BAL THACKERY-DID HIS FUNERAL DESERVE STATE HONOUR?

Let me say loud & clear. It was highly unwise, immoral & unethical for Prime Minster Manmohan Singh to mourn the death of BalThackery by dubbing  it a great loss to nation. Awarding his funeral a state honor and paying him tributes in Parliament has caused a great blow &  insult to the secular  character of India, even though professed in name only.

Who was Bal Thackeray? A goon & demagogue turned Hindutva fascist, who started his political career as a Hafta collector from Gujrati & southern businessmen as protection money. He floated his Party “Shiv Sena” (Army of Shiv) which soon became the most xenophobic of India’s Hindu right-wing political parties. His supporters often called him Hindu Hriday Samrat or emperor of Hindu hearts. By his violent & strong arm tatics, he would send Minorities, be it North Indians or Muslims into a tizzy.His followers in the USA are aligned with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer which should tell you about the kind of ideological perspective they come from.

Following Mumbai communal riots in late 1993, sparked  by Hindu extremists’ demolition of  Babri mosque  in Ayodhya, that saw an estimated 1000 Muslims killed —— Thackeray called openly for attacks on Muslims in an editorial in his paper “Samna”. Sri-Krishna enquiry commission constituted by the government to enquire into said riots has  accused Shiv Sena and Thackeray of being directly involved in and coordinating the riots. In a searing comment, Justice Srikrishna said, "There is no doubt that the Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks took the lead in organising attacks on Muslims and their properties under the guidance of several leaders of the Shiv Sena from the level of Shakha Pramukh to the Shiv Sena pramukh, Bal Thackeray who, like a veteran General, commanded his loyal Shiv Sainiks to retaliate by organized attacks against Muslims.

"The report has also indicted Mahrashtra Police, of aiding & abetting Thackery in his nefarious deeds. Thackeray however  showed  no regret and felt  proud of what he and his partymen did back in those days. He is on record having said that Muslims are “spreading like a cancer and should be operated on like a cancer." It remains a mystery till date as to why no action has been taken by the “largest democracy” on the said report, in-spite of so called “secular” Congress Government having been returned to power many a times since that mayhem & gory incident.

His extreme regional and religious parochialism led him to advocate Hindu suicide bombers and planting bombs in Muslim neighborhoods to protect the nation and all Hindus. In reaction to Thackeray’s call, Maharashtra government registered a case against him for inciting enmity between different groups but without any punishment. His followers often attacked and rampaged through the offices of media houses that he claimed were anti-Maharashtrian and anti-Hindu. He  was always in the habit of making inflammatory statements regarding Muslims, and reiterated his desire for Hindus to unite across linguistic barriers and to see ‘a Hindustan for Hindus’ and to ‘bring Islam in this country down to its knees’

At least two organizations founded and managed by the retired Indian Army officers namely Lt Col (retired) Jayant Rao Chitale and Lt Ge. P.N. Hoon (former commander-in-chief of the Western Command), responded to  Bal Thackeray’s call to set up the suicide squads in India. Lt Gen. Hoon claimed, Thackeray influenced him to set up the training camps through his writings and inflammatory articles.

Following his religious rants & anti-Muslim speeches, Bal Thackeray was banned from voting and contesting in any election for six years from December 11, 1995 on the recommendations of the Election Commission. After the six-year voting ban on Bal Thackeray was lifted in 2005, he voted for the first time in the 2006 BMC elections. By all means that was a very light punishment. 

Thackeray opposed India-Pakistan cricket matches and other efforts at reconciliation between the two wary nuclear neighbours.To near universal condemnation, he attacked tennis star Sania Mirza in 2010 for marrying a Pakistani cricket star, arguing that she should choose someone from her own country if she wanted to play for the national team. Her fame was less about her on-court abilities than her "tight clothes, fashion and love affairs,” he added. “Had her heart been Indian, it wouldn’t have married a Pakistani."

Thackery leaves behind a legacy of communal &  anti-migrant poison that has been the scourge of  India’s financial capital, Mumbai. This can be gauged from the fact that two innocent girls have been arrested and their properties vandalized for posting an innocuous comment on Face book. Towards the end of his life, Bal Thackery began sporting a stylish beard and wore twin bead necklaces in the manner of Hindu gurus but make no mistake of his having shunned communal & divisive politics. Only five days before his death did he command his sainiks not to allow any cricket match between India & Pakistan  to be played in Mumbai.

(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at amzargar1@indiatimes.com)Delete ReplyReply ForwardSpamMovePrint Actions NextPrevious