When I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in political science, I was looking for a subject on which I could base my research. I have wanted to study various discourses on nationalism in India lately, but have not found anything new as it is a hotly debated topic.

It was then that my supervisor Prof. Pawan Kumar Sharma suggested the name Shri Dattopant Thengadi Ji. It was the first time I heard his name and so I took my time before making a decision. When I started reading about Thengadi Ji, I realized that he was an exemplary figure, not only a politician but also a philosopher and a visionary. Although he is not recognized as an established theorist on nationalism, his ideas provide a refreshing and extraordinary perspective on Indian nationalism.

What captured my imagination and got me contemplating was the distinction he made between Rashtra and Nation and other Indian concepts which Thengadi Ji says have been mistranslated. I realized that there was a misunderstanding of Indian nationalism and it was mostly seen as right-wing propaganda to advance their ideology. From now on, I decided to follow the suggestion of my professor and the research subject of my doctorate. IS DISCOURSE OF NATIONALISM IN INDIA: A STUDY OF THE IDEAS OF DATTOPANT THENGADI.

It is a colossal task to capture such a great personality – a philosopher, a visionary, an organizer, an economist, a speaker, an author and an eminent thinker in a single article. But here I am trying to write about Shri Thengadi Ji and his ideas.

Dattopant Bapurao Thengadi was an Indian Hindu ideologue, trade union leader and the founder of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.

He created these organizations on the principles of Hindutva and nationalism and did not follow the then prevalent Marxist ideology as his ideas differed significantly, for example Marxism believed in class conflict but Thengadi Ji spoke of the convergence of classes. In reality, Thengadi Ji was unhappy with the two Western models of development, viz. capitalism and socialism. Therefore, he proposed the “third way” of socio-economic development based on Sanatan’s dharma ideology. Not only this, he is also credited with exemplary speeches and books in which he made a clear distinction between Indian concepts and their Western translation and spoke of his well-founded belief in Indian culture. Although he served as a member of parliament for Rajya Sabha for two terms from 1964 to 1976, he was a man of conviction and a strong advocate of simple living, clarity of thought and self-reliance. He was a full-time RSS pracharak and called himself karyakarta.

Thengadi Ji was not only a philosopher but also a visionary, well ahead of his time, who shaped the idea of ​​Atmanirbhar Bharat decades ago. He let his ideas develop over time and global changes. He laid the foundations of the economic philosophy of the RSS and was one of the preeminent ideologues of Swadeshi economics.

Thengadi Ji was a firm believer in Indian culture and its ultimate success and was inspired by ancient Indian concepts. It was during the centenary celebrations of the Universal Vedantic Message of Swami Vivekanand and the Chicago Speech that Shri Thengadi Ji first spoke of a global economic system that should contribute to a peaceful world, for this he suggested the Indian approach that emphasizes a just and non-exploitative world. order. Its philosophy is inspired by the Sanatan dharma which, according to Thengadi Ji, presents universal laws that are constant and compatible with the constantly changing world order. Elaborating further on these universal laws, Thengadi Ji pointed out how these can serve as guiding principles for the economic system that is consistent with well-being and not exploitation. These laws are: ‘AVIBHAKTAM VIBHAKETSHU’, to perceive unity among all diversities, and ‘VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM’, inter-relationship of a world. Thengadi Ji has wonderfully explained these laws as the eternal message of Sanatan Dharma and their relevance in contemporary times. Affirming the importance and relevance of these principles, Thengadi Ji insisted on unlearning bad and anti-future lessons to have a balanced understanding of the past, only then the desired present can be achieved.

One of the most important things he pointed out decades ago was the fact that the development or ideology of a particular region cannot be seen as globalization, because living conditions, Resource availability and everything else differs from region to region. Therefore, a holistic view of globalization and development must be considered before standardizing anything. Only then could an ideal world order be envisioned.

Thengadi Ji criticized Indian intellectuals who regard anything Western as standard and below Hindu standards and called for further study of Indian concepts which have been mistranslated and therefore widely misunderstood.

In conclusion, I would like to state that Thengadi Ji’s ideas and beliefs regarding the provision of universal health care, energy access and poverty alleviation using the Indian approach should be further and sincerely investigated. implemented as this would not only reinforce the concept of self-reliance but also promote India’s contribution to humanity.

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