Originally published on October 27, 1996 as Jackson Pays Thackeray, when Michael Jackson visited Mumbai . Copyright: Busybee, courtesy Farzana Contractor.
A lot of people are wondering why Michael Jackson is paying Raj Thackeray Rs. 4 crore. As a matter of fact, Michael Jackson himself is wondering. It happened like this:
While Mr. Jackson was performing in Manila, his agent came to him and said: "Jacko, I've got some bad news. Out of your collections in Mumbai, you will have to pay Rs. 4 crore to a dude called Raj Thackeray."
"Hey, guy, this is bad news, real bad. You get it bad, man, bad," said Mr. Jackson. "Why do I have to do some dumb thing like that. I ain't paying no money to no Raj Thackeray."
"I am sorry, but I don't think we have much choice," the agent said.
"If you don't pay, we don't have a show in Mumbai, and you know we have already cancelled one show there, when the place was called Bombay."
"Hey, hey, my heart beats for Bombay, hey, hey," Mr. Jackson said.
"Who's this Raj Thackeray, is he the big man?"
"Well, I don't know exactly," said the agent. "But I am told his uncle is a big man and always packs a remote control on him. Nobody wants to fall foul of him in Mumbai, not even the Wizcraft boys.
You best pay up the Rs. 4 crore. What's it to you! Popcorn!"
"I've got to pay, I've got to pay, yes, siree, I've got to pay. But I still want to know the set·up," Mr. Jackson said. "What if I put up a show and then refuse to pay. Who's going to make me."
"I wouldn't take that chance," the agent said. "This Raj Thackeray has been known to take defaulters on a moonwalk. Recently, there has been a case, though I don't have details of it."
"Well, what's he want the Rs. 4 crore for? I'd like to know that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I told you, I told you, oh, baby, I told you. Yeah, yeah, yeah."
"Oh, don't worry about that, it's for 'a good cause," the agent said.
"Your money will be spent on the Shiv Udyog Sena."
"That's a song, man, a new album label, hey, hey that sounds good," Mr. Jackson said.
"No, it is not a new album, though you could use it for that, I am sure Mr. Thackeray would not mind. Not after you give him all that money," the agent said. "The Udyog Sena is Raj Thackeray's agency to employ 27 lakh jobless youth in Maharashtra and your Rs. 4 crore will set it up."
"Are these 27 lakh unemployed my fans?" Mr. Jackson asked.
"If they are not, they will become your fans," the agent said.
"Well, if we have to pay Mr. Raj Thackeray, we have to pay," Mr. Jackson said.
"Yes," said the agent, "and don't take it so badly. Just think for the Miss World contest they are having in Bangalore, whoever becomes Miss World has to pay four million dollars to Mr. Uddhav Thackeray."
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Only Busybee could have written a column like that and still be called over for a warm beer.
Well said by Busybee, but four crore's just chota-maal for MNS. Only God knows how much Mota-Maal the Thackerays have made as "Goonda-Tax" from Enron, Vedanta, SNC Lavalin etc., besides getting Hafta-protection money from Ambanis and others.
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