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Proud Panchur jives to beats of dhol

Yogi Adityanath’s father, Anand Singh Bisht, and his mother, Savitri Devi, at Panchur in Pauri district of Uttarakhand on Sunday.

Yogi Adityanath’s father, Anand Singh Bisht, and his mother, Savitri Devi, at Panchur in Pauri district of Uttarakhand on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Virender Singh Negi

In his village in the Garhwal Hills, Adityanath is associated with education and progress

In the picturesque Garhwal Hills, 95 kilometres from Dehradun, a short walk from the nearest motorable road leads to Panchur, a sleepy village from where hails the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Ajay Singh Bisht, popularly known as Yogi Adityanath.

Throughout Sunday, Adityanath’s teary-eyed mother, proud father and brothers spent most of the time receiving hundreds of friends and relatives visiting to congratulate the family.

As crowds shouted Har har Yogi, ghar ghar Yogi, drummers played the dhol. The village in Pauri district of Uttarakhand came alive as people celebrated with fervour. For Adityanath’s family, it was a moment “beyond imagination”.

“We have not been able to congratulate Mahantji yet... We have been trying to call him, but his phone is switched off,” Adityanath’s younger brother Mahendra Bisht said on Sunday evening.

In 1994, 22-year-old Ajay became Yogi Adityanath when Mahant Avaidyanath, a native of Kandi village, three kilometres from Panchur, and the then head of the powerful Gorakhnath Peeth in Gorakhpur, chose him as his successor.

From then on, for his family and relatives too, Ajay became Mahantji.

However, even as Adityanath’s stature has risen in the past years, his typical Garhwali family here lives a life of simplicity.

The family members say Adityanath’s image as a Hindu hardliner is in stark contrast to the personality he had when he lived in the village as a young man. His father, Anand Singh Bisht, 85, attributed his present image to the time he spent with Mahant Avaidyanath.

Contribution as MP

For the villagers, however, Adityanath is synonymous with “progress”. “Being a postgraduate in Mathematics, he believes that education is the building block towards progress… When he first became an MP in 1998, he got a degree college built in the village,” Surendra Singh Rawat from the village, said.

Adityanath’s recent visit to the house was in February.

His sister-in-law Asha Devi said: “Whenever Mahantji comes home, his father sits with him and tells him to keep calm. His father tells him to keep certain things in his heart and not be too vocal about everything he feels.”

Adityanath has been at the centre of several controversies. His father said he was “aware of the flak Mahantji draws”.

“I do try to tell Adityanath to keep a check on his speeches, but he follows his own mind,” he said. “I hope that he follows the BJP’s agenda of Sabka saath, sabka vikas. This is also my advice to him that he should follow the BJP’s agenda, which is inclusive of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, the rich and the poor.”

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 6:41:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/proud-panchur-jives-to-beats-of-dhol/article17533348.ece

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