Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (September 25, 1916 – February 11, 1968) was an Indian philosopher, economist,sociologist, historian, journalist, and political activist. He was one of the most important leaders of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the present day Bharatiya Janata Party. A revered icon of Integral Humanism, he was an ideologue and a guiding force for a alternative model of governance and politics.
D- Manish Mokshagundam
The embodiment of Bharatiya Nationalism, Deendayalji exemplifies the pinnacle of Indian civilisation. He personified the ideal Swayamsevak through his actions, words and spirit. His achievements and contributions as an organiser, social thinker, economist, educationalist, politician, writer, journalist and speaker continue to be the yardstick of every nationalist. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyayji’s life is a true refinement of altruistic Dharma and reflection of 5000 years of continuum of Indian cultural values.
A bright star in the pantheon of Indian Nationalistic leaders, Deendayalji is the ideal representative of Indian values in politics. A gift from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to the political sphere after India’s independence, Deendayalji was directed by Guruji Golwalkar to take up mentoring of the nationalist political party, Bharatiya Jana Sangh, started by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1951.
A pure spirit of Dharma, Deendayal Upadhyay was the greatest votary of Indianizing western concepts of democracy and governance. He was of the opinion that the basic tenets of democracy in the west were a reaction to oligarchy, exploitations and capitalism and he advocated adoption of Indian principles of statecraft from the Vedas, Puranas, Dharma Shastras and other cultural knowledge systems.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was an organiser par excellence and a prominent leader of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. He maintained the highest standards of personal integrity and was the source of strength for all subsequent leaders’ actions, ideological guidance and moral inspiration. His treatise on ‘Integral Humanism’ is a critique of both communism and capitalism, advocating a holistic alternative perspective for political action and statecraft consistent with the laws of creation and the universal needs of the human race. This constitutes the basic political philosophy of the Bhartiya Janata Party also.
He was born on 25th September, 1916 in the village Nagla Chandrabhan (now known as Deendayal Dham) of Mathura District, Uttar Pradesh. Deendayal Upadhyay, fondly known as Deena belonged to a family of distinguished individuals. His great-grandfather, Pandit Hariram Upadhyay was a legendary astrologer. His father, Sri Bhagwati Prasad, was an assistant station master at Jalesar and his mother Shrimati Rampyari was a pious lady.
However, Deendayalji’s formative years were full of personal tragedies. His father died when he was less than three years old, and his mother died before he was eight. He was then brought up by his maternal uncle. Deendayalji also had a younger brother named Shivdayal who too was taken away by smallpox inspite of dedicated efforts by Deendayalji to save him.. Thus, Deendayalji, who was only 18 years of age,had become a complete orphan.
Deendayalji’s life then turned nomadic and he left for high school studies in Sikar from where he matriculated. He stood first in the board exam and the then ruler of Sikar, Maharaja Kalyan Singh, presented him with a gold medal, a monthly scholarship of 10 rupees and an additional 250 rupees towards his books, as recognition of his merit. Deendayalji passed his Intermediate Board Exam in 1937 from GD Birla college, Pilani which later would become the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS PILANI). He graduated in first division from Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur 1939 and joined St. John’s College, Agra to pursue a Master’s degree in English literature. In the first year, he obtained first division marks, but was unable to appear for the final year exam on account of a cousin’s illness.
His maternal uncle persuaded him to sit for the Provincial Services Exam, which he passed and he was selected after an interview. He chose not to join the Provincial services, as he was fascinated with the idea of working with the common man. At the instance of his aunt, he took a Government conducted competitive exam in Dhoti and Kurta with a cap on his head, while other candidates wore western suits. The candidates in jest called him “Panditji” – an appellation millions were to use with respect and admiration in later years. Again in this exam he topped the list. Armed with his uncle’s permission he moved to Prayag to pursue B.T. His love for studies increased manifold after he entered public service. His special areas of interest were sociology and philosophy, seeds of which were sown during his student days.
Deendayalji’s tough childhood and his capabilities to raise above personal sufferings strengthened his personality beyond the ordinary; we see the impact of this strength of character in every action that followed later on in his life.
