Saturday, August 25, 2012

Raj ki Aag! Thackeray's comeuppance....

This picture was taken at the Citadel Awards' function in Pune recently.

This appeared in Asian Age today....

Raj ki Aag - Thackeray presents a new face…

Can a Tiger change his stripes… a leopard, its spots, a shark, its fins? No, na?But the ‘new’, ‘improved’ version of Raj Thackeray which was dramatically unveiled on 21st August at Mumbai’s historic Azad Maidan, took everybody by surprise – friends and foes alike. Perhaps his game plan was only known to key aides. But the man known for his choice expletives and insults, stumped everybody, especially the Mumbai police, when he refrained from flashing his characteristic rabble rousing , abuse spewing , fire breathing persona, choosing a more mature and restrained approach instead. I’d call this tactic a political master stroke. In one swift move , Raj acquired a new face and repositioned himself . He also sent out a super calibrated signal that said : I am the boss!Raj shrewdly picked the perfect platform to announce his elevated status. Mumbai was still reeling from and perplexed about the frontal assault earlier in the week that had seen two protestors dead, and several people ( cops included) injured. In an unprecedented development, rampaging mobs had targeted policemen and women constables, besides the media. This shocking and audacious attack on authority had shaken Mumbai, more so because the cops had been converted into passive sitting ducks, their rifles boldly snatched and their very dignity stripped. Raj Thackeray found his moment. And his speech. Raj talked about Maharashtra being his only dharma. It was a moment that could have been seized and exploited by any other politician. But wasn’t. This is where Raj scored. Critics called it political opportunism. Admirers hailed him as the Saviour Of Mumbai. Yes ! The same Raj who was routinely damned for destroying the city and attacking innocent ‘Outsiders’ was suddenly being praised for speaking up on behalf of concerned citizens Forgotten were his old disruptive rallies, his threats and aggression. Raj acquired a halo overnight. The Dark Knight had risen. All was instantly forgiven. But wait a minute - Raj had done what any smart player should – he had used the State Government’s vulnerability to consolidate his own position. Mumbai had been left quaking and worried. People expected the Raj rally to paralyse normal life. Citizens had taken all the necessary precautions, schools and colleges had shut early, shop keepers had sensibly downed shutters. Trouble – big trouble – was anticipated, After all, it was Raj Thackeray… and he was on the warpath. Instead, Raj pulled a fast one - he defied the stereotype, behaved himself, and effortlessly stole the show. The makeover was complete. To understand what this means, one has to deconstruct the Raj image first. Let’s see – what does Raj Thackeray stand for? That depends on who you ask. But, since public perception counts for everything in politics, the bald truth is Raj has a terrible reputation. His image sucks.He has been variously seen as an egotistical tyrant, hell bent on creating trouble, as a narrow minded, nakedly parochial leader unapologetically pampering the Marathi Manoos while terrorizing others, and worse. Raj Thackeray meant trouble. Period .

I’d say it was an image he had carefully cultivated , basing it on his uncle, mentor and Guru – Balasaheb Thackeray’s. Scare tactics, scrupulously adopted over decades of Balasaheb’s rule over the city, were now his nephew’s domain. Fear psychosis became the favoured instrument, and it worked. Nobody wanted to mess with this guy. Nobody dared to speak a word against him, no matter what the provocation. If Balasaheb could bring Mumbai to a standstill by a snap of his fingers, so could Raj. Consider the timing: his main political rival and first cousin Uddhav was dealing with health issues. When Raj decided to drive Uddhav to the hospital, it was interpreted as a pretty loaded goodwill gesture - would the warring cousins make peace and combine forces finally? Or was it Raj’s way of being one up on a weakened adversary ( after all, it was Raj in the driver’s seat – literally and metaphorically)?Well, his rockstar debut at Azad Maidan has been duly acknowledged as the big coming out party before the 2014 elections. He is being wooed by the Congress Party like never before. It’s an alliance made in heaven. If Raj sticks to the script and stays away from maari maari and goondagiri, he may succeed in convincing skeptics that he has grown up, and left his impetuous, hectoring ways behind. That may be a bit too much to expect just yet. While Raj’s urban fans definitely appreciate the latest makeover, his hardcore supporters love him for the old dialoguebaazi and dhamkis that send shivers down the spines of anybody in his path. Today, he has won just half the battle by getting rid of top cop Arup Patnaik , his bête noire, as the police commissioner. So far, R.R.Patil has not budged from his secure perch as Maharashtra’s Home Minister. Raj was baying for his blood , too. One head has rolled. The other may follow.If that happens, Raj’s position as the local Supremo, and Balasaheb’s worthy successor, will be hard to challenge.Till then, Raj should enjoy his current status as a poster boy for a better, safer Mumbai. With his trendy long hair and Aviators, Raj is playing to the galleries as Hero No.1. If for any reason, he loses interest in politics, there’s always Bollywood. Here’s a title for that blockbuster : Raj ki Aag.

7 comments:

Krishnakhot said...

I am greatly impressed by the Raj Thakkare's speech. I hope Raj and Uddhav come together and sort out their issues before 2014 and stand as unite bcoz rivel between 2 persons is gain of 3rd person. I like to see him as successor of Balasaheb. I have one request for you when writing blog dont write your personal things like your travel coffee dinner outings etc in it. I am following you on twitter.

Tsomo85 said...

Long ago from my old old Marathi friend who claims to be their close family friends; I've learned that they're nothing but politics politics politics! So,,,,,,but the come back sure was great & mature so more power to him!

Pooja Rathore said...

greatpics De (both from the lastpost and this one and yes including our blogdost sons pic).
i really liked your post on whitening and tightening...hilarious...
surprised - the new Raj thackrey ...i think he is gemini(twins u see) this one is better one.

kjkj said...

Anna and team should go around at all constiutencies and publish the names of good people on their site irrespective of the party they belong to, and in parallel should fight for Right to Recall and Right to Reject laws. This way people can vote for the right people who will go to parliament and do justice. the problem now we are facing is lots of dirty guys in parliament who make it difficult to do any good. Once these names are published in this site and made public, people will defenitely go and vote for these people because Anna said so. I sincerely hope and pray that Anna takes this comment seriously and does the above rather than waste his energy fighting these corrupt people through fasts.

Gautam said...

May be The Dark Knight has finally risen.

Nandkishor Wagh said...

really good piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend poonam, hyderabad,i have read atleast 8 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again, Regards, Raj Thackeray Biography

Aditya said...

Looking Awesome
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