Bal Thackeray is a funny man. Way back in 1996, in one of his fleeting revealatory moments, he actually said Muslims in India should be considered as Indian citizens.
“..Where will they go? Pakistan is not ready to accept them. Other Muslim nations do not want them. In fact, they are not even treated properly there. They are citizens of Hindustan. We must look after them and treat them as part of us, as long as they are loyal to the nation, to the Constitution of Hindustan. ”
A decade later, whatever remained of his apathy seems to have disappeared. Giving company to the ethnic-cleanser turned investment-friendly-entrepreneur Narendra Modi, describing him as a ‘staunch Hindu’, Mr.Thackeray now wants Hindus in India to unite and fight against Islam. In his 30-minute speech in Shivaji Park, Mr. Thackeray also accused the Congress of ‘creating rifts based on caste’ and justified the Godhra riots.
Reports of several media houses contemplating on moving his speeches to humour/entertainment sections could not be verified.
Illustration by Manas Maisnam.