Ashokji-1926-2015“Ashok” means ‘without sorrow’ or ‘not causing sorrow’ and “Singhal” means “Lion”. This way the former Maharaja of Travancore His Majesty Late Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma in God’s own Country Kerala, affectionately interpreted Ashokji’s name and eulogized him for being “Ashok” inside and a “Lion” outside.The rallying calls of Shri Ashokji Singhal during the Sri Rama Janma Bhumi Movement always thrilled and exalted the Ram devotees. We may call him a Sannyasin, Cyclonic Monk in white wear or a warrior, but he identified himself as a Pracharak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He was born on Ashwin Krishna Panchami (September 27, 1926) in the home of his maternal grandfather in Agra. He was the fourth sibling amongst his seven brothers and a sister.

The Singhal family was a native of village Bijouli in Aligarh District, Uttar Pradesh. His father Sri Mahavir Singh Singhal held a high rank in the administrative services. The family often hosted visitors from the class of people endowed with character, spirit of service and sacrifice and dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, who kept themselves away from positions of pelf and power, that is, monks, Yogis and religio-spiritual scholars. So, from his very childhood Ashokji developed a love for Hindu Dharma, that is, the Rishi-Krishi Kulaachaar (Culture). While studying at Prayag (Allahabad), Rajju Bhaiyya made him a Swayamsevak in 1942. Rajju Bhaiyya rendered and elucidated the Sangh Praarthana (Prayer) to Ashokji’s mother Smt. Vidyawatiji. Impressed by it she allowed Ashokji to join the Sangh Shakha.

At the time of the vivisection and partition of the country in 1947, the Congress leaders were celebrating the gaining of power, but the hearts of the patriots were going up in flames at the partition and they were worried as to what would be the future of the country in the hands of such power greedy leaders. Ashokji was one of those nationalists. In order to help change such air and go in for national renaissance and reconstruction on time-tested indigenous terms, he offered his life to the vision and mission of Sangh. He had an interest in classical music since his childhood and also had trained under a Guru. He worked out rhythms, melodies and modulations for many patriotic songs of Sangh. He earned an engineering degree in metallurgy from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Sangh was banned in 1948 and he courted arrest under the Satyagrah movement and suffered incarceration. After coming out of the jail, he sat for his final examinations. In 1950, renouncing the temptations of his family riches and splendours, he became a Pracharak that combines the life of a monk and a social engineer in one as it calls for giving up a thousand things in life, leading an itinerant life, adpoting a life of voluntary poverty, celibacy, obedience/commitment/dedication to the Ishwariya Kaarya (God’s Work), that is, persistent work for the cause of Uncompromising Cultural Nationalism, Hindu resuscitation, rejuvenation, renaissance and consolidation of the Mrityunjayi (enduring/immortal) Hindu Nation and help take it to the highest pinnacle of national glory.

In the capacity of a Pracharak, initially he served regions such as Gorakhpur bordering Nepal, Prayag, Saharanpur and mainly Kanpur. He was very close to Sarasanghachalak Sri Guruji. In Kanpur, he came in contact with the eminent scholar of the Vedas Shri Ramchandra Tiwari. Ashokji considered these two outstanding personages as having profoundly moulded his life. In 1975 during the fight against the Emergency, ban on Sangh and autocracy of Indira Gandhi, he mobilised people on a large scale. After the Emergency, he became the Prant Pracharak of Delhi and Haryana.

In 1981, a mammoth Hindu conference under the banner of “Virat Hindu Samaj” led by Dr. Karan Singh was held at the Boat Club, New Delhi, but its Nepathya Naayaks (backstage heroes) were Sri Ashokji and the Sangh. In July 1982, he was entrusted with the responsibility of Joint General Secretary of Vishva Hindu Parishad. As a result of the Ekatmata Rath Yatra, Sri Ram-Jaanaki Rath Yatra, Sanskriti Raksha Nidhi and Sri Rama Janma Bhumi Liberation Movement, there was a mass awakening of Hindus not only in Bharat but also abroad and the name of Vishva Hindu Parishad rang everywhere. After this, the works of the Parishad such as Cow Protection, Aviral Ganga – Nirmal Ganga, Dharma Prasar, Seva, Sanskrit, Ekal Vidyalay, etc., gained momentum. Above all it was the Sri Rama Janma Bhumi Liberation Movement. It proved to be a turning point for the social and political history of the country which took a direction on indigenous lines. In the VHP, Ashokji held posts of Joint General Secretary (1982-1986), Secretary General (1986-1995), Working President (1996-June 2005) and President (2005-December 2011). After this, he played the role of Patron, continued with his itinerant life in Bharat and abroad, and oriented Karyakartas as a friend, philosopher and guide and had rendezvous with Sant-Mahatmas and like-minded leading figures from all walks of life.

