ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Narrow Space

Narrow Space

Narrow Space Leaves from a Diary by Syama Prasad Mookerjee; Oxford University Press, Calcutta; pp 240 + VIII, Rs 300. SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE died in a Kashmir sub-jail exactly 40 years ago. Perhaps the facilities available in that sub- jail were inadequate; perhaps there was also some absent-mindedness on the part of the authorities over there. Whatever that be, his death provided bigots of one particular hue an opportunity to keep targeting at Sheikh Abdullah. It is possible to speculate whether Jawaharlal Nehru himself had remonstrated with any seriousness with the Sheikh for the latter's apparent failure to look after the health of the Jana Sangh leader, thereby creating a cause celebre for the conservative opposition. Conceivably what raised Nehru's greater hackles was the Sheikh's emergence as the Lion of Kashmir. That was competition, for was not the valley Nehru's pocket borough? Matters soon came to a head in Kashmir, it was Sheikh Abdullah's turn to get arrested and substituted, as the state's chief minister, by a common crook. It has been an altogether chequered history since then. If the Americans, to whom we have already surrendered comprehensively our economic sovereignty, now keep rapping us on the knuckles and try to pry Kashmir loose from the tentacles of the Indian army, the haughtiness of the Nehru-Gandhis could be largely held to be responsible for that development. A not insignificant share of the blame would however belong to the myopic communalists for whom Syama Prasad Mookerjee, partly on account of the manner of his death, became a kind of martyr-philosopher.

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