AN EFFICIENT organisation builder, Dattatreya Bapurao alias Dattopant Thengadi, the trade union leader and RSS ideologue who died here today, was equally adept at mesmerising people by his words and deeds.

Born on November 10, 1920 at Arvi in Maharashtra’s Wardha district, he had trudged the length and breadth of the country in his capacity as a RSS Pracharak in his early days and later the expanse of the world as a pioneer of trade union movement.

Twice member of the Rajya Sabha from 1964 onwards, Thengadi, a RSS Pracharak in Kerala between 1942-44, Bengal in 1945-47 and Assam in 1948-49 and as founder president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, had been to Russia, Hungary, Geneva, the USA, Canada, Britain, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Greece, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

Eloquent in speech and versatile with his writing, Thengadi has some 100 titles to his credit in Marathi, Hindi and English. Most of his works are mainly focused on the problems of the working class and some of his popular books are “Vichar Suture’, 'Karyakarta5, 'Sanket rekha, 'Ekatma Manav, 'Ek Adhyayan’, Pragati path Kisan, 'Dr. Ambedkar’, 'Saptakram’ and 'Lakshya Aur Karya’.

Thengadi, a graduate in law, was not only the founder of BMS in 1955 but also helped set up Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in 1949, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh in 1979, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch in 1991 and Samajik Samrasata Manch in 1983. He was also involved in a number of other organisations of all hues and nature like the Jan Sangh, Akhil Bhartiya Adhivakta Parishad (lawyers’ council), Sanskar Bharti and Swadeshi Science Movement.

A man of his mind, Thengadi hit the headlines when he chose to criticise the A B Vajpayee- led NDA Government for its “anti-farmer” and “anti-labour” policies and also politely refused to accept the Padma Bhushan on the ground that there was more deserving candidate than him.

(PTI, October 14, 2004)