Balraj Madhok: RSS Pracharak As Chronicler Of Degeneration In The RSS Top Brass

By Shamsul Islam

03 May, 2016

With Balraj Madhok’s death on May 2, 2016 an era of old guards of Hindutva politics comes to an end. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a “stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj 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 memory of Madhok was being reduced to being a leader of Jan Sangh. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. This reductionist attitude of the present RSS leadership towards his contributions to the politics of RSS is the outcome of a design to hide Madhok’s role as a chronicler of the degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of the RSS in 1970s and 80s.

Balraj Madhok needs no introduction in Indian politics, especially of the Hindutva variety. Born in 1920 in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan), he was closely associated with the RSS, most of the times functioning as a prominent organizer since 1942. As RSS pracharak he was the incharge of Jammu & Kashmir State in pre-Partition days, the responsibility that he continued to hold till 1948 when he was ordered to leave the state by the Shiekh Abdullah Government.

In Delhi, he edited the English organ of the RSS, Organizer, founded student organization of the RSS, ABVP, in 1948, and teamed up with Shyama Prasad Mukherji in establishing political wing of the RSS, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) in 1951. He held the crucial posts of All India Secretary of the BJS (1951-1965), presidentship of Delhi BJS (1954-1963) and all this culminated in his taking over as President of All India BJS (1965¬-1967). It was during his stewardship of All India BJS that the party made significant gains in the general elections of 1968 by reducing Congress in minority in many states. He was elected to the Lower House of the Indian Parliament, Lok Sabha, twice (1961 & 1967) from Delhi.

Madhok despite his busy life as politician was an indefatigable writer too, and is known for his controversial political writings. In fact, he was mainly responsible for articulating the Hindutva’s ideological response to the problem of minorities specially Muslims by propounding the theory of ‘Indianization’ in 1969. Madhok also penned his autobiographical writings —Zindagi Ka Safar –1 and Zindagi Ka Safar–2, the first two volumes of his journey of life appeared in 1994. It is after 9 years that third volume in this series, Zindagi Ka Safar –3: Deendayal Upadhyay Ki Hatya Se Indira Gandhi Ki Hatya Tak (Journey of Life-3: From the Murder of Deendayal Upadhyay to the Murder of Indira Gandhi) was published. This volume was full of shocking incidents and explosive facts concerning RSS. The canvass of this part of the autobiography covered political happenings between 1968 and 1984, starting with the controversial death of newly appointed President of BJS, Deendayal Upadhyay and ending with the death of Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.

It is true that issues and controversies raised in the 3rdvolume of Madhok’s autobiography were in public domain earlier also, but the first hand shocking facts presented in this autobiography about the controversial death (which Madhok described as murder) of prominent leader, ideologue and thinker of RSS, Deendayal Upadhyay and the complicity of some of the then RSS cadres namely Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh led to a hell of a controversy demanding explanations from the concerned leaders. Madhok even held the then sarsanghchalak (supremo) of RSS, Balasaheb Deoras guilty of shielding the above duo in their misdemeanors. If Madhok’s autobiography is to be believed then the RSS top brass had already reached its nadir of degeneration. The most significant aspect of this autobiography was that Balraj Madhok penned it as a living swayamsevak (pracharak).

While outlining the nature of his treatment of the incidents and facts in his autobiography, Madhok wrote in the foreword, “I have tried to present the prominent incidents of this stormy era, my experiences and their influence on me, Jan Sangh and life of 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, ‘facts are sacred’ though there may be different interpretations.”

Madhokwas of the firm view that Deendayal Upadhyay’s murder on February 1, 1968, was the harbinger and beginning of a vicious rising storm which derailed the Jana Sangh. Before unfolding the mystery of Upadhyay’s murder he raised few questions:“Why was he murdered, who were the people involved in the conspiracy, what was their aim and goal behind this conspiracy all this 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 atexposing the conspiracy of Deendayal Upadhyay’s murder by unveiling facts one by one, thus becoming a crucial legal document also. While straightforwardly coming to the identity of the murderers of Deendayal Upadhyay, he made the following significant statement: “One thing is clear. Behind the murder of Deendayal Upadhyay was neither the hand of Communists nor of any thief…He was killed by a hired assassin. But conspirators who sponsored this killing were those self-seekers and leaders with a criminal bent of mind of Sangh-Jan Sangh.” (p. 22)

The autobiography went to tell of a concerted attempt by the killers to keep facts under wraps:“Though those jealous self-seekers to whom the finger of suspicion points, in conspiring the murder of Deendayal Upadhyay, are benefitting by his name, but do not want truth of his murder to come out. However, as a student of history I believe that the blood of Deendayal Upadhyay will be avenged, history will do justice to him and those who conspired to kill him will be subjected to a curse.” (p. 15)

This autobiography written by a swayamsevakwas absolutely non hesitant in pointing fingers towards Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh as main conspirators in the murder of Deendayal Upadhyay, the president of BJS. He categorically stated:“Information gathered from difference sources points the fingers of suspicion in the murder of Deendayal Upadhyay towards them.” (p. 23)

According to the autobiography, Deendayal Upadhyay was assassinated by those who were kept out of leading positions of the BJS by Deendayal Upadhyay as president. It is to be noted here that Deendayal Upadhyay after taking over presidentship of BJS from Balraj Madhok in December 1967, had kept out both Atal Behari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh from important posts. According to Madhok, Upadhyay was murdered because, “he was constantly striving that ill reputed people should get no promotion in BJS, so that reputation of the organisation is not tarnished. For this reason some characterless self-seeking people were finding him a stumbling block in their path of self-seeking fulfillment.” (p. 145)

