Tag Archives: Jan Sangh

Deendayal Upadhyaya – The Seer of Integral Humanism

Deendayalji

25th Sept – 11th Feb

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (1916 – 1968) was an eminent political personality and a profound philosopher. He became a pracharak of the RSS after completing his M.A.

He established the publishing house ‘Rashtra Dharma Prakashan’ in Lucknow and launched the monthly magazine ‘Rashtra Dharma’ to propound the principles he held sacred. Later he launched the weekly ‘Panchjanya’ and still later the daily ‘Swadesh’.

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.  Pandit Deendayal has been the source of ideological guidance and moral inspiration many social activists and political leaders.

The pioneer of Integral Humanism or ‘Ekatma Manava Darshan’,  ‘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. Deendayalji was a great advocate of indigenous economics & administration models.

He was never enamoured of any position. He was not a Member of Parliament, but he was the maker of Members of Parliament.

His Murder : Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay was murdered on 11th Feb 1968 at Mughalsarai in UP. His death was as shocking as it was mysterious. The mystery remains unsolved to this day. Everyone was stunned by his untimely demise.

An Ideal Swayamsevak:

The greatness of Deendayalji can be assuaged by the tributes paid by Guruji Golwalkar.

“Those who realise and recognise their duties and responsibilities as a swayamsevak right from their student days and spend all their time and energies in organization work are a rare breed. Upadhyaya occupied a prominent place among such great souls. The RSS expects a Swayamsevak to inculcate all qualities, conserve them and work for the organizations, keep participating in the various RSS programmes in order of importance, carry out any other duties assigned to him in whichever field it be, Deendayal Upadhyaya was assigned to work in the political field. Some may have doubted his capabilities, but it can rightly be said that whatever position the Bharatiya Jan Sangh achieved was due to his dedicated efforts. There have been many vocal leaders in the Jan Sangh, many others worked very hard, but Upadhyaya was the one who laid the foundation stone of the party and worked for its attaining the dignity it achieved.

The person I have just mentioned had absolutely no political inclinations. He told me so many times during the last many years, ‘To what trouble have you put me? Let me return to my original work as a pracharak.’ I replied. ‘Bhai, who else is there to be put to such trouble but you? ‘One who is solely involved in organisational work can only jump into the cesspool of politics and clean it while remaining as untouched as a lotus amid all the muck. “

Atal Behari Vajyapee’s sentiments were expressed through the article, ‘We accept the challenge’, thus:

“Come, let us consider every drop of Panditji’s blood as the holy mark on our foreheads and move towards the ideals he lived and worked for. We should take every spark from his funeral pyre to our hearts and work to our utmost like him. We should turn the bones of this Dadhichi into stones and hurl them on the enemies so that our sacred soil is free of all roadblocks.

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 cause for which Panditji was born, lived and struggled, he sacrificed his life for that ideal. But his dream is still unfulfilled; his work is still incomplete.

Do read the below links :

A Short Biographical Sketch

Ekatma Manav Darshan Or Integral Humanism

Reference :

1. Dr.Mahesh Chandra Sharma

2. News Bharati

 – Ayush Nadimpalli

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Dr.Syama ( Shyama) Prasad Mukherjee – An Icon for Positive Nationalism

syama prasad

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee

Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, alternately known as Dr.Syama  Prasad Mookherjee, founder President of Bharatiya Jan Sangh was born in Calcutta on July 06, 1901. Dr.Mukherjee the illustrious son of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, “the Tiger of Bengal” and Smt. Jogmaya Debiwas a statesman who fought not only against foreign rulers but also Indian detractors. He courageously evolved a different approach based on positive nationalism in opposition to the wavering and timid mindset of Nehruvian leadership. He was the first political martyr of independent India who fell defending its integrity and sovereignty. His demise at Srinagar while being a captive of Sheikh Abdullah for forty days is an agonizing saga. His death will continue to be a blot on ‘almighty’ Nehruvian establishment that failed to protect the life of first leader of Opposition in Parliament. But more galling was the long rope given to shrewd separatists ready to bleed nationalist forces.

