Deendayal Upadhyaya

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Deendayal Upadhyaya
Pt Deendayal Upadhyay.jpg
Deendayal Upadhyay
10th President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh
In office
Preceded byBalraj Madhok
Succeeded byAtal Bihari Vajpayee
Personal details
Born(1916-09-25)25 September 1916
Nagla Chandraban, Mathura, United Provinces, British India
(present-day Deendayal Dham, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died11 February 1968(1968-02-11) (aged 51)
Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh, India
Political partyBharatiya Jana Sangh
Alma materSanatan Dharma College, Kanpur
Known forIntegral Humanism[1]

Deendayal Upadhyaya (25 September 1916 – 11 February 1968) was an Indian academician, politician, and political scientist who was the chief proponent of Integral humanism ideology and leader of the political party Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), the forerunner of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).[2] Upadhyaya started the monthly publication Rashtra Dharma, broadly meaning 'National Duty', in the 1940s to spread the ideology of Hindutva nationalism.[3] Upadhyaya is known for drafting Jan Sangh's official political doctrine, Integral humanism,[1] by including some cultural-nationalism values and selectively appropriating few Gandhian socialist principles such as sarvodaya (progress of all) and swadeshi (self-sufficiency).[4]

Early life[edit]

He was brought up in a Brahmin[5] family by his maternal uncle. His education, under the guardiansip of his maternal uncle and aunt, saw him attend high school in Sikar. The Maharaja of Sikar gave him a gold medal, Rs 250 to buy books and a monthly scholarship of Rs 10.[6] and did his Intermediate in Pilani, Rajasthan.[7][8] He took a BA degree at the Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur. In 1939 he moved over to Agra and joined St. John's College, Agra to pursue a master's degree in English literature but could not continue his studies.[9] He did not take up his MA exams due to some family and financial issues. [10] He was also came to be known as Panditji for appearing in the civil services examination, wearing the traditional Indian dhoti-kurta and cap.[11]


Upadhyaya had come into contact with the RSS through a classmate, Baluji Mahashabde, while studying at Sanatan Dharma College in 1937. He met the founder of the RSS, K. B. Hedgewar, who engaged with him in an intellectual discussion at one of the shakhas. Sunder Singh Bhandari was also one of his classmates at Kanpur. He started full-time work in the RSS from 1942. He had attended the 40-day summer vacation RSS camp at Nagpur where he underwent training in Sangh Education. After completing second-year training in the RSS Education Wing, Upadhyaya became a lifelong pracharak of the RSS. He worked as the pracharak for the Lakhimpur district and, from 1955, as the joint Prant Pracharak (regional organiser) for Uttar Pradesh. He was regarded as an ideal swayamsevak of the RSS essentially because ‘his discourse reflected the pure thought-current of the Sangh’.[12]

Upadhyaya started the monthly Rashtra Dharma publication from Lucknow in the 1940s, using it to spread Hindutva ideology. Later he started the weekly Panchjanya and the daily Swadesh.[13]

In 1951, when Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the BJS, Deendayal was seconded to the party by the RSS, tasked with moulding it into a genuine member of the Sangh Parivar. He was appointed as General Secretary of its Uttar Pradesh branch, and later the all-India general secretary. For 15 years, he remained the outfit's general secretary. He also contested by-poll for the Lok Sabha seat of Jaunpur from Uttar Pradesh in 1963 bi election when Jansangh MP Bramh Jeet Singh died, but failed to attract significant political traction and did not get elected.

In the 1967 general elections, the Jana Sangh got 35 seats and became the 3rd largest party in the Lok Sabha. The Jan Sangh also went onto be a part of the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal, an experiment of having non-Congress opposition parties as a coalition to form governments in multiple states This brought the right and the left of the Indian political spectrum on one single platform.[14] He became president of the Jana Sangh in December 1967 in the Calicut session of the party. His presidential speech in that session focused on multiple aspects right from the formation of coalition government to language.[15] No major events happened in the party during his tenure as the president that ended in 2 months in February 1968 due to his untimely death.

Upadhyaya edited Panchjanya (weekly) and Swadesh (daily) from Lucknow. In Hindi, he wrote a drama on Chandragupta Maurya, and later wrote a biography of Shankaracharya. He translated a Marathi biography of Hedgewar.


Integral humanism was a set of concepts drafted by Upadhyaya as political program and adopted in 1965 as the official doctrine of the Jan Sangh.[16]

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 and its new openness to other opposition forces made it possible for the Hindu nationalist movement to have an alliance in the early 1970s with the prominent Gandhian Sarvodaya movement going on under the leadership of J. P. Narayan. This was considered to be the first major public breakthrough for the Hindu nationalist movement.[17]


In December 1967, Upadhyaya was elected president of the BJS. In the evening of 10 February 1968, at Lucknow he boarded the Sealdah Express for Patna. The train reached Mughalsarai at about 2:10 am but Upadhyaya was not on it.[18] His body was found near Mughalsarai Junction railway station in Uttar Pradesh[19] 10 minutes after the train arrived, lying near a traction pole 748 feet from the end of the platform where the train halted. He was clutching a five-rupee note in his hand. He was last seen alive at Jaunpur after midnight.[18]

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation team found that Upadhyaya had been pushed out of the coach by robbers just before the train entered Mughalsarai station;[19] a passenger travelling in the adjoining cabin of the same coach had seen a man (later identified as Bharat Lal) enter Upadhyaya's cabin at Mughalsarai and walk off with his file and bedding.[18] The CBI later arrested Bharat Lal and his associate Ram Awadh , charging them with murder and theft. They confessed to pushing Updadhyaya out of the train after he caught them stealing his bag and threatened to report them to the police. However, the two accused were acquitted of the murder charges for lack of evidence.[19] Bharat Lal alone was convicted of the theft of the belongings and he appealed to the Allahabad High Court. The sessions judge had remarked in his judgment that "the offence of murder not having been proved against the accused, the problem of truth about the murder still remains".[18]

