Satpal Maharaj

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Satpal Maharaj
Satpal Maharaj.png
Satpal Maharaj
Cabinet Minister to the Government of Uttarakhand
Assumed office
March 2017
MLA of Uttarakhand
Assumed office
Preceded byTirath Singh Rawat
Personal details
Born (1951-09-21) 21 September 1951 (age 67)
Kankhal, Uttar Pradesh, India
(now Uttarakhand, India)
Political partyBhartiya Janata Party
Spouse(s)Amrita Rawat
ChildrenShraddheya, Suyash
MotherRajeshwari Devi
ResidenceDehradun, Uttarakhand and Punjabi Bagh, Delhi

Satpal Singh Rawat also known as Satpal Maharaj is a spiritual master born 21 September 1951 in Kankhal (a small colony in the holy town of Haridwar, Uttarakhand), is the son of famous spiritual master Yogiraj Paramsant Shri Hans Ji Maharaj and Jagat Janni Rajeshwari Devi. He is a National Executive Member of Bharatiya Janata Party.[1] He was also a member of the lower house of the Parliament of India (15th Lok Sabha) for the INC party. Currently he is the tourism minister of Uttarakhand.


Satpal Maharaj studied at St. George's College in Mussorie.[2]

Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti[edit]

As of 2014, Maharaj is the head of the Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti.[3] He teaches the meditation techniques called "Knowledge".[3] The movement has students and ashrmas all across the globe with its head office in India. It claims millions of members and has events that regularly draw 100,000 people or more to its main ashrams in Haridwar and New Delhi.[4] According to Lise McKean in the book Divine Enterprise: Gurus and the Hindu Nationalist Movement, in the Samiti cult of the holy family, Maharaj, his wife Amrita Rawat and their two sons are worshiped as divine beings, with individual members of the holy family held to represent diverse aspects of divinity.

Divine Light Mission[edit]

The Divine Light Mission (DLM) (Divya Sandesh Parishad) was an organization founded in 1960 by Satpal Maharaj's father, guru Shri Hans Ji Maharaj for his following in northern India. During the 1970s, the DLM gained prominence in the West under the leadership of his fourth and youngest son Prem Rawat.

During the customary 13 days of mourning following Shri Hans's death, the succession was discussed by DLM officials. The youngest son, 8-year-old Prem Rawat, addressed the crowd and was accepted by them, as well as by his mother and brothers, as the "Perfect Master". Though Prem Rawat was officially the leader of the DLM, because of his youth authority was shared by the whole family.[2]

For the next eight years Hans Maharaj's family supported Prem Rawat as his successor but the latter's decision to marry a Westerner in 1974 precipitated a struggle for control of DLM. Mata returned to India and appointed her oldest son Satpal as the new head of DLM India, claiming that Prem Rawat had broken his spiritual discipline by marrying a foreigner. The Western premies remained loyal to Prem Rawat, but the marriage led to a permanent rift within the family and was also credited with causing a profound disruption in the movement.[5]

After the split, Satpal became the new head of the organization in India following a legal battle with his brother Prem Rawat.

Role in formation of Uttarakhand[edit]

Satpal Maharaj, had played a vital role in the formation of Uttarakhand. As an MP and a Union Minister he had knocked at the doors of then Prime Ministers H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral and West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu to press for the creation of the separate state of Uttarakhand.

When the Centre was contemplating granting a Union Territory status to Uttarakhand in 1996, it was he who had convinced H D Deve Gowda that the demand for a separate state of Uttarakhand will keep raising its head if it was granted just a UT status, the Pauri MP said.

It was due to his efforts that Gowda accepted the proposal to grant statehood to Uttarakhand and made an announcement in this regard from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August 1996.[6][6]

Rail Line Project[edit]

Satpal Maharaj inaugurated the survey to this project as a Union Minister, and Minister of Railways of State of Uttar Pradesh (Now, in Uttarakhand) way back in 1996. [7][8][9] This project got budget allocation and other clearances from the government, it is said to be the longest tunnel rail project in the country, which will play a vital role in the security of the country, and livelihood of the people of uttarakhand.[10] The Rishikesh to Karnprayag Rail Line is proposed to serve very vital role in the country, for prompt movement of Army (as geographical location of the line is near India-China Border), pilgrims and locals.[11] The foundation stone for the project survey was led down by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, way back on 9 November 2011[12] at Rishikesh, this was a 125-kilometre railway line project. The survey of the project completed somewhere by the year 2013,[13] however the project was delayed as the state ministers delayed to provide necessary land to Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) for commencement of the project construction due to non finalisation of land acquisition rules of Uttarakhand.[14]

