By Raj Kumar Bhatia
In my view the RSS'scontribu-tion to the national life of India is not its flawless ideology but its huge and vast organisation of selfless and dedicated workers who stand by its ideology and surpass each other in offering their best to the glory of the motherland. As its name itself suggests, the organisation is a federation of nationally conscious Swayam-sevaks, i.e. self-motivated workers. The uniqueness of RSS lies in creating, identifying and bringing together such workers in large numbers. Perhaps the RSS is the largest and the strongest NGO, not only of the country, but also of the world. Dattopant Thengadi was one of the topmost members of this largest NGO.
In RSS, a Swayamsevak makes his best offering by being (i) an able organiser, (ii) a good leader and (iii) a sound intellectual. Often a Swayam-sevak is found to possess one or the other of these qualities. Very few possess more than one quality and very, very few possess all the three. Thengadi belonged to the latter category and topped the list. He was an intellectual giant, a master organiser and a unique leader.
For a person in public life it becomes difficult to make comparison between great personalities. Nevertheless, even at the cost of sounding subjective, one still does that, especially of those whom he sees closely. Speaking for myself, I found Shri Thengadi to be taller than the tallest amongst the Swayamsevaks of RSS in recent years.
I don'tknow how many others had it, but I definitely had the fortune of being very close to him. At least that is what I felt. Though he was much older than me, yet he always made me feel like a younger brother who could talk to him on equal terms. I had several occasions of talking/interacting with him. Our interactions used to be free and frank and I always felt that he used to open his heart to me.
Thengadi was a first-rate leader in the true spirit of the letter and not a run-of-the-mill one, though he never craved for name and fame.
Thengadi was an intellectual gem. It was very difficult to gauge the depth of his knowledge and information. His knowledge of thoughts expressed by famous foreign philosophers and intellectuals was amazing. Listening to his speeches and reading the books written by him used to be a sheer delight. I felt enriched whenever I heard or read him and eagerly used to look forward to getting such opportunities.
Thengadi was an organiser par excellence. The more perfect a person is in human reading and in his dealings, the better organiser he will prove. An organiser should not make the mistake of knowing both the qualities and the weaknesses of a person since exceptions apart, most people have both of them. An organiser should not be carried away with the latter'squalities nor be vindictive of his failings. Perhaps Thengadi never faltered on this front.
Thengadi was a first-rate leader in the true spirit of the letter and not a run-of-the-mill one. Though he never craved for name and fame, he still was conscious about his role as a leader. A leader provides vision and direction to the people. He leads by his deeds, not by his words. He removes false notions and confusions from the minds of the people and makes them tread on the right path. Three of his oft-repeated remarks are worth quoting: (i) short cut cuts a person short, (ii) though a path may be long but if that is the only path, then it is the shortest path, and (iii) publicity is no substitute for an organisation.
Thengadi was a real rishi (saint).