Sunday, September 2, 2012

India's Thackerays have more brawn than brain

As the Shiv Sena & MNS Thackeray's flex their muscles once again, I remembered an article I wrote a couple of years ago. Nothing has changed, sigh. Have attached the link
 & pasted the article below as well

The Sena-MNS charm works best for kids

(Published in DNA, Feb 2010)

The strange reluctance of Maharashtra’s ruling alliance to deal firmly with the incorrigible Shiv Sena and MNS over the years has led me to believe that the Thackerays have photographs of state Congress and NCP leaders doing very, very naughty things. God, I’d give anything to see those photographs!
Currently, after being sharply prodded by the Centre, the state government is making a huge pretence of doing something about it: home minister RR Patil aka Mr. Squeaky Clean Morals, is skimming through articles in Saamna, the Sena mouthpiece, in search of inflammatory remarks. How astonishing that he isn’t already aware that the two parties promote hatred. Besides, as we all know, the only issue that makes Patil’s blood vessels burst are bar dancers. I doubt he’ll find references to dancing girls in Saamna. It’s a pointless exercise, really.
I’m beginning to believe that Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan should be chief minister of Mumbai — at least he has the guts to stand up to the Shiv Sena. And, if we go by a recent TV poll, the nation is behind him, even if most of the other cowardly A-list Bollywood stars are silent. Let’s not forget the most lily-livered of the lot — the man who warmly assured the nation in his blog that the Shiv Sena supremo is in the pink of health. What was that all about? Only to ensure that you stay healthy as well, Mr Non-heroic Hero?
Shah Rukh Khan said he’s not apologising for saying what he believes in because he wishes to set a good example for his children. That got me pondering deeply about the example that parties like the Shiv Sena and MNS set for our children. I met a few parents (their names have been changed on request because they don’t wish to eat liquidised food for the rest of their lives) and this is what they had to say:
Thirty-six-year old Mrs Sen was the most pragmatic of the lot. A harassed mother of two naughty little boys, she’s grateful that the Shiv Sena is around. “I tell my boys that if you don’t drink your milk, I’ll call the Shiv Sena and they’ll fix you good and proper. It works like a charm — now they even drink karela juice without a whimper,” she beams.
Mr Bhide, a banker, was a little less cheerful. He shook his head sadly as he related an incident that occurred soon after the MNS took a Bollywood producer to task for referring to Mumbai as Bombay. “One evening I accompanied my son to the garden, and was shocked to see the new game he was playing.The children divided themselves into two teams. One team was called ‘Citizens’. The other was called ‘MNS’. The game works like this: The Citizens scream ‘Bombay’ repeatedly, and the MNS gang chases them and breaks their toys. My son’s cycle has been smashed. I told him I’m not going to get him a replacement if he plays that disgusting game ever again!” Mr Bhide went on to add with a shudder, “And you know what he had to say about that? He wept bitterly and begged me to let him play the game one last time because it was his turn to be an MNS man! I’ve grounded him for life.”
“My nine-year-old daughter asked me a very disturbing question the other day,” Mrs Sayed informed me. “She said, ‘Mummy, are the Thackerays Australian?’ I patiently explained that oddly enough, they just prefer to spell their names the anglicised way — their surname is Thakre, actually, and then she threw another question at me — ‘If they’re really Indians then why do they attack other Indians?’”
Personally, I hold TV channels to blame. The next time they have breaking news on the Shiv Sena or MNS, they should do it after 10pm when children are in bed. Or else they should put a warning sign on the screen that reads: Watching this can be injurious to your child’s mental health.

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