India has produced many illustrious scholars, activists and thinkers. One such scholar and political activist was Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, who was born on 25th September 1916, in the small village of Nagla Chandraban in Uttar Pradesh. Pandit Deendayal Updhyaya went on to become one of the ideologues and was the tenth President of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, a precursor of the present-day Bharatiya Janata Party.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya's father was an Assistant Station Master at the railway station in Jalesar and his mother was a traditional lady. Unfortunately, his father passed away when he was not even three years of age and his mother also passed away when he was not yet eight years old. Deendayal was looked after by his maternal uncle and aunt, who took him and his younger brother under their care and encouraged him to study. Tragically his younger brother passed away a few years later. Though he had no immediate family members remaining, Deendayal was not disheartened and focused his intellect on his studies. Deendayal went to school in Sikar and in recognition of his good performance in the matriculation examination he received a scholarship from the Maharaja of Sikar, which consisted of 10 Rs a month, a gold medal and an allowance of Rs 250 to purchase books. He passed his intermediate examination from Birla College in Pilani and then pursued higher studies in Kanpar and Agra. While at the Sanatan Dharma College in Kanpur, Deendayal's fellow student Baluji Mahashabde introduced him to Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS, in 1937. Deendayal was deeply influenced by him and began considering the path of devoting his life to public service. After completing his B.T degree, Deendayal attended an RSS training camp and further education camps to emerge as a committed ideologue and lifelong worker of the RSS.
Deendayal Upadhyaya soon impressed his political colleagues with his organizational abilities, his wide-ranging knowledge across many disciplines, including education, economics and sociology, and his drive to bring about social change. In order to influence public opinion he started several publications which continue to be printed today. These include Rashtra Dharma, Panchajanya, and Swadesh.
Deendayal Upadhyaya became the first General Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh branch of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, when it was founded in 1951. He was thereafter appointed its All-India General Secretary. When the founder and first President of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, Dr Shyama Prasad Mookherjee passed away, he took over the task of running the organization and developing it as a pan-Indian movement. He mentored many grass-roots level workers of the party and strengthened the party organization by providing its ideological structure and guiding principles.
Apart from his immense organizational capabilites Deendayal Upadhyaya was also known for his philosophical and literary works. He developed the concept of 'Integral Humanism' which advocates the wholistic development of the mind, body, intellect and soul, of every individual. Some of the thoughts of Deendayal Updhayaya which bear reflection are:
"Western Science and the Western Ways of life are two different things. Whereas Western Science is Universal and must be absorbed by us if we wish to go forward, the same is not true about the Western Ways of life and values."
"Here in Bharat, we have placed before ourselves the ideal of the four fold responsibilities of catering to the needs of Body, Mind, Intellect and Soul with a view to achieve the integrated progress of Man."
Some of his literary works include the play "Chandragupta Maurya" and a translation of a biography of Dr. K.B. Hedgewar, which was originally written in Marathi. He also composed a biography of Adi Shankara (Shankaracharya), the 9th century Hindu reformer. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya's legacy is very much alive in India today, in the form of the ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which emerged from the Bharatiya Jan Sangh.
In recognition of his leadership, various institutions that have been named after him. These include: the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya hospital in West Delhi; the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya University, in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh; and the Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya dedicated his life to social causes and the Bharatiya Jan Sangh party. He never married or had a family of his own, however the numerous young party workers who he mentored looked up to him as an inspirational father-figure during his lifetime. On 11th February 1968, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya passed away, leaving behind a pioneering legacy of social service and an ideological vision that continues to inspire many people across India even today.
Also on this day:
1920 – Satish Dhawan, Indian aerospace engineer and Chairman of ISRO, was born.