Antyodaya Diwas is an annual celebration in India that commemorates the birth anniversary of the revered Indian leader, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. This day serves as a tribute to his life and enduring legacy, honoring one of the most influential figures in India’s political history. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya was not only a co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) but also a profound thinker associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). His relentless efforts to uplift the marginalized and less fortunate in society are at the core of this celebration, which takes place every year on September 25th.
Who Was Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya?
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, born in Mathura on September 25, 1916, holds a significant place in India’s history. In 2014, Indian Prime Minister Modi declared this day a national holiday in his honor. Tragically, he passed away in 1968 near the Mughalsarai Junction railway station. In recognition of his contributions, the Uttar Pradesh government renamed the station as ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction’ in 2018. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s legacy also extends to the realm of rural development, as in 2014, on this day, the Ministry of Rural Development reintroduced “Aajeevika Skills,” a skill development program under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), later renamed Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-NRLM in November 2015.
Early Life and Association with RSS
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya grew up in a Brahmin family under the care of his maternal uncle. His educational journey included high school in Sikar and intermediate education in Pilani, Rajasthan. He began pursuing a BA degree at Sanatan Dharma College in Kanpur but was unable to continue his studies. His association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) commenced in 1937 while he was studying at Sanatan Dharma College. Introduced to the RSS by a classmate, he had the privilege of engaging in intellectual discussions with the RSS founder, KB Hedgewar, during gatherings.
Significance of Antyodaya Diwas
Antyodaya Diwas holds profound significance as it aligns with the Antyodaya Mission’s core objective, to reach out to all, especially the underprivileged and rural youth of India. The day is dedicated to facilitating opportunities for them, whether at the local, national, or global level. It emphasizes the importance of protecting and caring for the most vulnerable members of society. To raise awareness and fulfill this mission, the government organizes a range of activities across the country, including symposiums, blood donation camps, programs, and orientation sessions. Antyodaya Diwas stands as a reminder of our collective responsibility to assist those who lack basic necessities and uplift the marginalized. It encapsulates the spirit of compassion and inclusivity that Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya championed throughout his life.
Antyodaya Diwas is a day to celebrate the enduring legacy of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and to reaffirm our commitment to serving the underprivileged and marginalized sections of society. It is a day that symbolizes compassion, inclusivity, and the relentless pursuit of social equity, an embodiment of the ideals that Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya dedicated his life to. As we commemorate this day, let us strive to make a positive impact in the lives of those who need it most, in honor of this great leader’s vision.