After independence, those who participated in Indian politics had shown great examples of loyalty, sacrifice and ideals during the national movement. But later, as the people of this generation or the Jamaat dwindled, the era of inflation deepened in public life. In this context, among the characteristic inflation seen at all levels in recent decades, the person who is frequently mentioned as an example of purity in social service and public life was Nanaji Deshmukh.
Nanaji was born on 11 October 1916 in Parbhani district of Maharashtra. Following the target sentence of ‘I am not for myself, I am for my own’, he changed the picture of many villages in the country, which were far away from the mainstream of development. Nanaji made his Karmabhoomi, the tapaphoomi Chitrakoot of Lord Rama. In the conversation, he often said that when Lord Rama can do the work of upliftment of tribals and Dalits in Chitrakoot during his forest stay, why not he. So when Nanaji Chitrakoot came for the first time, he settled here again.
When the seeds of inspiration and sanskars fall in childhood, they flourish in a beautiful way. The plight of villages in India left a deep impression on Nanaji’s mind as a teenager. Therefore, he was always concerned about the development of villages and upliftment of people. Since his childhood was spent in a lot of deprivation, the feeling of doing something for the backward and poor people was awakened long ago. This sentiment became the transitive motive of Nanaji’s life. Nanaji had family ties with Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the founder of the National Self-Service Association.
After Hedgewar’s death in 1940, the responsibility of raising the Sangh fell on Nanaji. Making this responsibility the basic purpose of life, Nanaji gave his entire life to the Sangh. Nanaji, who came to Agra for the first time as a Sangh pracharak, met Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
After Agra, Nanaji went to Gorakhpur and worked hard day and night and set up Sangh branches. Even Nanaji had to make a meal for the ashram operator Baba Raghavdas to stay in Gorakhpur (the Sangh did not have enough funds to run the organization at that time). Today, a series of schools across the country known as Saraswati Shishu Mandir was founded by Nanaji in Gorakhpur.
During the JP movement, when police lathiched over Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan at the Income Tax intersection of Patna, Bihar’s capital, Nanaji showed courage and took JP out safely. When elections were held after the Emergency was lifted, Nanaji was elected as the Lok Sabha MP from Balrampur in UP. He turned down the invitation to join Morarji’s cabinet, saying that after the age of 60, he should stay away from parliamentary politics and do social and organizational work.
He also applied this theoretical technique to himself. After his retirement from political life, he continued to do social work for a lifetime. The life of Nanaji, posthumously awarded with Bharat Ratna, is a motivational role for all of us in terms of integrity in public life as well as unwavering commitment to social service.
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