On the occasion of the 12th Justice Sunanda Bhadre Memorial Lecture on “Judiciary and its Multi–dimensions’, former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam lavished praise on Nanaji Deshmukh, commending to the nation the litigation-free model of resolving disputes in villages. This model has ensured that the 80 villages around Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh where Nanaji is based are ‘almost litigation-free’. This has been made possible by the tireless efforts of the Deendayal Research Institute (DRI). DRI is a unique institution developing and implementing a village development model which is most suited to
During the emergency period of the Indira Gandhi’s government, Nanaji served a 17-month jail term along with other prominent leaders of the Jan Sangh. Upon his release, Nanaji became one of the architects of Jan Sangh’s merger with the Janata Party, though he refused to join Morarji Desai’s cabinet. Many of us who believe in history may know by now that the Janata experiment failed not because of the Jan Sangh members’ dual membership but because of three men - Desai, Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram, all of whom wanted to be the Prime Minister.
It was during this time, if my memory serves me right, that Nanaji advocated that all national leaders should retire from active politics after the age of sixty and dedicate themselves to social service. His message was directed at all the political leaders of the country (and especially the leaders of the Jan Sangh) so they can wash away some of their sins by rendering social service. But the lust for power was stronger than the love for society as far as these leaders were concerned. Even leaders from his own party did not heed his call. His message was not well received. No one wanted to step down from active politics at the peak of their career.
However, Nanaji was firm about what he had said. In 1978, he abruptly quit public life for the noblest of tasks - in the RSS lexicon it is called "nation building.” He disappeared into Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, the district from which he had entered Parliament. An impressive project was drawn up: 2,000 tube wells in two years and improved methods of cultivation in 2,800 villages. The headquarters was Jayaprabhagram, named after "close friend" Jayaprakash Narayan, with whom Nanaji was active in the 1974
In the early ’90s, Nanaji shifted base to Chitrakoot, where he realised his dream of setting up a rural university-now being run by the Madhya Pradesh government. In his own words, "I came to Chitrakoot because this is where Ram came after renouncing his throne and Bharat followed him. I want to remind people of their example at a time when politicians lust for power and those like Laloo Yadav refuse to give up."
Born in 1916 in Parbhani District of Maharashtra, Nanaji joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1940. Later he became Secretary of the
Nanaji now serves the Deendayal Research Institute that he had himself established way back in 1969. He also established the Chitrakoot Gramodya Vishwavidyalaya in Chitrakoot -
Nanaji’s endeavours are supported by Bombay Dyeing Chairman Nusli Wadia, the Tatas and many others. With Nanaji at the helm, there is little doubt that funds will not be a constraint and work will be done. As he himself proclaims "My work will survive seven generations after me.” To know more about Nanaji’s work and the activity of the Deendayal Research Institute, you may log on to http://www.chitrakoot.org/html/.
Nanaji perhaps is the last of the Indian political leaders who loved the country and dedicated their life to nation-building. May be we should not hope that the present leaders of the country will do any good to our society. Our present-day leaders are a bunch of liars, cheats, frauds and jokers. It is time we learnt from the likes of Nanaji and put in our efforts in making and rebuilding our society before it crumbles totally. Every effort in this direction will constitute a building block. DRI strives to make
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