Balraj Madhok: A Pracharak-turned-Crusader against His Own ‘Parivar’

Balraj madhok             Image:
The former Jan Sangh/RSS leader is no more. But he leaves behind his memoir with sensational allegations of “degenerate behaviour”, palace intrigues and “criminal conduct” on the part of some of the leading lights of the sangh parivar in the "pre-planned murder" in 1968 of a stalwart from their own stable: Deen Dayal Upadhyaya     

With Balraj Madhok's death on May 2, 2016 the era of old guards of Hindutva politics comes to an end. An RSS pracharak till the end, he received handsome tributes on his demise from RSS leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself a senior pracharak. He described Madhok as a "stalwart leader of the Jan Sangh (predecessor to the Bharatiya Janata Party). Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong & clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation & society. [I] had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions".
It is intriguing that Madhok is now being confined to his leadership of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS). He was undeniably a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organisation relied for initiating major Hindutva projects. This reductionist attitude of the present RSS leadership towards his contributions to the organisation suggests an attempt to hide Madhok's role as a chronicler of the alleged degeneration in the higher echelons of the sangh parivar through the 1970s and ’80s.
Born in 1920 in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan), Madhok had emerged as a prominent RSS organiser by 1942. As RSS pracharak he was in-charge of Jammu & Kashmir state in pre-Partition days, a responsibility he shouldered till 1948 when he was ordered to leave the state by the Sheikh Abdullah government. In Delhi, he edited the English organ of the RSS, Organiser and founded the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) the student front of the RSS in 1948.
Next, he teamed up with Shyama Prasad Mukherji to launch the political wing of the RSS, Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) in 1951 in which he held the cru­cial posts of all-India secretary of the BJS (1951-1965), president, Delhi BJS (1954-1963) and finally the party’s national president (1965­-1967). It was during his stewardship that the party made significant gains in the general elections of 1967 by reducing Congress to a minority in several states. He was elected twice to the Lok Sabha (1961 & 1967) from Delhi.
Alongside his hectic political life, Madhok was a prolific writer, known for his controversial political tracts. He was the one primarily responsible for articulat­ing Hindutva’s “Indianisation” theory in 1969 as a “solution” to the problem of religious minorities, especially Muslims.
Madhok also penned his autobiographical account in three volumes. The first two volumes, Zindagi Ka Safar–1 and Zindagi Ka Safar–2, were published in 1994. It is only 9 years later that the third volume in this series, Zindagi Ka Safar –3: Deendayal Upadhyaya Ki Hatya Se Indira Gandhi Ki Hatya Tak (Life’s Journey-3: From the Murder of Deendayal Upadhyaya to the Murder of Indira Gandhi) saw the light of day.
This last volume was full of shocking allegations and explosive facts concerning RSS, covering political happenings between 1968 and 1984, starting with the mysterious death in February 1968 of the newly-appoint­ed president of BJS, Deendayal Upadhyaya and ending with the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The issues and controversies raised in the third volume of Madhok's autobiography had long been in the public domain. But the revelation of shocking facts in his memoirs concerning the pre-planned murder of Upadhyaya – a prominent BJS leader, thinker and ideologue of the RSS – triggered a huge controversy. Madhok made the sensational allegation that those behind the “conspiracy” and its subsequent “cover-up” were none other than some BJP/RSS leaders, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh. Madhok even held the former RSS leader Balasaheb Deoras, who later became its sarsanghchalak (supremo), guilty of shielding the above duo in their alleged misdemeanors and worse.
If Madhok's autobiography is to be believed, the RSS top brass had already reached its nadir of degeneration by the late 1960s. The most significant aspect of his memoir was that Madhok published it during his lifetime, while he was still saw himself as a swayamsevaks/ pracharak.
In the foreword to his third volume, he wrote: “I have tried to present the prominent incidents of this stormy era, my experiences and their influence on me, Jan Sangh and life of the nation with factual and objective narration and eval­uation. Being a student of history I have always kept in mind the universally accepted principle of history that ‘facts are sacred’ though there may be different interpretations of the same.”
