Deendayal Upadhyay: A Stoic Leader Who Was Murdered in His Prime
(This article was first published on 11 February 2016. It has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the death anniversary of Deendayal Upadhyay.)
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay was found murdered on this day exactly 51 years ago. India lost a profound philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist and an eminent political activist.
A Childhood Which Wasn’t a Bed of Roses
Born on 25 September 1916, in a small village called Nangla Chandrabhan in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, Deendayal led a life fraught with ups and downs. He was orphaned very early in life. His maternal family brought him up. Changing schools and towns as per the transfers of his uncle’s posting (in the Indian Railways) was a routine for Deendayal.
A Political Life Dedicated to Service
A scholar who impressed the Maharaja of Sikar and industrialist Ghanshyamdas Birla to award him a scholarship, Deendayal had a promising future. But after joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), he chose to channelise his energies to help build a better society instead. Sent to help Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee to build the Jana Sangh (BJP’s precursor), he rose to be a prominent leader with the highest standards of integrity.
His Philosophy of Ekatma Manav-Vaad
His treatise on ‘Integral Humanism’ is a critique of both communism and capitalism. It advocates a holistic alternative perspective for political action and state policies, consistent with the laws of creation and the universal needs of the human race.
His Mysterious Death
At a time when he brought leaders from different political walks together – joining hands with Ram Manohar Lohia, Acharya Kripalani, etc. to challenge the Congress party’s monopoly at the Centre – his death stunned the nation. This chief of the Jana Sangha was found dead, clutching a five rupee note, lying unidentified on the railway tracks near Mughalsarai station. What exactly happened to him on that fateful day has remained an unsolved mystery.