Thursday June 5, 2008
It was just another day in Maharahtra. "Activists" belonging
to a "radical pro-Marathi organisation" attacked and vandalised the house of Kumar Ketkar, Editor of
Loksatta, the Marathi newspaper of The Indian Express
Group. "Some 70-80 men belonging to the Shiv Sangram, considered a
socio-religious outfit and led by former NCP MLC Vinayak Methe, hurled stones,
broke window panes, tarred doors and windows and tried to break into Ketkar’s
house in the Kopri area of Thane. They also burnt copies of Loksatta
on the road outside the house." What were they "protesting against"?
An editorial ("All the problems have been solved. Now let’s build a
statue") that mocked the state government plans to install a 309-foot-tall statue of Shivaji in the Arabian Sea off Marine Drive.
As Ketkar was to explain later, the editorial was "critical of the government and politicians for resorting to symbolisms instead of tackling serious problems gripping the
state.... Shivaji Maharaj himself did not go around erecting statues, he instead
attended to people’s problems." Basically, it pointed out how such a
proposal would serve well the purpose of distracting people from the more pressing issues,
just as the Roman emperors used entertainment spectacles in their coliseums.
"Shiv Sangram", floated about a decade ago, enjoys strong support from orthodox Marathas in the state, mainly from the NCP of Sharad Pawar which is a partner in the state’s coalition government.
Also See: Mob
On The Job