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Monday, March 01, 2010

JP, Dinkar, Achyut Patwardhan, Ramnath Goenka, and Nanaji Deshmukh

Times of India - Mar 1, 2010, Sudheendra Kulkarni
When Jayaprakash Narayan emerged as the leader of the non-Congress opposition to Indira Gandhi’s authoritarian rule in the early 1970s, he found in Nanaji an able lieutenant to carry the message of Sampoorna Kranti (total revolution). Nanaji brought JP, who was an eminent socialist, closer to the Jana Sangh, even persuading him to attend, as a special guest, the party’s plenary session in March 1975. When some people criticized JP for getting too close to a fascist party, JP famously declared from the Jana Sangh platform itself: "If Jana Sangh is fascist, then Jayaprakash Narayan is also a fascist." He also presciently added: "The sun of fascism is rising somewhere else." Within three months came the Emergency.

Nanaji was one of the heroes of the underground struggle against the Emergency. However, when the Emergency was lifted in 1977 and the Janata Party won a landslide victory in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, he declined Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s offer to join his cabinet. He lamented that power-oriented politics created divisions in society. He therefore renounced it, went to Chitrakoot to implement his vision of rural development, and never looked back. What he achieved there on a micro-scale in two districts, one in UP and the other in MP, was impressive and earned kudos from everybody who visited Chitrakoot — from JRD Tata to A P J Abdul Kalam. He established
India’s first rural university. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras that he set up were among the best in the country.

"Nobody from our village has migrated to cities in the past six years," said a farmer. That is the best tribute anyone could pay to this remarkable social activist who was part RSS, part Gandhian and part socialist. 
(The writer is a columnist and a former aide to Atal Bihari Vajpayee)

Nanaji — as I knew him Express Buzz: 01 Mar 2010, S Gurumurthy

My association with Nanaji Deshmukh started with my friendship with Ramnath Goenka. Ramnathji and Nanaji were not only great friends, they both thought and felt about the country almost alike. The mutual trust and admiration that they had was rooted wholly in their love of the motherland, totally devoid of any kind of personal interest. The Nanaji-Ramnathji combine felt that no goal other than what they thought was the good of the nation. Ramnath Goenka had shaped the Indian Express not as just a newspaper. It was an active partner with all nationalist forces in the cause of the country, setting the agenda for political and social discourse. Ramnathji never knew what fear meant in life. So was Nanaji. And these two courageous persons could effortlessly infect many others of high relevance, journalists or others, with fearlessness. It was the Ramnathji-Nanaji duo that persuaded Jayaprakash Narayan to agree to lead the Bihar movement in 1974, which changed the political picture of the country.

