Politicians Pays Homage to Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay on his Birth Anniversary
On September 25, the year-long birth centenary celebration for Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyay will come to an end with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of senior ministers of his government and BJP leaders paying tribute to the party ideologue.
At Kozhikode last year, PM Narendra Modi had kick-started the nationwide celebration programme to mark the birth centenary of Deendayal Upadhyay.
Two committees were formed to execute the programme launched by the Modi government. PM Narendra Modi chaired nearly 150-member national panel while Home Minister Rajnath Singh headed a 23-member executive committee. A budget of Rs 100 crore was allocated for the functions.
The BJP has called its national executive meet in New Delhi on the birth anniversary of Deendayal Upadhyay in the national capital on September 25. More than 2,200 including chief ministers are expected to attend the executive meet.
Tributes will be paid to him while the party members will discuss and devise strategy to counter the negative narrative about GST and demonetisation. Deendayal Upadhyay will be portrayed as the inspiration for economic and pro-poor policies of the Narendra Modi government. But, many still don’t know who Deendayal Upadhyay was.
WHO WAS DEENDAYAL UPADHYAY?
If one goes by the history books, not much is written about Deendayal Upadhyay, who the BJP and RSS believe was as good a visionary as Mahatma Gandhi. Deendayal Upadhyay was born in Mathura in 1916 – the year Mahatma Gandhi engineered Congress-Muslim League pact in Lucknow – to an astrologer father and devout mother.
By the time, Deendayal Upadhyay was eight, he was an orphan and lived his life in misery and struggles. Given the family background, his achievements were bright. He excelled at school examination, earned scholarships to continue his studies and secured a BA degree in English. Owing to death of a close relative, Deendayal Upadhyay could not complete his MA.
Later, he qualified the civil services examination, where he got his nickname as Panditji for appearing in the examination hall wearing tradition dhoti-kurta and cap.
Even after securing the top position in the civil services examination, Deendayal Upadhyay did not join the government service. He rather became, in 1942, a life-time volunteer of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which he had joined five years ago.
DEENDAYAL UPADHYAY AS RSS VOLUNTEER
Deendayal Upadhyay was influenced by RSS leaders Nanaji Deshmukh and Bhau Jugade – both were active in Agra. As full-time volunteer Deendayal Upadhyay moved to Lakhimpur district of Uttar Pradesh as an organiser of the RSS.
At RSS, Deendayal Upadhyay founded a publication house, Rashtra Dharma Prakashan in Lucknow and launched a magazine, Rashtra Dharma. Later, he launched weekly Panchjanya – now the mouthpiece of the RSS – and a daily Swadesh.
Deendayal teamed up with Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1950 after the latter resigned from the Jawaharlal Nehru cabinet following Nehru-Liaquat pact. Mookerjee launched the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951 and sought help from the then RSS chief MS Golwalkar.
At the advice of Golwalkar, Deendayal was inducted into the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. He was made the general secretary of UP unit. Upadhyay later became the national general secretary of the BJS. After Mookerjee’s death in 1953, Deendayal Upadhyay was instrumental in shaping the ideology and socio-political principles of the BJS for next 15 years.
AS RSS, BJS THINKER
The BJP government at the Centre and in various states have launched several schemes on the lines of Antyodaya (the uplift of the last man) – a principle espoused by both Mahatma Gandhi and Deendayal Upadhyay. However, the BJP attributes this to Deendayal Upadhyay exclusively.
While launching the birth centenary celebration from Kerala last year, PM Narendra Modi said, “Deendayalji used to say that if equality has to be achieved, people at the higher level have to bend down and support those who have been exploited and neglected.”
Modi also said that Deendayal Upadhyay was for uplift of the Muslims, Dalits and downtrodden. “Fifty years ago, Deendayal Upadhyayji said Muslims should not be treated as different people. Do not reward them, do not rebuke them, but empower them. Muslims should not be looked down upon nor should they be seen as merely a vote bank. Consider them your own,” Modi said while reflecting on the thoughts of Deendayal Upadhyay.
On philosophical front, Deendayal Upadhyay is best remembered for his principle of “integral humanism”, which has been defined as “a classless, casteless and conflict-free social order”. It talks about the integration of indigenous “Indian culture” with the social, political and economic fabric of the nation.
The nation, Upadhyay believed, is like a human being having a body, mind, intellect and soul of its own. According to Upadhyay, dharma brings peace and prosperity. However, his critics point to his lectures saying he was “biased” against Muslims. Some also criticised him for not seeing evil in caste system.
The BJP, on the other hand, believes that Deendayal Upadhyay’s philosophy needs a fresh interpretation. Some of the states, ruled by the BJP, have included chapters on Deendayal Upadhyay in school syllabus.
Deendayal Upadhya’s death is shrouded in mystery. According to a website dedicated to Deendayal Upadhyay by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, “Around 3.45 a.m. on Feb. 11, 1968, the leverman at the Mughalsarai station informed the Assistant Station Master that about 150 yards from the station, towards the south of the railway line, a dead body was lying near the electric pole No.1276.”
This body was later identified as the Bharatiya Jana Sangh President Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, who was on his way to Patna in a train, which he boarded in Lucknow.
Deendayal Upadhyay had boarded the Pathankot-Sealdah Express at 7 pm in Lucknow. Those days, the Pathankot Sealdah Express did not go through Patna. Some bogeys of the train were detached at Mughalsarai and joined with the Delhi-Howrah Express.
Deendayal Upadhyay’s presence at Mughalsarai railway station is recorded by an emissary he received from the former ruler of Jaunpur at 2.15 am. The Delhi-Howrah Express left Mughalsarai at 2.50 am and reached Patna in the morning. But, Deendayal Upadhyay was not there.
Back in Mughalsarai, doctors had declared him dead by that time. His body was taken to New Delhi. The then President Zakir Hussain and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were among the dignitaries who paid tributes to Deendayal Upadhyay. The BJP is now on a mission to propagate his ideas to counter the challenge from the Congress, which was the most dominant political force then.