“Bharatiya Jana Sangh was born out of this realisation that the party in power, or even others in the opposition, had completely neglected this fundamental basis of Bharat’s life and culture. In their attempt to modernise the country, they were trying to devitalise it by changing its age-old values. If they posed as reformers, they were only deluding the people, and themselves, Dayanand and Gandhiji were great reformers, they brooked no social evil, but they never decried Dharma or minimised its importance. On the contrary, they appealed in the name of Dharma, and they succeeded”. — Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya, the first lecture on Integral humanism, delivered on April 22, 1965
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the old Kingsway, i.e. Rajpath, the symbol of slavery, to a newly created Kartavya Path, with the statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose watching the magnificent sight through the India Gate, it was history in the making. This symbolic gesture erased another symbol of slavery. The mindset behind ruling the country should not be Raj – i.e. power but Kartavya – i.e. duty has been firmly established. In the form of Netaji, a true leader of the soldiers, who led from the front in the freedom struggle, got his due place. At the same time, Prime Minister paid tribute to Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya, the original proponent of Decolonisation after Independence.
Deendayal Ji articulated his ideas on Integral Humanism which was not a rigid ideological programme in the Western sense. When the Bharatiya Jan Sangh was formed as a political party, taking inspiration from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), all other political formulations then used to revolve around socialism or capitalism. Taking the Tilak and Gandhian line forward, Deendayal Ji rejected the blind imitation of both and proposed an original framework rooted in the Bharatiya philosophy of seeing a symbiotic relationship between the individual and collective, spiritual to the material, and national to universal. Many criticise and consider burning Hindutva as their lifetime project but do not understand this fundamental premise of our nationhood. Due to this diconnect with the national ethos, they cannot appreciate the Deendayal Ji’s vision for the complete decolonisation of social-political, economic and institutional thinking, which PM Modi is trying to take forward.
Our Rashtra Dharma has been not to discriminate against anyone based on religion. Hence, we must reject the British idea of differentiating individuals as majority and minority. Non-Indic faiths like Islamism and Christianism should shun the minoritism mindset. Before peddling the fake narratives about so-called minorities under threat, Western intellectuals, both within and outside, should not neglect the fact that no discriminatory practices are employed in the policy implementations. The ideation around Aatmanirbharata, or vocal for local, does not mean closing doors to the outside ideas. It is meant to strengthen the domestic market based on the available resources and skill set. Cow protection and promotion can go hand in hand with facilitating new semiconductor plants or 5G technology. The same applies to putting education and health at the core of policy-making as envisioned by Deendayal Ji. We need to revisit the integral thinking framework for our art, literature, philosophy, social sciences, technological and industrial policies, etc., to evolve our indigenous modernity during the Amrit Kaal.
Earlier, the idea of decolonisation was limited to political independence which changed over the period. With a wider connotation, it now means the process of restorative justice through cultural, psychological and economic freedom. We need to stimulate original ideas, objectives and strategies in tune with our national ethos to gain that freedom. Freedom of mind and thought processes from the colonial impact and hangover is the first step in that direction. Through the philosophical milieu of Integral Humanism, the modern Rishi in the form of Deendayal Ji initiated that process in the 1960s. The BJP-led governments naturally try to implement it through policies. Apparently, a lot of symbolism is involved, but that is necessary to initiate the churning. A fundamental shift in policy formulation is essential in the economic and institutional realm. We need a decentralised and integral model to evolve a truly Bharatiya model of development. Comprehensive decolonisation facilitated by the governments, undertaken by the intellectuals and imbibed by society is the need of the hour. That would be an apt tribute to Deendayal Ji.