While he was a student at Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur in 1937, he came into contact with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) through his classmate Baluji (Balwant) Mahashabde. There he met the founder of the RSS, Dr. Hedgewar (Doctorji), this was the turning point in Deendayalji’s life. Doctorji used to stay at the same hostel and invited Deendayalji for an intellectual discussion at one of the Shakhas. Deendayaljiwas so impressed by the intellectual stimulation of Sangh and Shakha that he decided to associate himself with this noble Organisation. He continued to engage with RSS throughout his college life.
Deendayalji earned his B.T. Degree from Prayag and decided not to take a job. He had attended the 40-day summer vacation RSS camp at Nagpur where he underwent training in Sangh Education and dedicated himself to full-time work in the RSS from 1942. The frail Deendayal; could not however, withstand the physical rigour of the training but was outstanding in the educational segment. He completed the second-year training in the RSS Education Wing, to become a lifelong Pracharak of the RSS. He lived this life till the very end.
Deendayalji worked full-time for the RSS and moved to Lakhimpur District in UP as an organiser and in 1955 became the Provincial Organiser of the RSS in UP. He was sent to guide indian politics through RSS and became the General Secretary of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, and later its President. His life was thus an embodiment of thorough political thought process.
DON’T DISTORT THE NEWS
A Brilliant Journalist, Deendayalji steered the Nationalistic thought through his contributions to publications like Rastradharma, Swadesh, Organiser, Panchajanya. His popular column ‘Political Diary’ was later published a best-selling book. He authored several classical books that remain even to this day, the most important for Indian nationalists.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay established the publishing house ‘Rashtra Dharma Prakashan’ in 1940 at Lucknow and launched the monthly magazine ‘Rashtra Dharma’ to propound the principles he held sacred. Primarily it was meant for spreading the ideology of nationalism. Though he did not have his name printed as editor in any of the issues of this publication, there was hardly any issue which did not have his long-lasting impression due to his thought provoking writings. During his time withRSS, he started a weekly, ‘Panchjanya’ and a daily, ‘Swadesh’. He contributed extensively to the magazine, ‘Organiser’.
His message and mantra for the Media and journalists was crystal clear, “Don’t Distort The News”. Here is an anecdote to elucidate this; in 1961 the Railways employees called for a national strike with was supported by Jana Sangha but criticised by the RSS magazine, Panchjanya. This led to a strong attack by the Congress mouth piece magazine Navajivan against the Jana Sangha leaders. Deendayalji intervened as the General Secretary and cleared the issue with his statement thus “”If something is in the interest of Party but not in the interest of nation, then what should be done? The Party might have certain compulsions to support the strike but Panchjanya should not have any such compulsion. I think everybody has taken right decision in their position. Parties cannot be larger than the society or the country. The national interest should get top priority. A journalist should be loyal to the country.” Priceless guidelines for the journalist fraternity.
AUTHOR OF BOOKS
He also wrote the drama “Chandragupta Maurya” and penned the biography of Shankaracharya in Hindi. He translated the biography of RSS founder Dr. K. B. Hedgewar from Marathi to Hindi. His other renowned literary works include Samrat Chandragupta (1946), Jagatguru Sankaracharya (1947), Akhand Bharat Kyon? (1952), Bharatiya Arthniti: Vikas Ki Disha (1958), The Two Plans: Promises, Performances, Prospects (1958), Rashtra Jivan Ki Samasyayen (1960), Devaluation: A Great Fall (1966), Political Diary (1968), Rashtra Chintan, Integral Humanism and Rashtra Jivan Ki Disha.
NURTURING JANA SANGH
Deendayalji shaped Nationalism into the democratic Gestalt by incorporating concepts from Vedic Sabhas and Samitis. As General Secretary of Bharatiya Jana Sangh,the principle opposition party, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Indianised the ideas of leadership and governance.
In 1950, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, then Minister at the Center, opposed the Nehru-Liaquat pact and resigned his Cabinet post and joined the opposition to build a common front of democratic forces. Dr. Mookerjee sought Shri Guruji’s help in organizing dedicated young men to pursue the work at the political level. Bharatiya Jana Sangh was founded in 1951 by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, wherein Deendayal Upadhyay was appointed as the first General Secretary. Pandit Deendayalji’s organising skills were unmatched. He continued to hold this position until the 14th Cabinet session in December 1967. His immense intelligence and perfectionism impressed Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee so much that he was honoured with a famous statement by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee:
“If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India!”
