Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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(A memorable letter from Shri Deendayal Upadhyaya to his maternal uncle, written from Lakhimpur on July 21, 1942, explaining why he became a Pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.)

Shriman Mamaji,
Sadar Pranam.
Received your letter. Was distressed to learn about Devi's illness. Whatever you have written in your letter is all right. What reply I should give to it, I do not know. I got your letter the day before yesterday and ever since there is a fierce battle going on between sentiments and obligations. While emotions and sentiments pull me in one direction, the restless spirits of our forbears are calling out and beckoning me to their side.

As suggested by you, I too was at first thinking of taking up a job in some school and also attending to the Sangh work of the place simultaneously. I was thinking on those lines when I came to Lucknow. But, in Lucknow, I was able to study the current situation and form an idea of the vast field of work ahead, and I got the advice that instead of working in one particular town I would have to work in a whole district. That it how the paucity of available workers in the dormant Hindu Samaj has to be made up.

On account of my preoccupation with the work of an entire district, it will not be possible for me either to stay at any one place longer than three or four days or to take up any kind of job. For a swayamsevak of the Sangh, work for the Samaj and the country has the first priority; his personal affairs must stand aside. Hence, I had to carry out the instructions.

I feel that what I have done may have distressed you. But if even an informed and serious person like you were to feel unhappy over my preoccupation with public service, who would ever come forward to engage in public service ? Possibly, your apprehensions art due to your lack of adequate information about the Sangh. It has nothing to do with the Congress or with any other political institution. It does not take part in any kind of current politics. It does not resort to satyagraha, nor does it have any faith in the efficacy of courting imprisonment. It is neither 'ahimsavadi' nor 'himsavadi'. Its only function is to bring about solidarity among the Hindus. And this work it has been carrying on continuously for the last seventeen years.

It has over one thousand branches all over the country and more than two lakh Swayamsevaks. I am not the only one engaged in this work, there are over three hundred workers attending exclusively to this work.They are all of them educated and come from good families. Many of them are B.A.'s, M.A.'s and L.L.B.'s. There may hardly be anyone who has not done at least High School, and of such there will be very few. Why have so many people dedicated their lives exclusively to Samaj Karya ? They have done so for the reason that no individual progress is possible without social progress.

Any individual may achieve a very high degree of progress, but that has no significance unless his Samaj, too, registers corresponding progress. That is why some of our prominent leaders have suffered indignities in foreign lands. Hari Singh Gaur, who is a leading per- sonality here, was refused accommodation in a hotel in England just because he happened to be an Indian.

Take the case of the highest personality in India and then consider the actual situation in which he finds himself. Muslim goondas may, at a single stroke, besmirch the honour and reputation of the highest citizen.
This is so because even though they stand. high, the Samaj to which they happen to belong is weak and degenerate, devoid of power and steeped in selfishness. Everyone of us is engrossed in his personal interests and is inclined to think about himself alone. If a man is sailing in a leaking boat he may carry his load as high above his head as possible, but it is bound to sink along with him. This is exactly the situation in which the Hindu Samaj finds itself today.

The house is on fire but everyone is frantically trying to save his own life, and no one is bothered about putting out the fire. Do you regard yourself as being in a secure position? Do you believe the Samaj will stand by you in case of an emergency? No, it will not, and for the simple reason that it is disorganized. We are weak and, therefore, even our religious worship and musk lead to riots.

Our sisters and daughters are carried away by the Muslims, they are victims of assaults by British soldiers in broad daylight and we, who are never tired of boasting of our honour and our exalted position in society, are obliged to look on in utter helplessness. We can do nothing to check all this. The utmost we can do is to publish it in the papers as a sensational news-item under banner headlines. Or, it may be rejected in an article by Mahatmaji in the 'Harijan'.