Efforts to Include Garhwali & Kumaoni Regional Languages in 8th Schedule of Constitution of India[edit]

Member of Parliament from Pauri Garhwal, Shri Satpal Maharaj brought a private member's bill to include Garhwali and Kumaoni language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.[15]

Efforts to bring Quinoa apparent "Protein Revolution" in India & Uttarakhand[edit]

Shri Satpal Maharaj & Smt. Amrita Rawat, With Vice President & Other Dignitories of Peru

Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is rarely found in plant foods Quinoa also offers a good dose of fiber and iron.The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa." Proposed by the government of Bolivia and receiving strong support from many Central and South American countries, quinoa has now been singled out by the FAO as a food with "high nutritive value," impressive biodiversity, and an important role to play in the achievement of food security worldwide.Satpal Maharaj has been trying hard to bring quinoa in India which will for sure bring protein revolution in India.

Uttarakhand Government has inked a tourism promotion cum horticulture research agreement with Peru. State Government will have intergovernmental interaction of scientific communities from both the countries in order to boost horticulture and wool production in the State.According to Maharaj Peru president will visit Uttarakhand in January to explore the possibilities and economic opportunities here.The MoU for tourism promotion was signed between the Uttarakhand tourism minister Amrita Rawat and Peru president Carlos Canales in the presence of vice president of India Mohammed Hamid Ansari in their recent visit to Peru. As per agreement tourism officials and other related agencies of the Peru will visit the State to study tourism activities and further possibilities of promotional chances here. Besides this Uttarakhand will also import seeds of Peru's native protein rich high altitude cereal crop Quinoa to cultivate it here.

According to Maharaj besides rich in protein Quinoa is also important for its good cash returns as farmers in Peru and Bolivia have immensely improved their economy through this crop.[16][17]

Padyatras (Marches)[edit]

Shri Satpal Maharaj has headed many padyatras (marches on feet covering very long distances), both nationally and globally, to address and eliminate social issues. He is deeply connected to the motive of building a better, healthy and contented society and has made many efforts to this end, including:

Bharat Jago Padyatra (1983)[edit]

The Bharat Jago (India, Awake!) Padyatra began on 24 September 1983 and covered 600 km from Badrinath to Delhi. As he traversed the often dangerous mountainous terrain andwalked through 500 villages, Maharaj Ji met more than 30,000 people along the way, talking with them and listening to their grievances. The poor and needy were given medicines and blankets. At each of the 24 stops along the way, evening programs were held to discuss the problems of the local people and to inform them of the aims of the padyatra. The march culminated with a gathering of 60,000 at Boat Club, Delhi on 28 October, calling for a social and political awakening. A campaign to clean up the polluted Ganges also began during this march.[18][19]

Jan Jagran Padyatra (1985)[edit]

The 250-km Jan Jagran (Mass Awakening) Padyatra began on 11 March 1985 from Gandhi Maidan, Siliguri (West Bengal) and ended at Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The participants called on the Government to recognise and alleviate the endemic problems of the hill areas and to listen to the grievances of the local people, who felt ignored and neglected by the authorities. It also supported and re-ignited the long-standing demand for recognition of the Nepali language, which was ultimately successful with its inclusion in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.[18][19]

Janta Jage Padyatra (1986)[edit]

The Janata Jage (Let the People Awake!) Padyatra from Bodh Gaya to Patna (in the poverty-stricken and violence-ridden state of Bihar) in February 1986, called upon the people to reawaken the humanitarian ideals of peace and harmony embodied in the teachings of Lord Buddha and Mahavir Swami and promote caste and communal harmony. He said, "The best way to pay tribute to Lord Buddha is to follow his teachings and refrain from doing anything to the contrary. Nothing is achieved through violence and crime. Society can only be changed when we change ourselves." The aim of this padyatra was to help the masses, especially young people, realise that a law-abiding atmosphere is essential for economic and social progress.[18][19]

