Satpal Maharaj is an Indian spiritual leader and politician. He is a national executive member within the BJP and holds the role of Tourism, Cultural, and Irrigation Minister in the Uttarakhand state government. He is also the founder of the Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti.
Satpal Maharaj, also known as Satpal Singh Rawat, was born on Friday, 21 September 1951 (age 72 years; as of 2023) in the town of Kankhal in Haridwar district, Uttar Pradesh (now in Uttarakhand). His zodiac sign is Virgo. From a young age, he displayed a keen interest in spirituality and regularly engaged in deep meditation practices. For his formal education, Satpal attended St. George’s College in Mussoorie.
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Satpal was the eldest child of Hans Rām Singh Rawat (also known as Yogiraj Paramsant Shri Hans Maharaj), a spiritual leader, and his second wife, Rajeshwari Devi. He has a sister named Savitari and four brothers named Mahi Pal, Dharam Pal, Bhole Rawat, Rajaji Rawat, and Prem Rawat. His siblings Bhole Rawat, and Prem Rawat are also spiritual leaders.
Wife & Children
Satpal Maharaj and Amrita Rawat, who is also involved in politics and spirituality, tied the knot on 8 February 1981. The couple have two sons, Shraddhey, and Suyash. The older son, Shraddhey, also known as Shri Vibhu, wedded Aradhya, the daughter of Thakur Shri Virender Singh, a politician and Member of Parliament, on 23 October 2012. The couple has a son. Suyash, Satpal’s younger son, is a businessman. He had a royal wedding ceremony with television actress and Rewa princess Mohena Singh in Haridwar, Uttrakhand, on 14 October 2019. Suyash and Mohena became parents to a baby boy on 15 April 2022.
Navlata Rawat also known as Navi Rawat is Satpal’s niece and daughter of Rajaji Rawat and Claudia, née Littmann, the daughter of the President of Police of Frankfurt, Gerhard Littmann. She is an American Television actress popular for her portrayal of the roles as Theresa Diaz on the drama series The O.C. and Amita Ramanujan on the Numb3rs.
H. No. 45, Vill Sediagad, P.O. Sediakhal, Teh. Chaubattakhal,Distt Pauri Garhwal 246169
After the passing of his father in 1966, Satpal Maharaj took on the responsibility of sharing spiritual wisdom with the global community. From a young age, he started addressing sizable gatherings of his followers, delivering spiritual discourses. At the core of his teachings is the message that “God transcends religious labels like Hindu, Muslim, or Christian. Instead, God is singular and universal, akin to a common father for all.”
Social Welfare Initiatives and Spiritual Engagements
Acknowledgement as a Social Figure
He indulged in social activism from a very young age. He has established numerous non-profits and introduced crucial services to backward and remote regions, often inaccessible to government aid due to their remote locations. During his teenage years, he became acquainted with the challenges faced by inhabitants of remote mountainous areas in then-Uttar Pradesh. He actively engaged with and supported the residents’ call for the creation of a distinct state, Uttarakhand.
Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti
In 1975, he established a socio-spiritual organization Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti, which is headquartered in New Delhi. The organisation also aims to teach methods of meditation known as “Knowledge.” The Society is committed to elevating the lower strata of society through cultural refinement and fostering a sense of unity by offering them spiritual guidance. The organization advocates for the rights of marginalized communities and stands against injustices perpetrated on lower castes. It strongly opposes any discrimination barring their access to places of worship. Communal meals and communal living are commonly practised under this organisation where people participate together.
Foot March Initiatives (Padyatras)
Satpal Maharaj has led numerous foot marches (padayatras) to address various social issues and promote awareness and harmony, both within and outside India. His efforts align with the vision of constructing a more improved, healthful, and content society. Some of his notable endeavours include:
- Bharat Jago Padyatra (Wake Up India Foot March) – This foot march successfully navigated mountainous terrain, passing through 500 villages. During this journey, Maharaj Ji spoke with more than 300,000 individuals, participated in conversations and attentively listened to their concerns. They also provided help, such as medicines and blankets, to the underprivileged and those in need. They also started a campaign to restore the polluted Ganges River during this march.
- Jan Jagran Padyatra (Awaken The People Foot March) – The objective behind this foot march was to inspire the younger generation to help in the development of the mountainous region. It also aimed to urge the government to acknowledge and solve the problems faced by people in these hilly areas. Additionally, the initiative played an important role in helping to include the Nepali language as an official language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India.
- Janata Jage Padyatra (People Awake Foot March) – The foot march occurred in Bihar, a state facing issues with poverty and violence. Its purpose was to remind people about the important principles of peace and unity as in the teachings of Buddha and Mahavir Swami. The main objective of this padayatra was to help the masses, particularly the youth, understand the importance of maintaining law and order for economic and social development.
- Gandhi Yatra (A Car Rally Dedicated to Non-Violence) – In order to bring back interest in the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and promote harmony among various religious communities, Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj led the Gandhi-Yatra. This initiative transitioned into a car rally, with the participation of 350 cars. They began the journey from the place where Saint Kabir was buried. There is a temple and a mosque together at the burial site symbolizing unity.
- Shrandhanjali Padyatra (Tribute Foot March) – This march was conducted to remember and honour the memory of the people who lost their lives while participating in peaceful protests for the establishment of a separate state of Uttarakhand. When Satpal Maharaj was the Minister of State for Railways in the Devegowda Government, he presented a proposal to the Prime Minister to grant statehood to Uttarakhand, which was granted and officially announced during the Independence Day celebrations on 15 August 1996. This march then became a symbol of the efforts made towards making Uttarakhand a distinct state and a way to show respect for the sacrifices made by people dedicated towards this cause.
