Bal Thackeray’s end, a win for Mumbai

Published: November 19, 2012

He has been a merchant of fear and it is this fear that stalked the streets of Mumbai since the news of his serious illness became public. PHOTO: AFP

Finally Bal Thackeray succumbs to his own fear – fear of his own death.

If there is one word that defines this rabid Hindu nationalist it is ‘fear’. It is to his credit that this cartoonist turned religious fundamentalist and rabble rouser maintained his hold over Mumbai for almost five decades on the basis of fear. Thackeray’s strength was not the ideology that his political group, Shiv Sena, espouses, but fear that his party ignites amongst his supporters and cadres.

That’s why it’s difficult to characterise this man as a politician or a leader. The outpourings of obituaries and condolences after his death on Saturday are very confusing for many who have not followed Thackeray’s political trajectory. But those who know his life history understand that this saffron clad man was more notorious than popular.

‘Don’, ‘Tiger of Mumbai’, ‘Bala saheb’ and so on were the popular names by which this man was commonly known, who died after prolonged illness at the age of 86.

A Hindi movie few years ago, named “Sarkar” depicts him as a city mafia who competes with other of his ilk’s to control the political and economic space of Bombay, which became Mumbai when Thackeray’s Shiv Sena managed to cobble up a majority in alliance with the Hindu right, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the dark ages of the 90s when religious polarisation reached its height in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

Merchant of fear

The Shiv Sena supremo defies the normal political description which would characterise a majority of the Indian politicians. He was not a by-product of the mainstream democratic tradition but an aberration. That’s the reason despite being in the business of politics for almost five decades, he could never become a normal politician. He remained the prisoner of an image; the image of a mafia don who wanted to control a big city on the basis of guns and goons.

He could not take the mantle of regional leadership despite being in politics since 1966. In his home state, Maharashtra Sharad Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), is known as a regional satrap but no one ever described Thackeray as a regional leader despite forming his political party four decades before Pawar formed his own.

His method of public mobilisation has never been political campaigning or selling a vision. He has been a merchant of fear and it is this fear that stalked the streets of Mumbai since the news of his serious illness became public.

Balasaheb Thackeray practiced politics which were a mixture of rabid Hindu fundamentalism and regional chauvinism. When he started his political journey in late 60s he raised the issue of non Maharashtrian’s settlement in the Mumbai city, a city of dreams.

The Shiv Sena instigated violence against the settlers, mostly the South Indians and Gujratis, who came in search of jobs and opportunities, to the metropolis. On top of that his anti Muslim communal campaign further accentuated Sena’s identity.

This politics of hate was in full display in 1992, when Thackeray’s inspired hate campaign claimed more than 1000 Muslim lives in one of the worst religious violence outbreaks against the minority in the big metropolis.

The injustice done to the minority Muslims, the violence perpetrated against the community and complete lack of inaction on the part of the government against the Hindu fundamentalists led to the serial blasts in 1993 that claimed many lives. Thackeray played a prominent role in both these events.

Past these events, Mumbai could not remain the same.

Bal Thackeray stands accused of vitiating the cultural and emotional ambience of the city. He stands accused of negating the rich history of social reform movements and freedom struggles that the state of Maharashtra was known for.

The legacy

He leaves behind a bad legacy in the name of Raj Thackeray, who is more brazen than his notorious uncle.

While his uncle targeted South Indians, the nephew is targeting people from Eastern India for making Mumbai their home and a nest for their dreams. He let loose his goons on the hapless people in the same way as the senior Thackeray used to do throughout his public career.

Narendra Modi is an illegitimate political child of Bala saheb’s crude political conduct. The Chief Minister of Gujarat, and senior BJP leader, seems to have been inspired by Thackeray who managed to dodge laws despite being responsible for killing so many people in his long career as a Shiv Sena leader.

Sri Krishna Commission, set up after the 1992 riots in Mumbai directly blames Thackeray and his group for killing at least 1,000 Muslims, and yet, he remained to live a peaceful life, scot free of any threats or repercussions throughout his life.

Modi, who allegedly presided over the death of hundreds of Muslims in 2002, remains a survivor despite damning political and moral indictment. He, on the contrary, is dreaming to become the Prime Minister of the country.

If Raj Thackeray and Narendra Modi, along with their uncouth brand of followers are the real inheritors of Bal Thackeray’s ideological legacy then one can only imagine what kind of personality the founder of Shiv Sena was. One can also imagine what kind of dent such an individual, with his own organisation and ideas can make in a secular and democratic society.

Star quality

Although Thackeray had his own rabid cadres to massage his ego, some of the well-known personalities tried to give him a legitimacy that such an individual definitely did not deserve. These personalities and stars seem to have quid pro-quo relationships with the ‘sarkar’. ‘Sarkar’ would protect their business and Bollywood interests, and in return the stars would give legitimacy to him and his work, which otherwise would not have come to him.

Amitabh Bachchan, the popular star of the Mumbai film industry, is good in this trade off. His popular poet father, Hariwansh Rai Bachchan, dedicated all his muses for religious syncretism and secular traditions of the country, but the son has shown a remarkable ambivalence on this issue.

When no major star or public personality would like to be seen in the company of Narendra Modi, this superstar not only became his votary but also the brand ambassador of a state which has largely segregated its minority population, where hundreds still cry for justice for the irreparable loss they suffered in 2002.

