Nanaji Deshmukh on a 2017 stamp of India
|Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha|
1977 – 1979
|Preceded by||Chandra Bhal Mani Tiwari|
|Succeeded by||Chandra Bhal Mani Tiwari|
|Constituency||Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh|
|Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha|
Chandikadas Amritrao Deshmukh
11 October 1916
Republic of India)
|Died||27 February 2010 (aged 93)|
|Political party||Bharatiya Jana Sangh|
|Alma mater||Birla College (BITS Pilani)|
Chandikadas Amritrao Deshmukh also known as Nanaji Deshmukh (11 October 1916 – 27 February 2010) was a social activist from India. He worked in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 1999. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award in 2019 by Government of India. He was a leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and also a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Nanaji was born on 11 October 1916 into a Marathi-speaking Deshastha Brahmin family at Kadoli, which is a small town in the Hingoli district. He worked as a vegetable seller to raise money for his education.
He went to high school in Sikar, where the Raoraja of Sikar gave him a scholarship. He studied in Birla college (Now BITS Pilani) ). In the same year, he also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Though born in Maharashtra, the fields of his activities were Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The then RSS chief M. S. Golwalkar sent him to Gorakhpur (U.P) as "pracharak" (full-time functionary). He rose to be the Saha Prant Pracharak of the whole of Uttar Pradesh (which has now become the eighth prant of RSS).
Deshmukh became inspired by Bal Gangadhar Tilak and his nationalist ideology, as well as showing an acquired interest in social service and activities. His family was in close contact with Keshav Baliram Hedgewar who was a regular visitor to Deshmukh's family. He could discern potential in Nanaji and encouraged him to attend RSS shakhas.
In 1940, after Hedgewar's death, many youngsters inspired by him joined the RSS in Maharashtra. Deshmukh was among those who joined the RSS devoting their whole life in service to the nation. He was sent to Uttar Pradesh as a Pracharak. At Agra, he met Deen Dayal Upadhyaya for the first time. Later, Deshmukh went to Gorakhpur as a pracharak where he took great pains to introduce Sangh ideology in the eastern UP. It was not an easy task at that time as the Sangh had no funds to meet even day-to-day expenses. He had to stay in a Dharmashala but had to keep on changing Dharmashalas as no one was allowed to stay there for more than three days consecutively. Ultimately, he was given shelter by Baba Raghavdas on the condition that he would also cook meals for him.
Within three years, his hard work bore fruits and almost 250 Sangh Shakhas commenced in and around Gorakhpur. Nanaji always laid great emphasis on education. He established India’s first Saraswati Shishu Mandir at Gorakhpur in 1950.
When in 1947, the RSS decided to launch two journals Rashtradharma, Panchjanya and a newspaper called Swadesh,Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was assigned the responsibility of the editor and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was made the Margdharshak with Nanaji as the managing director. It was a challenging task as the organisation was hard up for money to bring out the publications, yet it did never dampen their spirits and these publications gained popularity and recognition because of their strong nationalistic content.
Mahatma Gandhi's assassination led to imposition of ban on the RSS and publication work came to a grinding halt. A different strategy was adopted keeping the ban in mind and Deshmukh was the brain behind underground publication work by the RSS those days.
When the ban was lifted and it was decided to have a political organisation, Bharatiya Jana Sangh came into being. Deshmukh was asked by Golwalkar to take charge of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in Uttar Pradesh as its general secretary.
In Uttar Pradesh, BJS gained strength from Upadhyaya's vision, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's oratory skills and Deshmukh's organizational work and it emerged as an important player in the state politics. Deshmukh always shared good relations not only with his party colleagues but also with his opponents. Gupta, who suffered many defeats at the hands of Deshmukh, yet continued to have great respect for him and called him 'Nana Phadanvis '. His relations with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia changed the course of Indian politics. Once he invited Lohia in BJS karaykarta sammelan where he met Upadhyaya for the first time and this association brought the BJS closer to other socialist parties in exposing the Congress and its misrule.
Later, Narayan himself and Morarji Desai, who became the Prime Minister heading the Janata Party Government offered him the Cabinet portfolio of Industry, but Deshmukh spurned the overture. Deshmukh had won in the 1977 election held after revocation of the Emergency with a comfortable margin from Balrampur Lok Sabha constituency of Uttar Pradesh.
When Narayan gave the call for "Total Revolution" Deshmukh responded by giving total support to this movement.
After retirement from active politics Deshmukh then served Deendayal Research Institute that he himself had established way back in 1969.
He did work towards the anti-poverty and minimum needs programme. Other areas of his work were agriculture and cottage industry, rural health and rural education. Deshmukh assumed chairmanship of the institute after leaving politics and devoted all his time to building up the institute. He was also instrumental in carrying out social restructuring programme in over 500 villages of both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh states of India. He also published the journal "Manthan" (introspection) which was edited by K.R. Malkani for many years.
He also established Chitarkoot Gramoday Vishwavidyalaya in Chitrakoot, India's first rural University, and served as its Chancellor. Nanaji implemented the philosophy of integral humanism to improve the living standards of more than 150 villages of bundelkhand.
Deshmukh died on 27 February 2010 in the premises of Chitrakoot Gramoday Vishwavidyalaya that he established. He was unwell for some time due to geriatric problems and had refused to be taken to Delhi for treatment. He bequeathed his body to Dadhichi Dehdaan Sanstha of New Delhi which was accepted, and his body was sent to All India Institute of Medical Sciences for medical research. His body was sent by road up to Satna, Madhya Pradesh, and hundreds of people and local residents accompanied this last procession to Satna. From Satna, his body was carried by a chartered plane to New Delhi. In New Delhi, his body was kept for few hours at Keshav Sadan (Delhi headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh), and after that the body was donated to AIIMS with the help of Dadhichi Dehdan Sanstha
Nanaji family was in close contact with Dr. Hedgewar who was a regular visitor to the family of Nanaji.
its auspices were published the magazine 'Rashtra Dharma', the weekly ' Panchajanya' and the daily 'Swadesh'. Of these the last two were edited by Panditji. Nanaji Deshmukh was the managing director of publication
A different strategy was adopted keeping the ban in mind and Nanaji was the brain behind underground publication work by the RSS those days.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nanaji Deshmukh.|