Why so? Is there any dearth among the Hindus of men with power and strength who might combat the miscreants? No. A1l that is lacking is the confidence that the Samaj would stand by the person who picks up the gauntlet. The truth is that all these happenings fail to rouse the people to action. When an organ of the body is struck with paralysis it becomes insensitive to any kind of feeling. Our Samaj has come to be struck with paralysis. It may be subjected to any amount of torment but it has no consciousness of pain. Each individual member of, the Samaj feels the pain only when the blow falls on his own head.

The Hurs are on the rampage in Sind, but we hardly feel concerned. If, however, they were to extend their activities to our province it would cause some commotion. But we would fully realise the gravity of the situation only when they start lifting our own sisters and daughters.

Hence, what good is it to the Samaj if a certain individual happens to achieve greatness for himself ? It is rather a harmful development. It is good for the body as a whole to register all-round growth, but if the legs alone were to grow fat while the rest of the body remains thin and lean it would lead to the disease called elephantiasis.

That is why so many workers have renounced all personal ambition and dedicated themselves wholly and  solely to the uplift of the Samaj. The only cause of our backwardness is our lack of solidarity. The other evils, such as ignorance, are no more than the obvious con- comitants of a low state of society. Hence 'Sangathan' is the only objective that it wants to achieve. As for the practical shape of the Sangh, you can have a look at it whenever you happen to be at Agra. I feel that after observing the Sangh in its actual working and realising its usefulness, you will only feel happy that one of your sons, too, has adopted its programme as his life's mission.

God has blessed our family with some means. Can we not then offer at least one of our members for the service of the country ? Having provided me with education, moral instruction and all sorts of qualifications, can you not now turn me over to the Samaj-the Samaj to which we owe so much ? This will hardly be any kind of sacrifice, it will rather be an investment. It is like providing the farm of the Samaj with manure. We are now- a-days interested only in reaping the harvest and have forgotten to provide the field with manure. There is thus the danger of our land becoming barren and unproductive.Can we not forgo a few worthless ambitions for the protection and benefit of a Samaj and a faith for which Rama suffered exile ,Krishna bore innumerable hardships, Rana Pratap knocked about from forest to forest, Shivaji staked his all and Guru Govind Singh allowed his little sons to be buried alive ? Today, begging bowl in hand, the Samaj is seeking alms from us. If we continue to be indifferent to its demands a day may come when we will have to part with a great deal of what we most dearly love.

I am sure that if you had already had some knowledge about the working of the Sangh you would not have entertained any kind of misgiving on that score. You may rest assured I will never do anything that might bring any kind of discredit to you. On the other hand, you will feel proud of having given away one of your sons for the country and the Samaj. In bringing me up you were prompted only by a sense of duty; there were no other considerations. Will sentiment now have the better of that sense of duty in the end ?
So far your duty was limited to your family alone, but it will now extend to, and embrace, the entire Hindu Samaj. It is no more than an extension and sublimation of your duty with the passage of time. Duty shall ever triumph over sentiment. There are people who have gladly given away their only sons. You are fortunate enough to have three sons. Can you not offer just one of them to the Samaj ? I know you are not the kind of arson who will say 'no'.

You may be having the feeling that I have been treating you to a fairly long sermon. I had no intention of doing anything of the kind but I did want you to have a proper understanding of what the Sangh stands for. An institution has to be judged in the light of its aims and working. Pandit Shyam Narayanji Mishra, with whom I am staying here, is a leading advocate and a very respectable and responsible person (not of the jail-going tribe). Living under his care, it will be quite impossible for me to act In any irresponsible manner.

All is well. Please do write. It may perhaps be better for Devi's treatment to be changed from allopathy to homeopathy. If you could furnish me with a full history of Devi's illness with complete symptoms I may be able to consult a renowned homeopath here and ask him to suggest suitable medicine. Homeopathic treatment is both safe and ejective. Namaste to Bhai Sahib and Bhabhiji. Love to Devi and Mahadevi.
Please do reply.
Bhai Sahib never writes to me.

Your nephew,

(Excerpts from the book - "Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya A Profile" edited by Sudhakar Raje.)

Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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