For Bachchan, Bala saheb was also an epitome of virtue and one of the kindest human souls to have existed on this earth. He and his son even braved a surging crowd to meet the critically ailing Shiv Sena patriarch.

But no amount of legitimacy and approval can acquit Bala saheb from the sin and crime that he committed on hundreds of hapless citizens of the country.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that people like Thackeray got marginalised in his own life time. They could not damage the democratic and secular polity of the country despite their concerted efforts.

People rejected Thackeray

Shiv Sena split and his nephew, Raj Thackeray, formed a new faction. No government could book Thackeray for his crime but the people’s court has largely rejected him.

Thackeray died a dejected man.

But the great victory here lies in the hands of the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra. The real winners, who have remained united and resilient- they have been the real preservers of Indian ideals; ideals viciously challenged by the Shiv Sena leader, Balasaheb Thackeray.

No fear can stop the spirit of Mumbai.

Read more by Sanjay here, or follow him on Twitter @destinydefier 

sanjay.kumar

Sanjay Kumar

A New Delhi based broadcast journalist who reports on national and international affairs. He is a contributor to the Asia Pacific based magazine, The Diplomat. He tweets as @destinydefier (twitter.com/destinydefier)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mahendra

    Most of the things written above are just rubbish. I am not supporter of Thakrey’s but you missed all the good things he has done for Mumbai/Maharashtra. I guess you should know the reality on what Shiv Sena has done for poor people while the govt was just helping the industrialist. Even today number of Shiv Sena ambulances are much higher than the govt supplied one.

    And also you should read more about Pawar then only you will come to know who is more corrupt.

    And the way you targeted only right wing leaders, I can smell the Congress touch in the article.

    What you have written is less of a fact and more of sensational article. Recommend

  • Nawab

    Thackeray isn’t unique, Sanjay. These extremists thrive by spreading fear but once the general populous regains consciousness, people like Thackeray end up marginalized. Look at the second Red Scare and McCarthyism. I predict the same for Hafiz Saeed!Recommend

  • Akhilesh

    Hi Sanjay,

    What do you want to get as a result of this rubbish article?..

    Still Regards,
    AkhileshRecommend

  • A reader

    one-sided article. god bless him!Recommend

  • d c bhardwaj

    A very bad taste article by smoeone who knows nothing, even this article will not get place in third grade news papers in india.Recommend

  • jism

    this article is just another dumb attempt to sensationalize.

    You should have written this article for an Indian media, if this was really meant as a wake up call for democratic forces, anyway, sanjay- the readers are not as dumb as you may think so, you are not fooling anyone here.Recommend

  • SD

    Total rubbish.Recommend

  • K C Mehta

    A excellent article! The truth is always bitter. And sycophants will always disagree. Even business leaders who have praised Thackeray in his death have done so only because they are thinking of keeping their businesses running. Other than promoting hate, what else did Thackeray leave behind? He did not even have the required man management skills. The family infighting is proof enough.

    Good riddance.Recommend

  • Indian

    waste of time to read this article.. totally biased view with twisted facts.. though I am not a fan of Shiv sena’s ideology but we need people like Balasaheb Thackery who talks for common man.. In the name of secular, govt is doing “vote bank” politics.. and author is doing the same.. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    As Antonio says in the Merchant of Venice, “An evil soul, producing holy witness, is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath.”. Recommend

  • Indian

    Would also like to add.. it it the people of Gujarat who have elected Narendra Modi.. People can choose whoever they want to.. who are you to question? Look at the development work done by Modi in Gujarat.. and why it is wrong if Amitabh endorses it.. There is collective growth in Gujarat and no one is left out based on caste, religion or creed.. So your analysis is completely bogus … You better do some research rather than giving people what they want to hear.. that is real journalism.. Recommend

  • pyaari

    This article is spot on.Recommend

  • http://www.bhaiya.com North Indian Bhaiya

    Did you see those millions ?

    That should be enough to cause enough cognitive dissonance.

    And it seems this is exactly happened.

    Millions not just in Maharashtra and Marathis but also a North Indian like me LOVED this guy…
    Recommend

  • jism

    @pyaari:
    “This article is spot on”.
    good to know that you were able to understand and decipher what the author here is saying.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    Author seems to love flashing his leftist credentials in publicRecommend

  • Maanasi

    Somewhere while the article represents a silent viewpoint that many residents of Mumbai hold, it is also vocal in the same extremist attitude that you are attempting to expose. I have been a resident of Gujarat for 23 years and have been in Mumbai for the last three. Narendra Modi should definitely be tried for wrongful acts but no one can deny him the credit of the progressive stance that Gujarat has adopted under his “reign”. Similarly, as Mahendra pointed out, the Sena Supremo’s belief probably echoed and guided the thoughts of a million followers on his deathbed and many more in life. Maybe, that is the spirit of Mumbai or any other place – things they believe in. The tone of the article is counterproductive and instead of following a thread of the opinion on Bal Thackeray, it has just composed portrayal everyone related to him in a bad light. Personal and professional opinions differ!. Amitabh can choose to embrace the person and not his beliefs, and I am sure he was not obligated even to his own father to follow his footsteps. If this article had been thought through as a rightful opinion instead of a creative expose, I am sure everyone would not have reacted this combatively… Recommend

  • jism

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    “Author seems to love flashing his leftist credentials in public
    I love these highlighted words.Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    BJP supporting young urban middle class Indians are not going to like this article and they make up the majority of the commentators on this site!Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Thackeray succeeded like the way he did because he gave people a sense of purpose and destiny. His target audience was Marathi speaking Hindu population of Maharastra.

