Apropos Rohit Chopra’s piece We are all Thackerays (Dec 3), to focus on provincial divisiveness alone to define Thackeray’s brand of politics would be a mistake. For, his was less a political party than a gang of hooligans run by a hate-monger. That’s living proof that India’s democracy will never really have rule of law or public life devoid of identity politics.
Dipto C., New York
Really, Outlook, publishing such sub-optimal stuff from convoluted bloggers like Rohit Chopra is beneath you. Is this the ‘toxic legacy’ we have to live with from now on?
Shreenivas S., Bangalore
Rohit Chopra’s column (We Are All Thackerays) was written with compelling clarity and objectivity. A small problem though. The routine characterisation of Mumbai as ‘resilient’ and ‘scarred’ is tired, and rings false. What kind of resilience are we talking about? The kind Gaza or Beirut have shown? Or is this just another name for willed amnesia and the urge to ‘move on’?
It’s interesting to look back and see how Thackeray could abuse heads of state one day, and seek alliances with them the next. His opponents had no alternative but to take it on the chin.
J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad
Written with clarity and objectivity which is compelling. There is one small problem though: the routine characterisation of Mumbai as 'scarred' and 'resilient' is tired and rather false. What kind of 'resilience' is being admired? Is it the kind that Gaza or Beirut have shown? Or is it just another name for willed amnesia and urge to 'move on'?
Good last paragraph!
It will be wrong to focus only on provincial divisiveness to define Thackeray's brand of politics. Thackeray was a hate monger who ran a outfit that resembles more a gang of hooligans and less a political party. Interestingly, in India's most multi-cultural city of Mumbai Thackeray could reign for six decades preaching anti-migrant hatred as more and more migrants continued to thrive there as well.
The government took measures to curb Kashmiri and Khalistani separatism and the secessionist movements in the North East and Assam. But Shiv Sena's hate-filled agenda of demonizing non-Marathis were never challenged. Law enforcement authorities were given a free hand to eliminate crime gangs of Mumbai. Dons like Dawood Ibrahim had to flee Mumbai. Yet nobody dared to act against Thackeray for Sena's involvement in hate attacks, communal riots and vandalism. More importantly, he enjoyed impugnity in spite of the fact that only 5 years in the last six decades Sena ever came to power in Maharasthtra. Mumbai's rich and the powerful, the celebrities and business people were in awe to a personality who crafted his own law and order. The huge gathering of mourners at his funeral and the reaction of politicians across parties point out that the divisive politics was endorsed by many.
Actually Thackeray was the living proof that India's democracy could never produce the rule of law nor discourage identity politics .
"Identity politics" is at the very root of the crisis in India today. Ethnic groups, language groups, lineage groups, territorial clusters of castes, religioius groups and scores of other such identities have resulted in making India not a nation, but a cluster of identity groups. Politicians exploit these fissures in order to create fo themselve temporary numerical advantage and win the elections. The Marathi Manoos, the Tamizhan, the Bhadralok, the Telugu Bidda etc are all volatile identities waiting to be ignited to violence.
THERE IS NOT AN OUNCE OF DIFFERENCE BTW THE SONS OF SOIL THEORY OF BALASAHEB THACKERAY AND THE ARTICLE 370 OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION..
So, the ills of creating a Thackeray (who died recently) directly stems from the Constitutional Law that allowed one state in India to give special privileges to itself to prevent outsiders from settling..
Are not all people of India equal? So if Article 370 applies to J&K alone is it not a open challenge to principle of equity?
Thackeray and his Marathi Manoos is just the symptoms, the root cause is there in our own Nehru Defined constitution that made one state superior, that made one language alone as National language.
YOU SOW WHAT YOU REAP... Thackeray is gone but there will be more such people. And the next Thackeray may not be ready to accomodate with ruling establishment .
Bal Thackerays's SS ruled Maharashtra for just 5 years.
He lived in Maharashtra for 58 years under Congress rule as an opposition/non Congress leader.
This is one thing Outlook's writers wont talk about... So yes, OUTLOOK Writers are also Thackerays. Thanks for a honest confession folks !!
Where the rule of law weakens, Thackerays will HAVE TO be born / discovered / invented to replace the judicial system / police.
It is akin to the fact that quackery flourishes where the ratio of real doctors is less.
Where else would the Dutts go, to hide from the excesses of the Indian judiciary?
How else can a Michael Jackson be made to pay tax directly to the state he is earning from, than to force him to?
Where ever the sense of injustice prevades and helplessness in the face of the government is there, Thackerays will flourish.
Let us not live in denial that Thackeray is the answer to the failing judicial system in the country.
> "Thackeray simply presented an extreme version of the claims of cultural sovereignty and ownership common to Indian political discourse."
Our version of tribalism!
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