Syama Prasad personified nationalism and his untimely loss was a great blow to this political school. In Parliament and out of it, he was a perfect antithesis to Nehru and Nehruvianism; and arguably the prospective Prime Minister of India. Though Jan Sangh, his political legacy, continued to increase its vote share and seats in successive elections, his death left the path for Congress monopoly wide open. It also signaled the demise of his ideology in his home province West Bengal- which his Herculean efforts had saved from being incorporated into East Pakistan or Sarat Bose-Suhrawardi scheme of United Sovereign Bengal. It is ironical that ungrateful Marxists treat him as persona non-grata in West Bengal while they stand on the soil he had redeemed from going to Pakistan, the graveyard of Marxism. “To be great’, said Emerson ‘is to be misunderstood’. Stigmatized as communal and hawkish, Syama Prasad was no exception. But the issues he addressed through his life and his death are something independent India still has to contend with. Time has vindicated the merit in him and time shall reveal the peril of ignoring him.

Dr. Mukherjee was the greatest fighter for united India and a crusader against the communal politics of Muslim League. One should not forget that he played a crucial role in bringing down the Muslim League ministry in Bengal and forming a coalition Government of non-communal Muslim and Hindus. He became the opposition leader when Krishak  Praja Party – Muslim League coalition was in power 1937-41 and joined the Progressive Coalition Ministry headed by A K Fazl-ul-Haq as a Finance Minister. He was a member of the first National cabinet led by the first Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru.It was due to his strenuous efforts and untiring labour that the Hindu majority part of Bengal remained with the rest of India, and thus the State of West Bengal came into existence.

There was a tacit understanding between Dr.Mukherjee and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel in solving the crisis in Hyderabad. It was his suggestion that as the Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru was busy dealing with Jammu and Kashmir the Home MinisterSardar Patel should deal with Hyderabad.On April 8,1950 he resigned from the Cabinet as a protest against Nehru Liaqat Ali pact. There was an acute disagreement between the two leaders regarding the effectiveness of this agreement in finding a solution to the minority problem in both countries.

Explaining the reasons for his resignation Dr. Mukherjee in a statement in Parliament said that his differences were fundamental and,”It is not fair or honourable for me to continue as a member of the cabinet whose policy I cannot approve.”After coming out from the Congress he formed Peoples Party of India in Bengal. He had the first meeting with Shri Guruji at Calcutta RSS office and after that meeting he decided to work through Jan Sangh. Dr.Mukherjee  was formally elected as Jana Sangha President at Kanpur session in 1952.It was the same year when the BJS contested the first General Elections.BJS had limited success and it had only three members including Dr.Mukherjee in the first Lok Sabha. He induced a number of small parties and independent members to join him to form the National Democratic Party of which he became the leader. Once Nehru had said in Parliament,” I will crush Jana Sangha.” Pat came the answer from Dr.Mukherjee,” I will crush this crushing mentality.”

Speech by Dr.Syama Prasad in 1940 at Banaras Hindu University

” If I have understood the history of my country aright, a pacifism that refuses to take up arms against injustice and makes one a passive spectator of oppression and aggression, does not represent the real teaching of India.  Let us not forget that valour was greatly esteemed by the sages and free rulers of India in olden times. When valour languished, the entire polity weakened. When the sword and the book of knowledge kept together, justice, equity and liberty ruled the affairs of the state. We want to see the reappearance of the ancient spirit of valour tempered with a spiritual wisdom consistent with our genius and present needs, which alone can recover civilization out of the chaotic condition of the modern age.

We live in an age when the need of ‘parakrama‘, ceaseless exertion, courage and valour, in all spheres of activity affecting the public weal, is more imperative than ever. The menace of invasion from without is within the bounds of possibility. Disruptive forces are at work within the country itself. A nation can only save itself by its own energy. But energy and strength hardly come to a people that does not enjoy the blessings of unity and freedom. Unity need not imply uniformity is not to be encouraged. India is traditionally a land of village republics, and local autonomy has had many noble champions whose patriotism and public spirit are beyond question. But accentuation of differences can not make for strength. A divided India was always a prey to the foreign invader from the days of Alexander and Mahmud of Ghazni to those of Vasco da Gama, Dupleix and Clive. There is much disharmony and disunity in India today. Communal differences have taken such an acute turn that fanatic claims for the vivisection of our Motherland are widely asserted, backed by tacit encouragement of the powers that rule the destinies of India today. ”

