Early life and education
He was born in 1916 in the village Chandrabhan, now called Deendayal Dham, near the Farah town in Mathura District, 26 km away from Mathura. His father, Bhagwati Prasad, was a well known astrologer and his mother Shrimati Rampyari was a religious-minded lady. Both his parents died when he was eight years old and he was brought up by his maternal uncle. He excelled academically under the guardianship of his maternal uncle and aunt. He went to high school in Pilani Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan where he matriculated. He stood first in the board exam, obtaining a Gold Medal from Maharaja Kalyan Singh of Sikar, along with a monthly scholarship of 10 rupees and an additional 250 rupees towards his books. He did Intermediate at the Birla College in Pilani, the predecessor of the present Birla Institute of Technology and Science. He did his B. A. at the Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur in 1939 and graduated in the first division. He joined St. John's College, Agra to pursue a master's degree in English literature and got a gold medal. His maternal uncle persuaded him to appear for the Provincial Services Exam, where he got selected but declined to join the Services on account to work with Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh as it's full-time worker, called Pracharak. He obtained a B.Ed and M.Ed degrees at Prayag and entered public service.
RSS and Jana Sangh
While he was a student at Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur in 1937, he came into contact with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) through his classmate Baluji Mahashabde. He met the founder of the RSS, K. B. Hedgewar, who engaged with him in an intellectual discussion at one of the shakhas. Sunder Singh Bhandari was also one of his classmates at Kanpur. He dedicated himself to full-time work in the RSS from 1942. He had attended the 40-day summer vacation RSS camp at Nagpur where he underwent training in Sangh Education. After completing second-year training in the RSS Education Wing, Upadhyaya became a lifelong pracharak of the RSS. He worked as the pracharak for the Lakhimpur district and, from 1955, as the joint prant pracharak (regional organiser) for Uttar Pradesh. He was regarded as an ideal swayamsevak of the RSS essentially because ‘his discourse reflected the pure thought-current of the Sangh’.
He started a monthly Rashtra Dharma from Lucknow in the 1940s. The publication was meant for spreading the ideology of Hindutva nationalism. He did not have his name printed as editor in any of the issues of this publication. Later he started a weekly Panchjanya and a daily Swadesh.
In 1951, when Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Deendayal was seconded to the party by the RSS, tasked with moulding it into a genuine member of the Sangh Parivar. He was appointed as General Secretary of its Uttar Pradesh branch, and later the all-India General Secretary. After Mookerjee's death in 1953, the entire burden of nurturing the orphaned organisation and building it up as a nationwide movement fell on Deendayal. For 15 years, he remained the outfit's general secretary. He also contested for Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, but failed to attract significant political traction and did not get elected.
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Upadhyaya conceived the political philosophy Integral Humanism. The philosophy of Integral Humanism advocates the simultaneous and integrated program of the body, mind and intellect and soul of each human being. His philosophy of Integral Humanism, which is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, bears eloquent testimony to this. He visualised for India a decentralised polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base.
Deendayal Upadhyaya was convinced that India as an independent nation could not rely upon Western concepts like individualism, democracy, socialism, communism or capitalism and was of the view that the Indian polity after Independence has been raised upon these superficial Western foundations and not rooted in the traditions of India's ancient culture. He was of the view that the Indian intellect was getting suffocated by Western theories, which left a "roadblock" to the growth and expansion of original Bharatiya (Sanskrit: "of Bharat" [India]) thought. Upadhyay was compelled to answer what he felt was the urgent need in India for a "fresh breeze".
He welcomed modern technology but wanted it to be adapted to suit Indian requirements. He believed in Swaraj ("Self-governance"). He died under unexpected circumstances and was found dead on 11 February 1968 at Mughal Sarai railway yard. Upadhyaya edited Panchjanya (Weekly) and Swadesh (Daily) from Lucknow. In Hindi, he has written a drama Chandragupta Maurya, and later wrote a biography of Shankaracharya. He translated a Marathi biography of Hedgewar, the founder of RSS.
He won awards and scholarships from the Maharaja of Sikar and industrialist Ghanashyam Das Birla. Turning down all offers of government and private sector employment, he joined the RSS. He kept company with Nanaji Deshmukh and Sundar Singh Bhandari, RSS pracharaks who went on to play a critical role in anti-Congress politics in the 1960s and 70s. Rising rapidly through the RSS ranks, he started a series of publications including its current mouthpiece, Panchjanya, and started another when this was banned. When that too, was suppressed, he launched a third one. He served as its compositor, machine man and dispatcher and never missed an issue.
In a recent lecture, K. N. Govindacharya, who parted ways with the BJP, recalls how Upadhyaya expelled seven of the nine Jan Sangh MLAs in Rajasthan for opposing the Zamindari Abolition Act. He outlined his philosophy for governance to some 500 party workers in 1964 and presented an expanded version at its plenary session in 1965. The final version was delivered in the form of four lectures in Bombay, titled “Integral Humanism”. According to BJP veteran LK Advani, the title was chosen to contrast it with the thesis of ‘Radical Humanism’ put forward by MN Roy, the former Communist leader.
The Deen Dayal Research Institute deals with queries on Upadhyaya and his works.
Several institutions are named after him:
Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Delhi University
- Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya Evam Go Anusandhan Sansthan (DUVASU), Mathura
- Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Shekhawati University, Sikar, (Rajasthan)
- Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Sanatan Dharma Vidyalaya, Kanpur
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Delhi
- Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Medi cal College, Rajkot
- Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Park, Indian Space Research Organisation Layout, Bengaluru
- Pandit Deendayal Flyover, Yeshwantpur, Bengaluru
- Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Varanasi
- Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Urja Bhawan, Delhi
- Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhya National Academy of Social Security, Janakpuri, Delhi.
- Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Smriti Manch ( Founder Smt Madhu Sharma )
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Road, Dombivli, Mumbai
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Airport, Agra
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Dental College, Solapur
- Make in India was dedicated to Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya by Prime Minister, launched on the same date he was born.
- Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial Health Sciences and Ayush University of Chhattisgarh.
In Delhi, a road/marg has been named after Upadhaya. On 18 Feb 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bharatiya Janata Party’s new headquarters at New Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in the presence of party president Amit Shah and other senior leaders.“Ours was a journey that began with greats such as Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. Generations of workers have given their lives for the party,” PM Modi said.
- "Who was Deendayal Upadhyay, the man PM Narendra Modi often refers to in his speeches?", India Today, 21 September 2017
- Jaffrelot 2007, p. 140.
- "Deendayal Upadhyaya". Bharatiya Janata party. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Pandey, Devesh K. (25 May 2015). "Probe murder of Deendayal Upadhyaya afresh: Swamy". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- PTI (11 August 2017). "Congress seeks Narendra Modi's intervention to reopen Deendayal Upadhyaya death probe - Firstpost". Firstpost. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "DUVASU". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital". National Health Portal. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- Bindu Shajan Perappadan (19 June 2014). "Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital to become a medical college-cum-hospital". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
- "Medical Colleges". Medadmbjmc. in. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
- A monotonous life, lived without any purpose or direction, is not worth much. To achieve anything big in life, you should be prepared to risk your all and take a leap of faith for whatever they believed in.
- 'Dao lagaao zindagi pe’ (put a stake on your life), Deendayalji’s article, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
- God has blessed our family with some means. Can we not offer at least one of our members for the service of the nation? Having provided me with education, moral instruction and all sorts of qualifications, can you not turn me over to the Samaj (society), to which we owe so much? This will hardly be any kind of sacrifice, it will rather be an investment. It is like providing the farm of the Samaj with manure. We are nowadays interested only in reaping the harvest and have forgotten to provide the field with manure. There is thus the danger of our land becoming barren and unproductive. Can we not forgo a few worthless ambitions for the protection and benefit of a Samaj and a faith, for which Rama suffered exile, Krishna bore innumerable hardships, Rana Pratap wandered about from forest to forest, Shivaji staked his all, and Guru Govind Singh allowed his little sons to be buried alive?
- Letter to his uncle in 1942, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
- It is an irony of the country’s political situation that while untouchability in the social field is considered to be evil, it is sometimes extolled as a virtue in the political field. If a party does not wish to practise untouchability towards its rivals in the political establishment, it is supposed to be doing something wrong. We, in the Jana Sangh, certainly do not agree with the communists’ strategy, tactics and their political culture. But that does not justify an attitude of untouchability towards them. If they are willing to work with us on the basis of issues, or as part of a government committed to an agreed programme, I see nothing wrong in it…. These (SVD) governments are a step towards ending political untouchability. The spirit of accommodation shown by all parties, despite their sharp differences, is a good omen for democracy.’
- Deendayalji’s speech at the Calicut session of the Jana Sangh, 1967., quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
- Large-scale riots in East Pakistan have compelled over two lakh Hindus and other minorities to come over to India. Indians naturally feel incensed by the happenings in East Bengal. To bring the situation under control and to prescribe the right remedy for the situation it is essential that the malady be properly diagnosed. And even in this state of mental agony, the basic values of our national life must never be forgotten. It is our firm conviction that guaranteeing the protection of the life and property of Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan is the responsibility of the Government of India. To take a nice legalistic view about the matter that Hindus in Pakistan are Pakistani nationals would be dangerous and can only result in killings and reprisals in the two countries, in greater or lesser measure. When the Government of India fails to fulfill this obligation towards the minorities in Pakistan, the people understandably become indignant. Our appeal to the people is that this indignation should be directed against the Government and should in no case be given vent to against the Indian Muslims. If the latter thing happens, it only provides the Government with a cloak to cover its own inertia and failure, and an opportunity to malign the people and repress them. So far as the Indian Muslims are concerned, it is our definite view that, like all other citizens, their life and property must be protected in all circumstances. No incident and no logic can justify any compromise with truth in this regard. A state, which cannot guarantee the right of living to its citizens, and citizens who cannot assure safety of their neighbours, would belong to the barbaric age. Freedom and security to every citizen irrespective of his faith has indeed been India’s sacred tradition. We would like to reassure every Indian Muslim in this regard and would wish this message to reach every Hindu home that it is their civic and national duty to ensure the fulfillment of this assurance.
- Joint statement for the Indo-Pak confederation that D Upadhyaya signed, on 12 April 1964, with Dr Lohia, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
- ‘With the support of Universal knowledge and our heritage, we shall create a Bharat which will excel all its past glories, and will enable every citizen in its fold to steadily progress in the development of his manifold latent possibilities and to achieve through a sense of unity with the entire creation, a state even higher than that of a complete human being; to become Narayan from nar (man). This is the external divine form of our culture. This is our message to humanity at a cross roads. May God give us strength to succeed in this mission.’
- Deendayal Upadhyaya , Integral Humanism, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
Quotes about Upadhyaya
- As I have expressed earlier, two people—Rajpal Puri and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya—exerted the deepest influence on my public life.
- L.K. Advani, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
- If I could get two or three more Deendayals, I will change the entire political map of India.’
- Dr Prasad Mookerjee, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)
- India after Independence has produced few leaders who were also political philosophers. Deendayalji was one of the few, and the finest.
- L.K. Advani, quoted in L.K. Advani, My Country My Life (2008)