Shankarrao Tatvavadi, convenor, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh: Immediately after the Vishwa Sangh Shiksha Varg, I went to Pune straight from Nasik and met Thengadiji on August 21. Although he was weak and frail, we had a comfortable discussion for about an hour. I never could think that it would be my last meeting with him. In the next 20 days he would have been 84-years old on the Lakshmi Pujan day, which is also the birthday of Lakshman Rao Bhide. In Thengadiji'sdemise, we have lost a stalwart, a senior Pracharak whom we all would look for guidance. We would have been very happy if we have his presence during Shri Guruji'scentenary.
Jitendra Kumar, senior vice president, Friends of India Society International, USA: The Friends of India Society International (FISI) and the people of Indian origin living in USA are shocked to learn about the death of Dattopant Thengadi. He helped us to form FISI to oppose the imposition of Emergency in India and attended our third international conference in New York in 1978. Once I gave him a copy of my article in which I did not agree with him on certain economic issues. Instead of ignoring my article, he encouraged me to further develop my thoughts. He was a leader of the masses and made the unique contribution of creating one of the very few non leftist trade unions in the world.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Canada: Dattopantji was a scholar, philosopher and visionary. He was a great orator and a learned author. In 1969, he visited Soviet Russia and Hungary as a member of the parliamentary delegation. He went to Switzerland as a delegate to ILO conference and also attended the Second International Anti-apartheid Conference at Geneva in 1977. In 1979, he was invited to Yugoslavia by the trade union there to study that country'slabour movement and also by the USA to study the American trade union movement. The same year he also visited Canada and Britain. In 1985, Thengadi led a BMS delegation to China on the invitation of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. He subsequently attended the Tenth Regional Conference of ILO at Jakarta, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. More recently he participated in the Fifth European Hindu Conference held at Frankfurt, Germany and World Vision 2000 in USA.
R Dwivedi, Greenbelt: An awe-inspiring towering personality, yet modest, deeply rooted in the past yet completely in tune with the modern times, very sensitive to the issues of national importance, a karmayogi, guide, philosopher, mentor and much more, Thengadiji made a difference with his monumental contribution.
Surendra Shah, Sah-Karyavah, HSS, UK: We are shocked at death of Thengadiji. We pray for his eternal peace and bliss.
Chunibhai Haria, East Africa Sanghchalak, BSS: Most of us had the fortune to personally meet Thengadiji and listen to him as he has done extensive pravas (tour) of US on more than one occasion and had guided us in Sangh Shiksha Varg also. A great thinker and a simple Swayamsevak, he will be greatly missed. He was a genius, thinker, visionary, ideologue and master organiser. It is difficult to find so many qualities centred in one person. Not only that he was most dedicated to ideal and was a tireless worker for such a long period as 63 years. All shakhas in East Africa paid tributes and observed silence for a minute.
Dr Shiva Subramanya, USA: I am deeply saddened at the passing away of Dattopantji. Just last week Ashokji and some of us were talking about him. We and Sangh workers in the USA will miss this great person in our life.
Naresh Bharatiya, writer and journalist, UK: Dattopantji will be remembered for his great contribution to the welfare of society, especially his commitment to the cause of labour and peasants. For his age of 84, Thengadiji looked well, active and always on the go as a committed worker with a very high leadership calibre. The best tribute to this great man would be to understand and follow the principles he stood for all his life, which he dedicated to the nation without any wish for reward or recognition in return.