Deendayal Upadhyaya birth anniversary: 7 facts you should know about BJP's ideologue

Deendayal Upadhyaya launched the weekly Panchjanya, which is now the official mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday paid tribute to Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya on his 101st birth anniversary. “Remembering our inspiration, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya ji on his Jayanti,” he tweeted. Besides him, other BJP leaders also extended their homage to the ruling party’s ideologue. The BJP will convene its national executive meet in New Delhi wherein more than 2,200 leaders including the chief ministers will attend the meeting.

Last year, Modi had kickstarted the year-long centenary celebrations of Upadhyaya, whom the BJP hails as an inspiration behind the NDA government’s economic policy.

Here are 7 facts you should know about the Jana Sangh leader.

Early years:

Deendayal Upadhyay was born on September 25, 1916, in Nagla Chandrabhan village of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. It is said that an astrologer predicted that the boy would become a great scholar, thinker and a politician but will not marry. He excelled in studies and secured a BA in English on scholarship. However, due to the death of a close relative, he could not complete his MA. He qualified for civil services examination and during the entrance examination earned the title of Panditji for wearing dhoti-kurta and cap. He did not join the civil services and enrolled himself in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1937.

The stint in RSS:

Deendayal Upadhyaya was influenced by senior RSS leaders Nanaji Deshmukh and Bhau Jugade. In 1942, he became a full-time volunteer of the Sangh and moved to Lakhimpur in Uttar Pradesh as an organiser. As a young RSS leader, Upadhyay founded a publication house named Rashtra Dharma Prakashan in Lucknow and a magazine titled Rashtra Dharma. He also launched a weekly known as Panchjanya which is now the mouthpiece of the RSS. Later, he launched a daily titled Swadesh.

Integral Humanism:

As a philosopher, Upadhyaya was known for his principle of Integral Humanism. It was first presented by him in the form of four lectures in Mumbai in 1954-55. According to Upadhyaya, the principle aimed for a casteless, classless and a conflict-free social order. It dealt with the integration of the indigenous Indian culture. “It is essential that we think about our national identity. Without this identity there is no meaning of independence, nor can independence become the instrument of progress and happiness. As long as we are unaware of our national identity, we cannot recognize and develop all our potentialities,” the BJP’s official website quotes Upadhyaya.

Amit Shah, Deendayal Upadhyaya

BJP president Amit Shah pays tribute to Deendayal Upadhyaya ahead of the party’s executive meet in New Delhi. (Photo: Twitter/Amit Shah)

Also read: BJP Sthapna Diwas: Why Narendra Modi must be credited for making BJP the party of the present and the future

Jana Sangh years:

In 1950, Syama Prasad Mookerjee resigned from the Jawaharlal Nehru government. A year later, he founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh with the help of RSS. On September 21, 1951, Upadhyaya hosted a political convention in Uttar Pradesh and founded the state unit of the party. After Mookerjee’s death in 1953, he played a pivotal role in strengthening the party’s support base across India.

Helm of affairs:

Upadhyaya’s organisational skills did not go unnoticed. In 1967, the Jana Sangh won 35 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. He travelled to south India to promote Jana Sangh among the masses. And in 1968, he was promoted to the post of party’s president.

A mysterious death:

On February 11, 1968, Deendayal Upadhyaya was found dead on the railway tracks. He was travelling to Patna from Lucknow. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in an interview to The Hindu had claimed that the Jana Sangh leader was killed and the cover-up investigation by CBI claimed that he was pushed from the train by robbers. He also claimed that none of the co-passengers travelling with him in the compartment had genuine identity proofs. In 2015, Swamy urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set up a multi-disciplinary special investigative team to probe his death.

Legacy:

The Bharatiya Janata Party regards Deendayal Upadhyaya as its source of ideological guidance and moral inspiration. While inaugurating the year-long centenary celebrations of the Jana Sangh icon, Modi in Kozhikode had equated Upadhyaya to Mahatma Gandhi and Ram Manohar Lohia among the leaders who “influenced and shaped Indian political thought in the last century.” Even President Ram Nath Kovind in his inaugural speech gave a call for an egalitarian society as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi and Deendayal Upadhyaya.

Also read: BJP sets THIS new ‘age limit’ rule for its youth wing members

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