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President's Writes
Prof.Balraj Madhok: A Life Sketch
Feb 2007

 

Born on Feb

Born on Feb. 25, 1920 at ASKARDU in Baltistan across the Himalayas, situated on the banks of the Sindhu (Indus) at the height of 7000 feet above sea level. It was then the winter capital of the Ladakh province of Jammu & Kashmir state of which, Leh capital town of Ladakh province was the summer capital. It too was situated near the Indus at the height of about 11000 feet above the sea level. His father Jagannath Madhok who hailed from village Jallen, in Gujranwala district of West Punjab had joined the state service after graduation from F.C. College, Lahore was then posted in Ladakh and had to move between Askardu and Leh. Thus Balraj lived his early childhood there. His mother, Saraswati Devi was an accomplished housewife. However, his education began at Srinagar the summer capital of J & K state. After matriculation, he moved to Prince of Wales College, Jammu in 1936 and D.A.V. College, Lahore for higher education. He stood first in the Punjab University in B.A. Honours in history examination in 1940 and was awarded a gold medal and a scholarship of Rs. 25 per month for his postgraduation studies.

A good athlete and hockey player, Balraj came in touch with Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh�R.S.S in 1938. He became its whole time worker in 1942, set up a R.S.S. network in Jammu in 1942�43 and moved on to Kashmir valley in 1944. Besides R.S.S. work, he joined D.A.V. College�Srinagar. Speaking to his students on August 15, 1947 on Partition, he described it as artificial, temporary and predicted that Pakistan will remain a sworn enemy of India so long as it survives and that a decisive war between India and Pakistan was inevitable.

He played a key role in preparing the ground for accession of the state to India and defence of Srinagar from Pak invaders and agents in crucial days. He opposed the handing over of power to Sheikh Abdullah who had declared on the evening of October 1947, on an Indian Air Force plane that Kashmir will consider the question of accession to India after it had completed its Independence. Sheikh Abdullah did not say a word about the accession of the state to India by the Maharaja and sacrifices of the Indian jawans and officers who had saved the state from falling into the hands of the invaders. Abdullah had planned to liquidate Prof. Madhok but a timely tip enabled him to escape from Srinagar.

Madhok founded Jammu Praja Parishad in November 1947; visited Delhi to meet Sardar Patel and Pt. Nehru in February 1948 to apprise them of the mischievous anti India plans and policies of Abdullah. The Sheikh externed him from the state in March 1948 and drove out his father who had settled in Jammu after retirement. This was an inhuman example of oppression and a violation of human rights.

Madhok was in wilderness for two years. He founded Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and edited "Organiser" in 1948�49. He joined Punjab University Camp College, New Delhi in early 1950. He wrote "Kashmir Divided", the most authentic record of developments in Kashmir. It was published in 1950.

Madhok came into contact with Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee and prepared the ground for the formation of Bhartiya Jana Sangh. He wrote its manifesto and acted as a convener of the foundation convention of Bharatiya Jana Sangb held at New Delhi on 21 October 1951. He was appointed national Secretary of Jana Sangh. He was detained in jail in March 1953 and released only on the orders of the Supreme court. He accompanied Dr. Mookerjee upto Jallandhar on his last journey in May 1953 to Jammu & Kashmir. He was detained again and released after martyrdom of Dr. Mookerjee in June 1953.

Madhok was elected to the second Lok Sabha from New Delhi Constituency in early 1961. In a speech made in the Loka Sabha he demanded the resignation of Nehru, the Prime Minister of India. He made a mark as a distinguished Parliamentarian. He was elected as National President of Jana Sangh in 1965 and began the process of alliance with like minded parties. He was elected to the fourth Lok Sabha in 1967. Jana Sangh emerged as a national alternative to the Congress by getting 10 percent of the vote polled in the fourth general election.

Prof. Madhok was succeeded by Deen Dayal Upadhyay as the national President of the Jana Sangh in December, 1967. Unfortunately, Upadhyay met a mysterious death on 11 February 1968.

His dead body was found in the yard of Mughal Sarai railway Station. Prof. Madhok visited the site. Vajpayee, who accompanied him, dropped out at Varanasi. Senior officers, including D.M., A.D.M., S.P. & S.S.P., of Banaras confirmed that it was a case of murder and not an accident. According to S.S.P. some top party leaders were privy to the crime says Professor Madhok.

Vajpayee was nominated as new Jana Sangh President by Bala Sahib Deoras, the new general secretary of the R.S.S. Vajpayee ridiculed the murder theory and asked Madhok to call it an accident and not murder. Madhok refused to toe the lie and make any compromise with truth. Thereafter he was asked to resign from primary membership of Jana Sangh. Madhok refused.

Madhok had moved a resolution on Indianisation of Muslim and other anti national elements at Patna session of Jana Sangh in December 1969. The nation needed complete Indianisation. Madhok wrote the book "Indianisation" to explain the concept. It had a tremendous impact. Around this time, there was a split in the Congress. There was an alliance among Jana Sangh, Swantantra, and Congress (O).

A shadow cabinet was proposed in which Madhok was to be the Defence Minister. Vajpayee was not included in this shadow cabinet. On this move Indira Gandhi was unnerved, reminisces Professor Madhok.

She dissolved the Lok Sabha and ordered a mid- term general election in early 1971. There was rigging on a huge scale with the help of chemicalised pre-stamped ballot papers. Madhok was defeated. This was the most unexpected victory for Gandhi and Nehruvian elements in Jana Sangh.

At the 1973 Kanpur session of Jana Sangh a conspiracy was hatched to throw out Madhok from the Jana Sangh. During the Emergency, Madhok was detained under MISA for 18 months. In the meanwhile, Janata Party was formed by negative elements of Congress 'O', Jana Sangh and Lok Dal. For the election, Madhok was refused a ticket and was kept out of Parliament. Then the President of India, Sanjeeva Reddy, offered to nominate him to Rajya Sabha. Madhok declined the offer of a back door entry.

Thereafter Madhok devoted himself to revive Jana Sangh. The Jana Sangh group in the Janata Party formed a new Janata Party under the name of "Bhartiya Janata Party" at Bombay in 1980. Vajpayee became its first President.

Indira Gandhi won the election in 1980 and came to power again. Madhok wrote "Rationale of Hindu State". On reading the book, Indira Gandhi invited Madhok to join her cabinet. He expressed his unwillingness. Was it a mistake?

Sadly, Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984. After the election, Bhartiya Janata Party was wiped out. It got only two seats in Lok Sabha. There was re thinking in the B.J.P. and it returned to the ideology of Jana Sangh. It took up the Ram Mandir issue. B.J.P. won 68 seats in 1989 election, 143 seats in 1993 election. Further in 1998 election it won 183 seats and formed a coalition government under A.B. Vajpayee.

Jana Sangh continues as a movement of thought. Prafull Goradia became General Secretary in 2004. Madhok who enters 88th year of his life on 25 February 2007 continues to play the role of an elder statesman and President of Bhartiya Jana Sangh.

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