|HOME | NEWS | ELECTIONS '98 | REPORT|
|March 19, 1998|
The professor who taught two ex-prime ministers
Perceived by adversaries as a staunch hardliner, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi is an erudite man who rose from the ranks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to that of Bharatiya Janata Party president during one of its most crucial phases.
Advani had just handed over the reins of the party after the Ram Rath Yatra, and it fell on Dr Joshi to consolidate the organisation and carry forward its Hindutva plank.
The new party chief, for one, had to match the public image cultivated by Advani, and for another, reap the dividends following the course of events of the past year whereby the BJP had increased its seat share in the Lok Sabha to an unprecedented 86.
To others these may have appeared formidable but not to a man who had bypassed seven vice-presidents and a number of general secretaries to become the party chief. Prominent among the contenders were Rajmata Vijaye Raje Scindia and Sunder Singh Bhandari.
Dr Joshi was considered the ideal man to succeed Advani. The physics professor scored over Bhandari in that, though a hardliner, he was less radical of the two.
During the Vajpayee-headed government at the Centre in May 1996, Dr Joshi handled the home portfolio but the stint was far too short for anyone to make an assessment.
Dr Joshi is a professor of physics from the Allahabad University, with two prime ministers -- V P Singh and Chandra Shekhar -- among his students, even though they do not often see eye to eye in things political.
Given his educational qualifications and socio-political grooming, Dr Joshi was obviously a key figure in moulding the party's ideology, programmes and policies. Much of his thinking is tuned to the RSS way of life.
Dr Joshi once said that Veer Savarkar, M S Golwakar and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya were seminal influences in his life. In an interview a few years ago, he had said, ''Hindu rashtra need not be a formal structure. It is the basic culture of this country,'' while responding to a question on the Ram Janamabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue and Hindutva.
Apart from the considerable contribution he has made to the ideology, Dr Joshi enjoys massive support from the entire party right down from the cadre to the top leaders.
Born on January 5, 1934, in Delhi, Dr Joshi hails from Almora in Uttar Pradesh, and the initial phase of his education was in Delhi, Bijnor, Almora and Chandpur. He graduated in science from Meerut college and earned an MA from Allahabad University.
He continued at the university with a Ph D in spectroscopy and later, accepted a job with his alma mater. He has over 100 research papers to his credit.
INFOTECH | TRAVEL | LIFE/STYLE | FREEDOM | FEEDBACK