Deendayalji put political integrity and character above electoral success. His commitment to national integration was beyond any party’s interest
If different dimensions of character and persona of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay is to be capsulated in a sentence, then it would be proper to call him an ‘Icon of Independent Bharat’.
In an era when the whole world was grappling with complex discussion around capitalism and communism, Deendayal ji propounded a realist and practical theory to the world, based on integral approach towards individual, society, nature and political institutions, which is popularly known as Integral Humanism.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of political climate then, there was an atmosphere of negativity and acrimony. Otherwise, pure Bhartiya thinking based on our ethos would have become the guiding force for entire humanity in the age of Cold War.
Despite facing blows after blows in the childhood and being bereft of affection and care in family, spark in his personality could not be shunned. The odds he faced during his childhood would have dampened anybody but he stood like a rock in his process of evolution.
That is the reason he came in contact with RSS and many other nationalist thinkers of his time. His moorings into Sangh ideology and special association of Sri Guruji nurtured the thinker already existing within him. He could perfectly blend the idealist principles and fit them into applied, realist paradigm. As a Sangh Pracharak he proved himself as a true patriot, able organiser, and a balanced person who is committed to the goal of serving humanity. It is reflected in his thinking and action even after his entry into political life.
Deendayal ji was a reluctant politician. But considering the political situation in the country when Dr Syama Prasad Mukerjee asked for cooperation to Sri Guruji, Deendayalji was one of the pracharaks who were sent to serve the nation through political activity. Though initially Deendayalji expressed his unwillingness to get into political field to Sri Guruji, later he accepted it as an order like a true swayamsevak. He not only accepted the new role but set new parameters of patriotism, justice and national service through politics.
This was the time when the then Nehru government was taking many decisions which were not in national interest in a bid to build an international image and to show proximity towards communist Soviet system. Possibly, Nehru was dreaming of Nobel Prize. Taking Kashmir issue to the United Nations, excessive support to Sheikh Abdulla and his ambition, introducing article 370 to further alienate Kashmir from rest of Bharat were all signs of arrival of time of self destruction (Vinash Kale Viparita Buddhi). Even the foreign policy of Nehru had no direction. After Jan Sangh entering in favour of saving Kashmir, Dr Mukerjee made the first sacrifice in this struggle for national integration. Now the responsibility of Jan Sangh rested on the young shoulders of Deendayalji. Due to his clarity in nationalist thought and nature of friendly nature with all helped the party to raise its electoral and popularity graph.
He always put political integrity and character above electoral success. He not only preached it to the workers but also practiced it. In 1963, he presented a living example of the same. A by election was scheduled and one of the seats was Jaunpur from where Deendayalji himself was contesting. The Congress candidate openly played a Rajput card to win the election. Some of the Jan Sangh activists wanted to plan a strategy for polarising Brahmin votes in favour of Panditji. When Deendayalji came to know about this, he clearly gave the instruction that if such a strategy is devised then he would withdraw his candidature. Upadhyayaji abhorred the caste-system and insisted that his election campaign for the Jaunpur by-election in 1963 be run without a mention of his Brahmin lineage. Though he lost to the Congress candidate by a thin margin, integrity and ideology of Jan Sangh stood vindicated.
No compromise with national interest and nationalism was integral part of his personality. It was reflected through his thoughts and actions during save Kashmir movement, Goa liberation movement, Nehru-Noon Pact on Teen Bigha, Bharat-Pakistan and Bharat-China wars etc.
His commitment to national integration was beyond the consideration of party interest. His joint statement with Dr Ram Manohar Lohia on April 12, 1964 to evolve a confederation of Bharat and Pakistan is a clear indicator of this trait. This is not far away from the idea of Akhand Bharat.
It was his moral and simple character that attracted even the leaders of opposition parties towards him, especially on the issues of national interest. Till his last breath he was a living example of this character.
In December, 1967 he accepted the post of President of Bhartiya Jan Sangh against his wish and just like a common worker he agreed for this role n the organisational interest. If an inauspicious night of February 11, 1968 would not have snatched him from us, this iconic personality of independent Bharat would have contributed much more at the feet of Motherland. Deendayalji’s life and overwhelming personality can be summarised in the words of Dr Syama Prasad Mukerjee where he said, “If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India.”
Gulrez Sheikh (The writer is social-political activist and a researcher on integral humanism)