Syama Prasad Mukherjee passed away in Srinagar(J&K) on wee hours of June 23rd, 1953. That marked the end of his 52-years of vigorous life, last forty days ofwhich were spent in imprisonment in a cottage near Srinagar’s Nishat Bag. The shabby treatment, both humanand medical, meted out to Syama Prasad resulted in hisillness and death. The make over exercise of Sheikh Abdullah was at best a cover up that smacks of conspiratorial agenda. A bit of poetic justice caught up with Sheik Abdullah who was dismissed Sadar-i-Riyasaton recommendation of his own cabinet colleagues later that year and placed under imprisonment at a Gulmarg guest house.

Syama Prasad Mukherjee , in his second public visit to the state, entered J&K on May 9, 1953. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to the border with Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee to see him off. Before entering into Kashmir Dr. Mukherjee told Atalji to pass on his message to the entire country.He openly violated the system of taking permit to enter the state, a must in those days. By transgressing the permit system he wanted to demonstrate that J&K is an integral part of India – and itis the fundamental right of an Indian to travel across its length and breadth unhindered by law. His objective was to bring the Indian Constitution to the state of J&K that had in principle acceded to Indian Union on October26, 1947 but in practice being ruled as a sovereign republic by its iniquitous ‘Prime Minister’ Sheikh Abdullah. Ironically Sheikh Abdullah did so with resources from India and connivance of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He exploited Article 370 of Indian Constitution that gave J&K an elitist privileged status.According to Article 370, apart from Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications, Indian Parliament would need the concurrence of J&K Assembly to frame laws regards to items in Union and Concurrent List. It was intended to be a temporary provision till the Constituent Assembly of J&K ratified the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh on October 26, 1947. But the vested interest of powers that be has ensured the perpetuity of Article 370 till date.The Kashmiri establishment is fond of describing it as the ‘article of faith’ whereas in reality it as an ‘article of exploitation’for extracting privileges from New Delhi but evading accountability. Article 370, prevented a free flow of Indian Constitution in J&K turning it into a glasshouse.

Dr. Mukherjee decided to enter Jammu and Kashmir without permit. When Dr. Mukherjee was about to leave for Kashmir Shri Guruji sent a message to him that his life was in danger but it could not be communicated as he had already left. It seems there was a conspiracy as the authorities were aware that Dr.Mukherjee was going to cross border but he was not stopped at the border in spite of travelling without a permit.

Since Syama Prasad’s untimely demise in 1953,various other provisions of Indian Constitution has been extended to J&K. Briefly they include Customs and Central Exercise, Civil Aviation, Posts and Telegraph(1954); All India Services like IAS and IPS and functions of CAG (1958), Census (1959), Central Labour Laws(1964), Direct elections of Lok Sabha (1966), Jurisdiction of Indian Supreme Court (1968) etc. Dual citizenship that existed then exists even now. But in those days when Symaprasad shone as the first Leader of Opposition in Indian Parliament, an Indian needed a special permit by J&K government to set foot in the state. J&K not only had a separate constitution and judiciary; but Sheikh Abdullah through Delhi Agreement (July 24, 1952) signed with Jawaharlal Nehru made flying a separate Kashmiri flag alongside Indian tri-colour. Having an independent Constitution, an independent flag, and a ‘Prime Minister’ for J&K made a mockery of India’s sovereignty and integrity. (It was only through an amendment in Kashmir Constitution w.e.f May 30, 1965 that denominations of ‘Prime Minister’ and ‘Sadar-i-Riyasat became ‘Chief Minister’ and ‘Governor’ respectively).

Though Article 370 ensured a privileged statusfor J&K, its benefit was not forwarded to all its inhabitants.It ensured hegemony of Kashmiri Muslims who aredominant majority amongst Kashmiris but statistical minority vis-a-vis Dogras of Jammu and Ladhaki Buddhists. Dogras and Laddhakis have little stake Article370 and would be happy to see it go any time. Nor it hasproved to be in the interest of Kashmiri Pundits who are now living in refugee camps of Delhi and Jammu. Article370 meant to protect ‘Kashmiriyat’ have done preciouslittle to protect or preserve them.