However, the sudden and untimely death of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1953 left the entire responsibilities and burden of the organisation on the young shoulders of Deendayalji.
Deendayalji served as the General Secretary of Bharatiya Jana Sangh for nearly 15 years from its inception and raised the organisation with high spirits and enthusiasm, thereby making it one of India’s strongest political parties. At the 14th annual session of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in Calicut in December 1967, Pandit Deendayalji was elected as the National President.
The original Poll Pandit
Deendayalji analysed the gains and losses of each party after every election. He also discussed the new emerging factors. Regarding the maintenance of democratic norms and expressing his concerns about new realities; thus we can say that he was also one the first psephologists of India.
Creator of the party with a difference
“The base of Jana Sangh being basically principled, we urgently require such training camps and workshops. Without these, we shall not be able to assess the different approaches of other political parties” – Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay
ACHARYA OF POLITICAL DHARMA & STATECRAFT
“Dharma wields its own power. Dharma is important in life. Shri Ramdas would as well have preached to Shivaji to become a mendicant and spread Dharma following his own example. But on the contrary, he inspired Shivaji to extend his rule; because the State too, is an important institution of the society.” – Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay
Deendayalji was convinced that India as an independent nation cannot rely upon Western concepts on individualism, democracy, socialism, communism, capitalism etc. to which Indian National Congress succumbed to remain in power. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaywanted to raise and grow India on the basis of its rich culture and not on western concepts left by the British at the time of their departure from the nation. Although democracy was established in India instantly after independence, Deendayalji was a little apprehensive about this development of India after these long years of slavery.
However, he believed that democracy was India’s birthright and not a gift of the West. He was of the view that the Indian polity after independence has been raised upon these superficial Western foundations and not rooted in the timeless traditions of India’s ancient culture. He was sure that the Indian intellect was getting suffocated by Western theories and ideologies and consequently there was a big roadblock on the growth and expansion of original Bharatiya thought.
He welcomed modern technology/science but wanted it to be adapted to suit Indian requirements. Panditji believed in a constructive approach. He exhorted his followers to co-operate with the government when it was right and fearlessly oppose it, when it erred. He placed nation’s interest above everything else. The following rousing call he gave to the thousands of delegates in the Calicut session, still rings in their ears:
“We are pledged to the service not of any particular community or section but of the entire nation, every countryman is blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh. We shall not rest till we are able to give to every one of them a sense of pride that they are children of BharathMata. We shall make Mother India Sujala & Sufala(flowing with water and laden with fruits) in the real sense of these words. As Dashapraharana Dharini Durga ( Godess Durga with her 10 weapons), she would be able to vanquish evil; as Lakshmi she would be able to disburse prosperity all over and as Sarasvati she would dispel the gloom of ignorance and spread the radiance of knowledge all around her. With faith in ultimate victory, let us dedicate ourselves to this task”.
INTEGRAL HUMANISM (EKATMA MANAVA DARSHAN) – ZENITH OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
“Neither possible nor wise to adopt foreign -Isms in our country in the original form in toto nor can we ignore altogether the developments in other societies, past or present and is certainly unwise”
– Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay
Deendayal Upadhyay conceived the political philosophy known as “Integral Humanism” which was adopted by Jana Sangh in 1965 as it’s official doctrine. It contains a vision organised around two themes:1) Morality in politics and 2) Swadeshi.
These ideas revolve around the basic themes of harmony, primacy of cultural-national values and discipline. According to Deendayalji, the primary concern in India must be to develop an indigenous economic model that puts the human being at center-stage. Integral Humanism is an alternative to both western capitalist individualism and Marxist Socialism.
The philosophy of Integral Humanism advocates the simultaneous and integrated fuctioning of the body, mind, intellect and soul of each human being. It is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, . In the field of politics and economics, Deendayaljiwas pragmatic and down to earth. He visualised India as a decentralised polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base.