    He is contradictory in his beliefs. He believes in India but would not let Biharis to settle down in Maharashtra, which goes against the very idea of India.Recommend

  • Adnan

    Excellent article but the fact that his followers like Modi are ‘dreaming of becoming the PM’ speaks volumes about India and its political leadership.

    Interesting remarks about Amitabh Bachchan and his great love for Thackeray: Pakistani Bollywood film fans take note.Recommend

  • TheTiger

    Above article is pure outcome of frustration and prejudice of author towards the legend.
    Problem is that, India is democratic country and everybody carries freedom of speech.
    The people like Author doesn’t even have slightest of an idea of the works of Balasaheb, and seems prejudiced while writing such articles, and without much valid credentials.
    It’s sad that “The Express Tribune” is entertaining such low quality, zero researched opinions.Recommend

  • abhi

    If people of Mumbai had rejected him, Siva Sena would not be getting majority in Muncipality elections year after year.Recommend

  • jism

    sanjay- how much do you know about what you are writing and the state of India.
    ET did it’s best; moderated my comment. You don’t have to shut you brain though, you can come out of the cocoon and see the ground reality, or, continue to walk the same line.

    good luck.Recommend

  • Mumbai

    It is a cheap article – meant to win plaudits from ignorant and bigoted Pakistanis who have been fed fears.

    “Adnan’ writes

    “Excellent article but the fact that his followers like Modi are ‘dreaming of becoming the PM’ speaks volumes about India and its political leadership.
    Interesting remarks about Amitabh Bachchan and his great love for Thackeray: Pakistani Bollywood film fans take note.”

    Obviously Adnan has no idea of the actual dynamics or the person. All that adnan has been fed is ‘anti-Muslim’. On that basis, the man is now ready to “take note” of Amitabh Bacchhan”. But it is not just Amitabh Bachhan but scores of celebrities that Adnan might know who may not share the author’s views. Recommend

  • Indi_Pop

    I would not celebrate a man’s death but frankly he is good riddance for the future of Mumbai. Mumbai could have been a cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong if not for Thackeray. His “son of the soil” theory is absolutely bogus. Despite being involved in several crimes like murder of Trade Union leaders and being directly indicted in the Mumbai riots (and several other crimes) he never faced a prison sentence and that is a slap in the face of the incompetent judiciary of India. For his short term gains he has destroyed the social fabric of the state. He is nothing but an anti-nationalRecommend

  • kanwal

    @Mahendra
    you know, JuD’s Hafiz Saeed’s charity work? Does that justify his stances? Its a double edged sword really. one of the first lessons my mother taught me was to never use wrong means to do the right thing because it only causes more problems. Recommend

  • ethicalman

    I got no prob of this article..it’s just one sided..and for Pakistanis this article is a hit..

    Bala Saheb was the only person in the world who became a mass leader, etc. from being a cartoonist…infact he and R K Laxman started from the same newspaper in the 60′s…

    He saw the Marathis marginalized in Bombay work culture when Maharastra was land of Marathis..so he became a voice of marathis..

    He was not anti muslim it was circumstances in 1992 when Mumbai was bombed by Dawood and ISI that he gave harsh statements..Infact can you forgot when he invivted Javed Miandad when Pak toured India ..and even till the end of his life..two doctors working on him were muslims..

    and many other wrong preceptions are still there..Recommend

  • Abdul KALIK

    Great Article written in all honesty,only hardcore followers of this man will disagree or pretend all that did not happen..In all honesty…GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!Recommend

  • Freeatlast

    A very well researched and well written article.
    As a local of Mumbai , our greatest fear growing up was the bandh’s that the Shiv Sena would call for on the drop of a hat. Having to walk along the railway tracks because the local trains had been halted by these people for some unimportant reason is something one needs to experience to know that this self proclaimed hero of Marathi people did things to satisfy his ego rather than for the good of the people. Recommend

  • Hella

    ” Bombay, which became Mumbai when Thackeray’s Shiv Sena managed to cobble up a majority in alliance with the Hindu right, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the dark ages of the 90s”. The author is only entitled to his opinion. He is not entitled to his own facts.Bombay was renamed Mumbai by Congress and not by SS-BJP. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    I can’t believe those who are calling this article “rubbish” and “biased”.

    How uninformed / jingoistic does one have to be to defend a man who called for Hindu suicide-bombers, praised Hitler, and led an organization that brought unimaginable suffering to South Indians and Indian Muslims, and complicated the peace process with Pakistan.

    Any good he may have brought to India would remain overshadowed by these horrendous acts. Sorry to disappoint his fans, but he’ll always be remembered among the humanists (left-wing or right-wing) as a historical villain.Recommend

  • vikram

    please anyone who rubbishes this article and supports saheb thackeray needs a life and a relity check. Yesterday two girls were arrested for their facebook posts questioning the bandh. One girl arrested for liking the post. The girl’s uccle’s clininc wa sransacked by 50 sena supporters? is this how the sena helps the denizens of mumbai? http://www.firstpost.com/india/arrest-of-girl-over-thackeray-fb-update-clear-misuse-of-sec-295-527779.htmlRecommend

  • Nandita.

