Politics of Hate
India's financial capital and symbol of cosmopolitanism has become a safe haven for a social terrorist like Raj Thackeray and his mercenariesIt is an irony that Mumbai, India’s financial capital and its most celebrated symbol of cosmopolitanism, is providing safe haven for a social terrorist like Raj Thackeray and his mercenaries of hate.
They are striking at the very roots of India and what it stands for—a nation whose unity is sustained by its cultural diversities. In his desperate quest for political space, the young Thackeray has exposed the weakness of state power.
For his Grab Maharashtra Mission means are unimportant. At a time, when the nation needs undivided political attention to fight the battle on the economic front, Raj is reviving the ghost of divisive politics which was buried in Maharashtra and elsewhere 20 years ago.
Raj represents the new class of politics in which logic is irrelevant. He has established the unpalatable truth that individuals with ideology are not the new messiahs, icons of hate are.
Raj has no mass base yet he symbolises a trend in which a fringe player can dictate terms to the giants. If Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, Mayawati, Sangh Parivar, Muslim League and caste leaders in the Congress party can extract power by dividing the society, the junior Thackeray believes he can too. In the absence of any control mechanism, Thackeray is reaping huge political profit by shortselling.
Raj is not a vagabond from the slums of Mumbai which supplies the foot soldiers of his Hate Sena. His lifestyle and material possessions make him the rising star of a political class that represents a dangerous cocktail of money and muscle power.
He has been using this power to effectively steal the thunder from other political groupings, including his parent organisation Shiv Sena. The high priests of business and entertainment in Mumbai are traumatised by his goons.
When this little pug roars, they cower in fear. India Inc, which rubs shoulders with powerful political leaders in Delhi and influence national decisions, are unable to handle this new menace. They also know that they can’t fight him and his idea because there is no one to protect them.
Those like Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani who could combine to counter his menace are unwilling to because of the fear of losing a few votes and even fewer seats. So-called national leaders, leaving aside their political affiliations, are willing to walk to Race Course Road to demand action against the new rebel but are afraid of visiting the state together to challenge the newly-born but toothless cub.
All the five Union ministers and the President of India hailing from the state are sitting on the sidelines watching as the seeds for the Great Indian Divide are sown. In the past, many political battles along linguistic, caste and regional lines were won but the victories were short-lived. In the south, Dravidian parties had to give up their extreme stand as did leaders from the north.
But the late 1990s signalled the revival of caste and coalition politics in which marginal players became major leaders. Raj is just another addition to that dubious list.
Tragically, the idea of Thackeray is going unchallenged. He is a desperate political leader willing to demolish the whole house to save the kitchen where he prepares his venomous recipes for thought and action.
If the fake manoos menace is not nipped in the bud, it will pose a serious challenge to the very unique identity of India. What is at stake is the secular concept of an inclusive India whose survival calls for the repudiation of this dangerous arriviste who divides the mind of India and peddles hate in the mean streets of the metropolis to ensure his political survival in his private Tora Bora.