjee, the founder of the Bhartiya Jana Sangh (BJP’s First Avtar) supported the partition of Bengal in 1946 and sabotaged Sarat Bose and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy’s bid for an undivided but independent Bengal. This ultimately culminated into widespread dispersals and bloodshed. Later on, Mukherjee went on to become a Union Minister in the Interim Central Government but he resigned from the cabinet when Pandit Nehru invited Liaqat Ali Khan to sign a pact which would lead to the establishment of minority commissions and safeguarding of minority rights in both the countries as he was opposed to both the pact as well as the invitation extended to Liaqat Ali Khan since he felt it was nothing but an appeasement ploy and held East Pakistan directly responsible for the large number of Hindu refugees. It’s strange that he did not see this coming when he jolted the idea of an autonomous Bengal and stressed upon its partitioning on religious lines.

Today, the very same Delhi Pact of 1950 which Mukherjee opposed tooth and nail and led him into establishing the Bhartiya Jana Sangh is being heavily quoted by BJP leaders to hold Pakistan accountable. They are citing a document the opposition to which brought them into existence. BJP’s website has an article titled Subhas Chandra Bose : A Mascot of Hindutva, the same Subhas Bose whose brother Sarat Bose’s bid for an independent Bengal was jeopardized by Syama Prasad Mukherjee. You never know what might happen in politics. Foes become friends and friends become foes. Coming back to the crux issue of Pakistani Hindus and other minorities, I would unequivocally condemn the step motherly treatment meted out by Pakistan towards Hindus which is a matter of utter disgrace. Such things would go on happening until and unless three substantial things are not realized, first, a secular polity, second, debunking of historical mistakes and third, getting over the sickness of indigenous people (Every legal citizen is an indigenous citizen in my opinion irrespective of the first historical appearance of his/her tribe in the concerned area) and dismissing superstitious claims of a God-given holy land. However, I would be quite blunt in my submission that Pakistani Hindus willing to migrate into India should fulfil all our citizenship requirements and no special privileges should be extended to them because in the event of such a scenario, there would be a direct comparison of Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants with Hindu Pakistani immigrants. One is being treated as a threat to the demographic pattern and national security whereas the other group is being welcomed with open arms. It’s more of a case of human rights and we should see to it whether we are in a position to sustain the influx of migrants be them Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians or anything else.

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