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A successful and dominant leader, Deendayal Upadhyaya changed the face of democracy in India. This article provides detailed information on his biography, profile, and life.

Deendayal Upadhyaya Biography

Born On: September 25, 1916
Born In: Dhankia, Rajasthan
Died On: February 11, 1968
Career: Served in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Jana Sangh
Nationality: Indian

Facing deaths of close ones in an early age leaves one disinterested in life. But one amongst those who surpassed all the sorrows and moved ahead to become the leader of one of the most distinct and powerful political parties in India was Deendayal Upadhyaya. Known to be an important participant in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the president of Bharatiya Jana Sangh (now Bharatiya Janta Party), Deendayal Upadhyaya stood against western secularism, western democracy, and other western issues that were blindly followed by India during the British rule. Though the concept of democracy was readily accepted, he refused to step into the shoes of western oligarchy, exploitations and capitalism. Besides, Deendayal Upadhyaya emphasized on building a democracy that spoke for the public and its ideals.

Early Life
Though born in a lower middle class Hindu household, Deendayal Upadhyaya belonged to a family of distinguished individuals. His great-grandfather, Pandit Hariram Upadhyaya was a legendary astrologer. He was born to Shri Bhagwati Prasad, Assistant Station Master at Jalesar, and Rampyari, highly-religious minded lady. Deendayal had a younger brother named Shivdayal Upadhyaya. Misfortune struck Deendayal at the young age of two-and-a-half years when his father expired. Since the bread-earner of the family had departed, the family began to stay with maternal grandfather. However, this was just the beginning as mother Rampyari was diagnosed with tuberculosis and soon died leaving the two kids orphaned. As if this was not enough, Deendayal's maternal grandfather passed away when he was just 10.

Left homeless, his maternal uncle brought them up like his own children. Young as he was, Deendayal however was aware that he had to take care and be a guardian for his younger sibling. Dedicatedly, he cared for his younger brother until Shivdayal contracted smallpox. Despite all efforts, Deendayal could not save him and as such, was left all alone as Shivdayal breathed his last on November 18, 1934. Despite so many hassles, Deendayal did not let the lows strike him down. Instead, he studied with renewed energy. Deendayal attended high school in Sikar. Intelligent and bright from birth, Deendayal won several gold medals and prestigious awards at school and college. He attended school at GD Birla College at Pilani and later completed his graduation from Sanatan Dharma College in Kanpur University. Further, he even qualified in the civil service exam but did not join as he was more attracted towards service for the common public.

Association with RSS
Deendayal was highly encouraged and dedicated towards social service since his early years. This proved correct when he got associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) during his college times in Kanpur in 1937. There he interacted with RSS founder, Dr. Hedgewar and devoted himself totally towards the organization. After college in 1942, he did not look out for a job nor did he marry; instead he attended the 40-day summer RSS camp at Nagpur to undergo training in Sangh Education.

Association with Jansangh
Bharatiya Jan Sangh was founded in 1951 by Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, wherein Deendayal Upadhyaya was appointed as the first General Secretary. He continued to hold this position until the 14th Cabinet session in December 1967. His immense intelligence and perfectionism impressed Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee so much that he was honored with a famous statement "If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India". However, the sudden and untimely death of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1953 left the entire responsibilities and burden of the organization on the young shoulders of Deendayal. He served as the General Secretary for nearly 15 years and raised the organization with high spirits and enthusiasm, thereby making it one of India's strongest political parties. By 1957, Bharatiya Jan Sangh had 243 regional and 889 local committees, with membership toll to 74,863. At the 14th annual session of Bharatiya Jan Sangh in Calicut in December 1967, Deendayal was elected as the president.

Career As A Writer
It was during the publication of Rashtradharm, a monthly journal, during 1940s in Lucknow that the journalist within Deendayal Upadhyaya emerged. During his tenure with RSS, he even started a weekly Panchjanya and a daily Swadesh. He sketched the drama "Chandragupta Maurya" and penned the biography of Shankaracharya in Hindi. He translated the biography of RSS founder Dr. K.B. Hedgewar from Marathi to Hindi. His other renowned literary works include Samrat Chandragupta (1946), Jagatguru Sankaracharya (1947), Akhand Bharat Kyon? (1952), Bharatiya Arthniti: Vikas Ki Disha (1958), The Two Plans: Promises, Performances, Prospects (1958), Rashtra Jivan Ki Samasyayen (1960), Devaluation: A Great Fall (1966), Political Diary (1968), Rasthra Chintan, Integral Humanism, and Rashtra Jivan Ki Disha.

His Beliefs
Deendayal Upadhyaya wanted to raise and grow India on the basis of its rich culture and not western concepts left by the British at the time of their departure from the nation. Although democracy was established in India instantly after independence, Deendayal was a little apprehensive about this take of India after these long years of slavery. However, he believed that democracy was India's birthright and not a gift of the West. He emphasized on the fact that democracy was not just for dictators to torture and exploit their workers; but workers could also look up to the government to address their grievances. As such, be it even a single individual or a large group, every person had the right to state his viewpoint. Also, each person should be respected and incorporated into governance. He ensured that democracy does not go beyond its limits and considers public opinion in the light of its faith and religion.

Integral Humanism
A concept founded by Deendayal which moved on to become the political philosophy practiced by the Bharatiya Jana Sangh of India, (present-day Bharatiya Janata Party), Integral Humanism advocates the simultaneous and integrated program of the body, mind and intellect and soul of each human being. He further stated that as an independent nation, India could not depend on Western concepts like individualism, democracy, socialism, communism and capitalism. He believed that Indian intellect was getting suffocated by the Western theories and ideologies and consequently, there was a big roadblock on the growth and expansion of original Bharathiya thought.

With the election of the President of Bharatiya Jan Sangh on 19 December 1967, Deendayal emerged as an all-rounder national leader, but destiny had different plans for him. To his dismay, he could only serve as the president for 43 days until 10 February 1968. On 11 February 1968 in the wee hours of morning, Deendayal's lifeless body was found at the Mughal Sarai railway station. With this, the entire nation plunged into grief. All offices and shops in Delhi were closed. People thronged on Rajendra Prasad Marg to pay their tribute to the great leader. It is believed that Deendayal was traveling to Patna for the budget session. However, midway, his bogey detached from the train at Mughal Sarai. He was paid homage by the then Indian President Dr. Zakir Hussain, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and Morarji Desai, amongst other eminent leaders, social workers, and cultural figures, on 12 February. Till date, his death remains an unsolved mystery.

1916: Deendayal Upadhyaya was born in Dnakia, Rajasthan
1935: Passed Matriculation Board Exam from GD Birla College, Pilani
1937: Passed Intermediate Board Exam from GD Birla College, Pilani
1937: Joined Rashtriya Syawamsevak Sangh (RSS)
1841: Graduated in Arts from Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur University
1851: Appointed General Secretary of Bharatiya Jana Sangh
1967: Appointed President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh
1968: Died at the age of 51 in Mughal Sarai.