Deendayalji had never been an MP or MLA. Nor did he ever hold any public office. Yet, like an Ajatshatru who had no enemy, he enjoyed so much love, affection and respect in the heart of everyone that Parliament made an exception to pay him a homage, unanimously.
eg with a few holes in it. When a follower offered to bring a new one, he remarked, “The holes in this bag are too small to let my clothes trickle out”.
From his simple looks and habits it was difficult to fathom that the bespectacled ordinary looking person was that great an intellectual. He impressed everyone who came in contact with him for his qualities of head and heart. Any means of conveyance – a Tonga, a cycle rickshaw – was convenient and comfortable for him. He was happy even as a pillion rider on a motorcycle. He would not mind helping spread durries and dust the floor at the function venue even when he was the national general secretary.
Deendayalji was never after office or election. Office was always thrust on him by the love of the party leaders and karyakartas. The party rank and file wanted that Deendayalji contest the by-election for Jaunpur Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh in 1963. Though reluctant, he ultimately bowed to the collective wish of the party and contested. The Congress candidate against him was a Rajput who made appeal for votes on caste lines. BJS karyakartas suggested Deendayalji that like Congress candidate, he too should retaliate by making a similar appeal to his own community of Brahmins. He got furious. He said he would prefer to lose the election rather than making a casteist appeal. He also threatened his supporters that if they indulged in that, he would retire from the election.
As a saintly man, he took the ups and downs in his life in a stride. He was never unusually happy or sad at anything. He attended the next morning's RSS Shakha after losing the Jaunpur election as if nothing had happened. He said, “My opponent proved more successful in conveying his message to the people than I”. In another election when a BJS candidate got defeated, he remarked, “Our man has been defeated but the party has moved forward. It has spread its message to more and more people”.
Simple like a child
A karyakarta, Kailash Sarang, sent invitations to many leaders, including Deendayalji, for his younger brother's marriage. He was surprised when Deendayalji rang up from railway station to tell him that he had come for the baaraat. He got his hair cut and his clothes ironed. “When I have come to join a baaraat”, he told smilingly, “I should look like a baaraati”. Knowing that Deendayalji had come to Bhopal, senior BJS leader Kushabhau Thakre wanted to avail himself of his presence and convened a meeting of MP, MLAs in the evening. When Thakreji told him, he jocularly said, “Thakreji, neither did you go in for a marriage nor did I. So we can't appreciate the importance of the occasion. You may fix the meeting tomorrow. I cannot miss joining the baaraat.”
Once Deendayalji was travelling in a railway compartment. A poor boy asked an officer sitting nearby whether he could polish his shoes. The officer asked whether he had a cloth to clean his shoes. On his saying “no”, the officer refused. While reading a newspaper Deendayalji kept his ears open to the talk. As the boy was going out, Deendayalji asked him to stop. He pulled out a towel from his bag, tore it and gave one piece to the boy saying, “Polish the Sahib’s shoes”. After polishing when the boy came to return the cloth, he asked him to keep it so that he doesn't lose work next time. Once he got his hair-cut from a roadside barber. He told a curious karyakarta smilingly, “The barber had no customer and I had no time.”
Strict disciplinarian, yet human
Deendayalji was a hard task master and a strict disciplinarian. Once in 1959-60 it was decided to nominate members of the Standing Committee for Delhi Municipal Corporation. A senior BJS leader Lala Harichand was adamant that he should be nominated. In the alternative he threatened that he would defy the party by contesting the election. When Deendayalji came to know of it he wrote to Vijay Kumar Malhotra, “How long would we be able to keep people into our fold by paying such a price?” When Malhotraji conveyed this feeling of Deendayalji, Lalaji immediately regretted his stand and decided to go by the party's decision.
Ugly scenes in Parliament and State Assemblies are the order of the day today, but were rare in those days. In March 1966 tempers in the Madhya Pradesh assembly ran so high that a provoked MLA Pandharirao Kridutt threw a Chappal in the house. This condemnable incident put BJS in the dock. The matter was reported to the central party. Deendayalji, then general secretary, took a very serious note of it and said it should never be repeated. At the same time there was need to avoid a sense of guilt. He said Kridutt was a very sensible man and it was equally necessary to go into the circumstances which provoked him to resort to this extreme step. This changed the mood of dismay in the party.
Friend with Lohia
Even though Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Deendayalji subscribed to different political ideologies, yet a great sense of bonhomie prevailed in their relations. It was Dr. Lohia and Deendayalji who jointly demanded that Bharat and Pakistan should form a confederation to end the persistent hostility between the two countries.
Deendayalji defined corruption as “equal to shortage of commodity multiplied by government regulation”.
He felt that neither communism nor capitalism could be the panacea for the Bharatiya society's ills, suited the Bharatiya conditions of life, nor could they solve Bharat’s problems. He therefore enunciated his own theory of Integral Humanism in which the central figure of the country's development plans was the human being. He gave an impetus to the Antyodaya concept of development without distinction of caste, creed and sex. When BJS leaders Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in Rajasthan and Shanta Kumar in HP headed the Janata Party governments in 1977, they gave this concept a practical shape with excellent results.
Couldn't speak about himself
Shri LK Advani once narrated that when working for Organiser he requested Deendayalji to write a weekly column 'Political Diary' narrating his experiences of his tours all over the country. For some time he did, but then all of a sudden he stopped writing expressing his inability to do so. Shri Advani explained that the obvious reason was that while writing this piece he had to use the word “I” numerous times and it was this what he detested.
Deendayalji was a voracious reader. At a time he kept two-three books open for reading. When he got tired of one, he would shift to the other. He was also a good writer, equally at ease with Hindi and English. He wrote two books—Samrat Chandragupta and Jagat Guru Shankaracharya which not only had commitment to the goal but also a vision and philosophy of life. This has been explained very beautifully in these two books. He had never been an MP or MLA. Nor did he ever hold any public office. Yet, like an Ajatshatru who had no enemy, he enjoyed so much love, affection and respect in the heart of everyone that Parliament made an exception to pay him a homage, unanimously. Guruji paid a very impassioned tribute, “Deendayal chala gaya, sab kuchh chala gaya” (I have lost Deendayal, I have lost everything).
Amba Charan Vashishth (The writer is a senior journalist)