Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya (Hindi: पण्डित दीनदयाल उपाध्याय) (September 25, 1916 - February 11, 1968), along with Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, was an important leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, now the Bharatiya Janata Party.
He was born in the village of Dhankia in Rajasthan. He lost his father Bhagwati Prasad when he was less than three years old and his mother before he was eight. He was then brought up by his maternal uncle. His parents belonged to the village Nagla Chandrabhan, Near Farah, Distt. Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. He lost his parents during his early childhood, but he continued his studies as a shining student. He obtained gold medals both at the Matriculation Board Exam in 1935 and Intermediate Board Exam in 1937. Later he did his B.A. and B.T. from Kanpur University. He even qualified the Civil Service Exam; but he didn't join civil services as he fascinated by the idea of making for and working with the common people.
While he was a student at Sanatan Dharma College, Kanpur, in 1937 he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He dedicated himself to full-time work in the RSS from 1942. Deendayal Upadhyaya was a man of soaring idealism and had a tremendous capacity for organisation. He started a monthly Rashtra Dharma, a weekly Panchajanya and a daily Swadesh.
In 1951, when Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Deendayal became the first general secretary of its UP branch. Next he was chosen as all-India general secretary. The acumen and meticulousness shown by Deendayal deeply impressed Dr Mookerjee and elicited his famous remark: 'If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India.'
After Dr Mookerjee's death in 1953, the entire burden of nurturing the orphaned organisation and building it up as a nation-wide movement fell on the young shoulders of Deendayal. For 15 years, he remained the outfit's general secretary and built it up, brick by brick. He raised a band of dedicated workers imbued with idealism and provided the entire ideological framework of the outfit.
Pt. Upadhyaya is well known for his idea as Integral Humanism - the concept which is deeply embedded in Indian Psyche. The philosophy of Integral Humanism advocate the simultaneous and integrated program of the body, mind and intellect and soul of each human being. His philosophy of Integral Humanism, which is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, bears eloquent testimony to this. In the field of politics and economics, he was pragmatic and down to earth. He visualised for India a decentralized polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base.
Deendayal Upadhyay was convinced that we as an independent nation cannot rely upon Western concepts like individualism, democracy, socialism, communism, capitalism etc. and he was of the view that the Indian polity after our independence has been raised upon these superficial Western foundations and not rooted in the timeless traditions of our ancient culture. He was of the view that the Indian intellect was getting suffocated by Western theories and ideologies and consequently there was a big roadblock on the growth and expansion of original Bharathiya thought. He said that there was an urgent public need for a fresh breeze.
He welcomed modern technology but wanted it to be adapted to suit Indian requirements. Deendayal believed in a constructive approach. He exhorted his followers to co-operate with the government when it was right and fearlessly oppose when it erred. He placed nation's interest above everything else. He died in unexpected circumstances and was found dead on 11th February,1968 at Mugal Sarai Railway yard. The following rousing call he gave to the thousands of delegates in the Calicut session, still rings in their ears:
'We are pledged to the service not of any particular community or section but of the entire nation. Every countryman is blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh. We shall not rest till we are able to give to every one of them a sense of pride that they are able to give to every one of them a sense of pride that they are children of Bharatmata. We shall make Mother India Sujala, Suphala (overflowing with water and laden with fruits) in the real sense of these words. As Dashapraharana Dharini Durga (Goddess Durga with her 10 weapons) she would be able to vanquish evil; as Lakshmi she would be able to disburse prosperity all over and as Saraswati she would dispel the gloom of ignorance and spread the radiance of knowledge all around her. With faith in ultimate victory, let us dedicate ourselves to this task.'
Pandit Upadhyaya edited Panchjanya (Weekly) and Swadesh (Daily) from Lucknow. In Hindi, he has written a drama Chandragupta Maurya, and later wrote a biography of Shankaracharya. He translated a Marathi biography of Dr.K.B. Hedgewar, the founder of RSS.