Monday, March 1, 2010

How Lord Venkateswara Helped Fight Indira's Tyranny in 1974

Remembering Nanaji Deshmukh, RSS and Jan Sangh leader, and founder of mostly defunct Deendayal Research Institute, a think tank, on the eve of his death, at age 94, S. Gurumurthy recalled a remarkable story that Nanaji narrated to him about what lead Jay Prakash Narayan to lead the fight against the absolutely corrupt and tyrannical Indira Gandhi's rule in early 1970, when she rolled out her socialist programs, destroying the already dying Nehru's command economy, and destroyed the constitutional separation of judiciary and executive branch. (Does communism and socialism exist in another kind?)

An incredible incident made Jayaprakash Narayan to agree to the plea of Nanaji and Ramnathji to lead the movement against Indira Gandhi. I came to know of this in the late 1980s when at a dinner in the Express Towers in Bombay I asked Nanaji and Ramnathji how they brought JP into the movement. Nanaji described the thrilling and unbelievable episode. 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.

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