What went wrong with Raj Thackeray ?

What went wrong with Raj Thackeray?

As a child I have seen and experienced horrific fear psychosis of Balasaheb Thackeray. It was when Shivsena Corporator from Thane,  Khopkar was murdered. Later, the then Thane Shivsena President, Anand Dighe’s mother died under natural causes Shivsena called for Thane bandh. Both incidences of ‘Bandh’ have left a mark on my mind. One active and another is passive. After so many years I have realized same kind of fear psychosis, lawlessness, defeat of collective wisdom of society  when Raj Thackeray, nephew of senior Thackeray started passing diktats about ‘On collecting Toll’, ‘Sur Kshetra’, passing diktats on Asha Bhosale and public humiliation of artists, thinkers, journalists, intellectuals. The society is the same who is following his diktats, debating on his diktats but nobody surprisingly even government is not questioning his authority to passing such diktats.

Recently, Raj Thackeray has created major controversies. Before heading in to those controversies we have to understand what exactly went wrong with Maharashtra since Bal Thackeray’s rise.

Many Indian thinkers did not bother to give a thought to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s imprints on Maharashtra’s socio-political life. Modern Maharashtra’s four towering personalities left their mark on history as well as contemporary thought process of sensible Marathi manoos (Maharashtrian): Veer Shivaji, Mahatma Phule, LokmanyaTilak and Dr. Ambedkar. There were many others but these four were spearheads of making of ‘Modern Maharashtra’.  Among them Dr. Ambedkar was last of the Roman. He was not only greatest Indian but he was political leader as well as socio-economic political thinker and philosopher. This unique combination made him a legend like never before. Today we are thinking in the context of Maharashtra’s current politics so we are taking Dr. Ambedkar’s influence and tragedy categorically in context of Maharashtra. After Dr. Ambedkar’s death within a decade Shivsena rose to being a reactionary force. It was not a co-incidence. Dr. Ambedkar in his life lost elections and failed in electoral politics because Congress was completely against Dr. Ambedkar’s originality and philosophy. The entire movement of Dr. Ambedkar was a political and social movement for liberal democracy. Like today whole political ruling class, mainly Congress, was against any original and liberal democratic thought which goes against their electoral policy of nurturing the herd mentality. So after Dr. Ambedkar’s death Congress politics always nurtured reactionary forces like Bal Thackeray. A very simple example I would like to give. Congress valiantly opposed Ambedkar’s thought and policies but the same Congress supported wholeheartedly Mr. Bal Thackeray and his violent, thoughtless reactionary politics. Once upon a time Maharashtra was a hub for independent and original socio-political thinkers. But Congress, time and again used self-proclaimed political forces like Bal Thackeray to nurture leadership of Maharashtra in hands of people like Pawar and Thackeray who are reactionaries, cerebrally bankrupt and absolute corrupt. Congress is conveniently ignoring Raj’s diktats and his politics which is in league with his uncle’s style. Congress is doing the same with Raj what they have done with Bal Thackeray. Infact, by doing so Congress is not helping Raj in long run but restricting Raj to a small violent force which will not convert or replace Congress in Maharashtra as a ruling party. Whether Raj is aware of this comprehensive politics or no nobody knows but he seems to be content with the small time glory and fame. By doing this Raj is contradicting his promises which he made when he left Shivsena.  Initially and even today large numbers of people are looking at Raj as better alternative to rule Maharashtra. But it seems he is neither aware of it nor taking it seriously. Today, if Raj is exact replica of his uncle then why did he form a new political party with the word ‘Navnirman’. This is the question which arises in every sensible mind.

In this context rise of Raj Thackeray, on wrong path drawn by his uncle, is partially his own and majorly belongs to convenient ignorance by Congress.  The agenda on this path is lack of vision, cerebral bankruptcy, arrogance of inferiority, creating fear psychosis among people, propaganda of hatred, reaction of thoughtlessness and ultimately power of corruption. Raj imitates his uncle adding contemporary touch.  This is in itself dangerous for young politician like him. It’s a political fatal attraction! As mentioned above after Dr. Ambedkar’s death Maharashtra has lost its collective wisdom and originality. This has not happened overnight or in a day. It has taken years. After the end of Ambedkar’s era Maharashtra became follower and has lost its visionary capacity in any Pan Indian movement. Suddenly thinkers faded and disappeared in the five decades and politics of goons and white collared mafias ruled over Maharashtra whenever and wherever required. Raj Thackeray is the child of Maharashtrian people’s this inferiority complex in context of Pan Indian socio-political existence.  Raj Thackeray is not the first one. He is repeating old story of his uncle Bal Thackeray. But here I would love to quote Marx- ‘History repeats itself, first time its tragedy and second time its Farce’. Marx wrote in his book about Napoleon and his nephew, Louis Napoleon. But here in a different context we can cite one similarity; Bal Thackeray represents tragedy of Marathi Manoos which leads to his own tragedy ultimately. Now after 45 years of tragedy intellectual bankruptcy of Maharashtra leads to a farce in Pan Indian context and Raj Thackeray has happily chosen himself to be an ideal representative. This is a sad and unfortunate inning by young politician like him. If you see and hear his speeches its nothing more or less than melodrama heading towards nowhere. Same thing applies to today’s Maharashtra.  So in a wrong sense Raj Thackeray represents Maharashtra, so contemporary youths feel that Raj Thackeray is their ‘Man’. What appeals to contemporary generation are his style quotient and his farcical behavior! He is here to change the mind of youth for development of Maharashtra and nation ultimately for bigger, larger and global reasons. People love him so he should spread love among his followers to nurture creativity and originality of Ambedkar and pre-Ambedkar era.

