Ashok Singhal
Ashok Singhal

(1926-09-27)27 September 1926
Died17 November 2015(2015-11-17) (aged 89)
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Alma materMetallurgy Department, IIT BHU
OccupationLeader of vishva hindu parishad
AwardsDharmashree Award

Ashok Singhal (27 September 1926 – 17 November 2015) was the international working president of the Hindu organisation Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) for over 20 years and in charge of the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi movement.[1] He was replaced in the Vishva Hindu Parishad in December 2011 following a long bout of diminishing physical health.[2] Succeeded by Praveen Togadia, Singhal suffered ill-health but was working till a month before his death.[3]


Singhal was born in Agra. His father Mr Mahavir Singh Singhal(Vill Bijoli, atrauli, District Aligarh) was an ICS (Indian Civil Service) government official.[4] He had six brothers and a sister. His elder brothers were Vinod P Singhal Retd as Chief Secretary State of Tripura, Pramod P Singhal a businessman based in Udaipur, Anand P Singhal a senior officer in the Defence Ministry and his younger brothers were, BP Singhal, former DGP, UP Police and BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Piyush Singhal a businessman based in Mumbai and Vivek Singhal a businessman based in Delhi. His sister, Usha Rani Singhal was also a sangh pracharak and led the women front. Singhal received a bachelor's degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the Benaras Hindu University Institute of Technology in 1950.[5]

Singhal was a trained vocalist in Hindustani music. He studied under Pandit Omkarnath Thakur.[6]

He died on 17 November 2015 at Medanta Medicity hospital in Gurgaon, aged 89. On 1 October 2015, the book Hindutva Ke Purodha was released and officially launched by the then Home Minister of India, Rajnath Singh. The book describes all dedications to his political party and India. This was written by Mahesh Bhagchandaka.[7]


Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Ashok Singhal joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1942 under tutelage of Balasaheb Deoras. After obtaining a degree in Engineering, he opted to become a full-time pracharak. He worked in various locations around Uttar Pradesh, becoming a prant pracharak for Delhi and Haryana. In 1980, he was deputed to the VHP, becoming its joint general secretary. In 1984, he became its general secretary and, later, the working president, a role in which he continued till 2011.[6]

Vishva Hindu Parishad

After the Meenakshipuram conversions in 1981, Singhal moved to the VHP as the joint general secretary. After noting the main grievance of the Dalit communities in the area as being access to temples, VHP built 200 temples specifically for Dalits. He says that the conversions stopped afterwards.[5]

Singhal was a key organiser of the first VHP Dharma Sansad in 1984 held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, attracting hundreds of sadhus and Hindu notables to discuss the issues of rejuvenating Hinduism. The movement for reclaiming the Ram Janmabhoomi temple was born here.[4] Singhal soon became the chief architect of the movement.

Fast unto death and Force Feeding

During the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998–2004), the pair of Vajpayee and Singhal fell out when he felt that NDA Government of Vajpayee was not taking any further steps in building Ram Mandir.[8]

Ashok Singhal then went on fast unto death on the demand of the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. He was "Force Fed" on the orders of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This saddened Ashok Singhal and badly affected once good relations of Singhal and Vajpayee for the rest of his life.[9]


Ashok Singhal openly promoted his Hindu views. In every public meeting after 1989, wherever he gave speech, there was definitely talks of Hindu and of Hindu's interest.[10]


  1. ^ Seetapati, Vinay (26 June 2016). "Personal doctor says Narasimha Rao's reaction to Babri demolition was honest agitation". The Indian Express. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Veteran VHP leader Ashok Singhal replaced as VHP Int.president". Kochi: Indian Express. Press Trust of India. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  3. ^ Ramaseshan, Radhika (20 December 2011). "Change in VHP sweet for Sangh". Kolkata: The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b Pokharel, Krishna; Beckett, Paul. "Ayodhya: The Battle for India's Soul" (PDF). The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Gau Bhakti will lead to good governance, Ashok Singhal". DNA India. 1 September 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Band of Brothers". Express India. 17 March 2002. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Hidutva ke Purodha". 1 October 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  8. ^ "राम मंदिर के लिए सिंघल ने किया था अनशन, अटल के आदेश पर हुई थी फोर्स फीडिंग". 17 November 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  9. ^ "अशोक सिंघल के जीवन से जुड़ी खास बातें जिन्हें आप जानना चाहेंगे". 17 November 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  10. ^ "जानिए कौन थे अशोक सिंघल, राम जन्मभूमि आंदोलन में निभाई थी अहम भूमिका – Haribhoomi DailyHunt". Retrieved 27 September 2016.[permanent dead link]


  • Jaffrelot, Christophe (1996). The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 978-1850653011.
  • Katju, Manjari (2013). Vishva Hindu Parishad and Indian Politics. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-81-250-2476-7.