Deen Dayal Upadhyaya – The man who laid philosophical foundation of the BJP

When Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookherjee reached out to the RSS for assistance in his new political venture after resigning from Nehru cabinet and leaving Hindu Mahasabha over differences, the then RSS chief, MS Golwalkar handed over to him some of his finest Swayamsevaks. One of these Swayamsevaks, handed over to Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, by MS Golwalkar was Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. And the new political venture for which Shyama Prasad Mookherjee sought assistance was Bharatiya Jana Sangha, the predecessor of modern BJP.

On this day, when the entire BJP, starting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to booth level workers are celebrating the birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, it becomes neccesary to understand why this slim, dhoti-clad, simple looking leader is so special for the BJP.

In 1950, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, a RSS pracharak till then, joined the newly found BJS on the instruction of his guru, MS Golwalkar, even though he was hesitant to join politics. He was made the General secretary of party’s Uttar Pradesh unit, a position on which he would continue to serve for next 15 years.

After the untimely and mysterious death of Shyama Prasad Mookherjee, Upadhyaya naturally emerged as one of the leading figures. The responsibility to keep Jan Sangh alive, make it grow and give it an Identity automatically fell on his shoulders.

He shaped the party’s philosophical foundation by giving it the doctrine of ‘integral humanism,’ a philosophy which placed equal emphasis on individual and society and viewed the two as complementary, as opposed to Socialism and Captalism which fought over social priorities and individual priorities. His philosophy blended the cultural nationalism of RSS with the Gandhian economic views of self sufficiency of the villages and an overall spiritual aim as opposed to mere material gains.

Upadhyaya considered that it was of utmost importance for India to develop an indigenous economic model with a human being at center stage. This approach made this concept different from Socialism and Capitalism. Integral Humanism was adopted as Jan Sangh’s political doctrine.

In December of 1967, he was made the national president of the party, a year in which Jan Sangh recorded its best performance in Lok Sabha. However, two months later in February, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was found dead in a railway coach in erstwhile Mughalsarai station. His death, much like that of Mookherjee’s, continues to be one of India’s unsolved mysteries.

After his death, the nation witnessed a period of political turmoil including the infamous emergency. In 1977, Bharatiya Jana Sangha merged with several other parties to form the Janata Party. The new formed entity however, couldn’t survive the test of time and split apart in a matter of few years. The Bharatiya Jana Sangha again remerged, this time as Bharatiya Janata Party, with the same philosophical doctrine of ‘Integral Humanism,’ as laid down by Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.