Thousands of Sant-Mahatmas joined the VHP’s movements due to Ashokji’s humility and Yojak abilities (mass mobilisation ability) and integrity and began speaking their hearts and minds about the problems and challenges facing the society and country. During this period, several times he was banned by the U.P. state government from entering Ayodhya, but every time he reached Ayodhya outwitting and getting around their fortifications. It was the outcome of his organizational and leadership skills that on 6th December, 1992, the youths confiscated and got rid of the Babri structure – a symbol of national disgrace and scandal superimposed and parked by an invader on the hallowed and blessed birthplace of our National Hero Sri Ram – who in His time did away with the kingpins of global terrorism and wickedness and their accomplices and ensured for generations to come a safer world. Sri Ram also exemplified for the world the ideal of “Ram Rajya” (Welfare State). Babri removal symbolized and catalysed reclamation of our holistic, altruistic and syncretic Rishi-Krishi heritage and cultural nationalism.

Ashokji undertook organizational trips to several countries including Trinidad & Tobago, USA, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, etc. Notwithstanding his uncooperative physical health at 89, he, in 2015 August-September, undertook a hectic and arduous month-long trip to the UK, Holland and USA. He was suffering from pulmonary infections for a long time and on November 17, 2015 it took its toll and he left his overworked and disobliging body at the ripe age of ninety at the Medanta Medicity Hospital at Gurgaon near New Delhi. Even during the terminal days, he was deeply engrossed (before 14th October, 2015) in the comprehensive drafting of some solid plans and projects for the cause of formal promotion of Vedic Sciences at the academic level. He always talked of the cause of Sri Rama Janma Bhumi and organizational strength of Vishva Hindu Parishad and consequent consolidation and empowerment of Hindu society based on the Mantra of “Sanghe Shakti Kalau-yuge”. His mind was quite alert, vigilant and proactive even in the hospital. Acute physical weakness notwithstanding, he called Adhikaris and Karyakartas to have interactions with them! On 10th November, in the Medanta ICU, he exchanged views with Parampujya Sarasanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Mananiya Mohan Rao Bhagwat. On 12th November, the hospital declared him fit and he went to his nephew Sri Ravi Singhal’s place at New Delhi. 13th November saw him happy in the midst of family members. There in the evening for an hour he talked with the Hon’ble Government of Bharat Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Shrimati Smriti Irani whom he had called for. That evening itself at 09.00 P.M. he had a telecon with Baba Ramdevji. During the telecon itself, his voice began warping and then he could not speak. He was re-admitted to Medanta at 02.30 a.m. that night. On November 14, 15, 16, the team of doctors tried their best, but the body was not responsive to the treatment, and on November 17, 2015 at 02.24, he found peace and left the mortal coil to take his place at the Lotus Feet of his Ishtadev.

We can say that he only lounged for 89 hours in the gross plane and then his astral body flew to his Ishtadev. I was once privy to Ashokji quoting Param Pujaniya Sri Guruji that it is only the pyre that is the place of rest.

The best tribute to him would be to re-construct the grand temple at Sri Rama Janma Bhumi as per the aspirations of Hindus of the entire world who form 1/6th of the 7 billion global population as it would represent national reconstruction, dignity, self-esteem and catalyst of cultural nationalism and cultural independence.

The following resolve/solemn vow could be taken at the Shraddhanjali Sabha (Memorial Service):-

“Saluting the blessed and sacrosanct memory of the Most Venerable Ashokji Singhal, I, ………………(name), do take the solemn vow that I won’t sit at ease until the re-construction of the grand Sri Rama Janma Bhumi Temple! I will remain bodily, spiritually, intellectually and money-wise active in every campaign and movement committed and dedicated to this cause! Jai Sri Ram!”

You can post your Shraddhanjali/tributes to the following two addresses:-

01.       Shri Salil Singhal

(Nephew – Elder son of Ashokji’s eldest brother Late Sri Pramod   Singhal),

Singhal Farms, Rajokri, New Delhi – 110 038

02.       Shri Venkata Koteswara Rao (Central Secretary – Office),

Vishva Hindu Parishad, Sankat Mochan Ashram,

Ramakrishna Puram Sector-6, New Delhi – 110 022.

Ph: 011-26103495, 26178992. Mobiles: 09560018282, 09013102851.