- Sadbhawana Padyatra (Goodwill Foot March) – The main objective of this march was to bring Hindus and Muslims together peacefully after the devastating violence that occurred in Gujarat. It went on for 22 days and covered 350 kilometres. People from various religious backgrounds participated in this padyatra.
- Gandhi Rainbow Peace March – The march began where Mahatma Gandhi was forced to step off a train as the carriage was only meant for the white people. It ended at Durban’s City Hall, where the Mayor welcomed the participants. During this event, Shri Maharaj Ji gave a sculpture of a young Gandhi as a lawyer to the Deputy Mayor of Pietermaritzburg. The sculpture was intended to be placed at the railway station, honouring Gandhi’s journey and his important role in history.
Satpal Maharaj started his political career in 1989 by joining the Indian National Congress (INC) party. The same year he contested Lok Sabha elections from Pauri Garhwal and lost against Chandra Mohan. He became a Member of the Executive Committee, P.C.C.(I), Uttar Pradesh from March 1991 to September 1994. During his time in office as a Union Minister and Minister of Railways for the State of Uttar Pradesh (now Uttarakhand) in 1996, Satpal Maharaj inaugurated the project involving a tunnel rail initiative. This project gained approval and budget allocation from the government and was the longest tunnel rail undertaking in India. It contributed significantly towards both national security and the livelihoods of Uttarakhand’s residents. He was Union Minister of State Finance from June 1997 to March 1998. He was also made a Member of the Implementation Committee for Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence, where he served till 1998. Following which, he again contested for Lok Sabha elections and lost against Retired Major General Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri. In 1999, he once again lost to Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri from Pauri Garhwal. He then served as a member of AICC, Uttarakhand. In 2000, he was made the president of the Human Rights Department, Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee. Satpal Maharaj also served as secretary in the All India Congress Committee from 2002-2004 and Vice-Chairman in the 20-Point Programme Implementation Department Government of Uttarakhand from February 2003 till March 2007. In 2004, he again contested for Lok Sabha elections from Pauri Garhwal and lost. In 2008, he was made the AICC Co-ordinator to Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh while also contesting in byelections from Pauri Garhwal. In 2009, He was re-elected to the 15th Lok Sabha (2nd term) from the Garhwal constituency. He defeated Retired Lieutenant General Tejpal Singh Rawat of the Congress Party. On 5 May 2010, he was appointed as a Member of the Committee on Public Accounts and a Member of the General Purposes Committee on 19 October 2010. Satpal Maharaj was also the head of the 20-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. Later he became a Member of the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Railways. Satpal Maharaj also introduced a private member bill in the Lok Sabha for adding Garhwali and Kumauni languages in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution in 2011. He ended his journey with the Congress Party on 21 March 2014 and joined the BJP while also resigning from the 15th Lok Sabha on 05 April 2014. After joining the BJP in 2014, Maharaj accused the Congress of categorizing individuals based on religious identities such as Hindu and Muslim, and failing to appreciate or show regard for their dedicated party members. In an interview he said,
I was told in Congress that I am a Hindu face. You must have seen that Harish Rawat was made the minister at the Centre, then chief minister after Vijay Bahuguna was removed…he was also made state party president. You gave him everything. What about the other leaders.” Financial Express
In 2017, Satpal was elected as MLA in the Uttarakhand Assembly Election from the Chaubattakhal constituency by defeating Rajpal Singh Bisht. Since then he has been serving as the Minister of Tourism, Irrigation, and Culture for the Uttrakhand State Government.
Other Social Work
Satpal Maharaj, along with his sons Shradhey Maharaj and Suyash, has been actively engaged in various philanthropic endeavours for the betterment of society. One notable initiative they organised is The Mission Education program. This program aims to address the issue of underprivileged children discontinuing their education due to a lack of essential stationery. The initiative involves a unique approach where recurring stationery supplies are provided to these children, preventing them from dropping out of school. Under the guidance of Satpal Maharaj and his sons, The Mission Education program has successfully developed a model that encourages more fortunate students to contribute to the cause by donating excess stationery items. The program emphasizes the collection of supplies from well-off institutions, raising awareness about the initiative, and assembling kits of necessary items. These kits are then distributed to underprivileged schools. In May 2019, The Mission Education program achieved a significant milestone by securing a Guinness World Record for being the fastest and largest system for donating stationery globally. This initiative also operates on an international scale.
Assets and Properties
- Cash – Rs 1,82,000
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions, and Non-Banking Financial Companies – Rs 3,93,26,578
- Bonds, Debentures, and Shares in companies – Rs 1,80,955
- LIC or other insurance Policies – Rs 2,28,051
- Jewellery – Rs 20,99,730
- Other assets – Rs 2,55,200
- Agricultural Land – Rs 19,06,43,195
- Residential Buildings – Rs 7,85,00,000
- On October 17, 2011, he gave a speech during the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. The speech focused on the subject of Sport for Peace and Development. Subsequently, on 19 October 2011, he represented India’s statement during the First Committee Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons at the same 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
- On World Tourism Day in 2022, under the leadership of State Tourism and Culture Minister Satpat Maharaj, the state of Uttarakhand received the first prize in two categories, for the best adventure tourism destination and all-around development of tourism from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Hotelier India