14 April, 2021

Prance Of The Trickster

Bal Thackeray played a game of violent juvenile pranks as politics

Prance Of The Trickster

It is not my job to pay tributes to dead politicians, nor is it to do a hatchet job on them. I have learnt to look at human beings without being terribly judgemental, since I still retain something of my clinical training. Therefore, I shall look at Bal Thackeray from a distance. He was a product of a period of Indian politics during which his kind thrived. It was the time when leaders like Datta Samant emerged but, unlike him, Thackeray’s instinct for survival was stronger and he negotiated the world of Indian politics with greater skill despite his—and this is a gross understatement—many angularities.

Actually, Thackeray believed in nothing. Many people think he believed in Hindutva, something that he exploited very successfully to further his career, but it perhaps did not mean anything at all to him. He spewed hatred against Hindus liberally—and frequently. When they were not the south Indians, they were the Gujaratis and the Marwaris and, later in his life, the migrants from UP and Bihar. It would be wrong to presume that Balasaheb spoke for...

More from Ashis Nandy

Latest Magazine

April 19, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section