The senior RSS Pracharak, ideologue and founder of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), and many other organisations, Dattopant Bapurao Thengadi, passed away on October 14 at Deendayal Hospital in Pune. He was 83.
Shri Thengadi had undergone a minor surgery a month ago and was convalescing at Pune. On October 14 he had a fall in the bathroom and was rushed to the hospital where he breathed his last at 4.30 p.m. His last rites were performed in Pune on 15 October. It was attended by former Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, former Deputy PM Shri L.K. Advani, RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan, Sarkaryavah Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Sahsarkaryavah Shri Madan Das and a large number of prominent personalities from all walks of life.
At a condolence meeting, organised at Keshav Kunj in Delhi, thousands of people belonging to different social and political organisations paid their tributes to Thengadiji.
Shri H.V. Seshadri, Akhil Bharatiya Pracharak Pramukh
Param Adaraniya Shri Dattopant Thengadiji is no more. From India, nay, from the world horizon a great philosopher-star has set. Not only in the labour field but in the area of Swadeshi and agriculture as well his basic thoughts are now being widely accepted.
Most importantly, he was a living example of the Sangh principles for the Swayamsevaks working in various fields, especially for the Pracharaks. He was loving and friendly to all, big and small. Likewise, he had a free and easy relationship with leaders from different ideologies?from the communists to the Ambedkarites.
From the time of Dr Hedgewar to this moment he has been a constant link of inspiration. When I was the Sarkaryavah, his words of guidance from time to time were invaluable to me. Like a bright lighthouse, till the last breath he shone intellectually even when he was physically very weak.
As a matter of fact, great thinkers like Thengadiji, though not present in their mortal form, with the spell of their thoughts and character will continue to shine far and wide.
Today I, along with thousands of Swayamsevaks, offer my tearful homage to the most loving guide.
Om Prakash Verma (vice president, NFITU)
I feel very sorry to hear about the sad demise of Thengadiji. He has worked a lot for the welfare of labour class. The way he organised labourers very honestly and sincerely can be done by very few people. The biggest thing I realise about his contribution to the labour movement is that he was the person who did not allow politics to be mingled with labour movement. Though, in the beginning, the BMS was alleged to be the labour wing of BJP, he proved it wrong. The BMS works purely for working class and he proved it by his work and conduct. He did not have double standards. Today there are very few people who are honest to the working class and it was he who kept the movement alive.
Dr M.K. Pandhe (president, CITU)
Thengadiji was a great friend of mine. He visited my house and came a number of times for dinner in Delhi. He also met me frequently during the Emergency. He was instrumental in involving the BMS in the National Campaign Committee formed in 1980. From 1977 onwards he played a major role in uniting the trade unions. We were very close to him because he was opposed to the World Bank and IMF dictates. He was critical of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation. He also wrote books on WTO?Moro, Toro, Chhoro. He was taking up many issues of the people. He had good relations with us despite our ideological differences. Due to that special quality of Thengadi, I personally remember him. I used to meet him periodically and discuss various issues concerning labour movement and political developments very frankly. It is not a loss to the BMS alone, but a loss to the general labour movement.
We also visualise some sort of countrywide movement against the entry of multinational companies into India. This was his positive approach. That is why we had very good relations with him. It is a loss to the trade union movement as a whole.
A.B. Bardhan (general secretary, CPI)
I was personally acquainted with him in Nagpur. I feel sad with his passing away. It is a loss for the labour movement.
Umraomal Purohit (general secretary, Hind Mazdoor Sabha)
It is a great shock for us. In his demise India has lost a great nationalist and a leader of the working class movement who always promoted workers? interests within the framework of national interest. He was an upright, hardworking and a committed leader who undertook many struggles and made many sacrifices for improving the conditions of the workers. HMS expresses its heartfelt condolences on behalf of the colleagues in the BMS and prays for peace to the departed soul. We in HMS know that we can pay homage to the departed leader by continuing to work for labour solidarity and promotion of workers? rights, livelihood, social security and development of India and our people.
