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How should non-Marathi Hindus react to Thackeray's death?
Non-Marathis should not be much emotive about the death of Mr. Thackeray. While it is true that he was a Hindu nationalist, people, particularly Hindus should not have amnesia; that he was ultra-regionalist too.

BAL KESHAV Thackeray, the founder of Shiv Sena and the Maratha strongman, died on 17 November, 2012 in Mumbai. Bal Thackeray’s death presents a dilemma for many Hindus. He was a champion of aggressive nationalistic Hinduism as most evident in Shiv Sena not supporting even Mr. Kalam for Presidency in 2002. But he was regionalist too though his hatred for non-Marathis was calculated political maneuver and could not be termed as xenophobic in nature.

The most important thing about Mr. Thackeray was his Marathi chauvinism. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India with majority of industries basing their operations in Mumbai. But most of the industrialists that Mumbai is so proud of are not Marathi-speaking people. The Bollywood is Hindi film based industry and does not have too many Marathi people participating in it. The other major strongpoint of Mumbai is the Reserve Bank of India, again by no stretch of imagination it could be termed as Marathi. Therefore, the Maratha-pride is based on the achievements of other people too.

But rules should be same for all the people in India as consistency is a great property. By no rate of migration should Mumbai or other important cities of Maharashtra become non-Marathi or else Marathis should increase their birth rate. But that is all. The fact is because of the non-Marathi nature of dominant symbols of Mumbai, it should belong to all. The rest of Maharashtra should belong dominantly to Marathis, there should not be any doubt about it, but the idea of India as multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic entity should remain intact. Indian Union can not become conglomerate of monolithic states. For that all states need to accept the required heterogeneity.

Appreciating Shiv Sena is a bit difficult situation for Hindi speaking people though it did not target too many upper caste Hindus from Hindi heartland. Of course, Shiv Sena targeted South Indians in 1960s and among those who remember that discrimination and even their future generations may not forget that. But the situation is most difficult for Hindi speaking people who are least regionalists and most casteist people in India. The most interesting aspect of Shiv Sena outside Maharashtra is that it used to fight elections in Uttar Pradesh and still fights! It could be true for other Hindi speaking states as well. Even if the purpose of Shiv Sena was to help the BJP, from ordinary voters’ point of view this should have drawn sarcasm, though nothing like that ever happened.

But the fact is that regionalism is the basis of Indian nationalism and nobody can have guts to question regionalist nationalism. This is particularly true for Punjabis, Tamils, Bengalis and Marathis. In this divided and fractured mandated Indian politics it is easy to become regional satraps and become influential in the Center with even 15-20 Lower House’s Members of Parliament.

The fact is that a lot of people will remember Mr. Thackeray positively but many more will remember him negatively. If Hindis can not write down their contemporary history correctly then they do not stand as anybody in this ever-increasing complex world; histories should never be annulled, the contemporary never. Otherwise, Hindis would continue to play second fiddle to other regional groupings. The upper caste people need to understand that their argument of more Hindis implies that they count all. Hindis need to be a bit regionalist but for social reasons and as a market grouping.

The upper caste Hindu Hindis can mourn the death of Mr. Thackeray but with caution and objectivity. Those are required because Mr. Thackeray harmed many of Hindis’ and other linguist groups’ interests. This may be quite difficult thing for many people. Of course, there is great Indian habit of burying the past after the death of a person and usually people find the deceased person as adorable. But if Uddhav or Raj Thackeray does the same thing then Hindis should reconsider the Hinduism-based rightist policies of Mr. Thackeray.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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