Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (1916-1968)
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was the leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh from 1953 to 1968. A profound philosopher, committed organization man and a leader who who maintained the highest standards of personal integrity and dignity in public life, he has remained a source of ideological guidance and moral inspiration for the BJP since its inception. His treatise Integral Humanism is a critique of both communism and capitalism. It provides a holistic alternative perspective for political action and statecraft consistent with the needs of the human race and the sustainability of our natural habit.
A Short Biography
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was born on September 25, 1916, in the sacred region of Brij – in the village of Nagla Chandraban in Mathura, in what is now Uttar Pradesh. An astrologer who studied his horoscope predicted that the boy would become a great scholar and thinker, a selfless worker, and a leading politician – but that he would not marry. Deendayalji experienced tragedy in his early years, losing his brother to illness in 1934. He later went to high school in Sikar (now in Rajasthan) where he excelled. The then Maharaja of Sikar awarded Pandit Upadhyaya a gold medal, Rs. 250 for books and a monthly scholarship of Rs.10.
Deendayalji passed his Intermediate exams with distinction in Pilani and left for Kanpur to pursue his B.A. and joined the Sanatan Dharma College. At the instance of his friend, Shri. Balwant Mahashabde, he joined the RSS in 1937. In the same year, he received his B.A. in the first division. Deendayalji then moved to Agra to pursue an M.A.
Here he joined forces with Shri. Nanaji Deshmukh and Shri. Bhau Jugade for RSS activities. Around this time Rama Devi, a cousin of Deendayalji’s, fell ill. She moved to Agra for treatment but unfortunately passed away. This left Deendayalji very depressed and was the second such tragedy he has experienced. He could not take the M.A. exams. His scholarships lapsed.
At the urging of his aunt he took a Government conducted competitive examination in dhoti and kurta, with a cap on his head. Other candidates wore western suits. In fun, they called him “Panditji” – an appellation millions were to use with respect and love in later years. As was his trademark, he topped this examination as well. He now moved to Prayag (Allahabad) to purse a B.T. and continue his RSS activites. After completion of his B.T., he worked full-time for the RSS and moved to Lakhimpur district in UP as an organiser. In 1955, he became the provincial organiser of the RSS in UP.
Deendayalji established the publishing house Rashtra Dharma Prakashan in Lucknow and launched the monthly magazine ‘Rashtra Dharma’. Later he launched the weekly ‘Panchjanya’ and still later the daily ‘Swadesh’. In 1950, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee resigned from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet and sought Shri. Guruji’s help to enable idealistic young people to help shape an alternative political platform.
Deendayalji played a pivotal role here. On September 21, 1951, he was instrumental in hosting a political convention in UP and founding the state unit of the new party, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Dr. Mookerjee presided over the first all-India convention a month later, on October 21, 1951.
Deendayalji’s organizing skills were unmatched. Finally came the red letter day in the annals of the Jana Sangh when this utterly unassuming leader of the party was raised to the high position of President in the 1968. On assuming tremendous responsibility Deendayalji went to the South with the message of Jana Sangh. On the dark night of February 11, 1968, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was pushed into the jaws of sudden death, however. To this day, his followers and disciples lament that tragedy in Mughalsarai railway station.