|Politicians & Literature|
Rajnath Singh | 61 | Uttar Pradesh
DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA HAS been a major part of who I’m. His 12 volumes on philosophy and integral humanism — the synthesis of the individual and the collective — have formed the crux of my political career, and as it happens, is also the guiding philosophy of the BJP. If there was one person who could think of a decentralised polity and self-reliant economy with the village as its base, it was him. He advocated modern technology in his books, but wanted it to be adapted to suit the nature of Indian requirements.
Another book that really enlightened me was Durga Das’ India: From Nehru to Curzon and After, which had an insightful foreword by former president Dr Zakir Husain. The book chronicles the historical panorama of India and the freedom movement. No politician in India should miss this book for its historical and political significance.
Then there is also the monumental work of Samuel Huntington, Clash of Civilisations, which dealt with cultural conflicts after World War II and predicted today’s extremities of religious and cultural strife.
And then there are the geniuses like Mahashweta Devi and Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, who were synonymous with my days as a youth BJP worker from Uttar Pradesh. Munshi Premchand’s epics Gaban and Godaan captured the angst of the Indian society, especially those in small towns and villages. These books helped me understand the psyche of rural India, especially when I was the chief minister of UP. No one understood our issues, our poverty, our culture, our hypocrisy as well as Premchand did. He should be made compulsory reading for students and politicians alike.