The flood of letters and the editorial on Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray (Nov.19) seem to be very partial and a bit uncharitable. No doubt his ways were not peaceful, democratic and at times parochial but, can any one deny that he sincerely fought for the local people of Maharashtra to ensure their livelihood in the backdrop of competition from migrants? He was bold, honest and straightforward in his opinions. There was never a moment when he was hypocritical, like other right wing politicians. He was forthright and a nationalist to the core, when India’s sovereignty was threatened.
A realistic assessment of Mr. Thackeray may not offer much scope for positive adulation (Nov.19). Though he had a mass following and stood for a cause which he believed was right, most of his words and actions were partisan, parochial and undemocratic. Many States have such popular leaders who command a following based on their prowess of rhetoric and ability to fulfil regional, caste and linguistic aspirations. But in the end, power rests with the common man.