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Deendayal Upadhyaya's birth anniversary today. Know more about the RSS thinker

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 25-09-2021 Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
Pandit Upadhyaya died under mysterious circumstances in February 1968. His body was found near the Mughalsarai Junction railway station in Uttar Pradesh. (HT Archives) © Provided by Hindustan Times Pandit Upadhyaya died under mysterious circumstances in February 1968. His body was found near the Mughalsarai Junction railway station in Uttar Pradesh. (HT Archives)

September 25 is the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, who is regarded as one of the most prominent faces in the history of Indian politics. Upadhyaya was a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) thinker and co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), which is the forerunner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Upadhyaya was born in 1916 in Nagla Chandrabhan village, now called Deendayal Dham, near the town of Farah in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura district. His father, Bhagwati Prasad Upadhyaya, was an astrologer while his mother was a homemaker.

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya lost his parents at an early age and was brought up by his maternal uncle. He attended high school in Sikar. Being regarded as a brilliant student, the Maharaja of Sikar gave Upadhyaya a gold medal, 250 for books and a monthly scholarship of 10.

After passing his intermediate exams with distinction in Pilani, Upadhyaya left for Kanpur to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and joined the Sanatan Dharma College and graduated in 1939. He then joined St John's College in Agra to pursue a master’s course in English but could not appear for the examinations due to issues in his family.

He first became associated with the RSS in 1937 while studying at Sanatan Dharma College. According to deendayalupadhyay.org, he attended a 40-day summer vacation RSS camp in Nagpur where he underwent training in Sangh Education. From 1942, he started working for the RSS full time. He was the president of the BJS from 1967-68. He contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Jaunpur constituency in 1963 but lost.

In the 1940s, Pandit Upadhyaya started the monthly Rashtra Dharma publication from Lucknow, for spreading Hindutva ideology. He also started a weekly magazine Panchjanya and a daily Swadesh from Lucknow itself. He came up with 'Integral humanism' which was adopted in 1965 as the official doctrine of the Jan Sangh.

Pandit Upadhyaya died under mysterious circumstances in February 1968. His body was found near the Mughalsarai Junction railway station in Uttar Pradesh.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 63-feet tall statue of Pandit Upadhyaya while inaugurating the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre in Padao on the Varanasi-Chandauli border. The ‘pancha loha’ statue is the tallest statue of the BJP ideologue in India.

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