Acharya Giriraj Kishoreji ?
Intro: For us, Acharyaji is still there, blessing us with his golden shiny beard, sparkling eyes, a child like smile and an eternal optimism.
It is not which village one is born or what one ate in the childhood that matters when it comes to the dedication and commitment to the ideology. Acharya Giriraj Kishoreji was a glaring epitome of it. What he did for Hindus when no Hindu organisation had anything to look for, is extra ordinary. With no power, money or social awareness about the burning Hindu issues then, Acharyaji stood steady and strong like the Himalayas. Known to today’s generation only as an old man who once led Sri Ram Temple movement, Acharyaji had many more versatile dimensions to his personality and it’s time we reach these aspects to all.
Born on February 4, 1920 in a simple Uttar Pradesh family, Girirajji completed his initial education in Misauli, Hathras, Aligadh and Agra. As a student he came across the stalwarts like Shri Deendayal Upadhyaya and Shri Bhav Jugade in Agra who initiated Girirajji as a Swayamsevak. Their observation about this bright youth never went wrong. In 1948 the then government slapped a ban on RSS and sent many in jail.
Girirajji too got stuck in jails at Mainpuri, Agra, Bareily and Kashi for 13 months. The man who came out after 13 months was yet more firm and strong. He then went on to do his MA in History, Hindi and Political Science. He also was a Sahitya Ratna and a Sanskrit sholar.
A Brief Life Sketch
The veteran VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore passed away on July 13, 2014 at the age of 95. He was born in Misauli Village of UP on February 4, 1920. After early education in Hathras and Aligarh, he came to Agra, where he became a swayamsevak under the influence of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
During this time, his brother died and he had to shoulder financial responsibility. He took up a Principal’s job at a College in Bhind area. Within a short span, the college was so developed by him that many students from distant places started coming there. Once when the dacoits attacked the hostel and abducted a few students, Principal Girirajji, a brave man, himself went to fight the dacoits and rescued the students.
A young Girirajji, then was made in charge of ABVP as a national Vice President and then an Organisational Secretary. He got the very first victory to ABVP in Delhi University elections. He left his job for building ABVP. Then he was made Jansangh’s Organisational Secretary of Rajasthan. During Emergency, he was again sent to jails of Bharatpur, Jodhpur , etc for 15 months. Post that, there was no looking back. In 1979 there was the infamous Meenakshipuram episode when over 3,000 Hindus were forced to convert to Islam. The then PM Indira Gandhi asked Dr Karan Singh to look into the matter and he got Acharyaji in action when with the help of RSS, all started Virat Hindu Samaj. A huge Hindu conclave in Mathura was a big success. Seeing the success the RSS sent him to VHP.
VHP immensely grew under his innovative leadership with 1983 Ekatmata Yatra, Bharat Mata – Ganga Mata Abhiyan, etc. In Ayodhya Sri Ram Temple Movement was led by Acharya Girirajji along with others, with his unending zeal and energy. Many cases were slapped on Acharyaji. He all along fought them with great pride. Simple Hindu workers like me were continuously encouraged by him. He never looked irritated with anyone. With his deep political insight and warm heart he took Hindu welfare much ahead of time with his newer ideas.
Last week, before VHP meeting in Jwala Devi, Himachal, I went to meet him in his room as I always did. He was bedridden due to his prolonged illness. His eyes sparkled with the same energy and strength of an uncompromising commitment. He said, Ab to Ram Mandir banega. (At least now the Ram Temple must be built). He had hope in his voice and a question in his eye. Even in his death, he left his typical mark. He donated his body for medical research. Acharya Giriraj Kishoreji was a lively inspiration for all of us. It wasn’t easy to stand against all odds, countering media cynicism then when there was nothing to look for. He did. It is this enormous strength that holds all of us together by which we are committed to the path of fulfilling his dream of a grand Sri Ram Temple at Ayodhya and also to his concept of Hindu Rashtra, which he always discussed with a few of us. For us, Aacharyaji is still there, blessing us with his golden shiny beard, sparkling eyes, a child like smile and an eternal optimism.