Madhokji was very close to Dr Ambedkar who was very impressed with his views on upliftment of socially downtrodden people
Prof Balraj Madhok had many firsts to his credit during his long and eventful career. While he was not politically active during the last several years due to ripe age and ill health, yet he was taking tremendous amount of interest in the political scene of the country. That his funeral was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shri LK Advani and many other stalwarts is enough proof that despite difference on certain issues, Madhokji was still a highly respected leader of past and present generation of the party.
Almost half-century ago, I first met Madhokji at Patna in 1966 when he visited the city as Jana Sangh president. Perhaps not many people know that he was very close to Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Till Baba Saheb's last days, Madhokji used to meet him on regular basis at his residence, 26 Alipur Road, Delhi. Baba Saheb was very much impressed with his views on Indian Culture, making Sanskrit as a link language and giving just and fair deal to socially downtrodden people. Once, Madhokji told me that he (Baba Saheb) read his article on Kashmir. Then he called him through his staff. The first meeting lasted for three hours though it was scheduled for not more than 10-15 minutes to start with. That was the beginning of their life-long relationship. Baba Saheb was also fond of Madhokji as he was a voracious reader and a prolific writer.
Arguably Madhokji was first to demand ban on cow-slaughter after Independence. In 1960s he raised the issue very forcefully. He travelled across the country to create public opinion on it. He was also the first leader to demand that Sri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya should be handed over to Hindus in 1968. He made this demand when he was the Lok Sabha Member from South Delhi constituency. He was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1957 from New Delhi seat as a Jana Sangh candidate. That was also the time when Atal Behari Vajpayee was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time from Balrampur seat.
Madhokji had a phenomenal memory. Despite old age, his sharp memory was not at all diminished. He remembered major dates, years and incidents. With Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee he authored the constitution of the Jan Sangh. He used to narrate that momentous day (October 21, 1951) when the Jan Sangh was formed at Raghumal Arya Kanya Sachool at Raja Bazar, which is close to Connaught Place area in Delhi. While Syama Prasad Mookerjee was elected first president of Jan Sangh, he was elected national secretary. It was Madhokji who was instrumental in bringing LK Advani to Jan Sangh fold.
Kashmir was also very close to Madhokji’s heart. After staying in Jammu for two years as Sangh Pracharak he moved to Srinagar in 1944 as a lecturer of history at the DAV College and continued to build the RSS network there. Mehar Chand Mahajan, Prime Minister of Kashmir, was the Chairman of the managing committee of DAV College. Madhokji gathered advance intelligence regarding Pakistani raiders on October 21 and passed it on to the authorities. Madhokji mobilised RSS volunteers to defend Srinagar at the request of Maharaja on October 23. He was externed from Jammu and Kashmir
by Sheikh Abdullah as a result of
his political stance. Shri Madhok moved to Delhi in 1948 and
started teaching at the College established for education of the refugees from West Punjab.
During the last Lok Sabha polls, Shri Madhok once got up at around 2 in the night and asked his daughter Madhu that he would like to talk to Narendra Modi. Modiji was busy in campaigning. Still, the family of Madhokji managed to speak to Shri Modi and told him that Madhokji wants to speak to him. And, while talking to Shri Modi, Madhokji said, “You would be the Prime Minister of India post this poll and BJP would get full majority.” Date Raho was his precise words. It goes without saying that the nationalist forces would always remember Madhokji with deep sense of gratitude.
(The writer is Member of the Rajya Sabha)