A historic meeting of Ramnathji, Nanaji, Achyut Patwardhan, the hero of the 1942 underground movement and Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, a great Hindi poet, took place sometime in 1973 in the Indian Express Guest House in Bangalore. Ramnathji, Nanaji, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and Achyut Patwardhan, began insisting that JP should lead the movement as Indira Gandhi had become highly autocratic and had begun destroying the institutional framework of democracy including the judiciary and bureaucracy. Incidentally, Dinkar was one of the greatest friends of the Nehru family and particularly of Indira Gandhi herself. But that did not detract him from doing what he thought was his duty to the nation. JP was hesitant mainly because of his health. He was a diabetic and had acute prostrate gland issues. He said that he would not be able to live for long and his health did not permit him to undertake such an arduous task. Ramnathji assured him that he would have his prostrate operation done in Vellore, which he eventually got done later. But JP could still not make up his mind. At that point, Ramnathji suggested that all of them should go to Tirupati, have darshan and prayers and from there, go to Madras as it was known then, and continue the discussions. And they all left for Tirupati.
During the darshan at Tirupati, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar openly prayed to Lord Balaji, to the hearing of JP and the others, that whatever remaining years of life Dinkar had the Lord should give them to JP to help him serve the cause of the motherland. And they all returned to Madras and to Ramnathji’s house in the Express Estates in Mount Road. Within hours Ramdhari Singh Dinkar fell on the lap of Ramnath Goenka and died — yes he died when JP, Nanaji and Achyut Patwardhan were around. It was clear that Lord Balaji had answered Dinkar’s prayers. JP’s decision to lead the movement came in no time. Despite my several requests Nanaji had refused to write about it in the Indian Express. When I asked him how will the people of India know about it, he said that he had written in his diary and he would like it to be known after his death. Now that he is no more I felt free to write about it.
After the operation JP began to lead one of the biggest mass movements against corruption in free India and that led to the imposition of Emergency, arrest of all national opposition leaders and a ban on the RSS. That was the best period in the life of Nanaji. He was one of the initiators of the underground movement that finally exploded as the Janata wave when in 1977 Indira Gandhi, with a view to securing mandate for her autocracy declared elections to Parliament, not knowing that, without her intelligence agencies having a whiff of it, the underground movement had generated a political tornado against her. Nanaji was the architect of the Janata Party. He contested elections for the first time and won. He refused to join the ministry when Morarji Desai insisted.
Later when the Janata Party split and the Bharatiya Janata Party was formed in 1980, Nanaji announced that he would like to retire from active politics as he was attaining the age of 65. A new role — that of a social worker — to lift moral and spiritual values and to promote economic and social well-being of the distanced people awaited him. He started his work first in the most backward districts of Gonda in UP and next in the equally drought-prone and poverty-ridden Bead district in Maharashtra and finally settled to do a more comprehensive work of socio-economic progress with moral values covering some 500 villages in Chitrakoot district. The President of India Abdul Kalam visited Nanaji’s Chitrakoot project, praised and blessed it as the most suitable one for India noting that almost 80 villages in the district had become litigation free. That was his final karma bhoomi even though the whole country was his karma bhoomi. He once told me that when he was a child many days he had had nothing to eat. But that did not turn him into a naxalite. But his introduction to the RSS at the right age, and association with the right persons, had turned him into a great nationalist who lived for his motherland’s glory and nothing else. About The Author; S Gurumurthy is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.

Central Chronicle - Editorial Posted On Sunday, February 28, 2010
The State will remember Nanaji Deshmukh for long. He established Deendayal Research Organisation in 1969 at Chitrakoot and later in the year 1991 he set up first Gramodyog University. Nanaji was its first Vice Chancellor.  He was an ideal personality in the field of politics and social service and dedicated his life for the service of humanity. He would be remembered among stalwarts including Purshottam Das Tandon, Acharya Narendra Deo and Vinoba Bhave. During the period of emergency he had worked with Jaiprakash Narayan and led `people's movement.' During the movement, Nanaji saved Jaiprakash Narayan by suffering the lathicharge blows on himself. 
Janata Dal: Make, break, make break,  IE » Jan 29, 2006. The Janata Dal (JD) can be traced to several sources — the Samyukta Vidhayak Dal governments formed by non-Congress parties in 1967; also the four-party Grand Alliance of Congress (O), Swatantra Party, Socialist Party and Bharatiya Jan Sangh in the 1971 Lok Sabha polls and the Janata Party formed by them after their merger in 1977.

Nanaji Deshmukh From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nanaji was asked by Shri Guruji to take charge of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in Uttar Pradesh as General Secretary. Nanaji had worked as RSS pracharak in Uttar Pradesh and his groundwork proved of a great help in organizing BJS at the grass roots. By 1957 BJS had established its units at each and every district in Uttar Pradesh and credit for this goes to the Nanaji who had extensively traveled all over the State.
Soon, BJS became a force to reckon with in Uttar Pradesh. In 1967 BJS became the part of United Legislature Party and joined the Government headed by Chaudhary Charan Singh. Nanaji played a crucial role in evolving the alliance as he enjoyed good relations with Charan Singh and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia. He was successful in bringing leaders of different political backgrounds on one platform to give Uttar Pradesh its first non-Congress government… His relations with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia changed the course of Indian politics. Once he invited Dr. Lohia in BJS karaykarta sammelan where he met Deen Dayal Upadhyaya for the first time and this association brought the BJS closer to Socialist parties in exposing the Congress and its misrule. Nanaji actively participated in Bhoodan Movement started by Vinoba Bhave.

