Why Jansangh?

Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in his presidential address at the first Convention of All India Bharatiya Jana Sangh held in Delhi on 21st October, 1951 elaborated on main reasons behind the formation of Bharatiya Janasangh. We are publishing the full text of his speech for our esteemed readers :

I rise to welcome you all to this historic Convention which meets at a momentous period in the history of India. I am well aware of the fact that the task ahead of us is a difficult one. We have many obstacles to struggle against and have to face powerful opposition. What, however, must hold us together is an unflinching faith in the great cause that our Party claims to serve and a clear appreciation of the objectives we have set before us. I am confident that if we all proceed unitedly with undaunted courage and vigour, not deviating from the right path, keeping to service of the people and the advancement of the honour and dignity of our beloved motherland as the principal aim before us, we are bound ultimately to attain success. Let me make it clear at the outset that Bharatiya Jana Sangh is not coming into existence merely to fight the forthcoming general elections. The elections have no doubt an importance of their own and wherever circumstances allow, we will put up our candidates. The elections will mainly help us in carrying to the masses our ideology and in laying a firmer foundation for developing our Party on an All India basis. Whatever may be the result of the elections, our Party must however continue to function thereafter carrying a message of hope and goodwill to all classes of people and trying to draw out from them their best efforts in re-building a happier and more prosperous Free India. Four years have passed since the attainment of political independence and it is admitted on all hands that the country today is in a much worse condition, the distress and sufferings of the people are much deeper, than in the pre-independence days. If we take a detached view of the present situation, we will realize that while certain world events may be partially responsible for economic depression in India, the main reason for the present state of affairs is the failure of Government in dealing with the essential problems facing the country in a manner which would have advanced the welfare of the masses. Today the country is in the grip of deep-rooted discontent and frustration and the faith of the people in the capacity of Government to run the administration smoothly, impartially and efficiently has been rudely shaken. Blackmarketing, profiteering and corruption have demoralized our society.

Instead of attempting genuinely to appreciate the basic causes of this nationwide discontent and to remove them with the cooperation of the people. Government have been singularly intolerant of criticisms and have often tried to suppress the legitimate expression of free public opinion.

Need of Opposition Parties

It is indeed strange that the Congress which started with an enormous fund of goodwill four years ago has today lost the willing support of large sections of the public and has to keep itself in power by dubious means. One of the chief reasons for the manifestation of dictatorship in Congress rule is the absence of well-organised opposition parties which alone can act as a healthy check on the majority party and can hold out before the country the prospect of an alternative Government.
The Bharatiya Jana Sangh, therefore, emerges today as an All India Political Party which will function as the principal party in opposition. It does not mean that it will hesitate to take upon itself the reins of administration should it succeed in winning the confidence of the majority of the electorate, but where this is not possible, it will remain in opposition. whether inside or outside the legislature. Opposition does not mean senseless or destructive approach to all problems that confront a responsible Govt. While, therefore, we may have to attack or criticize official measures or acts, our aim will be to approach all problems in a constructive spirit so that we may keep the public vigilant and make our humble contribution in developing a real democratic structure for the sound administration of our country. The programme of the Party will be settled in detail after consultation with the representatives who have assembled at this Convention. Our Party, however, has been functioning in the provincial sphere in different parts of India for the last few months and the main trends of its programme are already known.

Bharatiya Nationhood

We have thrown open our Party to all citizens of Bharat irrespective of caste, creed or community. While we recognise that in matters of custom, habits, religion and language, Bharat presents a unique diversity, the people must be united by a bond of fellowship and understanding inspired by deep devotion and loyalty to the spirit of a common motherland. Bharat today is divided by many conflicting slogans based on caste, or class or provincial idealogy. Our party will strive to work for that unity in diversity which has been the key-note of Bharat’s culture and civilization. This task of making the foundation of Bharatiya nationhood deeper and stronger is not an easy one. While it will be dangerous to encourage the growth of political minorities based on caste and religion, it is obviously the duty of the vast majority of Bharat’s population to assure all classes of people who are truly loyal to their motherland that they will be entitled to full protection under the law and to complete equality of treatment in all matters— social, economic and political. Our party gives this assurance unreservedly. We do recognize that there are large sections of Bharatiya people who are today backward and down-trodden. Full opportunity must be given to them so that their social and economic status may become higher and they may function as worthy participants with their more fortunate brethren in building up a new Bharat. The Congress in its anxiety to maintain the secular character of Bharat has continued a suicidal policy of appeasement of Muslims and some of its leaders, specially the Prime Minister takes special delight in outraging Parity to all citizens of Bharat irrespective of caste, creed or community. While we recognise that in matters of custom, habits, religion and language, Bharat presents a unique diversity, the people must be united by a bond of fellowship and understanding inspired by deep devotion and loyalty to the spirit of a common motherland.

One may remain a good Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian or even a Muslim and yet be a staunch Indian devoted to the highest national cause. Our Party firmly believes that the future of Bharat lies in the proper appreciation and application of Bharatiya Sanskriti and Maryada. Naturally, the growth of Bharatiya Culture and Civilization has been due to many factors arising out of clashes and conflicts, harmony and synthesis between different ideologies, both native and foreign. In this great drama extending over thousands of years, empires and dynasties rode and fell and many a personality worthily played their part. Let all true sons and daughters of India—Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist—pride themselves in the thought that the heritage that has come to us from ancient days is something noble and enduring, that it must not be allowed to stagnate and degenerate and that free India’s future must be closely linked up with Bharatiya ideals, which must if necessary undergo changes from time to time so as to make them respond to the needs of modern and scientific age. This must be suitably reflected in our system of national education. While we, therefore, aim at establishing a Dharma Rajya, or a Rule of Law, we only abide by the highest tradition of Bharatiya Sanskriti that bind all people together in ties of real amity and fraternity.

To continue…