    When is Modi’s turn?Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I am NOT NOT NOT in mourning.

    –A Proud Maharashtrian.

    P.S. – Is the mumbai police going to arrest me for this comment ? Recommend

  • http://varuna varuna

    Agree, agree, agree.Recommend

  • Syed

    He caused riots, killings of innocents but hey don’t forget all the good things he did, just like MODI. What’s wrong with such people? please don’t do any good if you can just avoid innocent bloodshed.

    There are a lot of extremists in India too like in Pakistan.. But It is always good when you either read or hear stories about all the peace loving/human loving sane minded hindus. I was with someone in NYC yesterday for a Mohurram procession and he was telling me that in their town there are 5 shia muslim families but when you see a procession of thousands you wouldn’t tell that 90% of the people are hindus. Hindus in India also adore Imam Hussain (a.s.)
    With that I would like to share some quotes from their famous hindus:

    Mahatma Gandhi writes:“My faith is that the progress of Islam does not depend on the use of sword by its believers, but the result of the supreme sacrifice of Hussain (A), the great saint.”
    Nehru considered Karbala to represent humanities strength and determination. He writes:
    “Imam Hussain’s (A) sacrifice is for all groups and communities, an example of the path of righteousness.”
    Dr. Rajendra Prasad writes, “The sacrifice of Imam Hussain (A) is not limited to one country, or nation, but it is the hereditary state of the brotherhood of all mankind.”
    Dr. Radha Krishnan writes, “Though Imam Hussain (A) gave his life almost 1300 years ago, but his indestructible soul rules the hearts of people even today.”

    It is really critical now to eliminate terrorism and terrorist mindset. Recommend

  • Sameera

    An article written for Pakistani public who are largely unaware of Indian politics. Narendra Modi, a highly reviled Politician in pakistan, is not the ‘illegitimate political son of Thackeray’; he has his pan India agenda. And the facts are that Raj and Uddhav , nephew and son, espouse same parochial agenda and remain popular, but their vote bank would be split to the advantage of Congress.

    Write something that informs Pakistani public.Recommend

  • Ayush Chatterjee

    Who the hell doe this Sanjay Kumar think he is?? I am not a supporter of Shiv Sena per say, but most of the bull shit written in this highly one sided article is utter nonsense.Recommend

  • yousaf

    All I know of Bal thackeray is that he was a religious bigot and a big hurdle in IndoPak relations.He used religion as a facade to achieve his ulteriour motivesRecommend

  • Anuprita

    Mr. Sanjay,

    It is because of Mr. Thackeray that Maharashtrians like us have a place in Mumbai. How would you like it if you and your family were forced to leave the place that you called home? Why don’t you look into the rest of the nation where a foreigner like Sonia tries to rule the country? What is wrong if Bombay is renamed to Mumbai? Have you ever looked into the life of Sharad Pawar who sided criminals?Recommend

  • gp65

    One may not agree with his politics but this article is in poor taste when the man has died.Recommend

  • Scissors

    Nothing we don’t already know. Shouldn’t have called the guy rabid, though. He just departed.Recommend

  • PakPrince

    @Nandita.: hey Nandita, Take care, The police can come to ur door tonight and u r commenting on a Pakistan newspaper ??? Oh God, u may gets life in prison……….wish you all the best….Lol Recommend

  • dr dang

    @Mahendra:
    Well said.. This writer seems to belong to north indian hindi speaking belt.
    He has no clue what the man means to us non-marathis in mumbai.Recommend

  • Ace

    Good article from a sensible Indian… the difference between him and the rabid trolls infesting ET are fairly obvious. Good luck to the author, we need more of your sort on both sides.Recommend

  • Amit

    @nanditaji your comment is always praiseworthy. I endrose your viewsRecommend

  • Sudheer

    I am neither a Maharashrian nor a fan of Bal Thakre, but, still I would say, this article of Sanjay is totally biased. Before we dub Thakre and his politics as communal/regional, we must also look at the kind of politics played by the Indian politicians of different hues. Are those politicians who call themselves as secular are really secular in their approach? What about the politics of Mulayam singh aka Mullah Yadav? Who can forget about the rabid caste politcs of Mayavati and Lalu? Have you guys forgotten how Communists, the sole Thekedars of secularism, kept “importing” “voters” from Bangladesh into West Bengal, so that they can stay in power for decades? Congress too is committing the same crime in Assam which is rapidly changing the demographics of the state. What about the regional parties like TDP, TRS, AIDMK, DMK etc who openly appeal to the regional sentiments. Worse, in my own state (Andhra Pradesh) a provincial party TRS wants a separate Telangana State despite being part of a state that speaks the same language and shares the same culture!
    Yes, of course, all the regional parties above, like Bal Thakre, say Jai Hind first and Jai to their respective states/regions next. If so, my question is why single out Bal Thakre? Why depict only him as the evil incarnate? No political party in India is above the communal or regional politics. When everyone is “hamam main nanga” then why go for the overkill by demonizing Bala Saheb alone?
    We the people of India are inherently secular by nature and patriots to the core, the dirty politics indulged by the parties and politicians is not going to make much of difference to where India is heading. Though stumbling and staggering the country is moving on at the right direction.Recommend

  • Vishnu Sharma

    If Thackeray’s funeral can draw such big crowds, then it sends a very bad message to a lot of states in India where the local people feel that the indigenous culture is under threat from outsiders. It sets a text book example of how to run the show and gain popularity for a lot of crooks who want to make it big in politics.

