The two legends were born on the same day and had a strong desire to build a nation based on Sanatan Dharma principles. Their struggle to instil confidence and strength in each “Bharatiya” to work for “Bharatiyatva” lasted until their last breath. Both had complex personalities. Their contributions to society and nation as freedom fighters, political leaders, writers, poets, orators, and social and political organisation builders are admirable. Both Bharat Ratna awardees were true “Bharat Ratnas,” as nothing was more important to them than the welfare of Bharat Mata. Their entire body cells were filled with patriotic feelings.
Despite their ideologies, both are admired by friends and foes alike. Both were linked to RSS in some way or another. Atal ji was a Sangh Pracharak (a full-time volunteer with no pay or benefits. Real hardship in serving Bharat Mata) and Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya has also established Sangh Shakhas in Banaras Hindu University (BHU). So, their commitment and passion to serve the nation every minute stemmed from Sangh ideology. It is surprising that many leaders admire these legends but abuse RSS; does this imply that RSS hatred is politically motivated?
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The first Shakha of the Sangh in UP was opened in BHU.
‘Sangh Rashtra Ke Liye Kam Kar Raha Hai,’ the narration goes. On the occasion of Ram Navami on April 8, 1938, Mahamana delivered this narration at BHU’s Sangh programme. Dr Hedgewarji and MS Golwalkarji were also in attendance at the event. Dr Hedgewar has been visiting BHU since 1929.
Sangh Bhavan, BHU
MS Golwalkar, alias Guruji, was teaching at BHU at the time. Guruji got close to Dr Hedgewar during that time. Dr Hedgewar’s personality and the work of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) impressed Mahamana so much that he gave the Sangh two buildings at the Law College. It was renamed Sangh Bhawan and became Sangh’s headquarters. By 1942, Shakhas were being established in various locations throughout BHU.
A true story demonstrating Mahamana’s greatness
Pt Madan Mohan Malviya Ji was collecting donations throughout the country during the establishment of BHU in 1916. In that case, he also went to the Nizam of Hyderabad’s court. When he put up his Proposal, Nizam became angry and shouted, “How dare you come to me for funds and that too for a Hindu University?”
He requested to remove the Hindu word from the university’s name, but Malviyaji refused. Mahamana attempted to persuade the Nizam that this university belonged to all Indians, but he was unsuccessful. Nizam insulted Pandit Ji by throwing off his slipper at Malviyaji.
Without feeling offended, Mahamana took the slipper with him and auctioned it the next day in Char Minar market; later, Nizam assisted when he realised his mistake. This demonstrates Mahamana’s great character, which prioritised society and nation over personal respect and image by putting his ego aside. Personal insult and criticism are equal to personal respect for the image of a patriot. They serve with a “Nation First” mentality.
Mahamana was a founding member of The Bharat Scouts and Guides. In 1919, he founded the highly influential English newspaper The Leader, which was published from Allahabad. From 1924 to 1946, he was also the Chairman of the Hindustan Times. In 1936, his efforts resulted in the publication of its Hindi edition, Hindustan Dainik.
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In 1939, he came in contact with the RSS, and in 1947, he became a pracharak. He also worked as an editor for Rashtradharma Hindi monthly, Panchjanya Hindi weekly, and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.
During Atalji’s reign, India’s economic growth rates accelerated to double digits. This was the only time in independent India’s history. If the UPA Government experienced high economic growth during its UPA-I rule, it was due to Vajpayee’s efforts and policies, which took time to bear fruit.
With regard to his poetry, he wrote, “My poetry is a declaration of war, not an exordium to defeat. It is the fighting warrior’s will to win, not the defeated soldier’s drumbeat of despair. It is not the gloomy voice of defeat but the triumphant shout”.
Atalji once said, “I’d like to refer Mr Deve Gowda to the JD Manifesto of 1996. We will formally pledge to Pakistan that we will not use nuclear weapons first. I tell him that you must first develop this capability before making this pledge”.
He was aware of China’s and Pakistan’s continuous threats and worst tactics, as well as their support for Naxalism and terrorism not only by these countries but also by America and a few other countries for selfish gain. So, to demonstrate India’s power and strength, increasing nuclear strength and conducting tests was critical.
By conducting nuclear tests at Pokhran, Atalji shocked the entire world. The goal was not to destroy the enemy nation but to demonstrate to the world and the enemy nation that India is equally capable of protecting the country. For him, the nation came before his own or his party’s image.
On May 27, 1998, Atalji in Parliament
India now possesses nuclear weapons. This is a fact that cannot be ignored. It is not a status that we seek, nor is it one that others can bestow. It is a gift from our scientists and engineers to the nation. It is India’s right as one-sixth of humanity. We have not violated any international treaty since 1974 or in 1998. The restraint exercised for 24 years after demonstrating our capability in 1974 is a one-of-a-kind example. Restraint, on the other hand, must come from strength. It cannot be founded on indecision or uncertainty.
He did not let his political compulsions consume him as Prime Minister. He made them tactile, malleable, and sometimes even advantageous in order to emerge as a statesman Prime Minister on par with the best in the country.
Atal ji also elevated Hindi to new heights. He was one of the first world leaders to make a speech in Hindi on a global stage. This speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 1977 is a textbook example of what a country can tell the world and set the tone for a new political order.
Atalji predicted the devaluation of the Congress party
In one of the House debates in 1997, he told the Congress Party, “Mark my words, today you people (Congress) are laughing at us for having less MP/MLA, but the day will come when we will have our Government all over India with the most MP/MLA, that day people of this country will laugh at you and make fun of you.”
On the occasion of their birth anniversaries, we salute these two legends. It is time for our youth to follow in their footsteps.