Known as a noted sociologist, political activist and philosopher, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya played a pivotal role in developing outfits like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. With a vision for India to be a decentralized polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was a man with a strong vision and ideology.
The latter was the foundation of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The reverend leader was found dead under mysterious circumstances near Mughal Sarai railway station on 11 February 1968.
During his life and career, Pandit Upadhyaya was a staunch opponent of Western democracy and secularism seeping into Indian life and culture. Deendayal Upadhyaya was born on 25 September 1916 and raised in a typical middle-class Hindu family in UP.
He was born in a literate family where many of his relatives and ancestors were scholarly and learned individuals in the pre-Independence India. He was no stranger to adversity even in his childhood.
He lost his father before he was three and his mother passed away soon too. To make matters worse, his maternal grandfather died when Upadhyaya was only 10 year old. Thereafter, he was raised by his maternal uncle.
He was a talented student and won a number of awards and medals in student life. After graduating from Kanpur University he qualified for civil services exam but chose to serve the people rather than earning a big salary and serve bureaucracy and government.
Even when he was an adolescent and student, Deendayal Upadhyaya was very much interested in social service. When he was doing graduation in Kanpur, he got involved with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.
He drew attention of Dr. Hedgewar, the RSS founder, which ensured his deeper involvement with the organisation. Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, a noted Politician founded Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1951 and Deendayal Upadhyaya was elected the entity’s first General Secretary.
He played a pivotal role in making the Sangh as one of the country’s strongest political parties. He became Bharatiya Jan Sangh’s president in December 1967. Deendayal Upadhyaya’s political activism and ideologies were not limited to his activities solely.
The writer in him found a vent during the publication of a monthly journal Rashtradharm. He started publishing a daily named Swadesh and a weekly, Panchjanya, when he was involved with the RSS.
Deendayal was a creative writer and a renowned editor. He was a journalist in ‘Rashtra Dharma’ daily, worked as editor for ‘Panchjanya’ and wrote a column named ‘Political Diary’ for the weekly ‘the Organiser’.
His mantra for the journalism was ‘Don’t distort the news’. He wrote a number of books including Samrat Chandragupt, Jagatguru Shankaracharya, Political Diary, Integral humanism, Ekatmamanav – vad and an analysis of the Five Year plans in India.
He wrote Shankaracharya’s biography in Hindi and composed the historical drama Chandragupta Maurya. While Deendayal Upadhyaya rose in stature in the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1967, destiny proved to be the deterrent.
He could carry on as the president for this organization only for 43 days. His lifeless body was discovered near the Mughal Sarai railway station on 11 February 1968. In December 1967, Upadhyaya was elected president of the BJS. In the evening of 10 February 1968, at Lucknow he boarded the Sealdah Express for Patna.
The train reached Mughalsarai at about 2:10 am but Upadhyaya was not on it. His body was found near Mughalsarai Junction railway station in Uttar Pradesh 10 minutes after the train arrived, lying near a traction pole 748 feet from the end of the platform where the train halted. He was clutching a five-rupee note in his hand. He was last seen alive at Jaunpur after midnight.