    Imagine what will happen if a new political party in Bengaluru (Bangalore) follows the Thackeray formula and starts targeting all non-Kannadigas for harassment and intimidation and preaches the superiority of Kannadiga peoples over others and advocates driving outsiders out of Bengaluru.

    What is going to happen to millions of people from all over India who have made Bengaluru their home after the IT boom in the city.

    What if Hyderabad follows tomorrow and starts targeting, Muslims and Non-Telugu people ?

    and Chennai and Trivandrum also join the band.

    Where will all this end ?

    The eulogies and crass tribute paid to this fascist satrap of Mumbai is really mind boggling.

    It sends a very wrong message across:

    That Regionalism in India is the new Mantra and that Goon Power is the only way forward.Recommend

  • http://google Dr Priyanka

    I am in mourning. Recommend

  • Pallavi

    Mr. Sanjay Kumar just get your knowledge updated. May be you don’t know the work done by our great leader.. Mumbai became more safer place for ladies just because of him only it’s not like your Delhi or Gujarat, UP , Bihar ..
    Also I would like to mention one comment from Indian That “There is collective growth in Gujarat and no one is left out based on caste, religion or creed” bcoz of that only all these things were possible and all these thing are made now but our great leader was fighting for our right since from decades without any support.Recommend

  • akt

    The popularity of departed soul needs no certification from such author . He was SHIVAJEE of modern India .Recommend

  • Pushkar

    This is so typical of Congress-backed champions of secularism. The man who presided over the riots in 1984 not only became a Prime minister but somehow managed to bag a Bharat Ratna. But one might argue that he deserves that – for his EFFICIENT handing of Sikh massacre in 84, one of the most insensitive statements ever to have come out of an Indian politician’s mouth, a role in Bofors scam and not least leaving his legacy in the form of current form of Gandhis. Congress was in power in Maharashtra when 93 riots took place, but wait. They are not responsible for it- it is Bal Thackeray and his men. Even today, its the Congress government who arrested two young women for posting an innocuous message on Facebook on Thackeray’s death. And stooges such as this writer has the guts to criticize Amitabh Bachchan for having good relations with Balasaheb and for promoting Gujarat’s tourism? Bravo Mr. Kumar!!Recommend

  • Ganapathi

    Hi Sanjay

    This seems to be one sided article.I have seen journalist covering both good and bad things about an individual.

    Balasaheb has done good things for Mumbai. May not be for the entire Maharashtra State.

    Anyway Try to reach people through Good and Bad of a person always.

    GanapathiRecommend

  • Tushar Taliyan

    while i’m not a fan of thackeray, but this article seems distatsteful, prejudiced and attention seeking , too much attention on riots,unnecessary inclusion of Modi and intentional restraint from facts..Recommend

  • Parvez

    The article and the comments are both informative and interesting.Recommend

  • choclat85

    Article was spot on. To all those who said this article is rubbish I am amazed you people have double standards and you are just like your brothers living in Pakistan who support same people as bal thackeray in Pakistan for the same reasons such as charity. Recommend

  • N A Layak

    Polarizing men who cater to the most basic of our fears – livelihood and identity are in the end consumed by their own contradictions. As human beings we want to be loved but also want to be associated with group or individuals who show similar qualities of love and empathy. When associations, for or against, are based on fear, there is no empathy and no legacy. Thackrey, Modi, Sajjan Kumar, Dawood, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Pim Fortuyn, Ku Klux, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed are a breed who will always grab the attention. But when the future generations look at them, it would be for lessons on how not to lead a loveless, disruptive and inhumane life.Recommend

  • antanu g

    a good and sensible piece. thakrey ruled Mumbai through terror. he hardly had the support of 10%mumbaikars and.these 10% sainiks were no more than goons who used to come out on streets to vandalize only because 90%populace refused to do so out of fear. thakrey was a saffron clad mafia and stream of condolences coming out from most of the people are nothing but a mean to escape the wrath of Shiv sank goons. well done. author to be honest in your analysis of the.thakrey …Recommend

  • http://google Dr Priyanka

    I am in mourning, Recommend

  • Vikas

    The author didn’t had to guts to write when he was alive. Howling after his death. Keep howling.
    He was given state honor. I hope that’s enough to speak about him. Recommend

  • Learner

    The comments by Indian right-wingers, who infest this website, are not at all surprising. They are supposed to spew venom against Pakistani right-wing leaders and shout for secularism in Pakistan. In their own country, however, it’s the extremists and fundamentalists (a word which they want reserved for the Muslim right-wing) who are to be praised unabashedly. Shame on these hypocrites. Recommend

  • Casiono3279

    Very well written blog.Recommend

  • Khan Bhai

    @Nandita.: No you are safe, Baji. You are posting on a Pakistani website. And we all know how much Pakistan-India co-operates on such matters. :DRecommend

  • Insaan

    @ethicalman: “He was not anti Muslim it was circumstances in 1992 when Mumbai was bombed by Dawood and ISI that he gave harsh statements..In fact can you forgot when he invited Javed Miandad when Pak toured India ..and even till the end of his life..two doctors working on him were Muslims..and many other wrong perceptions are still there..”

