Dr. Joshi was born on January 5, 1934. Dr. Joshi had his early education at Hindu High School, Chandpur and completed his higher education from Meerut College and Allahabad University where he was inspired by some of his teachers who used to encourage students for supporting freedom movement.
Tilak's Gita Rahasya had a tremendous influence on him. Great RSS leaders like Guruji Golwalkar, Deendayal Upadhyaya and Prof. Rajendra Singh played a major role in shaping the young Murli Manohar's political thinking. Specialising in Spectroscopy, he was awarded Ph.D by the Allahabad University. Writings of Vivekananda and Aurobindo had a strong influence on his ideology. Even during his over four decades of political career, Dr. Joshi pursued his academic life at Allahabad University. He inspired and guided scores of students to take up science research before he retired as Professor and Head of the Physics Department. Dr. Joshi had charge of three ministries as India's Minister for Human Resources Development, Science & Technology and Ocean Development. This was his second stint as a Cabinet Minister. Earlier in the first Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government in 1996, he was the Union Home Minister.
Accomplishments - As Crusader
Dr. Joshi is a strong advocate of a modern, strong and vibrant India. Since early days he has been advocating India becoming a nuclear power. He championed the cause of the downtrodden and was arrested several times as Jan Sangh leader, mobilising public opinion and leading agitations.
On the defeat of Emergency Raj in 1977, Dr. Joshi was elected to the Lok Sabha, and became the General Secretary of the Janata Party in Parliament. Dr. Joshi was in the Rajya Sabha between 1992-96, when he was a Member of important committees like Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, Committee on Public Undertakings, Select Committee on Patent Law and Select Committee on Trade Marks Bill, Member Standing Committee on Finance, Consultative Committee on Defence and Expert Committee on Low Productivity Areas, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation and as Chairperson of Public Accounts Committee at the Conference of PACs of SAARC countries.
Dr. Joshi's commitment to Swadeshi and his deep understanding of economics and WTO issues gave a refreshing dimension to India's approach to the Patents regime. He along with leaders of other non-Congress parties organised the Forum of Parliamentarians on TRIPPS and GATT issues. As its convener, Dr. Joshi closely interacted with Shri Chandrashekar, Shri George Fernandes, Shri Ashok Mitra, Shri Gurudas Dasgupta, Shri Inderjit Gupta, Shri Jaipal Reddy, Shri Rabi Ray and others. This movement largely helped the country in designing its approach to WTO, and also in educating the Indian public on meeting the challenges from the developed world. Dr. Joshi chaired the International Conference on TRIPPS in New Delhi in 1996, where the voice of the developing nations was given shape and thunder.
The Ministries that work
The same conviction guided his actions as the Union Minister for HRD, Science & Technology. For the first time, these departments underwent a paradigm shift in their attitude and direction. Dr. Joshi faithfully translated Prime Minister Vajpayee's emphasis on Jai Vigyan into a concrete action plan. A time bound methodology to make science a popular movement and a political agenda was taken up ever since he became Minister.
Similarly in HRD a number of path breaking initiatives, like free education to every girl child up to graduation, introduction of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Education as a Fundamental Right and Nutrition Mission, popular movement on Sanskrit education, modernisation and computerisation of Madrasas, manifold increase in the allocation for Urdu study, raising the number of scholarships and fellowships in artistic pursuits and updating and modernising curricula.
Both in HRD and Science & Technology Dr. Joshi introduced many schemes for the benefit of various sections of the society. He introduced India Innovation Fund, Shyama Prasad Fellowships, Stree Shakti Puraskar, special awards and fellowships for women scientists. The National Children Fund was a very significant scheme. Kishore Vaijyanik Yojana is another.
For the first time the absolute number of illiterate came down under 30 million. Under his leadership the literacy level in the country increased to 65 percent. And a scheme to achieve total literacy by the next decade was put underway.
Marine Archaeological findings in the Gulf of Cambay was another major development of this period. In the area of biotechnology significant strides included that of Human Genetics and Genome Analysis. Jai Vigyan National Science & Technology Missions were also introduced during this time. Special incentives under the Science & Technology were initiated to promote indigenous research and technology. Creating Indian Technology leadership to meet the challenge of the new millennium was a mission with Dr. Joshi. India's traditional health care system, Ayurveda received special attention from Dr. Joshi.
In fact, under his leadership many steps were taken to give special care to women, minorities and weaker sections. Minority education received impetus through modernisation and computerisation of Madrasas and programmes geared towards female enrolment in school. To speed up the literacy campaign innovative proposals were sanctioned. The Constitution Amendment to make Education a Fundamental Right of every child was a step in this direction.
Dr. Joshi was the Chairman of the IT Task Force constituted by the Prime Minister. In pursuance of this 11 Regional Engineering Colleges were upgraded into National Institute of Technology by more than doubling the IT intake.
