Remembering Nanaji Deshmukh : A Tribute

On Sunday morning ( February 28, 2010 ) when I heard about the sad demise of Nanaji Deshmukh, I was saddened. I was in a state of shock. Memories of my childhood days, memories of my encounters with Nanaji, memories of his Deoria visits and his stay with us in our house – Krishna Kunj, filled my emotional being. They hovered over my hazy firmament like a lightning in a cloudy sky. My father was very close to him and when at Bareilly session of Jana Sangh, my father became President of Uttar Pradesh Jana Sangh, he was the Sangathan Mantri of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. I have so many fond memories of him.


I was a small child when he visited Deoria. I still remember it vividly because preparations for his visit was going on in my house since many days. There were flurry of activities on the day of his arrival. Suddenly there was commotion everywhere, few workers ran and opened huge gate of our house and a white Ambassador car entered and stopped in the compound. A middle-aged, dhoti-kurta clad man came out of the car and people started greeting him. Through their talk I realized that he is Nanaji. He stayed in our guest room and after some time I was ushered into the room and got introduced to him. I was a shy and introvert kid and could not talk to him. He asked general questions and played with me for some time. He stayed for 2/3 days and then left. I could see him again after some months. Session of Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Jana Sangh was planned at Bareilly and my father was elected the President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Uttar Pradesh. I accompanied my father along with my mother. There again I saw Nanaji. We went to his room and though he was busy with all the preparations, he asked about my studies and well-being. Now I can realize, how busy and tense he would have been at that moment but he could find time to inquire about the studies and well-being of a toddler like me.



After this session, I met Nanaji again, when he visited Deoria at the time of the election of the Chairman of Municipal Board. My father was eventually elected the Chairman and Nanaji returned to Delhi. After this I could not meet him for years. So many things happen in Deoria Jana Sangh, which I won’t like to discuss here at this given time. Nanaji was furious at the turn of events but couldn’t do anything.

My father died and our relationship with Bharatiya Jana Sangh was snapped for a while. Nanaji became busy in national politics and during Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement, Nanaji became his close associate and got extremely busy. After the infamous emergency, Bhartiya Jana Sangh was merged with Janata Party and in the ensuing elections, won and thus ended uninterrupted rule of Congress at centre. Nanaji refused the post of a cabinet minister in the government, which was offered to him by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. He was made General Secretary of Janata Party.

After completing 60, he quit active politics and started Deendayal Shodh Sansthan, at Jayaprabha Gram, Balrampur, Gonda in Uttar Pradesh. In 1985/86 I became Zila Karyavah of Deoria and went to Delhi for some work. I called on Nanaji at the headquarter of Deendayal Shodh Sansthan and to my utter surprise, he recognize me as soon as I mentioned my father’s name. He was very kind. He inquired about my mother, about us, about our well-being. He offered me food and gave many volumes of “ Manthan”, the magazine which was mouthpiece of the Deendayal Sodh Sansthan. Some years later he came to Gorakhpur for some meeting. I went to meet him and he immediately recognized me. I could not meet him after that.

I came to Mumbai in 1989 and got busy here. Nanaji was busy at Chitrakoot. I always contemplated to go to Chitrakoot to meet him once but that was not destined. After his death on February 27, 2010, the dream will remain unfulfilled for ever.

I deeply mourn his death. He was my father’s mentor, and a father figure to our family.



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