Thus there was one powerful roadblock to Sheikh Abdullah’s secessionist and autocratic policies. They were the patriotic Dogras who wanted free flow of IndianConstitution into J&K or else being placed outside’Sheikhdom’. From Maharaja Gulab Singh to Hari Singh,it was a Dogra dynasty that had ruled J&K for a full century. Dogras also produce brave soldiers for Indian Army. Deeply shocked by Sheikh Abdullah’s policies hurting Dogras and beguiling rest of India they had organized themselves in a mass organization Praja Parishad. Led by a 70-year old energetic and sincere leader Pandit Prem Nath Dogra they carried on popular agitation within democratic norms. They gave a stirring call-

Ek Desh Me Do Vidhan/Ek Desh Men Do Nishan/Ek Desh Men Do Pradhan/Nahin Chalenge, Nahin Chalenge”– (Two Constitutions, two Flags and two head of states in one country, won’t be tolerated).

The Sheikh Abdullah with complicity, nay active indulgence of Nehru, was hell bent on crushing this mass movement.It was at this juncture that Syama Prasad Mukherjee’s way crossed with that of Praja Parishad’s patriotic movement.

A meeting with Pt. Dogra in May, 1952 at New Delhi’s Western Court proved to be a momentous eventin life of Syama Prasad. Syama Prasad had his grounding in Bengal politics before moving on to national politics while Kashmir crisis in the making could hardly have escaped his political interest. But this Lion of Bengal,after meeting Pandit Dogra, made cause of Kashmir almost his personal. The State of Jammu and Kashmir was under the foreign ministry and the prime minister himself was taking care of this ministry. Mukherjee had correspondence with Nehru but Nehru dubbed this agitation as ‘Communal Movement’. Nehru bungled with J&K with confidence of a native. He put his entire stake in Sheikh Abdullah, who was his childhood friend, only to be disillusioned later. Syama Prasad metaphorically clashed sword with Nehru at the floor of Parliament over his policies encouraging separatism in Kashmir.

“I would like to know” Syama Prasad asked during a Lok Sabha debate, “are Kashmiris Indian first and Kashmiris next or they are Kashmiris first and Indian next or they are Kashmiris first, second and third and not Indian at all? That is a very important point which we have to settle.”

Nehru government’s public posturing over Praja Parishad’s movement was one of complete indifference.It wanted to inform Indian public opinion that it was a movement by lunatic fringe. Nehru had even refused anaudience to Prem Nath Dogra. The Praja Parishad decided to hold its convention of its workers at Jammu on August 9 and 10, 1952. It extended invitation to all Members of Parliament to see for themselves the immense groundswell in favour of Parishad. Syama Prasad’s first public tour of J&K was in that connection.

Syama Prasad left Delhi for Jammu on August 8 night by Kashmir Mail along with U.M. Trivedi, BabuNarain Singh, both MPs and Balraj Madhok.In Jammu he addressed a crowd of hundred thousand people. Hestressed on the need for adhering to Satyagraha by the Praja Parishad. A more drastic method could be resortedto if Satyagraha had no impact on Sheikh Abdullah.Some might have discounted it as pacifism but otherappreciated as his political saneness. But he promised tostand by them always and mobilize public opinion allover India in support of Praja Parishad’s cause. Less thana year later he came back to keep his words even if it meant to lay down his life.

Syama Prasad, immediately on his return toDelhi, conferred with Nehru. He tried to convince him that Praja Parishad was a popular mass movement andcould not be discounted as a fringe activity. But Nehrutook no heed of his words and continued to underminethe nationalistic movement of Jammu in collusion withSheikh Abdullah.

Sheikh Abdullah, per Delhi Agreement (also calledJuly Agreement) signed on July 24, 1952 with Nehru,had extracted further privileges. It included fluttering aseparate flag for Kashmir, which was National Conference flag remodeled. A major showdownhappened when Sheikh Abdullah tried to hoist this flag at State Secretariat at Jammu, J&K winter capital. PanditPrem Nath Dogra declared no other flag but Indian tricolour should flutter in Jammu. Sheikh Abdullah,bolstered by obliging Nehru’s CRPF deployment, let losea reign of terror. It is strange that when a Leader of Opposition was upholding his nationalistic Dharma, aPrime Minister was undermining it.

