No Mr Modi, Deendayal Upadhyaya didn’t come up with ‘Antyodaya’
The philosophy of “Antyodaya” is believed to be inspired by “Unto This Last” written by English social thinker John Ruskin. Influenced by this, Gandhi went on to propound “Sarvodaya through Antyodaya”
His “Attock se Cuttack” remarks—which he made from US soil last year, and comments like “Saint Kabir, Guru Nankadev and Baba Gorakhnath sat together and discussed spirituality” from Maghar in June this year, have earned Prime Minister Narendra Modi a reputation for gaffes and historical errors. This time again, he has got his facts on Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya wrong.
On Tuesday, September 25, PM Modi ritualistically tweeted a video tribute to the Hindutva leader on his birth anniversary. In the video, Modi can be heard declaring in Hindi: “Aaj 25 Sitambar hai, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya ji ki janam jayanti ka avsar hai. Sarvajan hitaay, sarvajan sukhaay, Antyodaya ka sidhant unki den rahi hai… (Today is 25th September, birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. The tenets of ‘welfare of all, happiness of all and uplift of the last’ have been propounded by him…..”
The video featuring PM Modi paying tributes to Jana Sangh leader can be viewed here:
But did the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ideologue really propound the socio-economic thought of the development called Antyodaya? Though Modi’s critics have always been quick to pounce upon him for getting his facts wrong, he continues to take liberty with truths.
In fact, the concept of Antyodaya has been inspired by a book of essays on economy, “Unto This Last” written by prominent English social thinker John Ruskin. Soon after it was first published in 1860, the idea became a target of scathing criticism but it immensely inspired Mahatama Gandhi, who translated it into Gujarati in 1908 under the title of Sarvodaya (Well Being of All). Subsequently, Gandhi along with Valji Govindji Desai again translated it to English in 1951 under the title of Unto This Last: A Paraphrase.
It so inspired Gandhi that he went on to propound the philosophy of inclusive development, “Sarvodaya through Antyodaya”, which means which means development of all through welfare of the weakest section of the society, in his book Hind Swaraj.
However, as believed in the academic circles, the title “Unto This Last” was also copied from “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard”, a parable of Jesus which appears in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament.
Last year in September, the year-long birth centenary celebration for Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader came to a close. Modi government had reportedly allocated a budget of ₹100 crore for the functions commemorating Upadhyaya, who according to social scientists abhorred the idea of secularism and stressed on Hindu Rashtra
But BJP—which is always accused of appropriating icons outside from its ideological fold—after coming to power at Centre, has been doing everything possible to establish the name of Deendayal Upadhyaya as a national icon like Gandhi and Nehru.
On September 25, 2014, to mark Deendayal’s first birth anniversary, Modi government had launched a plethora of social welfare schemes in the name of Upadhyaya. It launched, for instance, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana—integrating the National Urban Livelihood Mission and National Rural Livelihood Mission. Same day, the Rural Development Ministry also announced the Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana Antyodaya Diwas.
Additionally, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Shramev Jayate Karyakram was launched and the rural avatar of the Start Up India scheme was named as the Deendayal Upadhyaya Swaniyojan Yojana by the government. Then the Rajeev Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana was rechristened and introduced as the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.
In August last year, amid strong protests, the Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh renamed the iconic Mughalsarai Railway Station to Deendayal Upadhyaya station. Earlier, the Kandla Port in Gujarat was also renamed Deendayal Port.
Several other state governments run by the BJP like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat which have started rebranding and launching welfare schemes in Upadhyaya’s name, stalling his statues and flooding public libraries with books on and about Upadhyaya
Last year in September, the year-long birth centenary celebration for Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader came to a close. Modi government had reportedly allocated a budget of ₹100 crore for the functions commemorating Upadhyaya, who according to social scientists abhorred the idea of secularism and stressed on Hindu Rashtra.
Again, it is believed that Planning Commission was disbanded by the government as Upadhyaya was opposed to the idea of Five Year Plans.
Also, in Madhya Pradesh, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government launched a subsidised Deendayal kitchen scheme in April in 2017. In the same year, amidst severe criticism, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication had replaced studies on Nehru with those on Upadhyaya.
Apart from this, several other state governments run by the BJP like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat which have started rebranding and launching welfare schemes in Upadhyaya’s name, stalling his statues and flooding public libraries with books on and about Upadhyaya.
The Assam government, however, had to go back on its decision to name colleges after the Hindutva ideologue following a public outcry.
- Uttar Pradesh
- Shivraj Singh Chouhan
- Bharatiya Janata Party
- Planning Commission
- Rural Development Ministry
- Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
- Jawahar Lal Nehru
- PM Modi
- Mahatama Gandhi
- Baba Gorakhnath
- Bharatiya Jana Sangh
- Start up India
- Attock se Cuttack
- Saint Kabir
- Guru Nankadev
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya
- Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
- Unto This Last
- Deendayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana Antyodaya Diwas
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Shramev Jayate Karyakram
- Mughalsarai Railway Station
- Kandla Port