Hats off to The Hindu for publishing the articles by Justice Katju (“Why I can’t pay tribute to Thackeray,” Nov. 19) and Praveen Swami (“An authentic Indian fascism,” Nov. 20)!
The adulation Bal Thackeray received on his passing from a range of personalities is indicative of the state of democracy we live in. We may assume that our system is based on constitutional principles. But, in reality, we are merely a “Democracy Incorporated,” to use social historian Sheldon Wolin’s phrase, where the public is shepherded and is not sovereign. A shining example is what happened to the two young women who dared to express a dissenting view. Our fascist tendencies may not be as totalitarian as that of Nazi Germany, but the adulation of “gangsterism” is symptomatic of the social pathology we have morphed into.
Thackeray pandered to the unfounded fears of his limited constituency. Violence formed an integral part of his means and methodology. Nationhood became a casualty, thanks to the brand of politics he practised.
A honest perusal of the making of the Mumbai metropolis will reveal that Gujaratis, Parsis, South Indians, Punjabis, Marwaris, Sindhis, Biharis and people belonging to other northern States have contributed as much as, if not more than, the indigenous Marathi population.