Madhok built helipad overnight for Indian troops in 1947 (Obituary)

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Former Bharatiya Jana Sangh president Balraj Madhok, who died here on Monday, was a hardcore nationalist who prepared a helipad overnight when Indian troops landed in Kashmir in 1947.

That was the stuff Madhok was made of, his ex-colleague say, describing the two-time former Lok Sabha member as a man who refused to compromise with principles just to get into the government.

“He was a true patriot and hardcore nationalist. His contribution after India’s partition will never be forgotten,” veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra told IANS.

Malhotra, who had a long association with Madhok, said he had only one ideology — nationalism.

“Madhok had described India’s partition as artificial and temporary and predicted that Pakistan will remain India’s sworn enemy as long as it survives. A decisive war between India and Pakistan was inevitable.”

Malhotra and Madhok worked together first in Panjab University and then in the DAV College in Delhi.

Vagish Issar, who looks after the media affairs of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), said very few people know about Madhok’s work in Jammu and Kashmir after partition.

Issar quoted Madhok as saying that when Pakistani tribals raided Kashmir in 1947, there was no helipad in his area.

To help the Indian forces land there, he along with Kedarnath Sahni — who too later became a prominent Jana Sangh and BJP leader — and Jagdish Abrol prepared the helipad overnight.

Born on February 25, 1920 in Skardu now in Pakistani Kashmir, Madhok had his early education in Srinagar. He later moved to the Prince of Wales College, Jammu, and the DAV College in Lahore.

A good athlete and hockey player, Madhok came in touch with the RSS in 1938 and became its whole time worker in 1942.

He founded the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS students wing.

Madhok came into contact with Syama Prasad Mookerjee and helped set up the Jana Sangh.

He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Delhi first in 1961 and again in 1967. By then, he was elected the National President of Jana Sangh and it became a major force in north India.

Madhok’s differences with Jana Sangh leaders began after the death of Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya’s mysterious death. Madhok believed that Upadhyaya was murdered.

In 1973, L.K. Advani, then president of the Jana Sangh, expelled him from the party.

However, when Emergency was declared in June 1975, Madhok was among the thousands of political activists who was jailed.

Madhok was once offered a Rajya Sabha ticket by then President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy but he refused to take it.

Indira Gandhi, after returning to power in 1980, invited him to join her cabinet but he said ‘no’ again.

After the BJP was founded in 1980 as a successor to the Jana Sangh, the never-say-die Madhok tried to revive the latter party but met with limited success.

That did not deter Madhok who remained attached to the values he stood for till the day he died — at age 92.

“He never compromised with his principles,” Malhotra said.

Added Issar: “He was always focussed on Swadeshi and nationalism. He also favoured empowering ‘Nari Shakti’ in the society and even in the RSS.”

(Brajendra Nath Singh can be contacted at brajendra.s@ians.in)

–IANS

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