RSS stalwart Nanaji Deshmukh was born on this day in 1916 in Maharashtra. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday remembered social activist Nanaji Deshmukh on his birth anniversary, recalling his passion for rural development.
Born as Chandikadas Amritrao Deshmukh on October 11 in 1916 into a Marathi-speaking Deshastha Brahmin family at Kadoli, a small town in the Hingoli district in Maharashtra. But, he was politically active in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. He represented Uttar Pradesh's Balrampur constituency in the Lok Sabha from 1977 to 1979.
Nanaji Deshmukh worked in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance. He was a Sangh Parivar veteran, founder member of the Janata Party, and one of the senior-most members of BJP.
Deshmukh was also a member of the Rajya Sabha representing Bhartiya Jan Sangh. He was conferred the country’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. He was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 1999.
The veteran activist was one of the founding members of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. He was considered to be one of the architects of the Jayaprakash Narayan movement against the Emergency in 1974 and among the key persons in the formation of the Janata Party government in 1977.
He retired from active politics in 1980 and from 1999 to 2005 served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. He played an important role in carrying out the social restructuring programme in over 500 villages of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Deshmukh was associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from 1928 till his death (in 2010 at the age of 94) in Satna, Madhya Pradesh, and was known for starting the chain of RSS inspired schools throughout India. Deshmukh also established the country’s first Saraswati Sishu Mandir at Gorakhpur in 1950 and was the founder of the Deendayal Research Institute situated at Chitrakoot.
According to a report by India Today, Deshmukh joined the RSS at the age of 13. Speaking to India Today magazine in June 1996, he said he joined the Sangh after being moved by the way RSS protected Hindus in the 1926 Nagpur riots.