In Politics - For Consensus
As in politics, Dr. Joshi played the harmonising role in the field of culture too, when it was part of his ministry during 1998-2000. He picked up the symphony of our rich cultural heritage by getting the nation to celebrate the life and teachings of Buddha, Mahavir, Kabir, Khalsa Panth, Rama Krishna Mission, Sant Jnaneshwar, Chatrapati Shivaji, Mahatma Gandhi, Ghalib, Shrimant Shankar Dev, Firaq and Maharishi Aurobindo as major national events.
For a philosopher politician Dr. Joshi's greatest asset is his sterling character and clean image. The heights that he climbed have not made him lose his common touch. It has not a bit changed his life style. He leads a fulfilled family life with his wife Tarla and two daughters Priyamvada and Nivedita.
He is widely acclaimed as the Scholar Politician as also a practicing scientist as a political campaigner. Perhaps his encounter with science began as part of a large social mission. To make science an education stimuli, to refashion the tools of literacy drive, above all a medium to lift the living standards of our people.
It was his rare organisational skill and scholarly oratory that ensured him his place as a top rung politician. He is equally fluent in Hindi and English with a good knowledge of many other languages like Sanskrit, Urdu, Bangla, Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarati. A regular contributor in many research journals of international repute Dr. Joshi has also authored two books - Vikalp (The Alternative) and Pragya Pravah (The Continuing Wisdom).
Dr. Joshi is a man of the masses and it is equally true that he has come through the mill. He joined RSS in 1944, at the age of 10, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in 1949 and Bharatiya Jan Sangh in 1957. He offered Satyagraha and got arrested while protesting the ban on RSS in 1948. In early fifties, he was All India General Secretary in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
He was General-Secretary, University Teachers' Association, Allahabad 1971-73; President, University Teachers' Association, Allahabad, 1987-90; He established (i) Vaichariki (group of thinkers), an inter-disciplinary academic group, Allahabad; and (ii) Gyan Kalyan Charitable Trust; Trustee (i) Bhau Rao Deoras Nyas; (ii) Madhav Shodh Sansthan; and (iii) Uttranchal Vikas Committee; Life Member, Allahabad Education Society.
He has held several party positions. He was Organising Secretary, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (B.J.S.), Allahabad, Zonal Organising Secretary, B.J.S., Uttar Pradesh, Secretary, B.J.S., Uttar Pradesh, Treasurer, B.J.S., Uttar Pradesh and Vice-President, B.J.S., Uttar Pradesh (prior to its merger in Janata Party). As the General Secretary of the BJP in the eighties, Dr. Joshi was largely responsible for formulating the BJP's economic policy, as enshrined in the Swadeshi Agenda, which the party adopted at its Gandhinagar session in 1987. He was the party's All India Treasurer between 1981 and 1983.
As the All India President of the BJP (1991-93), Dr. Joshi led the historic Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, to unfurl the National Flag at Lal Chowk on the Republic Day, 1992. In many ways this along with the Ayodhya movement redefined the course of Indian politics in the nineties. Dr. Joshi played an active role in the Ayodhya movement (For the construction of Ram Mandir at the Ram Janmasthan). He was arrested on 8th December 1992 and detained at Mata Tila, UP along with Shri L.K. Advani and Shri Ashok Singhal in connection with the Ayodhya incidents. The same led to a second arrest in December 1993 when he was detained at Pipri, UP.
This was not Dr. Joshi's maiden experience in prison life. He underwent 19 months of MISA detention when Indira Gandhi clamped Emergency on the nation on 26th June 1975.
Allahabad was the cradle of his political life as also the city of his destiny. For over four decades he has been working in Allahabad. He was successively elected to Lok Sabha thrice from 1996 a record in itself, from Allahabad.
His Lok Sabha Constituency
The ancient city of Allahabad also boasts of the most modern IIIT, one of the two under the GoI. This and other modern institutions like K.S. Krishnan Institute for Geo-magnetic Studies were established by the efforts of Dr. Joshi. He helped in establishing (1) Science City (2) Indo-Russian Centre of Bio-Informatics (3) FM Channel Radio Station for Education (4) Rajarshi Tandon Open University at Allahabad. The peaceful and successful conduct of the first Kumbh Mela of the century at Prayag was another major achievement. He took up many other developmental activities in his constituency, including the construction of the long pending bridge over Yamuna which have remarkably changed the face of the historic city of Allahabad. Development and fight against corruption were the most important planks of Dr. Joshi's political action. He demonstrated this in ample measure as Member of Parliament, Standing Committee on Finance (1996-97) and as Chairman, Public Accounts Committee.
On the World Fora
He was been elected as Honorary Academician on Section Ecology by International Academy of Ecology, Man and Nature Protection Sciences, Russian Federation. He was elected fellow of Russian National Academy of Natural Sciences in 2001. He is the First Indian to be elected to this Academy which has 24 Noble Laurates as its members. Dr. Joshi was conferred the Degree of D.Sc. (Honoris Causa) by the Universities of Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Banaras and Kurushetra. He was honoured with the Degree of Mahamahopadhyay by the Tirupati Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (Deemed University) and Vidya Vachapati by Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vidyapeetha. Dr. Joshi was honoured by the National Academy of Science, Allahabad (India) as an external fellow. The Indian Science Congress conferred on him the Jawaharlal Nehru Award in 1999.