    Thanks for sharing the truth. ISI trained non-State actors (Kasab et al) pretended to be Hindus and killed 40 Indian Muslims and 121 non-Muslims from 12 different countries during 26/11 attack. One of the reason was of 26/11 was to create hatred between Indian Muslims and non-Muslims. Bombay Muslims realized the Paki game and refused to bury dead Muslim terrorists on Indian soil.

    One thing I don’t like about Shiv Sens is there Gunda gardee when they go attack people/places under disguise of protests. Attack on North Indians in Bombay is another problem. Shiv Sena should help Marathis to be more competitive.Recommend

  • KJ

    No Nandita, nobody is going to arrest a poorly learned girl with shallow thoughts. Jails are for people who deserve to be there. You certainly are notRecommend

  • akt

    Balasaheb was Shiva jee of modern India . Recommend

  • Another North Indian

    This is a new low. I am surprised that Express Tribune actually published this hate item celebrating the death of a political leader whose positions differed from yours and the author’s.

    That too, from a country whose courts regularly sentence its own citizens to death for ‘insulting’ a dead man whose positions many other people find offensive and violent.

    Those who are happy that Mr Thakre is dead have a right to their opinion, but a established newspaper should adhere to some basic norms of decency.

    As a regular read of your columns, I wish to record my great disappointment. Recommend

  • Another North Indian

    Lone Liberal Pk

    (1) Thakre did not organize or prepare HIndu suicide squads. Many Hindu often do debate whether they should have their own suicide bombers against Muslims. That is a legitimate debate. We should not stop that debate, either for or against.

    (2) Thakre had fascist tendencies. You would be surprised how many people have those tendencies, and how many well-reputed, well-mourned people have issued statements praising the discipline and faith of those armies. If you research this point, you will find that it has been blown out of all proportions by commentators who have their own axes to grind.

    (3) Bringing sufferings to any people is sad. He brought many sufferings to North Indians too, at times. This is again not something over which decent people normally celebrate deaths.

    (4) Thakre reflected the views of many with regard to ‘peace process with Pakistan’. His views are shared by millions upon millions on both sides of the border. They have at least a partial ring of truth to them. Normally, we do not celebrate the death of people who argue that India has business trying to normalize relations with Pakistan, and vice versa.

    Overall, demagoguery by a few has buried common sense and humanity here. Recommend

  • Usama Zafar

    Brilliantly written. On many levels, people of Karachi can relate to Bala. Because like he controlled Mumbai, Altaf Hussain controls Karachi. On the face of it, the charity works & roads & hospitals but in reality Altaf remains a staunch supporter of expelling Pathans from Karachi under the pretence that they are all Taliban. Like Bala, he holds the city through fear while feeding off extortion money. Oops I mean ‘voluntary’ political donations & charity donations. Like Bala, Altaf’s party has had countless Pathans brutally murdered.
    But the saddest part is, unlike the people of India, who at large, did not allow Shiv Sena to become a regular national player, Altaf’s party is.
    I pray for the day some journo from Pakistan has the balls to write like this about Altaf. Our own rabid, mad dog. Recommend

  • Another North Indian

    I hope you would publish the posts I submitted, although they are critical of you.

    I would like ti share one last point that came to me.

    Thankre took many stands against many groups, north Indians and South Indians included. Neither of these groups are ‘celebrating’ the man’s passing away.

    It is only among Pakistanis and a few Indians who were his political enemies who have chosen to do so. Even so, a newspaper of your stature should not have taken this low route.Recommend

  • Adil

    I am a Pakistani and would not comment over who the people of India should elect,it’s their internal matter.But offering condolence on the demise of even your opponents is a sign of ethics and maturity, and even Jawed Miandad did so and earlier before the demise of Bal Thackeray he wished him a speedy recovery. I am not sure if Thackeray really hated any community from the core of his heart or just used sentiments of the masses since he was also a political leader at the end of the day.

    Many Indian celebrities offered their condolences over the death of Bal Thackeray including Amitabh Bachchan,Shahrukh Khan,Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar.As a matter of fact I learned about Thackeray’s death when Kumar shared the news on his official facebook page.It was somehow shocking due to the friendly and humble image Kumar has got not just in India but Pakistan and many other Muslim nations too. But he’s not going to be singled out amidst other celebrities who did the same.

    And worse is the case with Amitabh Bachchan who not just paid condolence but also shared his pictues with Balasaheb on his facebook page just today.And many of his fans including both Muslims and non-Muslims reacted negatively due to the friends he had and the company he shows infront of the world, as if no one among his fans knows the history of hatemongering by Thackeray.I guess Bachchan is all set to put his image at stake. Many Indian and Pakistani Muslims whom I know already call Bachchan a prejudiced person. And his association with Balasaheb is just going to make it worse for him. Plus, not to forget how different Sikh organizations have already prepared petitions against the Bollywood Legend for playing a role in the massacre of 1984. Bachchan has got many fans in Muslim nations too but he shows associations with Balasaheb. The same Balasaheb who once said that if you want to know about my ideology then replace the word Jew with Muslim in Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. Recommend

  • Desi

    This is just great. Indians posting views on a Pak website to ensure that they don’t get jailed in India. Recommend