Madhok was of the firm view that Deendayal Upadhyaya’s murder on February 1, 1968, was the harbinger of a vicious rising storm which derailed the Jana Sangh. Before unfolding the mystery of Upadhyaya’s murder he raised a few questions: "Why was he murdered? Who were the people involved in the conspiracy? The aim and goal behind this conspiracy is still shrouded in mystery. But all this will (surely) be unveiled as cir­cumstantial evidences about his murder are quite revealing.” (p. 14­-15)
Madhok’s autobiography aimed at “exposing the con­spiracy behind Deendayal Upadhyaya’s murder” by meticulously putting together facts as if preparing a legal document. While dealing with the identity of the murderers of Upadhyaya, he made the following significant statement: "One thing is clear. Behind the murder of Deendayal Upadhyaya was neither the hand of communists nor any thief… He was killed by a hired assassin. But conspirators who sponsored this killing were self-seekers and leaders of Sangh/Jan Sangh with a criminal bent of mind." (p. 22)
The autobiography proceeded to detail a concerted attempt by the alleged conspirators to keep facts under wraps: “The needle of suspicion points directly towards those jealous self-seekers who conspired in the murder of Deendayal Upadhyaya. While they are reaping benefits exploiting his name, they do not want the truth of his murder to come out. However, as a student of history I believe that the blood of Deendayal Upadhyaya will be avenged, history will do justice to him and those who conspired to kill him will be sub­jected to a curse.” (p. 15)
The pracharak was absolutely non-hesitant in pointing fingers towards Vajpayee and Deshmukh as the “main conspirators” in the murder of Upadhyaya. He categorically stated: “Information gathered from difference sources points the finger of suspicion in the murder of Deendayal Upadhyaya towards them.” (p. 23)

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Balraj Madhok & other leaders
According to the autobiography, Upadhyaya’s murder was engineered by those who were kept out of leading positions by the BJS president. It is to be noted that after taking over as president of the BJS from Madhok in December 1967, Upadhyaya had denied important posts to Vajpayee and Deshmukh. According to Madhok, Upadhyaya was murdered because, “he was constantly striving to ensure that ill-reputed people get no promotion in BJS, so that the organisation’s reputation is not tar­nished. Because of this some characterless, self-seeking people saw him as a stum­bling block in their path.” (p. 145)
In identifying who these “characterless, self-seekers” were, Madhok minced no words. According to the autobiography, he was all too familiar with them during his own stint as BJS president before Upadhyaya: “Some time back when I was the president of Jana Sangh, Jagdish Prasad Mathur, in-charge of the central office who was staying with Atal Behari at 30, Rajendra Prasad Road, had complained to me that Atal had turned his house into a den of immoral activities. Every day new girls were coming there. Things were getting out of hand. So as a senior leader of Jana Sangh I have dared to bring to your notice this fact, he told me. I had some information about the character of Atal, but I did not know that the situation had deteriorated so much. I called Atal to my residence and in a closed room inquired from him about matters raised by Mathur. The explanation he offered further confirmed the facts conveyed by Mathur. I suggested to him that he should get married, otherwise, he was bound to get a bad name, and the reputation of Jan Sangh too would suffer.” (p. 25)
As a close and keen observer of devel­opments in BJS in the immediate post-Upadhyaya period, Madhok was astonished to find that a dominant section of the RSS lead­ership was bent upon making Vajpayee president of BJS. This was hap­pening despite the fact that Madhok did bring all these facts to the notice of the then sarsanghchalak of RSS, MS Golwalkar. According to him the meeting took place in Delhi in early 1970. “After listening to me he [Golwalkar] kept quiet for some time and then said: ‘I know of the weaknesses in the character of these people. But I have to run an organisation. I have to take everybody together, so like Shiva I drink poison everyday.’” (p. 62)
The autobiography went on to relate developments akin to palace intrigues. "It has been the tradition of Jan Sangh that if the president expires before completing his term, the senior vice-president is given the responsibility for the rest of the term. So I thought that Shri Pitamber Das or principal Dev Prasad Ghosh will be given this respon­sibility. Atal Behari Vajpayee was nowhere in the reckoning (Atal Behari Vajpayee kisi ginti maen nahin thaa). I was stunned when informed that Sangh leaders wanted to make Atal Behari Vajpayee president”.