Over 70 MPs demanded a commission of inquiry. The Government of India agreed to this and appointed Justice Y.V. Chandrachud of Bombay High Court as the sole member of the commission.[18] Chandrachud reported in his findings that Upadhyaya was standing near a carriage door and pushed out of the running train, dying instantly by hitting a traction pole. He said that the death and theft constituted a single incident in law and that "I can say with a certain amount of confidence that nothing has come before me can support the accusation that there was any politics in Shri Upadhyaya's murder. Undoubtedly, he had political rivals but his death is the rash and extempore handiwork of mere thieves." The CBI, he said, had conducted the investigation with care and objectivity.[18]

In 2017, Upadhyaya's niece and several politicians demanded a fresh probe in his murder.[20]


Bust of Deendayal Upadhyaya
Statue of Deendayal Upadhyaya

According to his supporters, he worked to decolonise Indian political thought, and even a veteran Congressman of Uttar Pradesh, Sampoornanand, wrote in the preface of Upadhyaya's Political Dairy, describing him as "one of the most notable political leaders of our time” .[21] Another move considered important in the 1960s anti-Congress campaign, involved Deen dayal getting together with Ram Manohar Lohia to issue a Lohia-Deendayal joint statement in May 1964 envisioning a framework for common program.[22]

Since 2016 the BJP government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi named several public institutions after him.[23][24] In Delhi, a road/marg has been named after Upadhyaya. In August 2017, the BJP state government in UP proposed renaming of Mughalsarai station in honour of Upadhyaya as his dead body was found near it.[23] Opposition parties protested this move in the Parliament of India. The Samajwadi Party protested with a statement that the station was being renamed after someone "who had made "no contribution to the freedom struggle".[25] The Deen Dayal Research Institute deals with queries on Upadhyaya and his works.[26]

In 2018 a newly constructed cable-stayed bridge in Surat was named Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Bridge in honor of him.[27]

On 16 February 2020 in Varanasi, Narendra Modi opened the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial Centre and unveiled a 63-foot statue of Upadhyaya, his tallest statue in the country.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hansen, Thomas (1999). The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu nationalism in modern India. NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 89. ISBN 9780691006710. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009.
  2. ^ Dutta, Prabhash K. (21 September 2017). "Who was Deendayal Upadhyay, the man PM Narendra Modi often refers to in his speeches?". India Today. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Points about Deendayal Upadhyay". IndiaToday. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  4. ^ Gosling, David (2001). Religion and ecology in India and southeast Asia. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-24030-1.
  5. ^ Sahasrabuddhe, Vinay (24 September 2016). "With Focus on Vikas, Deendayal Upadhyaya Went Beyond Public vs Private". BloombergQuint. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  6. ^ Singh, Manoj. Deendayal Upadhyaya (First ed.). Preface: LAKSHAY BOOKS. p. 7. ISBN 9788188992379.
  7. ^ Prabhash K Dutta (21 September 2017). "Who was Deendayal Upadhyay, the man PM Narendra Modi often refers to in his speeches?". India Today. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya | Rajasthan". Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  9. ^ "End of an Era". Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  10. ^ Singh, Manoj. Deendayal Upadhyaya (First ed.). Biography: LAKSHAY BOOKS. p. 9. ISBN 9788188992379.
  11. ^ Anand, Arun (25 September 2020). "Who killed Deendayal Upadhyaya? It's a 50-year-old question". ThePrint. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  12. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2007). Hindu Nationalism – A Reader. Princeton University Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-691-13097-2.
  13. ^ "Deendayal Upadhyaya". Bharatiya Janata party. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, a swayamsevak, was pitchforked to lead Jana Sangh at a critical juncture in party's history",,, archived from the original on 12 April 2020
  15. ^ Trivedi, Dr. Preeti (December 2017). Architect of A Philosophy. pp. 308–312. ISBN 978-1-61301-638-1.
  16. ^ Hansen, Thomas (1999). The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu nationalism in modern India. NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 84. ISBN 9780691006710. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009.
  17. ^ Hansen, Thomas (1999). The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu nationalism in modern India. NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 85. ISBN 9780691006710. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009.
  18. ^ a b c d e f Noorani, A.G. (2012). Islam, South Asia and the Cold War. Tulika Books. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Pandey, Deepak K. (25 May 2015). "Probe murder of Deendayal Upadhyaya afresh: Swamy". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Cong asks for fresh probe into Deendayal Upadhyay's death". DNA India. Press Trust of India. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Behind the swayamsevak". Indian Express. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Lohia, Deendayal wanted Partition reversed". Indian Express. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  23. ^ a b Chatterjee, Manini (25 September 2017). "Manufacturing an icon – The Deendayal Upadhyaya blitzkrieg". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  24. ^ Bindu Shajan Perappadan (19 June 2014). "Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital to become a medical college-cum-hospital". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  25. ^ "SP, BSP oppose renaming of Mughalsarai railway station". LiveMint. PTI. 4 August 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  26. ^ Kang, Bhavdeep (6 October 2014) Who is this man who features in every Modi speech?
  27. ^ "Pandit Dindayal Upadhya Bridge". Surat Municipal Corporation. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  28. ^ "PM Modi Launches, lays foundation stone of 50 projects worth Rs 1,254 crore in Varanasi". TribuneIndia. 16 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2020.

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