  • Desi

    @KJ: Yeah right. Recommend

  • Desi

    At least everyone knows how free India is now.Recommend

  • http://salmanzq.blogspot.com/ Salman

    Well written article Sanjay. It doesn’t matter which country one belongs to – we must speak out against such bigoted people as thackeray. Mumbai is a better place without him.Recommend

  • Anas Tanveer

    A very well written blog. Appreciated. And for my pakistani friends here, who are making fun of the writer for sharing his thoughts here on a paki platform, let me just introduce you to the Pakistani Bal thakarey, OUR VERY OWN, MERA BHAI TERA BHAI, ALTAF BHAI ALTAF BHAI. He is on the sae duty as thakarey was, and i just wish and hope the same future for him, i would wait for the day when people of Karachi and Hyderabad would reject the Paki Bal Thakaray, and let the people of Karachi be in much awaited peace.

    Thumbs up for the writer.

    Dushman Maray Tay Khushi Na Kariye Sajna Wi Mar Jana
    Deegar Tay Din Aaya Muhammad,Tay Oudak Nu dub JanaRecommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Another North Indian,

    Many Hindu often do debate whether they should have their own suicide bombers against Muslims. That is a legitimate debate

    Maybe it’s a legitimate debate in your part of the town. In my neighbourhood, we’re pretty much agreed on it being a criminal offense and a certified evil. There’s no question about it.Recommend

  • http://www.yahoo.ccom Jivan

    He was very narrow type of person….
    his thinking was extreme..
    I dont know why indian govt and Other Country could ban him..
    If he belonged to any other religion he could be banned…..Recommend

  • Milind

    What a crappy article…

    The fear of a culture being swamped and wiped out by immigrants is real – be it in Assam (by the Bangladeshis), Baluchistan/Sindh (by Punjabis), Xinkiang ( by Han Chinese) etc…

    Interestingly those who criticise Balasaheb conveniently forget that Dubai (and the Arab states) have laws to prevent the above scenarios… Ethnic/natives of Dubai are in minority (5%) and most of the population is made of outsiders. However the rulers of Dubai have shown foresight to ensure the natives are not wiped out… The same was applied here by Saheb…

    Balasaheb stood for the rights of the son-of-the soil. At the same time he put national interest over regional (whenever these collided)… How many non-Maharashtrians have been murdered by the Sena???

    Regarding 1992 its a different story.. First of all the Sena is the not the only one who has monopoly in rioting.. Everybody including the Congress, Muslims etc. have indulged in this whenever it suited them. Sena showed patience for the first few weeks, however had to retaliate when Muslims showed no signs of stopping and the Congress govt. slept…
    Recommend

  • http://google Dr Priyanka

    Nandita comments that she is a proud Maharashtrian. If you were, you would not be passing such comments!Recommend

  • Milind

    @Adnan – “Interesting remarks about Amitabh Bachchan and his great love for Thackeray: Pakistani Bollywood film fans take note.”

    Adnan bhaijaan – It just not Amitabh Bachchan who has love for Balasaheb… In fact your great batsman (and our cricket team’s bete noire) Javed Miandad has also expressed admiration for him.
    You would be pleasantly surprised to know that Javed bhai met Balasaheb a few years back @ his residence and plans to visit the Thackeray family again to offer his condolences.

    BTW… Konkani/Marathi Muslims supported Shiv Sena witness the ticket distribution and winners in the coastal belt – Srivardhan etc… Only the North Indian Muslims with their rabid Deobandi thinking, were at his receiving end.
    Our pace-bowler Zahir Khan has also gone on record during a prior Pakistan tour, stating that he received support from the Shiv Sainiks in his town and that he admired Balasaheb… And no, he wasn’t made to convert to Hinduism a.k.a. Yousuf Youhana…Recommend

  • zeeshan sheikh

    ET please change your website address to tribune.com.pk to tribune.com.in . please do it.Recommend

  • Nitish

    He was a lion…..Sher tha hamara ……chala gaya………koi baat nahi………..koi doosara a jayega……………….Bahoot din jiya………..But I m amazed at the author.How low he can go to prove himself a secular.This is highly biased one sided article.Bala sahab was a great personality .Personal like him bears after centuries.One should strive to be like him………. Recommend

  • Sab33N

    @Mumbai:
    Please do not bring Pakistanis or Pakistan in this nonsense debate. We are neither bigoted nor ignorant. The article is not written by a Pakistani. Its a blog. It has been published because we have reasonably free media.

    Post and comment all you want but do not start your Pakistan bashing on an all Indian debate. I know its difficult for you but you can at least try :)Recommend

  • Manishj

    Lol.. ET is soon truning into an Indian News paper. Most of The things Sanjay wrote are known to most of us in India and pakistanis do not need to read it. what is the need to use a Pakistani paper for this? Please use this space only if you have anything worthwhile to say about the upliftment of Pakistan or building relations between the two countries.

    Else stop using ET for your useless views.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    2 million people from mumbai came to attend this “marginalised” leader’s funeral and they did this peacefully. Speaks volumes of the credibility of this article.