Who these characterless self-seekers were, Madhok minced no words in telling their names. According to the autobiography, even Madhok was familiar with them as President of BJS. According to him: “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 that 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. I had some information about character of Atal, but the situation had deteriorated so much, I did not know. I called Atal to my residence and in a closed room inquired from him about matters raised by Jagdish Prasad Mathur. The explanation he offered further proved the facts conveyed by Jagdish Prasad Mathur. Then I suggested to him that he should get married, otherwise, he was bound to get a bad name, and the reputation of Jan Sangh was also bound to suffer.” (p. 25)

As a close and keen observer of developments in BJS in the immediate post Deendayal Upadhyay period he was astonished to find that a dominant section of the RSS leadership was bent upon making Atal Behari 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 the account given in the autobiography the meeting took place in Delhi in early 1970. “After listening to my talk he [Golwalkar] kept quiet for some time and then said — ‘I know of the weaknesses of the character of these people. But I have to run an organization. I have to take everybody together, so like Shiva I drink poison everyday.’” (p. 62)

The autobiography went on to relate developments which seemed to be replicating some Mughal court intrigues. “It has been the tradition of Jana Sangh that if the president expires before completing his term, 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 organization in-charge (sangathan mantri) and appointed Nana Deshmukh to this post. Thus two persons, who got immediate benefit from the murder of Shri Upadhyay, were those about whom Shri Upadhyay during the tenures of his General Secretaryship and Presidentship had adopted a conscious policy of keeping away from important posts.”(pp. 16-17)

Balraj Madhok in his autobiography made serious allegations against Atal Behari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh for thwarting any investigation about the real murderer of Deendayal Upadhyay. According to him whatever public posture RSS might have taken about Upadhyay’s death, Atal Behari Vajpayee treated it as a simple accident. When Madhok entered into a debate with Atal Behari Vajpayee on this issue, he retorted in following words, as quoted in the autobiography; “Deendayal was a hot headed (jhagraloo) person, might have picked a fight with someone in the train and in the scuffle got pushed out and died, do not call it murder.” (p. 16)

Madhok also goes on to narrate in details how both Atal Behari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh tried to mislead Chanderchud Commission of Enquiry which was constituted to find the truth about Upadhyay’s death. “When Chandrachud Commission started the enquiry I was informed that BJS President (Atal Behari Vajpayee) has given the whole responsibility of presenting Jan Sangh’s case before the Commission to Nana Deshmukh so from Jan Sangh side only those would appear as witnesses who have been cleared (picked) by Nana Deshmukh and without his permission no other member of Jan Sangh should go to 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 presented by Nana Deshmukh…In such a situation Chandrachud Commission failed in unraveling the mystery of this murder. The attitude which was adopted by Atal Behari Vajpayee and Nana Deshmukh in relation to the enquiry commission and the kind of witnesses presented can only draw this conclusion that instead of unveiling the truth they were interested in a cover up.” (p 19)

Madhok also found the hand of Balasaheb Deoras, who became sarsanghchalak of RSS after M S Golwalkar, in the murder of Deendayal Upadhyay. According to him, “after becoming the president of BJS the stature of Shri Deendayal Upadhyay grew further. Then the possibility that he might become the next sarsanghchalak of RSS used to be expressed. This possibility was unacceptable to some of the self seeking Sangh people, specially Balasaheb Deoras. They started feeling that due to Deendayal their chances of further advancement might be jeopardized. Possibly, this is the reason that after the murder of Deendayal, he not only took direct interest in making Atal BehariVajpayee 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)

This autobiography also highlighted the degenerated personal and political life of Balasaheb Deoras. Referring to the Emergency days of 1975, it goes on to tell that, “Sarsanghchalak of the Sangh, Shri Bala Saheb 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 that 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 from it. He also wrote a letter to Shri Vinoba Bhave requesting him to try to remove from Indira Gandhi’s heart anti [Sangh] feelings.” (p. 188-189)

According to the autobiography, Atal Behari 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 L. K. Advani who allowed him to be a puppet in this vicious 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 reserved special mention for ‘Iron Man’ of Hindutva, LK Advani. “The position of Lal Krishan 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. The office which he had got due to the offerings (prasad) of Vajpayee and officials of Sangh, keeping aside its honour, he acted as a bonded labourer, for any work assigned to him.” (p. 146)

This autobiography is significant in many respects. Firstly, if there is even an iota of truth in the charges levelled by Balraj Madhok, who was no small fry and a leading light of the Hindutva brigade then how safe is India in the hands of the present ruling clique can very well be guessed. These are serious allegations and need national investigation.

If these were lies then it needed to be shared with the nation and Balraj Madhok brought to book. Secondly, it was not for the first time that serious allegations of indulgence in criminal activities by important individuals/organisations of the Hindutva camp surfaced. The Gujarat carnage showed that criminal minds were leading the ruling party. This autobiography traces the roots of this dehumanization and degeneration. Thirdly, this autobiography once again proved that Hindutva is no Parivar with a healthy mind and body. It is a ruthless gang of power seekers which can go to any length for its kill. Like any fascist set up it is packed with people who specialize in treachery, debauchery and self-destruction.

“Deendayal Upadhyay ki haththya se Indira Gandhi ki haththya tak” by Balraj Madhok (which is part 3 of his Zindagi ka Safar) is available from Dinman Prakashan, 3014 Charkhaywalan, Delhi-110006.

Shamsul Islam is a retired Professor of University of Delhi.Email:

For some of S. Islam’s writings in English, Hindi, Urdu & Gujarati see the following link:
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