Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya
- GS-I: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present – significant events, personalities, issues
“DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA is to the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was to Congress” opined R. Balashankar, former editor of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s (RSS) organ Organiser
Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya is undoubtedly the most significant ideologue of the contemporary Hindutva movement. Upadhyaya’s writings and speeches on the principles and policies of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, his philosophy of ‘Integral Humanism’ and his vision for the rise of modern India, constitute the most comprehensive articulation of what might be described as a BJP ideology.
In 1951, when Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Deendayal became the first general secretary of its UP branch. Next he was chosen as all-India general secretary. The acumen and meticulousness shown by Deendayal deeply impressed Dr Mookerjee and elicited his famous remark: ‘If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India.’
After Dr Mookerjee’s death in 1953, the entire burden of nurturing the orphaned organisation and building it up as a nation-wide movement fell on the young shoulders of Deendayal. For 15 years, he remained the outfit’s general secretary and built it up, brick by brick. He raised a band of dedicated workers imbued with idealism and provided the entire ideological framework of the outfit.
- A fundamental political thinker, the key element was humanism in his political thought.
- Pandit Upadhyay is one of those thinkers in India who exercised on ‘Swaraj of ideas’ – means decolonisation of ideas, i.e. decolonisation of Indian minds. India was free politically but ideologically, colonial hangover was still there.
- Introduced the basic concept of Indian philosophy in political, social and cultural discourses
- After the death of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, he managed Bhartiya Jan Sangh for 15 years
- Alternative of Congress
- In 1960, Deendayal Updhyay started polarisation against Congress. He actualised it by 1965 and by 1967, there was anti-congress regime. He is called architect of non-congress movement along with Ram Manohar Lohiya. In 1967 election, for the first time after independence, in the hindi belt of India, a political non-congress government was formed.
- It was not opportunism. According to him, there should be diversity in democracy. There shouldn’t be one leader-one party-one policy. This is detrimental for democracy.
- His approach was constructive but at the same time he was not soft when it came to his principles. For example, In Rajasthan, he had expelled 6 MLAs of Jan Sangh out of 8 MLAs because they were opposing Zamindari abolition act. For him, quality mattered than quantity.
- Deplored the concept of territorial nationalism, which saw the Indian nation as being formed of all the peoples who reside in this land. A territory and its inhabitants, as Westernized Indians seemed to believe; this would embrace Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others under a common nationhood to resist British rule. This was a fallacy, according to Upadhyaya. ‘A nation is not a mere geographical unit. The primary need of nationalism is the feeling of boundless dedication in the hearts of the people for their land. Our feeling for the motherland has a basis: our long, continuous habitation in the same land creates, by association, a sense of “my-ness”.
Three cardinal principles for Indian politics:
- Decentralisation – Rural development and agriculture to be given importance – visualised for India a decentralized polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base.
- Diversity in social and cultural ideas: It should not be an environment of uniformity.
- Planning should be decentralised: Bottom-top approach was proposed so that real needs can be known and taken into account.
Hindu revivalism and Deendayal Upadhyaya
- Hindu revivalism represented a broad trend in the 19th and 20th century India which sought to revitalise Hinduism after a millennium of political, ideological and psychological subjection to Islamic and Western hegemony.
- Unlike Hindu traditionalism, it sought to co-opt modernity in its programme of Hindu revival or Hindu reconstruction. The concept of Hindu nationalism or ‘Hindutva’ was given expression by the Hindu Mahasabha (HMS, 1915) and the family of organisations around the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, 1925), including the Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS, 1951-1977) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, 1980).
Chief Architect of Doctrine of integral humanism
Deriving from Shankara’s Advaitavad and similar to Buddha’s middle path, Deen Dayal Upadhaya’s Integral Humanism is a negation of the extreme prospects of Capitalism as well as Marxism.
Integral Humanism is different from western ideologies.
Most of western ideologies are based on materialism, emphasising more on development in economic term and eventually every individual is treated as economic man. His social contacts, his cultural milieu and special bent of mind is ignored in this theory. Economic without ethics and political discourse without morality are creating crisis in society. Therefore he propounded that every economic theory and policy should be in context of specialism, local tradition and nature, and temperament of people. In Indian thought he said- dharm kaam arth moksh– all four are important. If there is balance between them, there is social equilibrium.
Dharma and religion are different in Indian context. Dharma is more related to morality of person in individual and collective life. It is less about religion. But religion in western countries is more concerned about sects. There is difference between sects and dharma. No society can live without dharma but can live without religion. Dharma is above religion. On the basis of this truth, he propounded Integral Humanism.
Integral Humanism is critical of individualism as well as Communism as social systems. It defines society as a natural living organism with a definitive national soul. Integral humanism insists upon the infusion of religious and moral values in politics. It seeks a culturally authentic mode of modernization that preserver the values of Hinduism.
Integral humanism consists of visions organized around two themes-
- Morality in politics – can be a game changer
- Swadeshi and small scale industrialization in economy – initiating self-reliance that reflects in Gandhiji’s philosophy as well.
Thus, Integral Humanism revolves around the basic themes of harmony, primacy of cultural-national values and discipline. This doctrine of Pandit Upadhyay is quite relevant even in the present political and economic situation of India.
Can you answer the following question?
- Is Integral Humanism relevant in today’s time and age? Explain