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Special Content

special article Volume-26

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya


Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s name has been associated with several social initiatives of the government. To mention a few, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana strives to provide continuous power supply to rural India. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana is the skilling and placement initiative to cater to the occupational aspirations of rural youth and enhancing their skills for wage employment. Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakram works towards a conducive environment for industrial development and doing business with ease, also to impart skill training for workers. As the nation celebrates the birth centenary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya this year, the ideals, he stood for have become more relevant in modern India.

Deendayal Upadhyaya was in the legion of post-Independent political thinkers. The concept of Integral Humanism he propounded envisages remedies for the post-globalisation maladies of the world. Deendayal Upadhyaya lived a simple life and was the leading light within the Sangh Parivar. He coined the famous slogan Charaiveti, Charaiveti (move on, move on), and Har haath ko kaam, Har khet ko paani (work for every hand, water for every field) remained oblivious to the general public.

Deendayal Upadhyaya  was born in a poor family in Nagla Chandrabhaan village near Mathura, UP, on 25 September, 1916.  As a child, Deendayal had to face the profound grief of several deaths in the family. He lost his father when he was barely two and a half years and mother at the age of seven. The grandfather who looked after him after he was orphaned also passed away when he was ten.  Later he grew up in the care of his maternal uncle and aunt, who too passed away within a few years. Deendayal  moved from place to place and completed his masters degree. He was introduced to RSS by Baba Sahab Apte and became a full timer in the late 1930s.

Deendayalji was a prolific writer and a successful editor. He was instrumental in the launching of monthly Rashtradharma and weekly Panchajanya and daily Swadesh for the propagation of the Sangh ideology. He wrote a number of books including Samrat Chandragupt and Jagatguru Shankaracharya, an analysis of the Five Year plans in India and a book titled Political Diary. This book was a compilation of the column he wrote regularly in the Organiser weekly. Deendayalji was deputed to work in the Jana Sangh by Shri Guruji Golwalkar when the party was founded in 1951 by Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee. From then till 1967 he remained the Jana Sangh All India General Secretary.  It was during this time that he propounded the political philosophy of Integral Humanism. It is now 50 years since the Jana Sangh adopted Integral Humanism as its political-economic manifesto.

Deendayal Upadhyaya died on February 11, 1968 under mysterious circumstances at the age 52, barely few months after he took over as the Chief of Jana Sangh. Deendayalji was elected the President of Jana Sangh in September 1967 at Kozhikode session. Within a few months he was assassinated and became a martyr for the cause.   His body was found lying in a pool of blood, on 11 February 1968, by a railway man on the track near Mughalsarai railway junction. He was born ordinary, lived like a commoner, and died mysteriously, during a train journey at night from Lucknow to Patna. The murder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh President, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya still remains unresolved.

Upadhyaya conceived a classless, casteless and conflict-free social order. He stressed on the ancient Indian wisdom of oneness of the human kind. For him the brotherhood of a shared, common heritage was central to political activism. He emphasised on coexistence and harmony with nature.  He conceptualized an alternative approach which was free from the dialectics of competition and envy, a third way from the inertia of Capitalism and Communism. 

Deendayalji was a reluctant politician. Politics was not his first love. As an RSS pracharak he was eager to continue in the same field. However, on the formation of the Jana Sangh he was given the charge of organizing the new party and after the martyrdom of Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee, the entire responsibility fell on him. He shaped the party very different as a cadre based mass organisation. Politics for him was a means to an end, not an end to itself.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was a pioneer of many political experiments. He was the architect of the first coalition phase in Indian politics. The Samyukta Vidhayak Dal (SVD) experiments of the post-1967 election when Congress was routed in every state from Punjab to West Bengal. Upadhyaya was an innovative politician and he created a paradigm for future politicians to follow. He believed in self-sustaining autonomous units, more power to states and decentralized and competitive federalism, solidly cemented on the cultural mosaic of our tradition, heritage and experience of the past. He is the most iconic personality from the Sangh school of thought and he strived to establish the role of ideology in electoral polity.

Deendayalji’s idea of economic development was ‘Antyodhaya’ the upliftment of the last man in the queue. The Centre government’s unique schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra Yojana, Ujwala Yojana, to give free LPG connection to five crore BPL families, Gram Jyoti Yojana, to electrify the last of the 75,000 villages, toilet for all and house for all are all inspired by this vision. His ideas came as a fresh breeze of soothing creativity and he inspired a generation of party leaders to create a new political system which was free from the dialectics of competition and envy. Deendayalji’s Ideology has something that is immutable about it, essentially the Indianness in its approach.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was an advocate of less government and more governance.  No other contemporary of Upadhyaya has left such a lasting trail on the politics of this country as he did. He attracted the attention of thousands of youngsters who worked tirelessly to carry on the legacy. Perhaps, it was rooted in Indian ethos or because it was further moulded, chiseled and shaped; reinterpreted, reviewed and researched by a number of eminent social and political leaders and thinkers in the country.

(The author is former Editor Organiser Weekly and Member, BJP Central Committee on Prasikshan Maha Abhiyan, and Committee on Publications.

E-mail: balashankar12@ gmail.com)