Syama Prasad’s next visit, also his last bow, came in May 1953 as snow began to melt in the Valley. In previous six months nearly 2500 satyagrahis had been arrested by Sheikh Abdullah government whereas 30 had been killed. From Ambala he sent a telegram to Sheikh Abdullah-”I am proceeding to Jammu. My object of going there is to study the situation myself and to explore the possibilities of creating condition leading to peaceful settlement. I will like to see you also if possible”.He received Sheikh Abdullah’s reply through a telegram at Phagwara-“Thanks your telegram. I am afraid your proposed visit to the State at the present juncture in opportune and will not serve any useful purpose.”

From Phagwara he motored to Jallandhar where he said in a Press Conference-” India had taken the issue of J&K to UNO for stopping Pakistani aggression and forgetting her armies out of the State and not to settle when plebiscite was to be held there. Pt. Nehru should have protested against this deflection from the main issue and should have withdrawn from UNO if it had failed to accept this”.

He got an intimation of his forthcoming arrest in Jallandhar itself when an elderly person who identified himself as Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur decided not to allow him to reach Pathankot. “I am expecting instructions from my Government as to where you should be put under arrest”. The Deputy Commissioner accompanied Syama Prasad to Pathankot via Amritsar.But at Pathankot the same person surprised him by telling that the government had allowed him to proceed without permit. While no restriction was put on his companions,it was advisable that their number was less. One wish Syama Prasad had realized what a conspiracy it was to push him into the state where the protecting hand of Supreme Court was not available. He left Pathankot in a jeep amidst uproarious victory chants.

He was cleared at Madhopur Check Post of theRavi Bridge at 4 pm but as his jeep reached at the centreof the bridge he found road blocked by Kashmir Police.An Order of Chief Secretary dated May 10, 1953 banned his entry into the state and he was arrested by the superintendent of police Kathua. He was taken to Srinagarvia. Lakhanpur.

A small cottage converted into a sub-jail on a mountain slope near Nishat Bag served as last abode for following five weeks. It was about eight miles away from the city and with no arrangement for medical facilities. The nearest telephone was hundred yards away in a water substation. Syama Prasad had high blood-pressure which meant high altitude not withstanding its scenic beauty proved harmful to him. His health began to deteriorate fast as he began to lose his appetite. He was not even allowed the facility of walking outside bungalow even though the doctor Colonel Chopra had recommended it. None of his friends or relatives were allowed to interview him while in jail.

He developed a pain in chest and high temperature on night of June 19. On June 20 he was administered Streptomycin by Dr. Ali Mohammed much against wishes of Syama Prasad who protested that his family physician had forbidden Streptomycin for him On 22nd night and early hours of 23rd June came the end of the great son of the soil.What happened in State Nursing home remains shrouded in mystery? Barrister U.M. Trivedi met him in the evening confident that he would be set at liberty the next day as a result of habeas corpus filed in Srinagar Supreme Court. Health of Syama Prasad who was weak but cheerful when Barrister Trivedi left at 7.30 pm deteriorated that night. He was said to have passed away at 3.45 am on June 23rd. The version of Sheikh Abdullah government at his death was more of a cover up exercise aimed at hiding its criminality.

The conspiracy for Dr. Mukherjee’s death deepens because no enquiry into his death was set up. The reason was very obvious because the enquiry would have brought out only two things either Dr. Mukherjee died due to medical negligence or was deliberately killed.….

Source : Dr.Syama Prasad Mukherjee- The Man & His Mission.

Important Link : http://drsyamaprasadmookerjee.org/default.html

Also read – 1953: A Kashmir story

Nanaji makes Gramswaraj a reality

Ed Note : This article was written when Nanaji was alive and therefore the article is in present tense.

