Age: 93 Years
Hometown: Hingoli, Maharashtra, India
Marital Status: Married
Some Lesser Known Facts About Nanaji Deshmukh
- He was born into a poor family. Despite the lack of money, he had a great desire to study and to fulfil his desire, he became a vegetable vendor to raise money for his studies.
- In childhood, he was greatly inspired by the theories of Bal Gangadhar Tilak (an Indian Independence Activist and Nationalist).
- Although he was born in Bombay Presidency (Now, Maharashtra), he spent most of the time in North India, especially, in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
- He received his education in Rajasthan. He was so brilliant at studies that Raoraja of Sikar gave him a scholarship.
- In school days in 1928, he joined the ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’ (RSS).
- His family had close ties with Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (Founder of the RSS) who was a regular visitor to Nanaji’s family. It was Keshav Baliram Hedgewar who encouraged Nanaji to join RSS.
- Seeing his devotion, second Chief of the RSS, M. S. Golwalkar, sent him to Gorakhpur as a Pracharak (Full-time functionary).
- After the death of Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, many youngsters were inspired by him to join the RSS. In Agra, he met Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (Political Leader) for the first time.
- In 1947, the RSS launched two journals; ‘Rashtradharma’ and ‘Panchjanya.’ Atal Bihari Vajpayee was assigned the responsibility as an editor of these journals. Nanaji and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya were made the managing directors.
- He always emphasized education and due to his hard work, India’s first ‘Saraswati Shishu Mandir’ (School) was opened in Gorakhpur in 1950.
- He had a good relationship with Chaudhary Charan Singh (Former Prime Minister of India) and Ram Manohar Lohia (Activist). Due to this, Bharatiya Jana Sangh made an alliance with United Legislature Party, which formed the first non-Congress government in Uttar Pradesh in 1967.
- In 1969, he established the Deendayal Research Institute and served it after his retirement from active politics.
- In 1977, when Morarji Desai became the Prime Minister, Nanaji was offered a cabinet portfolio of Industry. However, Nanaji rejected it.
- He has worked against Poverty and supported the minimum needs programs. Apart from it, he also laid emphasis on agriculture, rural health, rural education, etc.
- Nanaji carried out many reconstructing programs in the villages of both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
- He did a lot to improve the condition of agriculture especially in Beed (Maharashtra) and Gonda (U.P.). His motto was- “Har hath ko denge kaam, har khet ko denge paanee.”
- His favourite destination was Chitrakoot, which is situated on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In his old age, he settled here and lived here until death.
- He became dejected when he saw the pathetic condition of Chitrakoot, the ‘karmabhoomi’ (work place) of Lord Rama. Once, he was sitting on the bank of Mandakini River, he resolved to change the condition of Chitrakoot in his entire life.
- He laid the foundation and served as the chancellor of Chitrakoot Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya in Chitrakoot, which is considered India’s first rural University. Later, the university was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya.
- Former President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, had praised Nanaji for his services in the society.
- Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has spoken about Nanaji many times and praised his pioneering works in the field of rural development.
- To spread the Indian Culture, he also travelled many countries; the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Cuba, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Kenya (Africa).
- In 2010, Nanaji passed away in Chitrakoot Gramoday Vishwavidyalaya. He refused to be taken to Delhi for treatment.
- In 2017, the Government of India issued the postal stamps of Nanaji Deshmukh in his honour.