23 November, 2020

The Who-Said-What Nil Nisi Bonum Test

It’s a sight, ‘progressives’ adding to Thackeray’s iconisation

The Who-Said-What Nil Nisi Bonum Test

The mammoth size of the crowd of mourners who congregated at Shivaji Park in Mumbai last Sunday to bid a final adieu to Bal Thackeray foxed many of his long-time critics. They had assumed that, in his waning years, the Shiv Sena chieftain had become a pale and tragic shadow of his former, feisty self and was therefore a figure of no consequence. The assumption was well founded. A series of political setbacks and personal tragedies, followed by age-related illnesses, had taken their toll.

In his last video address, Thackeray appealed to the Sainiks to “take care” of his anointed heirs—son Uddhav and grandson Aditya—once he exited the scene. It was a pitiable sight: the patriarch, who once held his audience in thrall with his vitriolic oratory, now appeared to be frail and exhausted as he gasped for breath while he searched for the right words. The critics had therefore concluded that he was well and truly a spent force.

But by the time the funeral ended, the critics began to sing a different tune. The presence of lakhs of people, as well as...



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