PANDIT Deendayal Upadhyaya was a rare blend of many high qualities of head and heart. The first of these that I experienced on my coming into contact with him was his capacity to learn languages.
Capacity for Languages
I first came to know Deendayalji in December 1937 when he was a student of the Sanatan Dharma College in Kanpur and came into contact with the Sangh for the first time. During the summer camp of the Sangh in Nagpur next year we stayed in the same room. In those days he did not know any Marathi but would ask me the translation of Hindi sentence that he would speak, thus trying to understand the grammar of the Marathi language. He would also learn the Marathi equivalents of certain Hindi words.
Thus he acquired general knowledge of Marathi within 30 days out of the 40 days’ duration of the camp. In the last two weeks he could even read and understand a Marathi weekly journal. He did not acquire proficiency in speaking Marathi, but acquired such good knowledge of the language that in the year 1963 he translated a five hundred-page Marathi biography of Dr. Hedgewar into Hindi. The translation was so good that it read like an original.
Similarly when he travelled in the Southern provinces for the work of the Jana Sangh he learnt the alphabets of different provinces by reading the names of the railway stations in the provincial languages and comparing them with names in Hindi. Thus he was more or less familiar with almost all languages of India and their alphabets. This showed his extraordinary capacity to learn any language without much difficulty.
Deendayalji was brillant of intellect. He always stood first in whatever examination he gave. But he was not a book-worm. He took interest in all activities of the college and till January spent his time moving in the hostel from room to room and chatting with students He had even formed a ‘Zero Association’ in college, the objective of its members being to get zero marks in the terminal examination. But in January he would start his studies. As lights would go off in the hostel at night he would sit outside in the biting cold with a lantern and a guilt and would study with concentration from 11 o’clock at night till 5 in the morning. Many times whenever he went to sleep without solving a problem in Mathematics he would find the solution in his sleep and would write it down on getting up. Deendayalji was particular about not hurting anyone’s feeling.
He had great love and regard for his maternal uncle, who had brought him up. Uncle wished that Deendayal should marry and had even invited to his place the Parents of a certain girl. Deendayalji did not want to marry, but neither did he wish to hurt his uncle’s feelings. So in order to get out of the situation he presented himself before the girl’s parents in such an unattractive way that they did not find him acceptable.
After graduating from Kanpur, Deendayalji joined St. John’s College in Agra for M.A. and passed the first year examination in first class. During the second year his cousin (daughter of his maternal uncle) became seriously ill and the doctors said that the only possible way to save her from her incurable disease for more than a couple of months was to take her to a hill-station. So Deendayalji left his studies and decided to take her to the hills. In order to pass his time there he thought of purchasing some books and went to a bookshop. There among other books he saw books on nature cure and felt that he would not need the assistance of anybody to treat his cousin according to the principles of naturopathy. So he bought those books and read all of them while at the hill station.
Then casually he said to his cousin “If you have no objection I would like to treat you myself.” With a smile she replied. “You have tried all doctors and now it seems you have become a doctor yourself. But I have no objection to your treatment.” And the result was that Deendayalji cured her of a disease that doctors had given up as incurable. It was another matter that she had a relapse because of ignoring dietary restrictions and Deendayalji could not save her the second time.
Still it was a matter of credit to his intelligence and confidence in himself that merely by reading books on nature cure he could rid his cousin of an incurable disease.
Sense of Sacrifice
After the death of his cousin Deendayalji left his M. A. unfinished and joined the L T. course in Prayag. At the same time he had decided to become a Pracharak of the Sangh. After taking the L.T. examination he was sent to Gola Gokarnanath in Lakhimpur district for the work of the Sangh, where he established good contacts with the local people and also became an honorary teacher in the higher secondary school there in order to come into close contact with the student population. He became so popular with the students and also impressed the staff and the management so much that on retirement of the Headmaster he was sounded for Headmastership.
When he did not appear interested the school committee thought that perhaps the starting salary was not enough for him. So he was offered three or four increments in the beginning. On this Deendayalji gave a remarkable reply. He said, “My requirements are two dhotis, two kurtas and two meals a day. For this I do not require more than 30 rupees a month. What will I do with all the money you offer ?” Thus Deendayalji turned his back on the extraordinary chance of Headmastership immediately on passing L.T. This showed not only his firm determination but his extraordinary sense of sacrifice.
The years 1945-46 some friends in the province felt that he should write some books and other literature projecting his thoughts. For this purpose, Deendayalji, Shri Bhaurao Deoras and myself stayed for a week in a house on the banks of the Ganga in Mirzapur district. We had all taken books of our liking with us. For six days we read and talked and went for strolls by the Ganga. On the sixth night the two of us, myself and Shri Deoras, went to bed around 9.30 p.m. Deendayalji was then reading something in the light of a lantern. When I happened to wake up at 11 o’clock I saw him writing. Again at 4 o’clock I saw that his writing was still continuing. By 5 o’clock he wrote out a complete book, ‘Sarnrat Chandragupta’, at one sitting. Later in the morning he wrote an introduction to the book in just two or three minutes, which did not require changing even a single word.
After this book Deendayalji’s style become literary and polished. In the year 1947 I went to the South and for many years did not have the opportunity to listen to his speeches. When at last that opportunity came when he addressed a Jana Sangh meeting in Hyderabad his language had radically changed. When I mentioned this to him he said, “After joining the Jana Sangh I have to place my thoughts before the common people. I connot use literary language for this purpose, so I have deliberately adopted the common man’s language.” Thus in spite of possessing literary talent and the possibility of achieving literary fame he turned away from that direction in the interest of the mission in hand.
Mastery of Economics
When the Jana Sangh was formed people began to criticise it as a party without an economic programme. As General Secrtary of the party Deendayalji thought it his responsibility to prepare such a programme. Although he had read a lot on many subjects he had not made any special study of economics. When he realised the necessity of chalking out an economic policy for the Jana Sangh he not only read all important old and new books on the subject but mastered them.
Yet the economic policy that he evolved was not the result of merely bookish knowledge. He travelled from province to province and even went into the interior with intrepreters to discuss with the rural folk their financial problems. It was after this direct study of the economic situation and deep meditation on it that Deendayalji pre-pared the economic guidelines for the party.
His study of economics was so deep that he wrote a book titled “Two Plans’. in English on the first two five-year plans which was praised in many quarters. He had also written the second part of the book, but it was lost during travel. In the meanwhile a parliamentary committee on planning had adopted some of his basic suggestions, so in spite of my urging him to write out the lost book again he did not think it worthwhile to do so. However, he wrote another book on Indian Economy, pointing the direction in which it should proceed for the progress of the country. No one but an extraordinary person could have attained such mastery over economics when he had made no study of the subject at all during college days.
Lack of Ego
Deendayalji was a living symbol of simplicity and affection. Many times when he was about to go to a meeting place to make a speech some friends would suggest that he should change his soiled clothes and wear better ones. On this he would ask, “Are people going to come to listen to toy thoughts or to look at my clothes?” There was such deep affection and absolute lack of ego in his nature that even after he became a person of nation-wide renown he was particular about the well-being of the person attached to him as his attendant. If the attendant happened to be unwell Deendayalji himself washed his clothes along with his own.
(Based on a write-up by Shri Bapurao Moghe on the occasion of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Birthday Celebrations)