Parivar pays last respects to Nanaji, IE » Monday , Mar 01, 2010
Asserting that Nanaji was a “role model” for the BJP, Advani said: “We should succeed in transforming the image of the ugly Indian politician.” Gadkari said “Nanaji was a source of inspiration due to his sacrifice and service towards Antyodaya (rise of the poorest of poor)”. Modi said Nanaji “had the will to translate vision into action”, while Jaitley said Nanaji was an organiser par excellence. Rajnath recalled his Nanaji “set an example” by refusing a ministerial berth in Morarji Desai’s government in 1977.

Inspirational Affinity,  Dina Nath Mishra,  The Sunday Observer, March 30 - April 5, 1997
Ram Manohar Lohia realised that his anti-Congressism was not going to succeed until Jan Sangh was brought into the broader anti-Congress 'front'. In the fourth general election in the late sixties, the efforts of anti-Congressism showed results. Several Samyukt Vidhayak Dal (United Legislators' Party) governments came to power at state level for a short time (1967-70).
The Jan Sangh became a partner in various governments. In Bihar, even the CPI shared the power with the untouchable Jan Sangh of the time. Sheerly by dint of its sizable power, Jan Sangh could no longer be kept out. The message was clear - political untouchability could end only if they had a sizeable political strength.  

We Created The Fascists - Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly ... All parties, especially the socialists, must unite to defeat the BJP UR ANANTHAMURTHY Eminent writer From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 39, Dated Oct 04, 2008
WHEN I write to account for the BJP’s rise to power, particularly in Karnataka, I need, as a socialist, to introspect. I want to examine which actions of my mentors, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), led to the transformation of the Sangh Parivar from a cadre-based, relatively contained outfit to a mass party that has retained its secretive cadre base. […]
Lohia wanted to create a climate of what he called non-Congressism, which would take shape through an electoral understanding across the opposition so it could take on the Congress which, too, did not have a specific ideology of its own.
Then came the Emergency and, though JP was the anti-Congress movement’s spiritual leader, the well-organised Sangh Parivar was in the forefront of the struggle. With the Jana Sangh’s merger into the Janata Party, the Sangh Parivar began to acquire its mass base. […]
How do we reverse this? All parties opposed to fundamentalism have to unite, come to an electoral understanding and defeat the BJP. We must undo what JP and Lohia did. UR Ananthamurthy is a Jnanpith awardee and a leading writer and contemporary critic

The recent display of irrationality and intolerance stands in sharp contrast to the fine tradition of open mindedness represented by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, who was the ideological guru of the Jana Sangh until his assassination in 1968. There was nothing dogmatic about his thinking or conduct. For instance, although he was himself an RSS pracharak, one of his closest allies in the political field was the great socialist leader, Dr Rammanohar Lohia, who had never hidden his critical views about the RSS. Lohia often equated RSS ideology with Hindu fanaticism. He was a strong critic of the manner in which the RSS and the Jana Sangh advocated the concept of ‘Akhand Bharat’ from a Hindu-only perspective. […]
Lohia wrote Guilty Men of India’s Partition in 1960. But this book did not come in the way of a close association, based on mutual trust and respect, between him and Upadhyaya. Indeed, only four years later, on April 12, 1964, the two leaders issued a historic joint declaration mooting the concept of India-Pakistan Confederation. Their friendship had become stronger after the Chinese aggression in 1962, and both had come to the conclusion that India and Pakistan needed to leave past hostilities behind to start a new era of cooperation. However, Lohia was aware that the Jana Sangh’s advocacy of Akhand Bharat had created apprehensions in the minds of Pakistanis. He told Upadhyaya, “Many Pakistanis believe that if the Jana Sangh came to power in New Delhi, it would forcibly re-unify Pakistan with India.” Upadhyaya replied: “We have no such intentions. And we are willing to put to rest Pakistani people’s concerns on this score.”
Endorsing this idea of India-Pakistan Confederation, Advani, who was mentored in the Jana Sangh by Updhyaya, writes in his autobiography: “This dialogue between Deendayalji and Lohia, and its outcome, is one of the finest examples in India’s political history of cooperation and consensus-building between two leaders with divergent ideologies, but common commitment to national interest.”
If Deendayal Upadhyaya could have dialogue and cooperation with a known critic of his party like Lohia, what prevented the BJP from talking to Jaswant Singh, who was a party man since its inception thirty years ago?

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