We Accept The Challenge

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

COME, let the drops of Panditji’s blood serve us as marks of sandal-paste on our foreheads and inspire us to march firmly towards our goal. Let us bear a spark from his pyre in our hearts and exert ourselves to our utmost. Let us make out of the bones of this Dadhichi our thunderbolts to attack the vritrasuras of our times and to protect this holy land from all dangers.
The Nanda-deep has been put out. Now we shall have to burn our lives bright to fight the forces of darkness.

The moon has been eclipsed. Now we have to seek our way in whatever light the twinkling stars shed.

We have lest our friend, companion, leader and guide. He will remain enshrined in our hearts as we advance, which we must, towards our goal.

Panditji’s was a dedicated life. Every moment of his life, as every atom of his body, was an offering at the feet of the nation, which was his God.

The whole country was his home and the whole people his family. Only one dream filled his eyes, only one vow permeated his life.

Politics for him was a means, not the end, a way, not the goal. He wanted to spiritualize politics. He derived inspiration from India’s glorious past because he wanted to build a glorious future. Though his ideas received their vital nourishment from the age-old and inexhaustible springs of our national culture, he was far from being a traditionalist. He wanted to lay the foundation of a glorious future by making India a prosperous, modern nation.

He was a great thinker. He never allowed his thinking to fall into a ready-made rut. He has taught us to be proud of the past but at the same time ready to accept the challenges of the future. What Jana Sangh is today is all his creation.

No office could ever tempt him. Though never an M.P. himself, he was a maker of M.Ps. He never sought any honour or position, and it was with great difficulty that he was persuaded to be the president. He gave us the call of awakening, saying “Let us move beyond the Vindhyas till we reach Kanyakumari, where the sea washes eternally the feet of Mother India, and awaken the people with the mantrap of unity. It was under his leadership that we pledged ourselves to carry the message of unity throughout the length and breadth of the country.

We attended the successful session of the party under his presidentship at Calicut, which brought home to the people the historic mission of the Jana sang. It gave people new hope and new confidence. People inside as well as outside India were impressed, and said there is a transformation in the party. But they were wrong. The transformation had not come over Jana Sangh, it had come over their own eyes. Some of these eyes were eyes full of sin; of jealousy, of angry violence. They could not tolerate this glory of our success, and so Panditji was taken away from us.

Nobody exactly knows the circumstances of his death. The man at whose call hundreds of thousands would have readily suffered death was cut away from life in the darkness of the night, was taken away from his followers, was separated from his countrymen and thrown into the jaws of death, into the void of the unknown. This fact we shall never forget, this wound will ever remain unhealed in our hearts, this barb will ever rankle in our minds.

Panditji has fulfilled the vow of his life by his martyrdom. His work was the mission of his life and he lived and gave his life for it. But his dream still remains unfulfilled, his work remains still incomplete.

The attack on his life is an attack on the life of the nation. Each wound on his body is a blow struck at democracy. We accept this challenge of the enemies of the nation and of democracy.

—From Funeral oration on February 18, 1968 at Prayag.

(Excerpts from the book – “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya A Profile” edited by Sudhakar Raje)