By criticising Sachin Tendulkar’s patriotic fervour, Balasaheb Thackarey has truly bitten more than he could chew. As the nation leapt into Sachin’s defence, the master blaster inadvertently knocked down a much bigger target this time.
ONCE UPON a time, India was a liberal and tolerant place. Then we started learning how to control free thinking and free writing. Somewhere along the way, creative artists and writers also fumbled and forgot that with freedom comes certain responsibilities.
Then came the Emergency and the state told us, it knew better what was food for us, our family and our nation. The public rejected these concepts outright and the originator of these concepts. Then, Kudip Nayar came with his landmark book,“The Judgement”. It told everything about dictatorship, its evolution and it’s obnoxious outcome. We were back on the track of liberty and civilised life.
That was a time when a cartoonist had already graduated into politics and experimented with success about the applied art of mobbing. He had the patronage of Congress Party as its ebullient Chief Minister VP Naik and was ruling the rich state of Maharashtra. The name of the cartoonist was Balasaheb Keshew Thackeray.
He had started his career in the Free Press Journal in Mumbai in the 1950s. His cartoons were also published in the Sunday edition of The Times of India. In 1960, tasting some name and fame, he decided to launch his own cartoon weekly Marmik with his brother. Initially, it was publishing articles provoking Marathi Monoos against Gujarati businessmen, who wielded immense influence and south Indian labour, who were available at pittance. Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena on June 19, 1966 and its main objective was to ensure job security for Maharashtrians against immigrants from southern India, Gujaratis and Marwaris.
Within a short time, Shiv Sena transformed into an anti-communist organisation, which challenged and wrested control of major trade unions in Mumbai from the CPI. The Shiva Saniks gained strength and some of them even began to demand protection money from Gujarati and Marwari business leaders.
It later allied itself with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP-Shiv Sena combine won the 1995 Maharashtra state assembly elections and came to power. During the tenure of the government from 1995 to 1999, Thackeray was nicknamed “remote control”, since he played a major role in government policies and decisions from behind-the-scenes.
On November 11, 2009, Thackeray published an editorial in Saamana which criticised a statement made by Sachin Tendulkar in an interview where he said “Mumbai belongs to India… I am a Maharashtrian and am extremely proud of that, but I am an Indian first.”
This time he made a remark that he would regret all his life. He bit more than he could chew. Today, Indians have realised the truth and everyone, including Marathi Manoos, have joined the nation in condemning the politics and ideology of the Thackareys.
Sachin has made a master stroke which is heavier, impressive, convincing and long lasting. The cookie is finally broken. David has subdued the Golaith !