Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras
Balasaheb deoras.jpg
3rd Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
In office
Preceded byM. S. Golwalkar
Succeeded byRajendra Singh
Personal details
Born(1915-12-11)11 December 1915
Nagpur, Central Provinces and Berar, British India
Died17 June 1996(1996-06-17) (aged 80)
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Alma materUniversity of Nagpur
Occupationlawyer, political activist

Madhukar Dattatraya Deoras[a] (11 December 1915 – 17 June 1996), popularly known as Balasaheb Deoras, was the third Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).[1]


Deoras was born in a Telugu-speaking[2][3] Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmin (DRB) family[4] on 11 December 1915 in Nagpur and raised in Andhra Pradesh. He was the eighth child of Dattatreya Krishnarao Deoras and Parvati-bai; the ninth child, his younger brother Bhaurao Deoras (Murlidhar alias Bhaurao), also became a pracharak of the RSS. During Balasaheb Deoras's tenure as RSS chief, Bhaurao Deoras played a key role in the organization in North India. Balasaheb Deoras was a student at New English High School. He graduated from Morris College in Nagpur in 1938 and obtained his LLB degree at the College of Law, Nagpur University. Inspired by Dr. K. B. Hedgewar, he was associated with the RSS from its inception and decided to dedicate his life to its goals.[citation needed]

He was the first pracharak sent to Bengal, and he returned to the movement's headquarters to direct the publication of Tarun Bharat, a Marathi daily, and Yugadharma, a Hindi daily. Deoras brothers wanted RSS to be more activist, and they withdrew from the organization from 1953 to 1957 because of dissatisfaction with Golwalkar's more insular policies. But they kept in touch and the brothers resumed working for RSS in 1957 upon Golwalkar's suggestion. Balasaheb Deoras became general secretary of the RSS in 1965. During the same year he addressed the annual meeting of the Jana Sangh. After the death of second RSS chief M. S. Golwalkar, Deoras became Sarsanghachalak, the leader of the RSS, in 1973.[5] Deoras chose to involve RSS more deeply in social activism than any other past RSS sarsanghachalak. The following year, Deoras expressed his activist leanings by having the RSS support the "JP Movement", an anti-Indira Gandhi movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan.[6] There are also accounts, disputed by RSS spokesmen, of Balasaheb Deoras apologising to Indira Gandhi, while being incarcerated at Yerwada jail, and offering support to her twenty point programme if the ban on RSS was lifted.[7]

In the aftermath of the end of The Emergency, Deoras met with Christian and Muslim leaders. The RSS’s national assembly exhorted, "all citizens in general and R.S.S. Swayamsevaks in particular to further expedite this process of mutual contact by participation in each other’s social functions". Such sentiments can be viewed as consequences of the optimism in Indian public culture at that time.[8] Under Deoras, the RSS took a turn towards accelerated activism and tried to dramatically increase the number and range of its recruits. This shift in orientation was reflected in its literature: it produced simplified versions of its ideology and used new generic forms to present them in (comic books, posters, postcards, inland letter cards, etc.). The term "the masses" came to occupy a central place in its vocabulary.[9]

Deoras continued as Sarsanghachalak till 1994, when he stepped down due to ill health. He left behind a shining legacy[citation needed] and paved the way for Rajendra Singh to replace him. Declining health eventually resulted in his death on 17 June 1996. He lived long enough to see Atal Bihari Vajpayee become India's Prime Minister in May 1996, the first adherent of Hindutva philosophy and of RSS affiliation to become PM.[citation needed]

Views of Deoras

Deoras echoed Savarkar by stating: "We do believe in the one-culture and one-nation Hindu rashtra. But our definition of Hindu is not limited to any particular kind of faith. Our definition of Hindu includes those who believe in the one-culture and one-nation theory of this country. They can all form part of the Hindu-rashtra. So by Hindu we do not mean any particular type of faith. We use the word Hindu in a broader sense."[5] According to Deoras, even though Mahatma Gandhi appeased Muslims, the Muslims never accepted him as one of their own.[10]

In one of the most important speeches delivered in the history of RSS from the platform of Vasant Vyakhyanmala (Spring Lecture Series), Deoras denounced the practice of untouchability in May 1974 in Pune, and appealed to the RSS volunteers to work towards its removal from the Hindu society. The RSS has set up many programs under Seva Bharati, an organization devoted to uplifting the members of scheduled castes. Under it, RSS volunteers have started schools in which they offer vocational courses for slum dwellers and former untouchables while teaching them the virtues of Hinduism.[11] Deoras declared: "If untouchability is not wrong, nothing in the world is wrong."[12] He said on 9 November 1985, that the main purpose of the RSS is Hindu unity and that the organization believes all citizens of India should have a 'Hindu culture'.[13]

A brainchild of Deoras, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch was vocal in its defense of swadeshi. Founded in 1993, it was conceived as a protectionist bulwark against economic liberalization by the Congress government of P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1991.[14]

Books by Deoras

Deoras wrote in both English and Hindi. Some of books he authored:


  1. ^ The surname is alternatively spelled 'Devaras' or 'Devras'.



  • Klostermaier, Klaus K. (2007). A survey of Hinduism (3. ed.). Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 9780791480113.
  • Rajagopal, Arvind (2001). Politics after television religious nationalism and the reshaping of the Indian public. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780511155956.
  • Bhatt, Chetan (2001). Hindu Nationalism Origins, Ideologies and Modern Myths. Oxford: Berg Publishers. ISBN 9781845209865.
  • Jaffrelot, Christophe (2007). Hindu nationalism : a reader. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13097-2.
  • Hasan, Zoya, ed. (1994). Forging identities : gender, communities and the state in India (1. publ. ed.). Boulder u.a.: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-2333-9.
  • Malik, Yogendra K.; Singh, V.B. (1994). Hindu nationalists in India : the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Boulder u.a.: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-8810-4.
  • Sharma, Arvind, ed. (1994). Today's woman in world religions. Albany: State Univ. of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-1687-9.
  • Saha, Santosh C., ed. (2001). Religious fundamentalism in developing countries (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31155-2.


  1. ^ Banerjee, Sumanta. Shrinking space: minority rights in South Asia. South Asia Forum for Human Rights, 1999. p. 171.
  2. ^ Prakash Louis (2000). The Emerging Hindutva Force: The Ascent of Hindu Nationalism. Indian Social Institute. p. 38. ISBN 9788187218319. The third head of RSS , Balasaheb Deoras was another Telugu Brahmin.
  3. ^ Braj Ranjan Mani (2005). Debrahmanising History: Dominance and Resistance in Indian Society. Manohar Publishers & Distributors. p. 248. ISBN 9788173046407. The third head of the RSS - after Hedgewar and Golwalkar – was Balasaheb Deoras, another Telugu brahman.
  4. ^ New Quest, Issues 25-30. the Indian Association for Cultural Freedom. 1981. p. 4. Nanaji Deshmukh, Moropant Pingle and the deoras brothers too, insist are deshastha brahmins
  5. ^ a b Klostermaier 2007, p. 446.
  6. ^ Jaffrelot 2007, p. 177.
  7. ^ "Unlearnt lessons of the Emergency". The Hindu. 13 June 2000. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  8. ^ Bhatt 2001, p. 166-167.
  9. ^ Hasan 1994, p. 201.
  10. ^ Malik & Singh 1994, p. 164.
  11. ^ Malik & Singh 1994, p. 157.
  12. ^ Ghimire, Yubaraj. "A Seamless Hindu Vision". Outlook. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  13. ^ Sharma 1994, p. 111.
  14. ^ Saha 2001, p. 94.