He was awarded "Friendship Medal" by the President of Mangolia in July, 2002 in recognition of his contribution towards development of relationship between India and Mongolia.
Dr. Joshi is a proponent of Self Reliant Development Model and the great cultural heritage of India. An advocate for nuclear India, an acclaimed Parliamentarian, an acknowledged academician and crusader for social justice and human rights. He has addressed several conferences on Self Reliant Development Model throughout the country.
He participated in Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Conference in 1977; delivered lecture on Science and Religion in Frankfurt, Germany, 1991; the European Hindu Conference held at Frankfurt, Germany, 1991; Conference on World Hindu in Washington, and International Youth Conference held at Chicago 1993 to mark the 100th Anniversary of Swami Vivekanand's Address to the Parliament of Religions; International Seminar on Science and Religion held at Washington in 1993; Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh Conference at Varansai in 1993; Hindu Conference in Durban, South Africa in 1995; also delivered lecture on Physics and Indian Philosophy in Durban 1995. An advocate of sublime Indian values and ancient scientific knowledge; and protagonist of holistic view of science and philosophy; Dr Joshi addressed the International Governmental Conference on Cultural Policies for development at Stockholm, 1988; Second Parliament of Science, Religion and Philosophy (World Philosopher Meet on Science, Spirituality & Development), Geneva, 1988; 8th Bose - Einstein Lecture on Science, Technology and Environment in 1998; UNESCO Conference, Paris and World Conference on Science, Budapest; gave lectures on Sustainable Consumption at Bonn University, Germany; St. Petersburg University 2000 and Brazil Academy of Science, Rio-de-jenerio in 2000-2001; led Indian delegation to G-77 Conference in Cuba 2001; UN Conference on Women at UNO; UN Summit on Children, New York 2002. He spoke at the Commonwealth Science Council ministerial gathering in Limpopo Province, South Africa 2002.
Dr. Ben Ngubaance, the present chairperson of Commonwealth Science Council and also the Cabinet Minister of Culture, Arts, Science and Technology in South Africa described his address as "landmark", giving a completely new vision on South-South cooperation and creating "a new paradigm" in development. He said that this address should be read by all the members of the Commonwealth and that he was going to distribute it throughout all the ministries in South Africa.
For Dr. Joshi politics is not a goal in itself. It is a mission. It is a means to serve. It is an instrument of change and vitality -- to make India self-reliant, strong and a proud world leader.
Today, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has come to epitomize the resurgent India's yearning for self-assertion. He is an ardent advocate of a non-exploitive, egalitarian world order. One is struck by the basic continuity and consistency of Dr. Joshi's approach to politics and to life over the past half century. It is inspired by the desire to wipe a tear from every eye and bring a smile on every face. His deep commitment to the Indian values only makes him more concerned for the weak and deprived. He has stood for combining effective leadership with broad participation to achieve a radical transformation or society. This astute blend of charisma and clear sense of history has made Joshi a darling of the masses.
Supervised the Following Research Schemes:
1. Acoustical Behaviours of Solids at Elevated Temperature (CSIR, New Delhi).
2. Transport properties of Solids (CSIR).
3. Investigations in Instrumental Optics with Special Reference to Grating Optics (CSIR).
4. Spectroscopic Investigations of Molecules of astrophysical Importance (CST U.P.).
5. Two individual fellowships of CSIR, New Delhi.
6. One individual Fellowship of Atomic Energy Establishment.
7. One individual Fellowship of UGC, New Delhi.
8. 'Scientific Perceptions of Ancient Indian Genius' A project sponsored by Deen Dayal Research Institute, New Delhi.
9. Two individual (NET, UGC) Fellowship.
10. One individual (NET, CSIR), Fellowship.
11. One individual (RA, CSIR) Fellowship.
12. Expert Adviser - One Young Scientist Scheme (DST).
MEMBERSHIP OF SCIENTIFIC, PARLIAMENTARY AND ACADEMIC BODIES:
(i) Chairman Physics Committee in U.P. State Council of Science & Technology 1978.
(ii) Member of the High Powered Committee (Justice Sikri Committee) for investigating into Railway accidents and suggesting measures for safety (1978-80).
(iii) Member of the UGC panel on "The Role of Teachers in the Changing Educational Pattern" (1977-79).
(iv) Member of the Consultative Committee on Science and Technology, Atomic Energy, Space and Electronics (1977-79).
(v) Member Governing Council of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (1977-79).
(vi) Member of the Court of Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi (1977-79).
(vii) Member of UP Education Committee a high powered Committee of UP Government on Developing Education (1968).
(viii) Member UP Board of Education Committee of Courses in Physics (1971-75).
(ix) Member of the Technical Committee AIR for UP (1974-76).
(x) Member, Governing Board of IISc, Bangalore (1977-79).