“They alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive” – Swami Vivekananda
It is one of life’s greatest blessings to cross paths with a towering soul so early in life. Their life story is like an eternal light that sustains not only their timeless legacy but also inspires others to inculcate similar life values. He had lived many lives in his lifetime, Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, President Ma. P. Parameswaran Ji has left a lasting impact that will only reverberate with time. Shri P. Parameswaran Ji was a living embodiment of Swami Vivekananda’s precept that ‘service to man is the worship of God’. He was a modern-day saint, a visionary statesman, an intellectual giant and a figure who was accepted across ideologies, Shri P. Parameswaran Ji’s passing away, has saddened many people across the country.
Shri P. Parameswaran Ji was born on 1927 at Cherthalai in Alappuzha district of Kerala, He graduated from University College, Thiruvananthapuram in BA (Hons.) in History. His enormous love for Mother India took him to the arena of nation-building at the young age of 23, when he joined as a pracharak (full-time organizer) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. From 1957 onwards, he took various positions at Bharatiya Jana Sangh, first at the state level and then later at the national level. In 1968 he became All‑India General Secretary, and later he became Vice‑President of the Jan Sangh. He was among the leaders who were imprisoned during the Emergency in 1975-77. After the Emergency, he committed to the indomitable undertaking of institutionalizing the task of nation-building.
He became the Director of Deendayal Research Institute at New Delhi and remained there till 1982, then later he decided to return to his home state Kerala to give shape to a new organization, Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram. The Kendram which is headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram is aimed at national reconstruction through study and research and has many centres in the state. In 1995, Shri P. Parameswaran Ji headed the work of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, a spiritually oriented service mission guided by the national ideals of renunciation and service. The Vivekananda Kendra works in the field of education, culture, natural resources development, rural welfare and development, medical research among others across India, with special focus on Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland and Andaman Islands.
Shri P. Parameswaran Ji authored more than 20 books in his lifetime in Malayalam and English, on various social, cultural and religious themes. His most prominent books include ‘Sri Narayana Guru the Prophet of Renaissance’, ‘Bhagavad Gita– Vision of a New World Order’, and ‘Heart Beats of Hindu Nation’. He also authored many landmark papers such as ‘Marx and Vivekananda- A Comparative Study’, ‘ShriShankara and Islam’, ‘Hindutava and Other Ideologies’among others. As a journalist, he ceaselessly wrote for decades, particularly columns in Yuva Bharati, a journal of the Vivekananda Kendra, which was edited by him. His simple and lucid style of writing ensured that young minds absorbed many of the complicated concepts easily. He spoke not to win the approval of his audience, but to impart what he thought they should know.
Shri P. Parameswaran Ji worked tirelessly to put an end to the political violence in Kerala and outlined the idea of ‘ideological debate’ over ‘violence’. For his valuable contributions to the society in Literature & Education, the President of India awarded him the Padma Shri in 2004. Later, he received the second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2018. He has also been awarded Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for his book titled ‘Disa Bhotathinte Darshanam’. Shri P. Parameswaran Ji was a luminary and worked alongside Indian giants like Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Lal Krishan Advani.
His enormous legacy is also reflected in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s memorial to him that “Shri P Parameswaran Ji was a proud and dedicated son of Bharat Mata. His was a life devoted to India’s cultural awakening, spiritual regeneration and serving the poorest of the poor. Parameswaran Ji Ji’s thoughts were prolific and his writings were outstanding. He was indomitable! An institution builder, Parameswaran Ji nurtured eminent institutions such as the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, Vivekananda Kendra and others. I am fortunate to have interacted with him many times. He was a towering intellectual. Anguished by his demise. Om Shanti”
Shri P Parameswaran Ji, through his unpretentious and unassuming life, inspired thousands of young souls to dedicate themselves for selfless service of our great nation. Truly, he was a ‘Rashtra-Rishi’ who worked selflessly for our nation for decades, and his message will remain entrenched in our hearts forever.