Seminar on Dattopant Thengadi’s thoughts
From Virag Pachpore
Can the thoughts expressed decades ago by the noted nationalist thinker and thought-giver -the late Dattopant Thengdi- provide sustainable answers to correct the ills of modern market-driven economy? The answer, if we go by the deliberations at the recently concluded two-day national seminar organised by ‘Dattopant Thengadi Smriti Pratishthan, Nagpur, is affirmative.
Speakers drawn from different shades of economy who presented their studious findings and opinions have almost unanimously accepted the originality of late Thengadi’s thoughts and solutions ingrained in them to correct the blunders of the pro-capitalist, market oriented and exploitative economic set up which has brought this world and human race on the brink of a major catastrophe.
The late Dattopant Thengadi was credited with giving a truly swadeshi dimension to the hitherto leftists controlled labour and trade union movement by establishing the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) which has the distinction of being the largest trade union of India. He also founded the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) for the farmers, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) to counter and frustrate the moves of the multinationals and capitalist countries to gain control over the economy of India and the third world countries. Thengdi did not bother to warn the country about the disasters of the American sponsored open market economy being imposed in the name of globalization when everyone was praising it. Now, the economists and thinkers of the world are worried over the ill effects of this liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG) economy sponsored and introduced by the capitalist countries. They are busy finding out viable alternatives to it in order to save the mankind and the environment from total destruction.
At this critical juncture, Dattopant Thengadi Smriti Pratishthan, Nagpur had organised this seminar at Amravati in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra where maximum number of farmers had committed suicide. The ‘Third Way’ written by late Shri Thengadi formed the basic theme of this seminar in which a good number of scholars participated and interacted with the audience. The topic of the seminar was “India in search of an alternative economic order” and “Changing context of the trade union movement in India”.
Vice-Chancellor of Sant Gadgebaba Amravati University Dr Mohan Khedkar inaugurated the seminar in presence of senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Pracharak Prof Sadashivrao Deodhar and former Pro-V-C of Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University Prof Yoganand Kale, who is also President of the Pratishthan.
In his inaugural address Dr Khedkar saluted late Thengadi for inculcating nationalist and patriotic feelings in the Indian society. He said that when Thengdi started working in the trade union field, it was dominated by the Communists, Socialists and Capitalists. But without criticising them, Thengadi explained and exposed the internal contradiction within these ideologies and prophesied that due to these inherent internal contradictions these ideologies would not succeed. His prophesy came true when in the 90s Communist empire collapsed with the disintegration of the Russian Empire and collapse of the Berlin Wall.
Khedkar said that Thengadi was of the firm opinion that an economic order based on the principles of Dharma alone would ensure the welfare of the human beings. He was first to oppose the GATT.
Prof Sadashivrao Deodhar in his address threw light on the various facets of the late Thengadi’s life and mission. He said that Thengadi was more interested in man-making mission.
Prof Deodhar said that late Thengadi had a spiritual basis for his thinking. He extended the sphere of his ‘self’ which led to foundation of Samajik Samarasata Manch the seeds of which were sown when Thengadi tried to resolve the problems and woes of the fishermen in Kerala when he went there as a Sangh Pracharak.
Prof Deodhar said that it was necessary to remember people like late Thengadi when the national character is being degraded speedily and the country is being converted into a market where earning money is considered the only objective of the human life. His thoughts can alone bring the country back on rails, Prof Deodhar concluded.
Former Principal of Brihan Maharashtra Commerce College, Pune, noted economist and Akhil Bharatiya Sah-Sampark Pramukh of RSS Prof. Aniruddha Deshpande averred that the roots of Thengadi’s economic thoughts can be traced in the philosophy of Integral Humanism as propounded by late Pt. deen Dayal Upadhyaya.
In his studied key note address Prof Deshpande discussed at length the ideologies of Communism, Socialism and Capitalism and deliberated on how they failed to achieve the all round development of human beings. He said that India had given an alternative economic thought to the world based on Integral Humanism which contemplated this society as ‘virat purusha’—one homogenous living body.
Referring to the ‘happiness index’ of Bhutan which talks of poverty eradication, right to education, governing system based on moral values, sustainable development and contribution of all in national development, Prof Deshpande said that we needed an economic system in India which would be based on Integral Humanism and care for social health.
Prof D V Jahagirdar of Amravati who chaired this session called for eradication of poverty for ensuring development of the nation.
Former Vice-Chancellor of Shivaji University of Kolhapur Dr D N Dhanagare discussed at length the impact of globalisation on Indian social psyche. Former Director of VNIT, Nagpur Dr R H Tupkari chaired this session.
The third session was addressed by Sri Mukundrao Gore who dwelt on the economic condition vis-à-vis globalisation and market economy. Former president of Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat Sri Rajabhau Pophali presided over this session.
Sri Jitendranath Maharaj, Peethadheesh of Deonath Mutt, Anjangaon, delivered a captivating speech on spiritual life of late Dattopant Thengadi. He said that Thengadi’s mother and the second Sarsanghchalak of RSS late Sri M S Golwalkar alias Sri Guruji had influenced and shaped his spiritual life.
The second day of the seminar began with the address by Prof Yoganand Kale. He recalled how late Thengadi had warned about the ill effects of globalisation while delivering a speech at an economic summit held at Colorado in USA on June 22, 1997, and how people laughed at him. But the same people have now realised the truth in Thengadi’s prophetic words. Prof Kale said that Thengadi was of the view that development was not only an economic concept. It was more social and cultural concept too and cannot be ruminated sans morality. Dr Mukund Tapkir of Pune chaired this session.
Dr K S Ingole of Mumbai University spoke on economic thoughts of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar while Dr Parag Cholkar of Nagpur presented the Sarvodaya concept of economic development. Similarly, Dr Vasant Desai, an authority on Bhagwadgeeta spoke on concept of labor in Geeta while Dr G N Hadap explained the concept of ‘Shrama Veda’. Principal Chandrakant Mahajan of Yavatmal chaired this session.
Noted thinker, social activist and promoter of Bharat Swabhiman Andolan K N Govindacharya in his valedictory address said that late Thengadi represented the ‘sanatana’ tradition and devoted his life in the service of the motherland. Recalling Sri Guruji’s remarks in Thane meeting of 1972 Govindacharya said that Sri Guruji was all praise for Thengadi for establishing BMS. But he further remarked that Thengadi was ‘thought-giver’ of Sangh.
When he was sent to Rajya Sabha Thengdi was categorically told by Sri Guruji not to speak on political matters and make friends with leaders of all political parties, which he did assiduously. The benefits of this exercise were reaped during the 1975 Emergency.
Govindacharya said that one can experience ‘selfless love’ in the life of Thengadi as he believed that this was the very basis of our work. He said that the great leader had believed that the life mission of India has been predestined and that India would lead the world in the days to come. But he also knew that this would be possible only on the basis of India’s life philosophy, ideology, life values, life style, politics and economy. Late Thengadi’s spirit would be guiding us in fulfilling this mission, he said.
This two-day seminar was attended by former MLA Sri Arun Adsad, Sri Bhaskar Kulkarni, Principal Avinash Mohril, Sri Nanasaheb Akare, and activists of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Samajik Samarasata Manch and others. Over 200 scholars, professors and principals from 38 places of Vidarbha participated in this seminar.