Was ‘antyodaya’ (serving the last person in the queue) coined by late right-wing ideologue Deendayal Upadhayay or did he borrow it from Mahatma Gandhi? What were the philosopher-economist-sociologist’s views on electoral politics and governance? What was a recurring theme of his writings?
Such questions will be answered in a 15-volume collection of Upadhyay’s writings that is being unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi in the capital next month.
Titled ‘Complete Works of Deendayal Upadhyay’, the publication will be released at Vigyan Bhavan here on October 9.
This Sunday, September 25, marks the beginning of the birth centenary year of one of the most important leaders of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the present-day Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP-led NDA government has declared the day as ‘Antyodaya Diwas’.
The ruling party has announced a slew of projects as a tribute to Upadhyay (1916-68) who was born in a village near Farah in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh. It includes renaming Paryavaran Bhawan (that houses the ministry of environment) as Pandit Deendayal Antyodaya Bhawan and launching the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, a scheme designed to provide continuous power supply to rural areas, besides introducing him through school textbooks.
The RSS, too, is paying homage to Upadhyay through a series of events.
The 15-volume work, which includes letters, journals and articles written by Upadhyay, has a larger purpose: to introduce the current RSS and BJP cadre to the leader hailed to have shaped their ideology.
His ideology of integrated humanism was an articulation of age-old Indian thinking of inherent unity in apparent diversity,” says RSS mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ editor Prafulla Ketkar.
Upadhyay’s ideas of inclusiveness and empowerment were similar to those to Gandhi and his ‘antodaya’, Ketkar adds.
The 15-volume work has been compiled and edited by former Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Chandra Sharma, who is an ex-president of the BJP Rajasthan unit.
Dr Sharma, who spent over three decades compiling the writings, said the volumes were “only a fraction” of what Upadhyay wrote. “A lot of his writings are lost forever,” he says. These included publications Upadhyay edited such as ‘Himalaya’, ‘Utkarsh’ and ‘Dainik Swadesh’.
“If this collection of his writings was done 30 years ago, there would have run to 30 volumes,” says Dr Sharma. “Upadhyay wrote extensively on the flaws of following western concepts, decentralization of power, perils of two-nation theory and nationalism.”
On the relevance of Upadhyay’s ideas in the current political and economic scenario, Dr Sharma says the late historian-journalist’s ideas have inspired the Modi government to announce schemes such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’.
“He spoke of creating entrepreneurs, not job-seekers. That is the spirit of ‘Skill India’, explains Dr Sharma. “Upadhyay propounded Swadeshi and economic democracy, which is the principle of ‘Make in India’. All these years later, we see a reflection of Panditjis ideals in the policies of the government.”
The volumes also trace Upadhyay’s journey from an RSS worker to being the founder of the Jana Sangh along with Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-53).
Ketkar says there are “many facets” of Upadhyay’s life that are revealed through his columns for the ‘Organiser’ and a political diary he wrote and was edited by late BJP vice-president KR Malkani.
Citing an example, he says: “When the Jana Sangh contested the 1952 polls, a co-worker asked Upadhyay how many party candidates he expected to win. Panditji replied, the ‘others are ours, too’. By others, he meant the opponents in the fray.”