“Immediately after becoming president, he removed Jagannath Joshi from the impor­tant post of organisation in-charge (sangath­an mantri) and appointed Nana Deshmukh to this post. Thus two persons who were direct beneficiaries from the murder of Shri Upadhyaya were those whom dur­ing his tenures as BJS general secretary and president he had adopted a conscious policy of keeping away from important posts.”(pp. 16-17)
Madhok made serious allegations against Vajpayee and Deshmukh holding them responsible for thwarting any probe in the “murder” of Upadhyaya. According to him, whatever public posture RSS might have taken over Upadhyaya’s death, Vajpayee treated it as a simple accident. When Madhok confronted Vajpayee on the issue, the latter is claimed to have retorted: “Deendayal was a hot-headed (jhagdaloo) person; he might have picked a quarrel with someone in the train and in the scuffle got pushed out and died. Do not call it murder.” (p. 16)
Madhok goes on to narrate how both Vajpayee and Deshmukh allegedly tried to mislead the Justice YV Chandrachud Commission of Enquiry which was constituted to uncover the truth concerning Upadhyaya’s death. “When the Chandrachud Commission started the enquiry, I was informed that BJS president [Vajpayee] has given the whole responsibility of presenting Jan Sangh’s case before the commission to Deshmukh. So from the Jan Sangh side only those would appear as witnesses who have been hand-picked by Deshmukh and without his permission no other member of Jan Sangh could appear as witness. I was expecting that I will surely be presented before the commission. But I did not figure in the list of witnesses prepared by Nana Deshmukh… In such a situation the Chandrachud Commission failed in unraveling the mystery of this murder. From the attitude which was adopted by Vajpayee and Deshmukh in relation to the enquiry commission and from the kind of witnesses presented I can only conclude that instead of unveiling the truth they were interested in a cover up.” (p 19)
As mentioned earlier, Madhok also pointed fingers at Balasaheb Deoras, who became the RSS sarsanghchalak in 1973 after Golwalkar’s death. “After becoming BJS president, the stature of Shri Deendayal Upadhyaya grew further. Some felt that he might become the next sarsanghchalak of RSS. This possibility was unacceptable to some of the self-seeking Sangh people, especially Balasaheb Deoras. They started feeling that due to Deendayal their chances of further advancement might be jeopardised. Possibly, this is the reason that after the murder of Deendayal, he not only took direct interest in making Vajpayee president of Jana Sangh but also helped in covering up the murder of Deendayal. He wanted me to stop talking about it as a murder and describe it as an accident like him. But I was not ready to hide a fact witnessed by my own eyes and verified.” (p. 21)
The autobiography highlighted the allegedly degenerate personal and political life of Deoras. Referring to the Emergency days of 1975, Madhok states: “Sarsanghchalak of the Sangh, Shri Balasaheb Deoras was held under MISA. In contrast to the life of struggle and idealism of Shri Golwalkar, he was fond of good living. That is the reason why he wrote two letters, on August 22, 1975 and November 10, 1975, to Indira Gandhi for reconsidering her attitude towards the Sangh and lifting the ban on it. He also wrote a letter to Shri Vinoba Bhave requesting his help in removing the misgivings Indira Gandhi had about the RSS." (p. 188-189)
According to Madhok, Vajpayee and company continued to make all kinds of efforts to finish off his political career. They even succeeded in expelling him from the primary membership of BJS in 1973. Madhok was bitter about LK Advani who allegedly was a puppet in the game. Madhok wrote that his expulsion was “an immoral, unconstitutional and criminal act. In this, Sarkaryavah of the Sangh, Balasaheb Deoras and some other parcharaks including Madho Rao Mulay and organising secretaries played a prominent role. They used Atal as a shield and Advani as a puppet.” (p. 144)
Madhok was scathing in his comments on Advani, the ‘Iron Man’ of Hindutva. “The position of Lal Krishna Advani was like a puppet. He was not qualified for the post [presidentship of BJS] which was given to him after discarding many senior workers. I knew through my personal experience that he is a boneless wonder. He has neither personal integrity nor opinion. But he is lucky. In gratitude for the office which he received as a prasad from Vajpayee and officials of Sangh, lacking self-esteem, he acted as a bonded labourer for any job assigned to him.” (p. 146).
Madhok claimed in his memoirs that when Swamy sought a fresh commission of enquiry during the Janata government’s rule in the late 1970s, it was scuttled by Vajpayee and Advani. Madhok is now no more. Last year, the RSS-directed, BJP-dominant, Modi-led government observed a year-year celebration to mark the centenary of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Among other things postage stamp was issued in his name.
“A beacon of selfless service & an excellent organiser, I bow to our inspiration & guide, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya on his birth anniversary”, Modi had tweeted on September 25, 2015. But celebrations apart, no one in the sangh parivar, except Upadhyaya’s family and Subramanian Swamy are interested in solving the mystery of his untimely death.
Was Upadhyaya killed by two thieves while travelling in a Lucknow-Patna train on February 11, 1968, as concluded by a CBI investigation? While the accused were acquitted for want of sufficient evidence, the Chandrachud Commission of Enquiry appointed subsequently more or less concurred with the CBI’s findings. Was he a victim of a Congress plot as alleged in the recent period without a shred of evidence? Or was Upadhyaya assassinated by jealous, self-seekers within the BJP and the RSS as alleged by Madhok?              
While the mystery of Upadhyaya’s death is unlikely to be solved, why none of the stalwarts of the BJS/RSS whom Madhok accused of criminal conspiracy ever sued him will remain as much a mystery.
(‘Deendayal Upadhyaya ki hathtya se Indira Gandhi ki hathtya tak’ by Balraj Madhok (volume 3 of his Zindagi ka Safar) is available at Dinman Prakashan, 3014 Charkhaywalan, Delhi-110006).



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