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Meenakshi Lekhi
Meenakshi Lekhi

FORTHWRITE

The sangh’s Panditji

As the BJP leadership will gather in Kozhikode, Kerala, from September 23 to 25 for the national executive of the party, it will commemorate the birth centenary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. It was here in 1967 that the 14th annual session of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh was held, and Pandit Upadhyaya was elected as its president. Therefore, Kozhikode holds a significant status not only in the life of Pandit Upadhyaya but also in the life of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. The speech that he made in Kozhikode is still relevant. The new India he dreamt of had both financial stability and cultural unity. He had envisaged an India rooted in historical values and that strived for the excellence of modernism.

Upadhyayaji was a man of soaring idealism and had a tremendous capacity for organisation. He started the monthly magazine Rashtra Dharma, the weekly Panchajanya, and the daily Swadesh. In 1951, when Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Upadhyayaji became the first general secretary of its Uttar Pradesh branch. He was later the all India general secretary. His meticulous nature deeply impressed Dr Mookerjee. “If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India,” he said.

After Dr Mookerjee’s death in 1953, the entire burden of nurturing the orphaned organisation and building it up as a nationwide movement fell on the young shoulders of Upadhyayaji. For 15 years, he remained the party’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 party. The final triumph of his statesmanship and vision was the historic session of the party in 1967.

He was very critical of the unplanned tax regimes, and pointed out the flaws in the five-year planning. At least after 50 years, we could revive the tax mechanisms by establishing the Goods and Services Tax and we could bring the NITI Aayog to better equip our planning strategies. It is a matter of great joy to honour Pandit Upadhyaya's memory after taking steps to fulfil his vision.

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The picture of an India he cherished was where even the last person thrived with financial stability. Our government is committed to fulfilling his dream of Antyodaya through various schemes that directly benefit the poorest of the poor. Our aim is to reach out to all 'Attapadis' and bring prosperity to the poor and marginalised even in a so-called developed state like Kerala. We believe in action rather than in cosmetics.

The 1967 conclave also exposed the 'Peking-Pindi patriots'. The Marxist models that Panditji challenged then are relevant even today. I am reminded of the 'Kerala mange azadi' sloganeering in JNU. Looks like Panditji had foreseen Kanhaiya Kumar and D. Raja's daughter fighting to block the installation of Adi Shankara's statue at the Sanskrit university in Kalady, his birthplace.

In his presidential address, Panditji had also challenged the wrong portrayal of the Jana Sangh and RSS activists in some of the killings that happened at that time. The speech reminds us of cow vigilantes and church attackers, whose activities were wrongly attributed to the BJP. We are still fighting with the same type of branding and smear campaigns.

The saddest fact is that shortly after Panditji became the president of the Jana Sangh, he was killed, and his body was found on a railway track near Mughalsarai station. From Dr Mookerjee to Vineesh, who was killed in Kannur on September 3, our organisation has been a victim of the largest level of political, secular and ideological intolerance in India.

“A nation is a group of persons who live with a goal, an ideal, a mission and look upon a particular piece of land as the motherland. If either of the two—the ideal and the motherland—is missing, then there is no nation,” said Panditji.

Let us assimilate the noble words of Panditji into our hearts and strive for well-regulated actions for the growth of our motherland.

forthwriteml@gmail.com

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