Shri Thengadiji was a visionary who wrote extensively on various economic aspects. He explained his thoughts in the light of the Sanatan Dharma and holistic thought perspective. He stressed on conceiving our own model of development in the light of our culture, past traditions, present requirements and aspirations for the future. This four-series article (beginning from the issue February 9, 2020) endeavours to acquaint the readers with the thoughts of Thengadiji on Western thinking and the Hindu concept of progress and development as a tribute to this great organiser-thinker on his birth centenary. This is the fourth and last part of the series
While writing an introduction to Dr. Daya Krishna’s book ‘Swadeshi View of Globalization’ (pp.viii-ix), Dattopant wrote: “Genuine ‘Globalization’ is a part of Hindu heritage. In ancient times we always considered ourselves as part and parcel of the entire humanity. We never cared to carve out for ourselves a separate identity. We identified ourselves with the entire mankind. ‘The whole earth is our family’ (Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam) has been our motto. That is why the term ‘Hindu’ has no antiquity; it is not to be found in ancient literature…..
“But now the roles are reversed. ‘Globalization’ is being preached to us by those who are known to history for their imperialistic exploitation and even genocide. Satans are quoting the Bible. Hegemonism parading itself as globalization! As a matter of fact, the measure that could have substantially helped the process of genuine globalisation was the reconstitution of the United Nations with additional representatives of religious groups, ethnic groups, transnational trade unions, environmental movements, human rights associations, welfare organisations, and other appropriate agencies from civil societies.”
But globalisation today has become a symbol and means of capitalist greed, looting and exploitation. Constant attempts are on for selfish gains and to obtain a monopoly in the market by hook or crook.
According to Dattopant ji, the thought of Swadeshi and mutual cooperation among the countries in the southern hemisphere would guide us to march ahead. Strengthening the system of UNO would perhaps enable to counter unjust systems. At the same time, it should be ensured that the interests of the country are not ruined bowing under any pressure.
World Trade Organisation
He opposed the World Trade Organization because it became a means of exploitation of developing and under-developed countries. Rules and regulations are essential for world trade but they should be fair and equitable to all countries. They should not be unreasonably arduous. Since the rules are not such, he opposed WTO at the formative stage itself.
Dattopant ji defined Swadeshi as the practical manifestation of patriotism. This is a very appealing definition of Swadeshi agreeable to all and brings out the national spirit and the intent of the action. However, he explained that patriotism does not mean turning your back to other countries but, following the principle of Ekatma Manav Darshan (only one consciousness residing among all humanity), we are always ready for international cooperation based on equality and mutual respect.
He wrote: “It is wrong to presume that ‘Swadeshi’ concerns itself only with the goods or services. That is more of an incidental aspect. Essentially, it concerns the spirit determined to achieve national self-reliance, preservation of national sovereignty and independence, and international co-operation on equal footing…. ‘Swadeshi’ was not merely an economic affair confined to material goods but a broad-based ideology embracing all departments of national life.”
While speaking on Swadeshi economic policies he emphasised the following points:
- Value-based competition and cooperation
- Economic equality and opportunity
- No exploitation of nature but milking of nature
- Self-employment and not just salaried employment.
Apart from these, he frequently talked about following points too:
- Our paradigm of progress and economic policy to be in keeping with our culture and social life. i.e. family system, ethics, restrained consumption, environment friendliness, care of non-active members of society (children, aged and handicapped), stress on savings, and balance between decentralisation & centralisation
- Appropriate technology
- National self-reliance (not self-sufficiency)
- Fulfilment of basic needs-food, clothing, shelter, education and health
- Importance of not just economic stimulus but other non-economic incentives
- Antyoday (uplifting of the weakest section of the society)
- Dattopant ji stressed that the consumer interest is closest to the national interest.
- Proper consideration should be given to consumer interest in all the economic affairs and representatives of consumers should be accorded a place in all economic deliberative and decision-making bodies and fora.
- Selling price should be printed on every product and also the cost of production of that product. He put forward this demand through Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch. He believed that this will ensure a proper check on profiteering by manufacturers and retailers in the country. The same rule should be applied to foreign goods as well.
- He also called for publishing cost audit reports of the companies and making available copies of the reports of Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices.
In the background of withering away Communism and the probable collapse of Capitalism sooner than later, the search for a ‘THIRD WAY’ is already on the radar of Western countries including the United States. Peter Drucker and Paul Samuelson and other thinkers had foreseen the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism, though their public expressions were sufficiently guarded.
Dattopant ji says: “We must conceive our own model of progress and development in the light of our culture, our past traditions, present requirements and aspirations for the future. The tradition of ever-changing socio-economic order in the light of the unchanging, eternal, Universal Laws of Dharma, is the foundation of the process envisaged by Hindu vision of life. That is why the need to create integral national consciousness mentioned earlier to focus on traditional Hindu ethos. Any alternative of development that is not in keeping with the cultural core of society would not be beneficial to society.”
“Clamour of mankind for Third Way – After the pathetic failure of Western ideologies, the destiny is prompting Bharat to provide the new leadership to the world groping in darkness. Mankind is eager for the new order that is called ‘THIRD WAY’. The moral and god-entrusted responsibility to usher in this Third Way, which in fact is the only way, rests on Bharat. Only, the group of patriots dedicated to the goal of national reconstruction is eligible for this work. They will play a pivotal role in creating a new comprehensive world view (Weltanschauung).” He opined that Ekatma Manav Darshan (Integral Humanism) is the third and the only way.
Dattopantji has written extensively on various economic aspects and has also provided guidance in numerous training sessions. Swami Vivekananda explained Vedanta in the West in practical form. Dattopant ji used the words science (shastra) and applied science (upayojit shastra). He explained everything in the light of Sanatan Dharma, Ekatma Manav Darshan or holistic thought perspective.
His reflections are echoes, extension and elucidation of the thoughts of Shri Guruji and Deendayal Upadhyaya. However, his innovative guidance proved useful for the new scenario as well (globalisation, liberalisation, etc.). He initiated many organisations and his thoughts were very practical based on his direct experiences in those fields. That is why he holds a distinct position of an ideologue of the first rank as well as a social architect who managed a perfect harmony between principles and practice.
(The writer is former national co-convener of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch. Translated from original Marathi by Sharmila Bhagwat)