What Raj is speaking about ‘Maharashtra Dharma’ and ‘Biharis’ is absolutely shallow and lacks any philosophy, even philosophy of hatred.  After six years of forming a party he still speaks about such things and imitates Shivsena’s agenda, it looks like Raj doesn’t have any grand strategy for Maharashtra or any strategy for his followers. He is surviving on tactics which are supported by ruling class as a policy. In reality this support will go against his larger interests in future. These tactics of hatred are not really based on any integrated thoughts but is based on piecemeal ideas like Popcorn. Why he violently humiliated Asha Bhosale, he himself may not be able to answer this question. Same are his thoughts about Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Bihari, Non-Bihari and people from UP. Think for a moment, given freedom, will he be able to fight his make-believe enemies? How will he define his enemies? If he is working within geographical limits of Maharashtra and contesting elections, doesn’t he understand that if Pakistan and Bangladesh are a problem, they are a problem of Union Government of India and not for Maharashtra! Since formation of Shivsena Bal Thackeray is saying, ‘give the military in my hands and I will solve the problems of Kashmir.’ So many questions have not been put up to Bal Thackeray for many years. Whom is he asking to give military in his hands? Who stops him from taking military in his hands? What are his constitutional status and relationship with military and Union Government of India? Ultimately what is to be done to solve our problem through Bal Thackeray’s ideas? Same applies for Raj. What he is talking is absolutely insignificant, irrelevant and nothing to do with his party and himself. But what he wants to do by doing that is very relevant. He is creating terror in minds of budding intellectuals, thinkers, journalists, writers and artists and whoever is in capacity to oppose him or his petty political vested interests. In the beginning of this write-up the fear psychosis which I have mentioned in people’s mind (about Bal Thackeray), in later years I have seen that similar kind of fear psychosis in many part of countries of small time or big political goons. But what I don’t understand is the compulsions of Raj Thackeray to choose this tried and tested static path!

We have seen some latest interviews of Raj Thackeray wherein his body language is offensive and he himself raises questions. This clearly shows that he is indulging in intellectual void coupled with arrogance. This is a problem with the entire contemporary generation. They have lost their identity, their jobs, they don’t have any philosophies and they have lost their center’s within. So, they want some tool or weapon to survive, to overcome any superior foreign or global power. Now because of Raj Thackeray, in this era of globalization, larger number of Maharashtrian youth thinks that power is arrogance, mediocrity, hatred and narrow mindedness. Even many media person who interviewed Raj were co-conspirators of his tactics. What they want to gain is easy fame and what Raj is achieving is easy power through his grandly accepted terror. Pawar, his party (NCP), Bal Thackarey and his party (Shivsena) have not done anything for Mumbai, forget about Maharashtra, compared to likes of Jagannath Shankarsheth and Jamshed Jeejabhoy. When opportunity is there Raj is not taking chance for constructive & developmental politics. A young leader like Raj Thackeray should introspect this reality in present context of his violent politics before it’s too late.

Whatever Raj speaks about Marathi, non-Marathi and what his uncle speaks about Hindus and Muslims is a hoax. They don’t have comprehensive understanding of even an imaginary problem they are talking about. I repeat, for example Bal Thackeray always says, ‘Give Military in my hands and I will solve Kashmir problem.’  Raj is imitating such hollow statements about Bihari’s and North Indians.

If Raj Thackeray accepts his current political style is a benchmark then he is accepting Maharashtra’s decay and degeneration without any objection and leading towards more decay and degeneration.

When Raj formed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, sky was the limit for him. Initially he behaved in a cultured manner. Two of his famous great quotes from initial days of his parties, which most of the people have forgotten, ‘I will create a Maharashtra which will be envy of the world’ and ‘if your child follows me, their life will not go to waste’. Then Raj realized that to make these statements a reality it required hardship, real ideology, intellectuality and liberal democratic framework. Whereas the path his uncle chose shown to him by Congress that is to destroy originality of Maharashtra. It is much easier short cut for him and his cortege. So he set upon that path very seriously and rest is fear.

In Republic of India, there are some problems within states, especially problems with state’s rulers. Some problems are synthetic and some are real. Within a Constitutional framework we are allowed to fight with each other. Sometimes it could be political, sometimes cultural while at times it could be economical. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand; nobody is exceptional. But we must not stretch these fights and debates to racial discrimination which is crime against humanity and not allowed by Constitution of India. We are here for co-existence that has underlined an outer limit of states within state. We are citizens of India and no one is above anyone. These principles are set by architect of our Constitution mainly Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar because he knew how discrimination by caste, religion, region kills one’s originality and creativity. Here in this context Raj Thackeray is discriminating Biharis and people from UP and terrorizing Marathis subtly; either join hands with me or I will close your chapter.  This is destruction of democratic fabric of mindset of any budding creative personality. Any budding creative person either will go for herd mentality or rebel in a void and ruling class will easily target him by calling him dog and shoot him. This is a journey of a society to abyss and nobody is really serious about it, forget about ‘Maharashtra Dharma’ Maharashtra is now almost bankrupt and mediocre cerebrally. It is difficult to believe that it is the land of Veer Shivaji, Mahatma Phule, Lokmanya Tilak and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Cerebral bankruptcy is disastrous to Maharashtra and without an ideologue, social thinkers, intellectuals, creative artists within democratic set up and value, it is impossible to build global state which will be envied at a national level.

I don’t know what went wrong with a generous person and artist whom I knew named Raj Thackeray but most probably his petty minded coterie and followers and their political ambition which is out of proportion in race of time unfortunately make him what he is today. One thing is very certain in democracy, ‘there is no place for diktats and one who passes diktats should be aware that if you look through Indian Constitution then these diktats are nothing but satanic verses’.

Once Raj Thackeray accompanied me to playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s house. Raj had newly formed his political party then. Tendulkar had some wise words to share with Raj. This is directly from the obituary that I have written in memory of late Vijay Tendulkar. Vijay Tendulkar said, ‘In old age (Tendulkar mentioned himself and Bal Thackeray) when old people cry it is not necessary for a specific reason. He can see glimpses of his entire life. Chunks of pieces from his life make him cry. There is nothing much he can do. He arranges and re-arranges the jigsaw puzzle of his mistakes in his mind. Then he realizes he has made a mistake. Then he starts crying. What else can he do? Hence young people should ignore when old people cry. Our generation has made Himalayan blunders. You have to bear the consequences. The next generation will bear the brunt of your actions. Then you will cry. Your cries should not be taken seriously then. At least commit some mistakes now. You have your old age to cry for!’ When Tendulkar says ‘Commit some mistakes’ he means ‘you follow new path and commit mistakes instead of following the path chosen by our generation.’

It seems that Raj has chosen to imitate even mistakes of Vijay Tendulkar’s generation. This is a real tragedy within a farce.

-Raju Parulekar


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About Raju Parulekar

I am original, everything else is copied...
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11 Responses to What went wrong with Raj Thackeray ?

  1. Vijay Kharche says:

    Raj could have been a bigger and better leader of the country but it was not to be coz he chose the shortcut to power. Good analysis but i think some of points raised by Raj Thakarey should have been discussed here.

  2. Its like an essay on Current situation in Maharashtra…. Each and every point covered beautifully… you have a gift to write down your heart in words and also through those words travel the readers heart… bring a change 🙂

  3. Swapnil says:

    First I am not Raj supporter.
    Nicely written blog. You took so much time to write it ! Now I really have few doubts which you may answer to clear another point of view on this.
    What encourages you to write on RAJ ? why media is so much talking about RAJ ? Why people are so much interested in whatever he is saying regardless of correctness ? It is very clear that the person RAJ having a superb personality and know exactly what he want. He knows what create hype and controversy. Its pure politics, but to respond to it is depend on public. He may try to follow his uncle but its public who need to support him. Leader is important but the followers are equally important. You talking about Ambedkar, now can we talk about contribution by so called Ambedkarwadi leaders ? In so many decades there was not a single follower of Ambedkar, to whom you can say ” History repeats itself “.
    You was so much into Anna and his movement, but a incident changes your mind. People do change, it needs that one incident to clear his mind or doubts. Till the moment RAJ or any other leader not meet that incident (which I want to say rejection by people and media) , they will continue doing what they are doing !!
    You need a bad patch to change your style 🙂
    Hope you will brief on this.

  4. Like ! ” Brief history of SS-MNS ” 🙂
    I understand that you were a part of the original “MNS founders / Insiders” close to RT … at what point did you get away from MNS ? why ?
    (A personal question …. just curious .. not intended for any political swinging … I was a big fan of your interview prog on E-TV earlier in 2004-5) .

