“Time horizon of a seer is hundred years”, thus said Thengadi ji. He created mass organisations like Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch etc. Having a long range vision his guidance continues to inspire all such activists of organisations to move forward despite his physical absence. Thengadi ji was a Karmayogi who acquired attributes of a Yogi through sheer commitment to work.
An unforgettable day
While I was staying at Thengadi ji’s residence at 57, South Avenue, New Delhi, Thengadi ji after returning from parliament during lunch break asked me to accompany him. In scorching hit in month of May myself and Thengadi ji walked across South Avenue when Thengadi ji stopped in front of a hut, a man came out and touched his feet, he was his cobbler. Further we moved another man met him, he was his dhobi and so on till we made a round trip of South Avenue and sat under a tree to take cold drinks. “Once in a year I used to meet these persons”, said Thengadi ji which to me appeared to be only once in my life time.
Jagannath Rath Yatra
Once we were proceeding to Puri from Bhuvaneshwar. Thengadi ji told us how during Rath Yatra of Sri Jagannath devotees offer their obeisance to Sri Jagannath by touching wooden chariot, the rope, and road etc., the chariot, road and rope feel elevated as God deserving such respects. Observing such a scene Sri Jagannath just smiles (it was a Tagore’s poem). Thengadi ji went on to say that Shri Guru ji might be smiling when we feel like deserving such praise when we address meetings of thousands of people.
Thane meet in 1972
Shri Guruji was deliberating on different ‘isms’ evolving in Europe like Fabian Socialism, Syndicalism, and Communism etc. After ending his speech Guruji asked Thengadi ji, “Dattopant have I put everything in order?” Thengadi ji stood up and replied, “In our case, marriage invitation card remained same though addresses over the envelop changes. In their case while addresses changed the content inside also changed.” Everyone laughed and Guruji said, “Dattopant is our thought giver”.
Thengadi ji and Babu Rao ji Paldhikar (Former Prant Pracharak, Odisha) were schoolmates. It was Shri Paldhikar who brought Thengadi ji to RSS Shakha. About Thengadi ji Shri Paldhikar said, “Sangh like river Ganga flows perennially, sometimes pieces of diamonds roll out in its stream, Thengadi ji was one such diamond”.
Emergency 1975 – 77
After Nanaji Deshmukh was arrested Thengadi ji took over the charge of Lok Sangharsh Samiti constituted by Jaiprakash Narayan. On September 9, 1975 we met Thengadi ji in Kolkata where he declared that this government would come to grinding halt after seventeen months and exactly in February 1977 emergency was lifted. Though played a crucial role during the emergency he declined to accept any post in existing power politics since his Time Horizon was of hundred years.
Saroj Mitra (The writer is National Co-convenor, SJM)