DATTOPANT THENGADI alias Dattatreya Bapurao has passed away. The long life of an uncompromising ideologue and an untiring worker of people’s welfare has come to an end. The founder of the biggest workers’ organization in the country, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), as well as that of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, a patriotic organization, Thengadi was also a founder member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Samajik Samrasata Manch. A law graduate, he was also actively involved with politico- cultural organizations like Jana Sangh, Akhila Bharatiya Adhivakta (Abhibhashka) Parishad, Samskar Bharati as well as Swadeshi Sastra Prasthan.

He was also a member of Rajya Sabha for two times. He had represented India in the conference of International Labour Organisation. He had travelled through countries like China, Britain and Canada. His rejection of the Padma Bhushan awarded to him by the BJP-led NDA Government since he could not sympathise with the agricultural policies of that Government is a glaring example of his commitment to ideology It is not possible for a man to be an idealist and a practical one at the same time. But Thengadi was both. When he started organizations for workers or for students or when he worked in the cultural arena, Bharatiya values guided him irrespective of political affiliations.

He never did anything for his own welfare or publicity. His character showed the innocence of a Karma Yogi. He had worked in Kerala, West Bengal and Assam as an RSS pracharak. He had worked tirelessly for building Sangh Parivar organizations in Kerala more than anybody else. He had strong relationship with Kerala which he kept till his end. His enthusiasm also played a vital role behind the formation of Bharatiya Vichar Kendra.

He was an enemy of the liberalisation that refused to take into consideration the aspirations of the poor. When the liberalization and globalization policies of the NDA Government started producing anti-worker policies, he came openly against it. The death of such an idealist is naturally a huge loss.

(The piece above is literal translation of an editorial that appeared in Mathrubhumi, a leading Malayalam daily, as obituary to Thengadi ji. Translation done by K. S. Kumar)