Gandhi Yatra (1993)[edit]

To rekindle interest in the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and to promote harmony among religious communities, in October 1993 he led a large 600 km "Gandhi-Yatra". This was a 'car rally' in which 350 cars took part. It started in Maghar, where St Kabir was cremated and where a temple and mosque share a common wall.After rallies in many of the main cities of Uttar Pradesh, the yatra finished in Lucknow, where crowds surged into the streets to welcome the participants. A mammoth rally in the historic Begum Hazrat Mahal Park was preceded by a 4 km silent march.[18][19]

Shrandhanjali Padyatra (1995)[edit]

The 1995 Shraddhanjali Padyatra from Gopeshwar (Garhwal) to Muzzaffarnagar (U.P.) commemorated the martyrs who lost their lives while demonstrating peacefully for a separate state of Uttarakhand. This region has specific problems which the state of Uttar Pradesh seemed unable to address. Maharaj Ji actively supported the Uttarakhand Movement, and felt that the ultimate way to honour the dead would be to secure this separate state. When he was Minister of State for Railways in the Devegowda Government, he got the chance to convince the Prime Minister to grant statehood, which was announced during Independence Day celebrations on 15 August 1996.[18][19]

Sadbhawana Padyatra (2002)[edit]

Sadbhavana Padyatra in 2002 from Dandi to Sabarmati Ashram retraced Mahatma Gandhi's famous Salt March. The aim of this march was to promote healing and goodwill between Hindus and Muslims in riot-torn Gujarat after horrific violence, as well as to address the issue of divisive politics that was tearing the social fabric apart. Maharaj Ji voiced the opinion that Gandhi's home state should stand out as a beacon of economic progress and human development, and that its social ethos and climate must be congenial for industry and investment to flourish.The procession stretched for 14 km and went for 22 days. It attracted people from different faiths who joined in with great enthusiasm.[18][19]

Gandhi Rainbow Peace March (2005)[edit]

The 2005 Rainbow Peace March started from Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, (where Mahatma Gandhi was evicted from a train for daring to sit in a 'Whites only' carriage) and ended at City Hall, Durban, with a civic reception from the Mayor.Shri Maharaj Ji presented the Deputy Mayor of Pietermaritzburg and assembled dignitaries with a bust of Gandhi as a young barrister, to be installed at the railway station.[18][19]

Political career[edit]

In 1989, Satpal Maharaj started his political career in as a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) party.

In 1995, he split from the Congress along with Narayan Dutt Tiwari and joined Congress (Tiwari).

He served as Union Minister for Railways in 1996 and for Finance in 1997.

1n 1999, rejoined Congress when Sonia Gandhi took over the reins of the Congress Party.

In 2010, he was the head of the 20-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.[20]

in 2012, being close to Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Satpal was nominated by his political party to pacify Narayan Dutt Tiwari, who had threatened to work against the party during the 2012 election. They believed that by nominating Satpal, as well as three other followers of Tiwari, that Tiwari would not follow through on his threats.[21] Narayan Dutt then campaigned for Satpal and his wife Amrita in 2012 elections[22]

After the 2012 elections, there was infighting within the Uttarakhand Congress and Harish Rawat hit back at Satpal Maharaj and said Satpal Maharaj should feel happy that he lost the race of Chief Ministership of the state.[23] Vijay Bahuguna was made the chief minister after all the infighting ended.[24]

In February 2014, Satpal openly criticised Harish Rawat's elevation as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.[25]

On 20 February 2014, the 15th Lok Sabha statics revealed that Satpal Maharaj has the most dismal performance in MPPLAD, spending just 36.78%.[26]

In March 2014, Satpal decides not to contest the Lok Sabha elections blamed chief Minister Harish Rawat forced him to take the extreme step.[27] Due to the numerous scams and corruption done by Congress during its rule a number of congress candidates are shying from fighting the elections.[28]

On 21 March 2014, he quit the Indian National Congress and joined Bharatiya Janata Party.[29]

On 11 March 2017, Satpal Maharaj won vidhan sabha elections from Chaubattakhal constituency, Uttarakhand and is said to be the main contender for the chief minister of the state.[30][31]

Satpal Maharaj is referred to as the most active MP of Uttarakhand by Amar Ujala.[32]

Effort for Bringing Yoga as a School Curriculum Subject by Introducing a bill in parliament[edit]

Yoga is an ancient art which has got tremendous physical,mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.School children practice Tai Chi Chuan (martial art) with great discipline in China, "We gave yoga to the world but we are ignoring it in India and we must bring it into our schools", Maharaj told AFP.

