Admire or hate Bal Thackeray but no one can deny that with his demise, an era in the history of Maharashtra has ended (Nov. 18). No one can ignore him. As a champion of the rights of Maharashtra, his views may have been extreme but he was also a man of wit and humour.
Karavadi Raghava Rao,
It is not unusual for public figures to pay rich tributes to an eminent person on his or her demise and as a matter of established and unwritten rule, avoid negative or harsh references (“Leader who brought ethnic politics to Mumbai melting pot” & “Thackeray’s stature was unique: Manmohan” (Nov. 18). But, one wonders whether a man whose political ethos accompanied by a vicious campaign against “immigrants” deserves to be called a “nationalist.”
India does not need leadership of the kind that Bal Thackeray provided. Mumbai must discard its fear and vote in a secular manner.
His “Maharashtra for Maharashtrians” slogan did not augur well as it spelt extreme unpleasantness for people of other States. It is a bit odd that politicians who were always very critical of him are now finding virtues in him. Posthumous admiration costs nothing for chameleon-like politicians.
It is sad that a leader like him embraced narrow ideals. It also remains an unpleasant truth that the Shiv Sena is more a dreaded outfit than a loved one. Perhaps, the next generation of Thackerays can turn things around.
He dominated the politics of the State for about five decades but never occupied any office of profit. Though he was identified with the saffron brigade he supported the Congress’s nominees in the presidential elections in 2007 and 2012.
The history of economic capital of the country cannot be written without naming him.
The condolences that have poured in from leaders of political parties across the country and the emotive commiserations of the people that have sprung up stand testimony to his statesmanship. The “Tiger” died untamed.
In Mumbai in the 1970s, national carrier Air India had several senior executives who were non-Maharashtrians. The issue of jobs for “locals” was simmering at that time.
As I was in charge of recruitment in the airline, I was “summoned” by Bal Thackeray to his office at home. His nephew, Srikant Thackeray, took me to meet his formidable uncle, who was still young but very aggressive. He was very courteous and spoke in Hindi. He then switched to Marati and said: “The Air India office may be yours, but the road belongs to us.” The message was clear. Large business houses also had to recruit local talent.
He did display a national perspective on various issues. Another characteristic was that he was never guilty of doublespeak.
It was interesting to read about the friendship between Bal Thackeray and R.K. Laxman (“The cartoonist and a campaigner,” Nov. 18). One who was a relentless critic of the state of the world, and the other, a right-wing politician, with the world of cartoons being the common link.
He believed and lived with two strong convictions — of the rights of Maharashtrians in service, business and politics, and the right of Maharashtrian culture to be Mumbai’s culture. He roared whenever his convictions were challenged but never allowed it to be a hindrance to the overall growth of Mumbai as well as the federal structure of India.
Vijay S. Menon,