Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya: A Guiding Sprit for Ideal Journalism

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God on this earth not only creates everyone but also endows everyone with some special quality. But there are also certain people whose talent is multidimensional. If they get an opportunity for "development", the become "Great". Such was the persona of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. In such a simple-looking man were reflected different aspects of a social thinker, economist, educationalist, politician, writer, journalist, speaker, organizer etc. All these talents bloomed as the opportunities arrive.Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Though its is a different matter that he is mainly known for his organizing capability, serious thinking and for being a skilful political leader. First and the foremost thing to remember is that Deendayal ji represented an era when journalism was an ideal and not a subject for crass commercialization. During our struggle for freedom, many of our great leaders used journalism for the cause of the nation and for awakening the people of the country. Especially in Hindi and regional languages, one might hardly find and editor who took up this job at that time for earning his livelihood. So it is quite natural that Pandit ji's personality reflected a journalist with missionary zeal and not having commercial considerations.
During the publishing of Rashtradharm, the journalist within Pandit ji first came to light with publication of monthly "Rashtradharm" from Lucknow in 1940s. The publication was meant for spreading the ideology of nationalism. Though he did not have his name printed as editor in any of the issues of this publication but there was hardly any issue which did not have his long lasting impression due to his though provoking writings. He chose to publish those items which had a positive side. He never had a problem with the criticism of anti-people thoughts or movements unless the language was balanced and the criticism was healthy. Later On Panchjanya weekly and Daily Swadesh also started getting published from there where the present Prime minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was appointed as an editor. After sometime Deendayal ji was asked to work in the polictial field. There he had regular interaction with scribes and he had to issue statements quite frequently.
He had a column in the Organiser a weekly. The name of the column was Political Diary. While reading this column, one realized that despite being critical of several policies of Nehru era, his language was always decently balanced. In 1959 I was asked to edit Panchjanya. Annoyed over the Nehru government's policy about China and Tibet, I wrote a strong editorial in the first issue of the weekly itself. After reading it, Deendayal ji said your piece was excellent but perhaps you should be little more cautious with the heading as Pandit Nehru is after all the Prime Minister of the Country. We should not be careless in using words while criticizing him. His message was clear and worthwhile. 'Don't Distort The News' was his mantra. Once he gave a statement which was quite out of context by one of the English dailies.
When he met the journalist concerned, he told him in a polite manner and with a personal touch, "I know you just can not do this, but kindly tell your news editor not to publish statements out of context as it just not seems right to mislead the readers? It is the responsibility of a journalist to report the facts correctly and if he does not agree with somebody's views then that should also be published." A mature journalist always has his own perception about a problem. He himself is also motivated by an ideology. Sometimes he is also a follower of a particular Party or Organization.
The natural question is that as a journalist, he should be loyal to whom? To his ideology? To the Party or organization he is related to? Or to the wider interest of Country and the common people? In a similar situation, I received a directive about publication of one of my edits. It was 1961. The Country was facing a distinct threat of Chinese invasion. At that time a number of political parties and trade unions called for a nation wide strike to support certain demands of Railway employees. In view of the elections in 1962, Bharatiya Jansangh had also supported the call. Most of its leaders were expecting that Panchjanya will obviously support the strike. But then I consulted my editorial colleagues and took the stand that the strike is not in the interest of the nation. "Navjivan" of ruling Congress Party used this ploy to mount attack on Jansangh. A number of Jansangh leaders quite naturally were not happy. They complained to Deendayal ji, who was General Secretary of the Party at that time, that whether it is appropriate for Panchjanya to criticize the policies and programmes of Jansangh? In the evening he called me and these leaders at his residence. He told me why these leaders were unhappy.
Then he himself asked, "If something is in interest of Party but not in the interest of Party but not in the interest of nation, then what should be done?" The answer was inherent in the question. Then he said, "The Party might have certain compulsions to support the strike but Panchjanya should not have any such compulsion. I think everybody has taken right decision in their position. Parties can not be larger than the society or the country. The national interest should get top priority. A journalist should be loyal to the country. " Why English News Papers have an anti-Indian attitude? In our conversations several issues related to journalists and journalism used to come up. Once I asked him, Why English newspapers take a negative stand when it comes to Indianisation while the Hindi and regional newspapers always have a positive approach on this issue? His answer was-"Almost all the major English newspapers were run by the Englishmen. Though after independence the ownership came into hands of Indians but the scribes and the editors were the same and so was their psyche. They were no more with the Britishers but the attitude was same. They remained alienated from the culture, civilization and tradition of this country. There are certain exceptions to this too. Generally the English journalist was from the highly educated class and he was overawed by the old attitude.
Going further deep into the issue he said, "Even after the Britishers have left, India has failed to develop an education system according to its traditions. Physically Indian but intellectually English oriented Macaulay oriented education system according to its traditions. Physically Indian but intellectually English oriented Macaulay oriented education system is still prevalent with minor changes. How could the journalists coming out of this system be not alienated?
(Excerpts from - Documentation of Seminar on "Patrakar Deendayal Upadhyaya" Published and Printed by Dr. Mahesh Chandra Sharma for Research and Development Foundation for Integral Humanism).