    ET seems to be publishing rubbish articles rejected from Indian newspapers Recommend

  • Auro

    indi pop , mumbaii is the most cosmopolitan city in india. has a very very high population of non maharashtrians. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    First, those who criticize Bal Thackeray for his fascist politics are not wrong – fascism appeals to the lowest common denominator, which is fear of the outsider, and the Shiv Sena’s roots lie in militant xenophobia. The overlap between the Marathi manoos and the perceived threat to Hindu culture through pseudo-secular politics allowed the Shiv Sena to find common ground with the BJP – otherwise Bal Thackeray was anti-South Indian/ Gujarati to start with. Of course, Shiv Sena’s politics have evolved over time, even if their methods haven’t. The Sena continues to hold sway over the BMC, so there must be a lot of people in Mumbai who still buy into Balasaheb’s brand of politics.

    Now that said, those who criticize this article for being a one-sided unsubstantiated attack on the political right disguised as a realistic view on Bal Thackeray are not wrong either – the very first line of the blog indicates personal animosity and pettiness. The writer has his axe to grind, and so he peddles his twisted anachronistic left wing fare at a Pak news site of all places. Still, those who appreciate ET for providing a platform to alternative points of view when it comes to Pakistan should not now look in askance.
    @ ET- one request. This comment covers both sides of the argument. Editing one or the other would destroy the entire concept. I believe that the content meets your guidelines, but if you feel the need to edit, pls do not publish the comment at all (although I hope you will :).Recommend

  • Auro

    as a non marathi, i can tell u the ;social fabric’ is just fine. Maharshtra has loads and loads of outsiders like me. it is the most cosmopolitan state. indii-pop. i agree with ur views on thackarey but ur mistaken if u think mumbai/maharashtra is not cosmo. mumbai se jyada cosmo koi city nahi hai india mein. Recommend

  • Nitish

    Bala saheb was befitting reply to leaders like Mulayam,Nitish,Laloo,Ram vilash who r grave threat to very existence of hinduism………….He straightened all fanatic muslims who had all the intention to celebrate pakistan’s win over india whether it was kargil war or cricket…..Recommend

  • Santosh

    Bal thackeray killed belief of “United India” for his power and wealth gain. He has spread soo much hatredness among people that nobody in the country likes marathis. Because of him entire marathi people are seen as criminals. He is such violent head thet he made isssues from ordinary to sensitive. As his legacy he created one more called raj thackeray. If these kind of people become leaders and come to power, soon there will be no place for marathis outside maharashtra. Recommend

  • Siddhesh S

    @Santosh:
    Marathis dont need to go outside maharashtra there is everything in it.
    but why the do non-marathis come in the maharashtra?Recommend

  • kaka

    @ Mahendra If thakrey is great due to his provision of ambulance services to masses of maharashtra, then so is hafiz saeed. JuD also has a quite large portfolio of humanitarian projects including ambulance services etc.Recommend

  • Atif

    @Usama Zafar
    and
    @Anas Tanveer

    Please stay away from the going off the topic and let the Indians discuss it who knows the situation better than you or any Pakistani. Dont want to jump into a futile and heated argument with you and ruin the thread.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    Manishj:

    “Most of The things Sanjay wrote are known to most of us in India and pakistanis do not need to read it”

    Evidently, you have no idea how blogging works. or even how news works.

    I bet Indian websites don’t publish blogs and news articles about what goes on in Pakistan?Recommend

  • akt

    IK see the Tsunami ,or SAILAB in the funeral of Balasaheb , we once again like to say that don’t ignore the sentiments of Hindus in the subcontinent . Suppot to such aggressive leaders are rising in India due to Islamic terrorism . Don’t ignore Bamiyan . Kashi, Ayadhaya Mathura and Kashmir issues . Do more or be ready to be Droned and feel the shocks of such Tsunami . Recommend

  • Another North Indian

    “Maybe it’s a legitimate debate in your part of the town. In my neighbourhood, we’re pretty much agreed on it being a criminal offense and a certified evil. There’s no question about it.”

    Pak Liberal, either you don’t know your neighborhood very well, or you are unable or unwilling to stop the suicide squads prepared repeatedly by some in your neighborhood against Indians / Hindus.

    In all these scenarios, for all practical purposes, your credibility will be lower than that of any one who raises the debate about whether others should have their own suicide bombers targeting your neighborhood.Recommend

  • Another North Indian

    Priyanka

    We can’t be sure what nandita is trying to do.

    If she is disagreeing with or opposing Thakre’s stands, she has every right to do so. I myself have consistently opposed Shiv Sena and similar groups elsewhere.

    If she is actually celebrating Thakre’s death, then I hope she would be decent enough to share with us the details of her family so we too can celebrate the deaths of members of her family.

    People forget that nobody is going to live on forever. Not even the people we love and personally admire.Recommend

  • Another North Indian

    Santosh

    The only people whose belief in a ‘United India” was killed by Thakre were those who never had such belief to begin with. Innumerable North and South Indians work in Mumbai with their faith fully intact. Recommend

  • Sebastian Rottner-Hoenicke

    @Mahendra:
    My name is Sebastian and I am German. We are all still suffering from Adolf Hitler and his murdering activities. This was 70 years ago. Still some people keep on saying “but he also was building streets”. Yes he did, to gain votes, power and to have good transport for army items. People with much power creating the evil do not need to receive cooments saying that they were not only bad. Maybe not, but whocares after they have caused so much pain to so many people. Compare him with Mahatma Ghandi and you will get back to reasonable relations.Recommend