Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.

India Foundation, Thejas Foundation and the Tamil Nadu Young Thinker’s Forum hosted a conference recently to mark the birth centenary of thinker and philosopher the late Pt Deen Dayal Upadhaya. Swarajya was proudly the media partner for this event. Titled ‘India at 70: Integral Humanism as way forward’, the conference saw profound and passionate reflections on Integral Humanism, the philosophy propounded by Pt. Upadhyaya. The speeches met an equally responsive, engaged and enthusiastic audience of more than 500 people, including many college students.

The highlight of the event though, by far, was the felicitation of Saraswathi Rajamani ji.

A veteran of the Indian National Army (INA) of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Saraswathi ji was one of the important spies employed by Netaji in his war. When just 16 years of age, Saraswathi ji had donated all her jewels to the cause of the INA.

Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.
Saraswathi Rajamani
Saraswathi Rajamani
Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.

As she ascended on the stage slowly, the entire auditorium stood up and gave a prolonged applause as a mark of respect. On her part, the veteran soldier started began her short but moving address with “Jai Hind!”.

Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.

Prior to this, the conference saw a mix of provocative and profound speeches.

Prof BP Sharma of Pacific University began the discourse on Integral Humanism and the same was taken forward in a riveting speech in Tamil by H Raja of Tamil Nadu BJP.

Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.
Prof BP Sharma
Prof BP Sharma
Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.
H Raja 
H Raja 

Aravindan Neelakandan then revealed the space where the ideas of Babasaheb Ambedkar overlapped with those of Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

His speech was followed by those of Prof Shri Prakash Singh and K S Yashaswini, who illustrated the breadth and empathy inherent in Pt. Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism.

M R Venkatesh then gave a humour-tinged speech and drove home the point that Integral Humanism did not see economics as separate from culture.

Midway through the event, one could spot #DDU100 trending on the Chennai feed of Twitter.

The last but one address of the event came from C R Mukunda, the Akhil Bhartiya Sah-Boudhik Pramukh of the RSS who delivered an evocative address on the life of Pt.Upadhyaya.

Ram Madhav, general secretary of the BJP and director of the India Foundation gave the final speech of the conference. In his address, he emphasised on how Pt. Upadhyaya spent his life in trying to remind Indians of their own identity. An identity, he said, which was not just confined within the boundaries of the term ‘nation’ but was civilisational.

Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.
C R Mukunda
C R Mukunda
Artboard 3 Created with Sketch.
Ram Madhav
Ram Madhav

The event came to end with a pledge by the Tamil Nadu Young Thinkers Forum to keep up with their efforts and organise more such events.