Sanjiva Reddy (president, INTUC)
He was a great man, philosopher and guide in the labour movement. He was also a pro-Gandhian always looking after the working people and the country. We are fortunate to work with him when he was working with the NDUC. He was always concerned about the working class movement. He wanted the working class movement to be Indianised. We had great respect for him. We, in fact, wanted to discuss the future policies and programmes about the trade movement of the country.
Achint Sinha [UTUC (LF)]
I was not personally known to him. We have heared of him very well from his followers. I simply know that he was a dedicated worker for the cause of the trade union movement. We remember his call for uniting the trade union movement. We had respect for him.
Abani Roy (secretary, UTUC)
We were colleagues as we were working for the cause of the working class. He fought for the workers. He was very dedicated. It is a loss for BMS but a great loss for the labour movement.
Gurdas Dasgupta (general secretary, AITUC)
We respect Thangadiji as one of the persons who fought for the working class of India. He was a dedicated trade union leader.
Hashubhai Dave (president, BMS)
With the sad demise of D.B. Thengadi, we have lost a great philosopher, thinker, pioneer and architect of social and trade union movement. A great leader of our time, he was like a father figure among all of us who attained the status of Bhishpitamaha for the entire trade union movement. It is unbearable national loss. He always stressed on Swadeshi. His life was a practical example of it. His nature and living standard were quite simple. His behavour and the way of working had great influence of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. He practically imbibed the ekatma manavad philosophy in his life.
Udairao Patwardhan (General secretary, BMS)
It is a cruel shock of fate that this giant philosopher, thinker, organsier, orator, economist and a true son of Bhartmata, has been snatched away from us.
Muralidhar Rao (Swadeshi Jagaran Manch)
His death is a colossal loss to the nationalist forces. Thengadiji worked for the poor and downtrodden till his last breath. He was the main guiding force behind the massive movement against exploitative and imperialist world trade regime and forces of globalisation.
Rajkumar Bhatia (ABVP)
In the death of Thengadiji, the RSS has lost its ablest Swayamsevak. Only time will tell if anybody else can surpass in making as much contribution as he made to the Sangh srishti. He not only served the cause intellectually but also as a master organiser, able leader and a flawless Swayamsevak. He belonged to the category of rishis of our ancient land.
Dr Dhanakar Thakur former national vice president, NMO
There have been so many thinkers and organisers in the country, rarely any of them had the unique personality like Thengadiji. He attended several meetings of NMO and guided the workers. He was a manishi who was regarded by all.
Nityanand Swami (former chief minister of Uttaranchal)
It is a great loss for all of us. I have had close association with him for more than three decades. It was Thengadiji'sresolve that until all labourers got sufficient food, he would take simple food of chapati and dal. He was an example of sacrifice and dedication.
Pramilatai Medhe (Pramukh Karyavahika, Rashtra Sevika Samiti)
I know Thengadiji since my childhood. He lived the life of a rishi. I feel I have lost my elder brother. He had great affection for the work of Rashtra Sevika Samiti.
Acharya Giriraj Kishore (senior vice president, VHP)
Thengadiji was the pioneer of the Hindu Jagaran Manch and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch. His loss cannot be fulfilled.
Sunder Singh Bhandari (former governor, Gujarat)
He was one of the first Swayamsevaks who led the organisation in various fields. He was in Rajya Sabha and his main focus was on labour issues and there he made a mark.
Satyanarayan Bansal (Delhi Prant Sanghchalak)
He was one of the Swayamsevaks who got an opportunity to work and see all the Sarsanghachalaks. His personality cannot be explained in words.
Pyarelal Khandelwal (BJP leader)
The country has lost a multifarious personality. It is difficult to fill the void.
Kedarnath Sahani (former governor, Sikkim)
He was a legend who lived his life in the service of the nation. He was an inspiration for all those who came in contact with him. Very renowned and learned man, he was an original thinker and orator.
J.P. Mathur (veteran BJP leader)
He was an excellent organiser. He made the BMS a strong force almost single-handed in a very short span.
Dr Harshvardhan (President, Delhi BJP)
Its not the loss only for RSS but for the whole world as he was among world class thinkers.
Prof. Jagdish Mukhi (leader of Opposition, Delhi Assembly)
After reading his article or book we feel that we have found a treasure.