+

Murli Manohar Joshi, scholar among politicians, turns 90

It is extremely rare that two scholars, both politicians, share the same stage. However, this happened on Saturday when on the occasion of Dr Murli Manohar Joshi’s 90th birthday, Dr Karan Singh was invited to be a distinguished guest. Both Joshi and Singh, though in different parties, have been recognized as intellectuals, whose contribution to […]

It is extremely rare that two scholars, both politicians, share the same stage. However, this happened on Saturday when on the occasion of Dr Murli Manohar Joshi’s 90th birthday, Dr Karan Singh was invited to be a distinguished guest. Both Joshi and Singh, though in different parties, have been recognized as intellectuals, whose contribution to their respective fields has been enormous. The function focused on Dr Joshi’s long and eventful 90-year long journey, that has inspired people, cutting across party lines. His multiple achievements have remained understated and no less than NR Narayana Murthy and Mohandas Pai have publicly acknowledged that without his constant patronage, India would never have been able to achieve what it did in the area of Information technology.
Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, eminent Space scientist has similarly lauded Dr Joshi for his constant support to the country’s space programs. In the field of education, the veteran leader has stood out and helped in bringing in reforms to enable every child to have the right to be educated, particularly young girls, who always had immense difficult in being sent to school by their parents. And when the Ramjanambhoomi movement is reaching its conclusive phase with the inauguration of the Ram Temple at Ayodhyaon January 22, his name figures amongst the prominent leaders of the BJP and the Sangh, who through their tireless efforts, extended their absolute support to it. On Saturday, Lal Krishan Advani, whose Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya, had helped transform the BJP into a national force, was not present, though his daughter Pratibha and son, Jayant graced the occasion.
The function was without any political elements and dimensions, as it was organised by Dr Joshi’s two daughters, Priyamvada and Nivedita, and was attended by a large number of his admirers and followers. Dr Joshi and Mr Advani, along with Mr Katyal and Sadhivi Rithambara, are amongst the few survivors of this historic movement. Moropant Pingle, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore and many others have passed away but their name continues to be associated with this event, that impacted not only the country’s history but also its politics. Millions of people had looked forward to the inauguration of the temple and many analysts believe that it would influence the outcome of the 2024 Parliamentary polls. Coming back to Dr Joshi, he remains one of the few top national level leaders to be born in Delhi, and his commitment to nationalism and the motherland has been an overriding priority, often at the cost of his other pursuits. His daughters who spoke at the function, however, made it a point to stress that he and their mother, Tarla Joshi, were most loving and affectionate parents, and they were lucky to have them in their lives. Not many people are aware that Dr Joshi lost his father, when he was a a toddler and was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother.
For the sake of record, his father had contributed to the development of Delhi and played a major role in the construction of both Pul Bangsh and Pul Mithai in old Delhi. Dr Joshi was influenced by the RSS and its thinking every early in life, and had deep admiration for Guru Golwalkar and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya during his formative years. He also had the good fortune of working along with Prof. Rajinder Singh aka as Rajju Bhaiya, the erstwhile RSS Chief, when they were on the faculty of the Allahabad University. The university has been the alma mater of a large number of distinguished people, many of whom remained connected with him even after he entered public life. Dr Joshi was very concerned when events in 1990 and 1991 appeared to divide the country and with the blessings of the RSS, while he was the BJP Chief, he undertook the Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. He was accompanied in this long journey by Narendra Modi, who was inspired by his commitment to the national cause.
Dr Joshi was amongst the mentors of the current Prime Minister who never misses an opportunity of greeting him on his birthdays. When both Dr Karan Singh and Dr Joshi were seated on the dais, many thoughts struck me as I consider both of them as amongst the best Presidents India never had. Dr Karan Singh was a favoured name for the then UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi in 2007 but his candidacy was shot down by AB Bardhan, a CPI leader and a Congress ally at that time. Similarly, the RSS would have wanted Dr Joshi to be the Head of the State in 2017 but circumstances and developments saw the country have its first Dalit President in Ram Nath Kovind. For both the goal was so near and yet remained so far. But that is how life is.
Dr Joshi is a firm believer in the philosophy of Sanatan Dharam and his understanding of the Hindu religion and the scriptures is exceptional. He is an extremely well-read person who has a great love for languages and has a very fine grasp of Urdu, which he helped promote as the Minister of HRD in the Atal Behari Vajpayee led government. He is a multi-faceted personality, and in this era, where divisive politics appears to have become a reality, he can be a sobering influence. He was made a part of the Marg Darshak Mandal by the BJP leadership many years ago but with his wisdom, knowledge, sobriety and his vast experience, he would always be an asset to our country.

Tags: