Singhal: Engineer turned Hindutva warrior

New Delhi: A metallurgy engineer, Ashok Singhal metamorphosed into a Hindutva warrior who as VHP chief played an adequate foil in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement when the BJP led the political campaign in the late eighties and later.

The 89-year-old right-wing firebrand leader dedicated his life for the Hindutva cause adopting an aggressive style and played a key role in mobilising support for the Ram Janambhoomi as well as the Ram Setu movements.

It was under his stewardship that the international branding of VHP was conceptualised for which he recruited supporters and established offices abroad. The VHP got immense contribution from outside India for its campaign.

Singhal was instrumental in the “kar sewak” campaign that led to the bringing down of the 16th century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

Born in Agra on October 2 in 1926, Singhal has a Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University Institute of Technology in 1950.

Having been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since 1942, he became a full-time pracharak after his graduation. He worked in various locations around Uttar Pradesh, becoming a prant pracharak for Delhi and Haryana.

In 1980, he was deputed to VHP and became its Joint General Secretary. In 1984, he became its General Secretary and later elevated to the post of its working President, a role in which he continued till December 2011.

Attached to the RSS he was inspired by its ideology throughout his life and was a prominent member of the Sangh Parivar.