Pranab Da was tough to terrorists and a devotee of godess Ganga
Amidst the ongoing debate on the personality of Bharat Ratna Pranav Kumar Mukherjee,it is essential that we remember his contribution during his Presidential term when his decisive actions helped India break the back of its enemies.
Amidst the ongoing debate on the personality of Bharat Ratna Pranav Kumar Mukherjee,it is essential that we remember his contribution during his Presidential term when his decisive actions helped India break the back of its enemies. The capital punishment to the dreaded terrorists like Afzal Guru, Azmal Kasaab, Yakub Memon was possible just after his refusal of their mercy petition and they were hanged. Among other things, the noteworthy factor of his presidential term is that he remained strict on the mercy petitions. His predecessors were not so strict to these petitions like Pranav da. They use to sit over these files for years and did undue favours to them.
However, India has lost an ocean of knowledge with the demise of Pranav kumar Mukherjee . Had he not joined politics, he would have become a renowned Constitutional and Parliamentory specialist, historian or a great writer. His memory was amazing. He used to remember incidents of even fifty to sixty years old incidents with exact dates. He remained untainted even after spending a long time in politics. No one dared to allege him with even a smaller allegation. By virtue of this, everyone respected him. He was rightly awarded with highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. As I remember, in 1996 I met with Pranav da at Atal Bihari Vajpayee's the then house at 6 Raisina road. When I became the Member of the Parliament in 2014,i got opportunity to travel through VIP lounge. Once when I reached Delhi airport to board a plane for Patna, Pranab da was already present there. Probably, he was there waiting to board a kolkata flight. I was trying to sit far from him when suddenly he called my name.
India may get President like Pranav da
India will continue to hope that it will get Presidents like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pranav kumar Mukherjee and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The personalities like these when hold the presidential posts adorn it and make the country proud. No offence, but the trend of tarnishing the dignity of the presidential post started with the President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. He gave his consent and signed the order of national emergency on midnight of 25th and 26th June and emergency was forcefully imposed over India. The next morning the entire country heard the voice of Indira ji, she said , "brother and sister, the president has announced emergency for India. No one is needed to become fearful". But the reality was completely different. The terror had started even with the previous night only with mass arrests of all opposition leaders. Congress did injustice to the country by sending an average person like Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Then after, Congress also sent V. V. Giri, Giani Zail Singh, R. Venkatraman and Pratibha Patil to the Rashtarpati Bhavan. It is not worth mentioning that their terms were quite average. They were also good people and sincere public leaders. But, whether they were capable enough of holding the highest post of President of India and able to keep up the dignity of Presidential post, it will remain matter of debate in history. But mass of India genenerally feel that APJ Abdul Kalam was certainly a great President. He is immortal even after his demise. Every children call him and remember him as the missile man.
The living image of learnedness
The Presidential term of Pranav kumar Mukherjee was undisputedly fine. The entire country was convinced by his intellect. Pranav kumar Mukherjee was a man of deep religious faith and love to nature. He used to visit his native village during shardiya navratri(nine day worship of godess Durga during winter) to venerate Godess Durga. There he performed every ritual in traditional dresses. His religious belief was known to people when they read his book "The Coalition Years " During his protest in the central cabinet meeting against the arrest of Pujniya Brahmleen Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchi Peeth, he stated that "Are the secular standards limited to hindu saints and hermits only? Can the state Police of any state dare to arrest Muslim Maulvi during Eid"? When Shankaracharya Pujya swami Jayendra Saraswati was released from jail, President Pranav da went and spent three days at Kanchi Math.
Unparalleled decision on continuity of River Ganges
It is highly possible that less number of people might be knowing that Pranav Kumar Mukherjee had taken a decision on unhindered flow of river Ganges. What he said to saints is itself a proof of his religious faith. The issue of continuous flow of river Ganges came before Pranav kumar Mukherjee in August 2010 when a fast in till death protest was ongoing against Loharinag pal dam. Then he was the President of the Group of ministers of the subject. A delegation of saints under the leadership of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Madhavashram ji and Jagadguru Ramanandcharya Swami Hansdevacharya ji on 11th August came to meet him in his residence based out of Delhi. There was heavy downpour because of August month, which resulted in water logging in various areas of Delhi. When the delegation of saints reached his government residence at 10:00 PM, they found him barefooted holding umbrella himself and standing outside in water logged till his knee, only to welcome the saints. He aided Pujya Shankaracharya Swami Madhavashram by holding his shoulder and took him inside the house. In this delegation,the executive President of Ganga General Assembly Shri Premswaroop Pathak ji, National General Secretary Swami jitendra nand Saraswati ji(Acharya Jitendra at that time), renowned economist Shri Bharat Jhunjunwala, Satpal Brahmchari ji from Haridwar, Mahant Swami Rishiswaranand ji of Chetanjyoti Mathh, Shri K. N. Govindacharya ji.
Jagadguru ji asked Pranab da that 'we have heard that the government has already spent 600 crores on Loharinag Pala project. That's why, it is hesitant to revoke its construction. Is the construction of a dam more important than unhindered flow of the holy river? I am asking you if just for money matter the decision to make dam cannot be revoked then take us in custody as a collateral and release us when only the hindu society will pay the government the 600 crores".
This statement made Pranav da emotional. He said "venerable saints came to my house is a matter of prosperity and good luck to me. The 600 crores spent on the project is very less if we still able to maintain the continuous flow of Ganges and assured them that the government will further take any action with undertaking the saints concerns. "This decision of Pranab da saved the river Ganges from another wound. So the country will feel obliged whenever its people remember the great Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Kumar Mukherjee.
By RK Sinha (Writer is senior editor, columnist and Former MP)