Who was Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya?

Deendayal Upadhyaya was an Indian politician and thinker of RSS ideology, and former leader of the political party Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of Bharatiya Janata Party.

Born on 25 September, 1916, in Mathura district’s Nagla Chandrabhan village, Upadhyaya joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1942 and remained a pracharak (full-time worker) till the very end. When the Bharatiya Jana Sangh was founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1951, Upadhyaya became part of it, going on to become its all-India general secretary, holding the post for 15 years.

Integral humanism, a philosophy developed by Deendayal Upadhyaya, was adopted by the Jana Sangh in 1965 as its official philosophy. This philosophy of his is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual; the individual and the collective.

He became president of the Jana Sangh in December 1967.

Upadhyaya also edited RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya. Electoral success, however, eluded him and he lost the Lok Sabha bypoll from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh in 1963.

For India, he visualised a decentralised polity and self-reliant economy with the village being the core basis — which thought of India as an independent nation which cannot rely upon Western concepts like individualism, democracy, socialism, communism or capitalism.

Deendayal was of the view that India is in urgent need of a ‘fresh breeze’ to get rid of the post-independence westernisation

He felt Indian intellect had been suffocated, and Indian polity was no more rooted in the traditions of our ancient culture. This, as per Upadhyaya, left a ‘roadblock’ to the growth of Bharatiya thought

When it came to modern technology, he wanted it to be adapted, but in such a way that it suits Indian requirements

He died in mysterious circumstances, his body was found on 11 February 1968 on a railway track near Mughalsarai Junction railway station. The railway station was later renamed in his honour in 2018, 50 years after his death.

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was the second top Jana Sangh leader to die under mysterious circumstances — the first being the founder, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who also died mysteriously on June 23, 1953. Mookerjee too was 52 at the time of his demise.

Since coming to power in 2014, and even before that, Prime Minister Modi has often quoted Deendayal Upadhyaya in his speeches. His government has dedicated several schemes to him, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana chief among them. The government also named Mughalsarai railway station in Uttar Pradesh after him.




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