EVEN 30 years after independence our people feel perplexed over the lack of direction that seems to have bedevilled our national movement in the past. The common sense of the common man tells him that he has not in the least been the beneficiary of whatever has been done in the name of people’s welfare. It is this common man who was the sole concern of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
Deendayalji was a seer—a Drashta. He could feel the pulse of the commoner and he made it his life’s mission to heel his sufferings. He sincerely believed that the condition of the common man is the only yardstick for measuring the progress or otherwise of the nation, and he gave eloquent expression to this conviction of his.
The appalling condition of the poor and neglected masses pained him deeply and the callous indifference of the affluent society to this hapless majority made him bitter. When someone asked: “What is your opinion about these big industrialists and millionaires?” Deendayalji got visibly excited and snapped back : “Write this : Black-marketeers and exploiters of the poor have nothing but the death sentence in store for them under the Jana Sangh regime.” This moved somebody sitting nearby to tears and he explained : “Deendayalji is really true to his name.”
Swami Vivekananda, Rishi Aurobindo and Sri Guruji were among the galaxy of sages who showed Deendayalji the light in life. Essentially a man of renunciation and service, he entered politics most reluctantly. With selfless social work for long years in the background, with countless friends and followers ready to do his bidding, he could have easily attained what would have been somebody else’s dream. But that was not to be.
An organiser of rarest capability, an erudite scholar of unfathomable depth, an original and fundamental thinker, he was simplicity personified, Indianness incarnate, and hence remained the most uncommon among contemporary political heavy-weights.
Clad in hand-spun khadi, oblivious of food or rest, he would spend every single moment of his exacting daily routine equally motivating the prince and the pauper, the wise and the ordinary commoner, the elder and the youngster and inspiring them all to give of their best at the altar of Bharat Mata. His words were so simple, language so lucid, examples so earthy and arguments so cogent and unbiased that anybody talking to him felt a peculiar closeness to him. His affection for others was almost motherly. Thousands, like this humble author, cherish fond memories of innumberable incidents revealing the depth of his affection.
But when necessity demanded, he could be very much assertive and inflexibly rigid. The way he conducted negotiations, political or otherwise, with stubborn opponents stand testimony to this courage of his conviction.
Post-independence India witnessed an unprecedented clamour for internationalism. Socialism in particular attracted attention of the educated elite. Without bothering to examine the suitability of a socialism that meant all things to all men people began to consider it a panacea for all national ills. Even political freedom could not rid the intellectuals of the ideological confusion resulting from slavish imitation of foreign mores and manners absolutely alien to the national genius of our country. Pandit Deendayalji was one among the few who had unflinching faith in the innate vitality of our ancient heritage and perennial validity of our traditional thought process, particularly in the context of our national problems. He devoted all his energies to pondering the issues confronting the nation, and ultimately presented an intellectual gem in the shape of ‘Integral Humanism’. This is the ‘Amrita’ resulting from his life-long ‘Manan’ and ‘Chintan’ in keeping with the traditional approach to contemporary problems. He did nothing new but acted in consonance with our national heritage. Thus he could easily be placed in that national lineage and regarded as one more selected flower in the garland which eternally adorns the lotus feet of our Mother.
Primacy of Spiritual View
When the insensate surge for non-ideology from the west was sweeping the fresh youth of our country off its feet, he perservered relentlessly to impress on the younger generation the primacy of a spiritual view of man and urged them to be guided by the ethic that mankind is moving towards higher standards, towards God. His influence on students and youth had to be seen to be believed. For them he was more of an example than a spokesman of what he preached.
Everybody loved him. But this world always has a few who never like that someone should be loved by all. That way even Deendayalji, like Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi, had his enemies. But when occasion arose for all to express themselves about Deendayalji everybody bestowed on him the choicest epithets:
“A great son of Mother India” (V.V. Giri); “embodiment of patriotism” (V.P. Naik) ; “extremely pious and simple . spent his entire life in the service of the poor… a noble Personality” (Y.B. Chavan); “dedicated patriot and a politician of a high character” (Morarji Desai); “one of the foremost leaders of independent India (I.K. Guiral); “dedicated and selfless worker… had astonishing organisational abilities” (B.D. Khobragade); “indefatigable warrior and leading political worker” (N.G. Goray); “entered Politics with a pure life and his effort to purify politics is the most important aspect of his life” (Balasaheb Deoras); “one of the great thinkers in our political field’ (C. Rajagopalachari) ; “a straightforward and idealistic politician” (K. Szhiyan); “a true champion of our ancient culture” (Govind Das); “brain of the Jana Sangh” (Prakashvir Shastri); “a deep scholar, facile writer, impressive speaker and respected leader” (R. Sharma), and such encomia seem to be endless.
But for millions like me, he was simply our Deendayalji, an eternal fountain of affection and inspiration, an unfailing flame of courage and conviction, an untiring spirit who keeps us moving till the goal is reached. Pranam, satakoti pranam, for all that we have received from him.
(Based on an article written in ‘Anand Bazar Patrika’ on the occasion of Birthday Celebrations of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya)