“I deem it an honor and privilege to deliver the 8th Nanaji Memorial Lecture.
Nanaji Deshmukh is one of the illustrious icons of modern India who has inspired and continues to inspire millions of Indians to dedicate themselves to nation building. One of those millions is myself.
He was a unique individual who placed the interests of the country above everything else.
Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi said his commitment and dedication to nation-building was unparalleled and described him a paragon of simplicity.
Nanaji faced hardships during his childhood and his zeal for education made him to sell vegetables and raise money to realize his objectives. This struggle and urge to bring light into the lives of people in rural areas inspired him to take up social work.
He was truly a Rajarshi, a social activist par excellence and a man of deeds and not merely words. His work continues to be an inspiration to hundreds of people across the country even today.
I was closely associated with him and will always remain an ardent admirer of his social philosophy. As he used to say, “My life is not for me, but for others. And who are the others – they are the oppressed and the neglected sections of our society.”
आदरणीय नानाजी ने 1968 में अपने सहयोगी दीनदयाल जी की पुण्य स्मृति में दीनदयाल शोध संस्थान की स्थापना की। संस्थान दीन दयाल जी के अन्त्योदय, ग्रामोदय जैसे संकल्पों को सिद्ध करने की दिशा में प्रयासरत है। "मैं अपने लिए नहीं, अपनों के लिए हूँ। अपने वे हैं, जो पीड़ित और उपेक्षित हैं।" नानाजी का यह दर्शन ही संस्थान का आदर्श वाक्य (Motto) है।
Nanaji believed and demonstrated through his actions and programmes in Chitrakoot that a self-reliant nation cannot be built unless each individual is empowered to contribute to it.
He believed in active participation of the people in an integrated and holistic development of the country in all sectors including health and education, agriculture.
He did not allow this to remain an idle, ideal dream.
He was both a visionary philosopher and a missionary organizer all rolled into one. He had successfully implemented Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s concept of integral humanism at the grass root level and founded the Deendayal Research Institute (DRI) in 1968 to give shape to his conceptualization for development of rural India.
Dear Sisters and Brothers, we have given ourselves a great constitution with a preamble in which we have solemnly resolved, to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens:- Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
We envisaged a democratic future for the country in which we, the people, are at the centre. We have been collectively working together to deepen the roots of democracy. Our ancient Indian thought is underpinned by humanism, pluralism and spiritualism. This has been underscored by numerous later day thought leaders as well. At the centre of this world view has been the belief that human empowerment is key and individual development in all dimensions and in an integrated manner is central to progress as a society and as a nation.
बहनों और भाइयों, आप जानते हैं कि स्वाधीन भारत का संविधान समाज के समावेशी विकास का दस्तावेज है।
संविधान सभा में नये संविधान का प्रारूप प्रस्तुत करते हुए डॉ. अंबेडकर ने समाज के समक्ष आने वाले विरोधाभासों पर चिंता जाहिर की थी, उन्होंने कहा था :
“On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality....We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.”
अत: यह वृहत्तर समाज का पुनीत संवैधानिक कर्तव्य है कि विकास समावेशी और सर्वस्पर्शी हो। दीनदयाल जी की अन्त्योदय की परिकल्पना और नानाजी के ग्रामीण स्वावलंबन के प्रयास इसी आदर्श से प्रेरित हैं।
The concept of integral humanism of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and its applicability on the ground by Nanaji Deshmukh clearly demonstrates the paramount role of people in the development of the country.
Nanaji placed people at the centre of development and wanted the society to take the lead. He believed in collective responsibility and collective efforts to transform rural areas into thriving hubs of economic activities. In a way, he was the pioneer of the present day corporate social responsibility and had in those days inspired many industrialists to contribute towards social causes.
Dear sisters and brothers,
The time has come for us to rethink governance.
We have a unique opportunity today.
Wide ranging, far reaching reforms are transforming our country.
People are eagerly looking forward to new modes of service delivery. They are not content with being passive recipients of the fruits of development.
They would like to be active change agents.
They wish to plant new trees.
We must make this positive energy, collective will and aspirational idealism work for national development.
Present government’s Swachh Bharat program is an example of people’s participation in transforming the nation. Swachh Bharat has now become a people’s movement and is contributing hugely in changing the mindset of the masses – from celebrities to common man.
Today, even after 70 years of Independence, the country is facing various challenges like poverty, illiteracy, lack of skills among youth and urban- rural divide to name a few. Collective efforts are needed to overcome these challenges and people should be in the forefront of complementing the initiatives of the government.
In fact, the constitution lists several fundamental duties of the citizens and one of them is “to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievements.”
For deepening the roots of democracy and strengthening pluralism, it is important for people across the social strata to contribute in a conscientious manner towards building an egalitarian, healthy, inclusive and responsive society. Progress can be achieved only when there is peace, social, communal and cultural harmony.
We are aware of the many factors that can create divisions among the people: caste, religion, region and language and many others.
It is high time for us to find a cause that can bind us together, make us work as team India. And that cause is not hard to find. In fact, a number of challenges continue to stare us in our face.
If we can reform our governance pattern, we can transform our lives.
If we can focus on the output and outcomes, if we can avoid wasting our energies and precious resources on unproductive and counterproductive actions, if we can collaborate rather than confront, if we can think of pooling our individual strengths, we can fast track development.
The government creates an enabling framework, provides infrastructure, sets the pace, monitors quality and encourages public participation.
The civil society has a critical role to play in societal transformation, in heightening awareness, changing the behavior and attitudes to achieve a better quality of life.
Dear sisters and brothers,
The country needs selfless leaders like Shri Nanaji at the grass root level to inspire and empower each citizen to become a proud partner in India’s progress.
देशमुख जैसे कर्मयोगी, धन्यजीवी, यदि काम करते रहेंगे तो देश का मुखचित्र बदलेगा और नया सक्षम भारत उभरेगा ।
Inspired by Nanaji’s illustrious example, I have been actively associated with Swarna Bharat Trust, a voluntary organization dedicated to the welfare of youth, farmers and women. I get rejuvenated every time I visit this remarkable social service institution.
As we talk of late Shri Nanaji Deshmukh and Late Shri Deen Dayal Upadhyay, it would be good to know how their vision, philosophy and their mission of tranforming India had evolved and how they were inspired to dedicate themselves to the cause of the society and the nation. I think it is essentially their strong nationalistic fervor and idealism which distinguished them from many other leaders. This passion has its roots in the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and its ideological moorings.
This world’s largest voluntary missionary organization has attracted all those who put country above everything else like Nanaji and Deen Dayal Upadhyajaji. Even Mahatma Gandhiji had acknowledged the positive values propounded by RSS. In 1934, Bapu said: “When I visited the RSS camp, I was very much surprised by your discipline and absence of untouchability”. He personally enquired about this to Swayamsevaks and found that volunteers were living and eating together in the camp without bothering to know each other’s caste.
My own initiation into public life was through RSS. This organization taught me a lot about life, values, our culture and the nation and my duties to the nation and fellow citizens. It offered me a perspective of humanity, a sense of purpose for life and a framework for positive action. Like me, thousands have spent a life time in public life.
From my association with RSS, I can assure you all that RSS is all about Self-discipline, Self-respect, Self-defence, Self- reliance, Social reform, Social consciousness, Social movement, Selfless service, all guided by the philosophy of Supremacy of the nation. I seen no reason for anyone to have any objection to these principles which are primarily aimed at character development based on core ancient Indian ethos and values which advocated the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, meaning the whole world is one family.
Late Shri Jaiprakash Narayan said of RSS in 1977 and I quote “RSS alone has the capacity to transform society, end casteism and wipe the tears from the eyes of the poor. I have great expectations form this revolutionary organization which has taken up the challenge of creating a new India”.
In conclusion, I wish to congratulate the Deen Dayal Research Institute for conducting this Nanaji Memorial Lecture. The true tribute to this legendary Indian leader is to recall his deeds, reflect on his words and re-tread the enlightened path he walked in his whole life.