Open letter to Raj Thackeray.... From one 'Marathi Manoos' to another...
Wah! Kya baat hai. You’ve done it. Proved a point. And succeeded in your main objective, which - whether or not you acknowledge it – was to ‘show Uddhav.’ Well, you’ve certainly ‘shown’ your cousin Uddhav. Now what? That is the key question. And why just Maharshtra, the rest of India has its eyes on you.So, let me, as a bonafide daughter of the soil, spell it out clearly. Treat it as an important piece of communication from one ‘marathi manoos’ to another.
The main job ahead of you is to de-demonise yourself. Baring your teeth, has served its original purpose – which was to get yourself noticed. And subsequently, to get yourself acknowledged as someone who means business. You walked the talk, went for the jugular, advocated violence, condoned your workers who indulged in shocking goondagiri, and created an ever- widening chasm between ‘outsiders’ and those you defined as the ‘asli’ marathi manoos . You were well aware of the provocative and dangerous message you were sending out. My guess is, that was your intention. Within a startlingly short time, you made national headlines and got India talking about you. From being viewed as just a discarded nephew of an ageing Tiger, you transformed yourself into a terror… even a menace. Civil society across the board condemned your brazen tactics, your aggressive, crude ways. I guess, you had the last laugh …. you had achieved one of your key objectives, which was to stake a claim to Balasaheb’s formidable legacy.You didn’t care a damn what anybody thought or even that your ‘dhamkis’ were being seen as ‘Goonda Raj’. You seemed to revel in the ‘Attila the Hun’ reputation, even as sane thinking citizens reviled you and found themselves reeling at the audacity of it all. Virtually overnight, you became the Gabbar Singh of politics. ‘Kitney Aadmi The’ became a familiar chant, as the body count of defenceless, innocent victims attacked by your foot soldiers went up. You remained remorseless and unrepentant, shocking critics still further. A monster was born.
Aata kai, Raj?
Do you want to perpetuate the Monster’s reign? It would be entirely short-sighted and fool hardy to do so. The ‘marathi manoos’ by nature is not pro-violence. No right thinking person is. A lot of us are distressed, embarrassed and ashamed that the ‘marathi manoos’ is getting a bad name, thanks to a small section of individuals who adhere to these undemocratic methods. Accepted that the legitimate grievances of the ‘marathi manoos’ deserve to be heard, addressed and resolved. But certainly not through the means advocated by you.Your party’s impressive showing in the recent assembly elections should not be taken as an endorsement of your methods. All that the win signals is the fact that in certain pockets of Maharashtra you have successfully tapped into people’s frustrations. But from this point on, people expect you to deliver on basics – and that cannot happen through politics of destruction, exclusion and hate. You are a smart, intelligent, thinking person. You have proved you have the pulse of your people. The same people will now be looking at you to come up with programmes and solutions that spell growth and progress. Think you are up for it, Raj?
After a certain point, your differences and volatile relations with your cousin are non-issues. We don’t really care or give a damn, whether you and he are at logger- heads or ‘katti’. That’s your problem.We are more concerned with the quality of constructive criticism your people will provide in the assembly. The actual contribution your legislators will make.In other words what the MNS will bring to the table in its ‘new’, ‘improved’ avatar. Even the Tiger eventually changed his stripes in Maharashtra. What you may inherit down the line will be a totally transformed party – such as it may exist, post-Balasaheb. A true player knows how and when to leverage advantage. Your time to do that is now. Exploiting fear psychosis serves only a limited purpose, as Narendra Modi has discovered. Exploit your charisma instead. Work for the people of Maharashtra. Win their love, and more importantly, their respect.
You, my dear Raj, have a terrible reputation. But this is your chance to redeem yourself. Don’t squander it.
‘Marathi Mulgi’, Shobhaa