Yoga, which in the Sanskrit language means "union" or "integration", involves the practice of numerous physical postures called asanas and is usually combined with long meditation sessions.

Indian scholars believe yoga dates back 5,000 years, based on archaeological evidence of poses found inscribed on stones and references to Yogic teachings in the ancient Hindu scriptures of knowledge, known as the Vedas.

Maharaj, who represents the constituency of Garhwal in the Himalayan foothills, said yoga could help schoolchildren and teachers to deal with age-old problems as well as contemporary ailments.

"Western diseases like computer-related stress have come to India, and yoga at a young age will help reduce these ailments - and besides, it will also encourage children to attend class," he said.[33][34]

Lok Sabha Results[edit]

1989 - Lost Pauri Garhwal against Chandra Mohan (Janata Dal)

1991 - Lost Pauri Garhwal against Bhuwan Chand (BJP)

1996 - Won Pauri Garhwal (1,63,528 votes) against Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri (BJP) (1,48,508 votes).

1998 - Lost Pauri Garhwal (1,05,311 votes) against Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri( 2,80,258 votes)

1999 - Lost Pauri Garhwal (2,10,063 votes) against Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri( 2,39,745 votes)

2004 - Lost Pauri Garhwal

2008(By elections) : Lost Pauri Garhwal Lok Sabha to TPS Rawat(BJP) when Khanduri quit his Parliamentary seat to enter the state Assembly.

2009 - Won Pauri Garhwal Seat(236949 votes) against Tejpal Singh Rawat(219552 votes)

2014 - Did not contest the Lok Sabha elections and shifted from Indian National Congress to Bharatiya Janata Party.

Vidhan Sabha Results[edit]

2017 - Won Chaubattakal Seat(20921 votes) against Rajpal Singh Bisht(13567 votes)

International Activities[edit]

Shri Satpal Maharaj At UNO

1. On 17 October 2011, Shri Satpal Maharaj delivered his Speech at 66th United Nations General Assembly session held in New York City on topic "Sport for peace and development : building a peaceful and better world through sport and the olympic ideal".[35]

2. On 19 October 2011, he presented the statement by India in the First Committee Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons at 66th United Nations General Assembly session held in New York City.[35]

Satpal Maharaj Bust Donation at Africa

3. He and his wife Smt. Amrita Rawat jointly donated a bust of Mahatma Gandhi to KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, the bust was to be installed at the Pietermaritzburg railway station; a station where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of the train, as he was travelling in "whites only" compartment.[36]

Satpal Maharaj With Nelson Mandela


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  3. ^ a b McKean 1996, pp. 53-57
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  16. ^ "Peru keen on importing Basmati crop tech, Asian buffaloes from U'khand". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
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  19. ^ a b c d e f g "shree satpal maharaj padyatras". Retrieved 8 April 2016.
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  22. ^ Sandeep Joshi. "Octogenarian Tiwari hopes to swing it in favour of Congress". The Hindu.
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  24. ^ "Revolt erupts in Uttarakhand as Harish Rawat denied CM post". The Times of India.
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  26. ^
  27. ^ "'Neglected' Maharaj refuses to fight polls". Archived from the original on 18 March 2014.
  28. ^ "Senior Congress leaders shy away from fighting LS poll". The Indian Express. 15 March 2014.
  29. ^ "Satpal Maharaj quits Congress to join BJP". Hindustan Times. 21 March 2014. Archived from the original on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  30. ^ "ECI Live Results". 11 March 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
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  33. ^ "Indian MP pushes compulsory yoga in schools". The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  34. ^ "Cong MP to move Bill seeking compulsory yoga in schools - Indian Express". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  35. ^ a b "UNO Brochure.pdf" (PDF).
  36. ^ "Mahatma Gandhi's bust gathering dust in South Africa". The Hindu. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 29 February 2016.

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