  5. Rajesh Paralkar says:

    Rajuji…We need a change that is for sure but at another end our patience is over & the country/state is in bursting phase altogether…We always get angry on the Goal keeper if he misses a ball & goal happens…Likewise Raj is been looked up as an new goalkeeper & now lot of things is dependent on him to save the goal…In short in absolute terms we may or may not trust him but surely in relative terms we should support him as we dont have other alternatives left….At-least he can understand the problems of 21st century in India & Maharashtra are different & one should focus on….
    Rajesh Paralkar

  6. amey says:

    hi, i really liked this article. But the four pillars that you talked about one of them was a dictator himself (in sombre words RAJA), one has divided our society for better or for worse( i dont know), one was not a politician and one never saw Independant India. So how can we expect a politician to take unchartered path and still survive this rat race. I know these maybe very naive questions. But for a cynique that i am, i still would like to know what could be the possible stand against Congress and BJP if one has to bring about a “CHANGE”. I would really appriciate your reply.

  7. rohan says:

    sir wrong or correct will be to early to comment as Raj Thackeray or MNS is not in power yet but still he continues to bring out issues which have been ignored or hidden by the Gov….i mean who knew that tolls have already recovered costs and were running on profits as profit making centers for cabinet ministers, who knew that placing a Marathi Name board on any business or commercial destination was a law passed in 1985 until MNS put it forth…..so many issues that you cannot deny that they weren’t uncalled for….when he said Bihari leaders are creating vote banks here and earning money by everything wrong, everyone laughed but then u got Abu Azmi supporting Pakistanis and Kripashankar and many others stuck in scams and encroachments…..so Raj T never put across anything which was not there did he?? apart from that there are few more deadlier emerging groups, caste based groups some of them include your close acquaintances who are promoting enmity and fear based on caste,history and reservation…they will continue on the patronage of all the parties and ppl of their caste in these parties….where does the intellectual stand here?? in fact the worst to get from this deal is the people for whom Dr.Baba Saheb Ambedkar strived for……i believe Raj T does politics void of these elements and he never indulged in caste or religion appeasement since the MNS inception…. and in a system where nothing is going right even a leader like Raj T will be a wrong as he is the change and people fear change….intellects included

  8. Ram Sanjay Jaiswal says:

    I agree sir. I believe that abundance of cerebral bankruptcy is the reason why he has a future. Maharashtrians relate to Raj more than any of the great men you mentioned. They obsess over having a photograph taken with Raj more than they would actually spend reading what Ambedkar wrote. Maharashtra is in ruins and will continue to be so. Pawar and Thackerays don’t care.

  9. Nicely written…!!
    Every single political party survives and escapes from their “wrong stands” by the “benefit of doubt”! The question is who should get this “benefit of doubt” in current scenario, Ruling Govt. or RT….!!!
    Although there is a feeling of Raj’s some things are wrong….people prefer today to give “benefit of doubt” to Raj rather than ruling government.
    It was said somewhere that, “successful man doesn’t take correct decisions , he takes decision and proves it correct” ….RT is at same position with only exception that, people of Maharashtra going to take decision, and he’s going to prove it either correct or incorrect!!
    The unfortunate reality asks people not to elect, but select “one” from pool of “same leaders”.
    So we will HAVE TO make comparison and vote for one who is “less bad” (no using word “better” purposefully).

    After all, I don’t think anyone has any answer or argument for following statement by RT.
    “गेली ६०- ७० वर्ष बघितलंय हे सरकार…..पुढची ५ वर्ष मला ट्राय करून बघा….काही चांगलं करता आला मला…तर सगळ्यांच्याच भल्याचं आहे…काही नाही करता आला, तर जशी ६० वर्ष गेली, त्यात आणि ५ वर्ष प्रयोग म्हणून गेली म्हणा”
    Unless we find accurate answer to this, RT should/will get the “benefit of doubt”!!


  10. marathepa says:

    Good analysis. And you are right, Congress is using MNS to split votes between BJP and Shiv Sena and even NCP. The issue is and was about thinking that Raj had any other agenda than power and that way more money when he formed the NCP. Few believed him then and will now, that he has the cause of Maharashtra or for that matter even Mumbai in mind. For a journalist, I think you know it better than any one else.

  11. Bhavesh says:

    Dear Raju ji ,
    I appreciate your article as it needs courage to analyse a friend ,and more courage if It is Thackarey . I was the person who sat in a Shivaji Park’s ground for the first meeting of establishing MNS , Initially Raj had agenda, at least he was claiming He had ‘ Blue Print ‘ .. but after that He cleaned that Slate and Started with the same old ‘ Marathi ‘ issue, which was irrelevant for his earlier prima facie .
    I think it’s absolutely important that We should go back to Dr. Ambedkar’s Philosophy , as he had million times better vision for youth , Marathi Manus, Maharasthra and India than any other current leader.


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