“Integral Humanism must necessarily make a balanced appraisal of both Bharatiya as well as Western ideologies. On the basis of this evaluation it seeks to show a way which would make man progress further from his present position of thought, experience and achievement. The Western world has achieved great material progress but in the field of spiritual attainment it has not been able to make much headway. India on the other hand lags far behind in material advancement and so its spiritualism has become a hollow-sounding word. There can be no spiritual salvation without material prosperity. It is necessary, therefore, that we strive for strength, and material happiness, so that we may be able to build up national health and contribute to the progress of the world, instead of being a burden on it. Integral Humanism is the ideal which determines our direction which has to be translated into practice. Our program, therefore, has to be grounded in realism. Indeed, realism is the forte of our program, the measure of our achievements and the touchstone of our ideal.”
This concept of Integral Humanism, which is deeply embedded in the Indian psyche, became the guiding philosophy of the Bharatiya Jana Sangha (Now the Bharatiya Janata Party).
END OF AN ERA
Deendayalji’s life was a dedicated life. He has sacrificed every atom of his body and every moment of his life at the altar of nationalism. On 11th Feb1968, his ‘almost dead’ body was found on the railway tracks of Mughalsarai station. Two men were arrested; they confessed to have pushed Upadhyaya out of the train apparently because he had caught them stealing his bag and had threatened to report them to the police. But they were both later acquitted of the murder charge due to lack of evidence. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay’s death is thus still shrouded in mystery even after the CBI enquiry and the one-man Commission of Justice YV Chandrachud..
Deendayalji was active in India’s political life from 1937 to 1968. He emerged as an all-round national leader but when this seasoned leader emerged as President of his party, destiny took him away to a mysterious and tragic end. He was the Jana Sangh President for only 43 days when around 3.45 a.m. on 11th Feb 1968, the lever-man at the Mughalsarai station informed the Assistant Station Master (ASM) that about 150 yards from the station, towards the south of the railway line, a dead body was lying near the electric pole.
The police was alerted and the doctor was brought in the morning who examined the body and declared it dead. When the dead body was brought to the station, a curious crowd gathered there. Till now, the dead body was unclaimed. Then one person in the crowd shouted, “This is the Bharatiya Jan Sangh President, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.”
The parliamentary committee was in session at Delhi. It was adjourned and all the leaders reached Delhi where his body was brought. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay used to stay at parliamentarian Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s residence at 30, Rajendra Prasad Marg. His dead body was brought there. Guruji Golwalkar was already in Delhi because of his closeness toDeendayalji. Generally unperturbed, Guruji Golwalkar, when he approached Deendayalji’s dead body, his eyes filled with tears and he could only say in a choked voice,
“Oh what has happened to him! Many people run families, they can imagine the loss. Since I do not run a family, my sorrow is hundred fold. I won’t say anything about our personal relations. All that I can say is, those whom the Gods love, die young.”
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s sentiments were expressed through the article, ‘We accept the challenge’, thus:
“The attack on his life is an attack on our nationalism. The wounds on his body are assaults on our democracy. We accept this challenge of anti-nationals and enemies of democracy”
The entire nation was plunged in grief, all volunteers of Bharatiya Jana Sangh and RSS were stunned. Who was the murderer that had so cruelly taken the life of sage like Deendayalji, who did not have a single enemy in the world? There was no answer. His death was as shocking as it was mysterious.
One wonders how all this could have occurred; this is a matter of investigation.The first Jana Sangh President, Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, was also victim of a political murder. That mystery also remains unsolved to this day. Perhaps it will never be solved.
BOOKS BY PANDIT DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA
Samrat Chandragupta (1946)
Jagatguru Sankaracharya (1947)
Akhand Bharat Kyon? (1952)
Bharatiya Arthniti: Vikas Ki Disha (1958)
The Two Plans: Promises, Performances, Prospects (1958)
Rashtra Jivan Ki Samasyayen (1960)
Devaluation: A Great Fall (1966)
Political Diary (1968)
Rashtra Jivan Ki Disha
READING LIST TO KNOW MORE ABOUT PANDIT DEENDAYAL UPADHYAY
Life and Works of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya by S.R. Sharma
Deen Dayal Upadhyay (Hindi) by Harish Dutt Sharma
Deendayal Upadhyaya: Ideology and Perception, comprising seven volumes by Suruchi Prakashan
Ekatma manavvaad – collection of essays on “integral humanism”