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Correcting Fundamentals


Shri Dattopant Thengadi was a visionary who wrote extensively on various economic issues. He explained his thoughts in the light of the Sanatan Dharma and holistic 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 endeavours to acquaint the readers with the thoughts of Thengadiji on Western economic thinking and the Hindu concept of development as a tribute to this great organiser-thinker on his birth centenary

Ravindra Mahajan

Dattopant Thengadi was a holistic thinker and a visionary social architect. He was the prominent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue after Shri Guruji and Deendayal Upadhyaya. Dattopant’s comprehensive grasp of RSS vision helped him explain many concepts by Dr Hedgewar, Shri Guruji and Deendayalji and with his practical approach he gave a new dimension to the enunciations like ‘Sangh and Samaj are Samavyapt’, ‘progressive

unfoldment of the vision of Sangh work’, ‘Sangh will not do anything but whatever is essential will eventually happen’, ‘Not building a new nation but rebuilding of the nation’, ‘not a (violent) revolution but yuganukool parivartan’.

He emphasised holistic thinking and presented economic thoughts in this perspective. Beginning with the need to define the policies of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh he ultimately wrote on the global economic policies. He thoroughly studied hundreds of Bharatiya and foreign books on various subjects such as philosophy, history, political science, economics, management, revolutions etc. in his busy schedule of an itinerant Pracharak. He firmly believed that the basic Hindu darshan–philosophy and life-view—is comprehensive enough and stressed that only by retaining its root principles and a yuganukool or practical implementation of these eternal principles coupled with conducive knowledge – not just from the West but from all over the world – the task of nation- rebuilding can be carried out. He articulated this idea through his writings.

He emphasised that Ekatma Manav Darshan (Integral Humanism)—a yuganukool approach based on the eternal principles of Sanatan Dharma must be the basic national philosophy for rebuilding the nation and our policies in various fields of national life should be formulated in its light.


Before elucidating on economic thoughts of Dattopant Thengadi, it will be appropriate to glance through some fundamental concepts emphasised by him.

1. Bharat, with Sanatana Dharma as its absolute reference, ‘All is One’ as its ultimate realisation and its continuously evolving socio-economic order in the light of the unchanging, eternal, universal principles, is eminently suited to play the role of Jagadguru.

2. The destination was visualised on the Vijayadashami day of 1925:

  1. Our destination is the ‘Param Vaibhavam’, the pinnacle of glory, of the Hindu Rashtra.
  2. The tarting-point of the journey is the commitment to certain Articles of Faith like One People (Jana), i.e. Hindu; One Culture (Sanskriti), i.e. Hindu;
  3. One Nation (Rashtra), i.e. Hindu; One Country (Desh), i.e. Akhand Bharat;
  4. One Order (Vyavastha), i.e. Dharma-Rajya (not a theocratic state but based on values for social sustenance)

 3. The integral approach is a must for durable and desirable progress and development; the compartmentalised thinking, giving rise to value-free economics, is self-defeating.

4. He emphasised the Hindu thought process. “We should keep in mind that the fundamental thought process should be our basis. Once the hypothetical philosophical and academic order is established the corresponding social reality can follow automatically – this is the western thought process. Observing and understanding the phenomenon in social reality and eventual development of conclusions and theories– is the Hindu thought process. For this collective thinking is also essential.”

5. Regarding standing on the firm base of history but without getting trapped into it and daring to look into and create future he says, “The Hindu nationalists know for sure that history without futurology would be fruitless, while futurology without history would be rootless. Our heritage enables us to be cautious without being conservative and dynamic without being adventurist.”

6. He reiterated the need for the integral order anticipated by Hindu way of life that seeks the balance and harmony between the materialistic and spiritual values of life.

7. Dattopant Thengadi did not find it advisable or practicable to think in terms of a blueprint. Practical thinkers like Manavendra Nath Roy, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Swatantryaveer Savarkar, Marx or Lenin refused to present any utopia, because according to them, it was an exercise in futility….. A blueprint may be evolved in course of actual implementation in the light of the broad guiding principles of the basic ideology, and that too by a trial and error method.


Dattopantji summarised Hindu paradigm, in comparison to the Western one, in Quo Vadis, an introduction to the book ‘Hindu Economics’ by Dr MG Bokare. These are the two entirely different paradigms with their entirely different value-systems, institutional arrangements and parameters. Points under Hindu paradigm bring out a brief overview of his economic thinking.

Deference between Western & Hindu Economic Thoughts

Compartmentalised thinkingIntegrated thinking
Rights-oriented consciousnessDuty-oriented consciousness
of others’ dutiesof others’ rights
Man – a mere material beingMan-a physical-mental- intellectual-spiritual being
Society, a club of self- Society, a body with all individualscentred individuals therein as its limbs
Constant conflict between individual, the society and natureComplete harmony between individual, society and nature
The exploitation of NatureMilking of Mother nature
Happiness for oneselfHappiness for all
Subservience to Artha-KamaDrive towards Purushartha Chatushtya
AcquisitivenessAparigraha (non-possession)
Contrived scarcitiesAbundance of production
Economy of rising pricesEconomy of declining prices
Profit motiveService motive
ConsumerismRestrained consumption
Monopoly capitalism through Free competition without various devicesmanipulated markets
Economic theories centredEconomic theories centred around
around wage-employmentself-employment
An ever-increasing army ofSelf-employment, the ever-growing

Source: Organiser


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