A section of the population of Maharashtra especially Mumbai on November 17 went emotional at the natural death of Bal Thackeray as if Thackeray was a great national hero who had done great deeds for the progress of the country and welfare of her masses. For that matter the way of political leaders’ expression of sorrow was the same. But there were some souls who had been looking at this all with great wonder; one of them is Chairman Press Council of India Justice (Retd.) Markande Katju. He was not able to bear all this; at last he expressed his heartfelt feelings in a written form the same day. He asked why he could not pay tribute to Thackeray, and then wrote, the gist of what is: Bal Thackeray emerged as a leader of Maharashtra on the politics of hate and narrow-mindedness. By presenting his bhumiputra (sons of the soil) theory for Maharashtrians, he worked much against the greater interests of the nation. He made his debut in politics with attacks on North Indians in Bombay (now Mumbai), then spread hatred against Biharis and U.P.ites, made attacks on Muslims as well – this entire gamut of his activities was against the constitution of the country and its unity and harmony. (November 19, The Hindu)
Why these accolades?
There would be hardly any right-thinking person in the entire country, even in Maharashtra and even from among the Marathi-speaking persons, who would oppose this analysis of Justice Katju. It is a fact that Bala saheb emerged as the leader of a section of Marathi speakers by spreading hatred and disgust against non-Marathis. But the question is how such a person could win these accolades, this countrywide fame and this political stature. The answer is “media” – he did get popularity among simple Marathis but it is the national and international media that treated him with accolades. Why? Because, it is the very nature, very habit and very basis of media. It treats with great fervor those who call others names. The entire post-Independence truth bears witness to this truth. During the Ram Mandir movement Ashok Singhal, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Rithambara and Pravin Togadia could become “popular” due only to this. Three years ago, Varun Gandhi attained the height of fame in media within no times by abusing Muslims in public addresses in U.P. This is also the real cause of “popularity” of Modi in Gujarat.
One more question
Now there is one more question: why do media get success in its campaigns? The answer to this question is that this is the collective mentality of the public. And perhaps Justice Katju understands best this mentality of Indians more than anyone else. Making an extraordinary comment on this subject in the Indian Express (April 4 this year) he declared 90% Indians as foolish and presented 10 examples of their weaknesses. The media in fact take benefit from these weaknesses of the masses and provide them with what they want. The masses like the campaigns for sensationalism, blames and counter blames, abusing others and hatred and disgust. Therefore the real culprit is media, not Bal Thackeray. It was the media that made Thackeray a hero. And the media too is culprit No. 2. The culprit No. 1 is Indian public. So Justice Markande Katju will have to pay attention to training of the public mentality. He should not take the Thackeray issue as some secluded one; he should rather take it in the backdrop of entire moral decay, and then make attempts to reform it. Perhaps he is not in this position; but as the chief of Press Council he can do at least some reform of culprit No. 2.