Nanaji makes Gramswaraj a reality
The savant of Chitrakoot – By Sangeet Verma

Chitrakoot

Chitrakoot is famous for its significant role in the exile of Sri Rama. It was in these forests of Chitrakoot that Sri Rama spent a large time of his exile. This made Chitrakoot a place of devotion and faith for Hindus worldwide. However in recent years, apart from its religious significance, life for the villagers in this holy place gradually lost relevance with the teachings of Sri Rama. The dense forests disappeared with time, agriculture lost its profitability and governance was limited to tax collections and VIP visits. Poverty grew with increasing unemployment and water shortage ruined agriculture. Bandits controlled the area and spirituality shrunk to religious shrines and temples. By the early seventies, Chitrakoot became a dry and poverty-struck area with temples and shrines as the only source of income.

nanaji-deshmukhIt was in 1969 that Nanaji Deshmukh visited Chitrakoot. He was moved to see the pathetic condition of the society in the karmabhoomi of Sri Rama. He sat by the holy river Mandakini, and resolved to change the picture of Chitrakoot. Nanaji gave up an illustrious political carrier, politely refusing a ministerial birth offered by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai and announced his retirement from active politics. He returned to Chitrakoot to lay down the foundation of Deendayal Research Institute now famous as DRI. Named after the famous thinker and organiser Deendayal Upadhyaya and designed to implement development programmes through his vision of ‘Integral Humansim’, DRI was aimed at rural development and research, targeting villages around Chitrakoot. Nanaji laid down the objectives of DRI, aiming at complete independence of villages and villagers in agriculture, water resources, health, moral character, education and employment. His vision was to design a system of development based on local knowledge and technology and enhancing the same for the prosperity of the locals rather than invite external investments. The challenges were massive and the primary challenge was to win over the trust of the villagers in order to prepare them for the change.

Work started with minimum resources and maximum efforts. The primary focus was on making agriculture a profitable venture as Nanaji believed that only prosperity can make a happy society. A meeting of farmers from 19 villages was called and a decision to create local dams to sustain rainwater was taken. Men, women and children contributed to the call and before the rains could arrive, dams had come up in every possible location. Interestingly, no cement, concrete or iron was used for the purpose and only local stones and mud was used. Many ‘leaders’ laughed at the idea and said that these dams will not even stand the first rains. But they did, and are strongly standing till date. The experiment has recharged the entire ground water system around Chitrakoot and even in the months of May and June, local wells carry 10-15 feet of water. Nanaji went further to launch Krishi Vikas Kendras (KVKs) resource and research centres aimed at transforming unprofitable landholdings of poor farmers into profitable ones. The KVKs helped the poor farmers harvest rainwater, use latest methods of agriculture and provided knowledge and resources for the same. They also created Seed Villages in a cluster of villages and Seed Clubs at village levels where farmers could get better seeds for better yields in their own villages, rather than awaiting government machinery to supply them. These villages are now not only meeting the seeds requirements of their own village but also supplying the surplus seeds to nearby villages that provide good income to the growers. The members of the Seed Clubs exchange their seeds for food grains within the village (for1 kg seed they take 1.25 kg food grain from farmers).

Nanaji’s focus on education was clear since the time he established the first Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Gorakhpur in his days as a Pracharak. In Chitrakoot, he has ensured that not only do the students get good education to earn a happy living, the same education evolves them as responsible citizens and integral components of a happy human race and not just money making machines that work under the pressure of a mad market frenzy. The pre-primary education begins at Nanhi Duniya or the ‘little world’ where children in the age of 3 to 5 years come not to study, but to experience nature. They play with everything from colours, balloons to geographic models, maps and toys, and learn by interaction rather than reading and writing. Nanhi Duniya is an interactive world that teaches important lessons of the world to toddlers while playing with nature. It has interactive and play-based models and galleries on themes of geography, history, zoology, sports and yoga, swimming, words and numbers, and art and creativity. Primary education in Chitrakoot begins at Surendra Pal Vidyalaya where the children study standard curriculum. The hostel accommodations here are designed as family units. Ten students stay in a flat as a family, with their responsibility assigned to an aged couple called Guru Mata-Pita who ensure that the children get a family atmosphere and do not feel isolated in a big world. They are also responsible for inculcating cultural and moral values in these children. Each family is provided with a cook. For post secondary education, Nanaji founded the first rural university in India, the Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya. This university has state-of-the-art courses and equipments, including a fully equipped Geographical Information System Lab in its Geology department.

Nanaji believed that only a healthy society can be prosperous. Thus came into existence the Aarogya Dhaam, a world class comprehensive health care and research centre that focuses on serving through naturopathy, yoga, and Ayurveda. The many components of Aarogya Dhaam include the Aayurveda Sadan (meant for Ayurvedic treatments and research), The Nidan Sadan (Out Patients Department), The Yoga Sadan (for yogic cure and training), the Ras Shala (where locally grown herbs are used for preparing ayuvedic medicines), Swasthya Kutir (health cottages that offer five star facilities with programmes for healthy physical, mental and emotional recovery), Matri Sadan (maternity and paediatric unit), Swasthya Sadan (In Patients Department), a fully furnished dental unit, Aahar Vihar Sadan (canteen), a spawning herbal garden spreading many acres, and a large library and documentation centre. Located on the hills of Chitrakoot surrounded by forests and overlooking the holy Kamtanathji mountain, this health centre with its lush green lawns, gushing waterfalls and picturesque surroundings are a feast to the eye. It is clearly aimed at handing over a suffering body to mother nature, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically, helping it with the very components derived from nature in the form of herbal medicines and cure, thereby bringing a comprehensive recovery of the entire human system that heals the mind, body, heart and soul, permanently. The DRI has also developed and designed a pack of 34 local herbal medicines that are derived from local knowledge and have been found to be very effective in curing frequently occurring ailments and diseases. They call it Dadi Maa Ka Batua. This kit has gained tremendous popularity in the villages and has helped save the villagers from expensive treatment and medicines. Adjacent to the Aarogya Dhaam is a well-maintained and well-equipped Gau Shaala where cows of different Indian breeds are kept and conservation of superior genetic germ plasm and their propagation for milk production and agricultural needs is done, specially for breeds which are in danger of extinction. The Gau Shaala is also engaged in maintaining pure Indian breeds through artificial insemination of cows and bullocks for better and quality milk production in order to make the Indian cow an economically feasible, useful and profitable option.

Nanaji’s commitment to Chitrakoot further extends to its people in addressing their employment needs. His vision of providing local options of livelihood with minimum investment and maximum profits resulted in the institutionalisation of Udyamita Vidyapeeth, an entrepreneurship development and research centre that works round the clock for developing, training, and establishing low cost and high income enterprises in the rural areas with the help of self-help groups and individuals. At present this industrial training centre is providing training on fruits and vegetable processing, dal poha and lai production, oil expeller units, readymade garments, screen and offset printing, MCR tiles, sakar blocks, processing of cereals and pulses industry (PCPI), flour mills, cane and bamboo craft, fabrication, computer training, bakery products, soap and detergent production, hand made paper making, and radio electronics. Rural youth from all over the region come here and get trained in the areas of their individual interest. Training is provided in state-of-the-art class rooms and laboratories that help them understand every aspect of their future livelihood. They then go to their respective villages and establish the ventures giving employment to themselves and many others. The focus in designing all industrial solutions is keeping them a low investment enterprise based on local raw materials in order to ensure sustained supplies and profits.

A prosperous society is incomplete without its moral and cultural values. DRI has set-up Ram Darshan, a unique interpretation centre of the Ramayana, based on the life and teachings of Sri Rama. Through its unmatched paintings, sculptures, collections and crafts, Ram Darshan not only looks deeper into the meaning of Ramayana, it helps one understand the universal acceptability of his teachings and their relevance in today’s life and society. It is a mirror that tells us where we went wrong, and how the course can be corrected. It is a bridge that connects the islands of religion, knowledge, karma and spirituality for the supreme benefit of a glorious society. In order to ensure that his good work is sustainable, Nanaji, introduced Samaj Shilpi Dampattis, newly wed graduate couples who have a commitment for community service, that live in the villages and look after the work of DRI in a cluster of five villages. The couples are responsible for overall implementation of the DRI programmes.

Kalam and Nanaji

It is in Chitrakoot that Nanaji has shown the world that religion is meant more for the benefit of society than individuals. He has proved that pilgrimages like Chitrakoot should not just be places of worship, but also icons of development and self reliance. He has shown that ideals of Integral Humanism as propagated by thinkers like Pandit Deendayal Upadhayaya, can be made a living reality. Gandhiji’s dream of Gram Swaraj has finally been brought true, not by a congressman, but by a swayamsewak. Last but not the least, Nanajii has shown this generation what is meant by the life of a sage spent in penance.