Thackeray goes down memory lane, and longs for gutsy leadership
The sight of policemen caning slogan-shouting freedom fighters at Shivaji Park and the very next moment throwing down their batons and yellow hats to join the demonstrators still remains fresh in the memory of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
Thackeray recollected the heady days of the freedom movement in 1942, when even the Indian policemen
were overcome by the grit and determination of the people who
continued to sing patriotic songs while facing the cops's blows.
He said the policemen had thrown away their official trappings
shouting, ''We don't want this job.''
Thackeray regretted that such a ''gutsy'' attitude was missing nowadays among the people as well as politicians.
The country really needs bold and gutsy leaders who can take
it to the 21st century without caring for personal gains,
About Prime Minister I K Gujral, Thackeray said, ''He is a
very good man, walking a tight rope. But he is only concentrating
on party affairs, balancing and pleasing 13 parties instead of
concentrating on the nation.''
The Sena always supported a gutsy attitude and that is why
it is backing former chief election commissioner T N Seshan
for the Presidential election, Thackeray said.
''Seshan is a man of action and principles and the whole
nation would have voted for him had there been presidential-type
of elections like in the United States of America,'' he added.
A ''state of horror'' is the right description for the chaos that
prevails in the country, the Sena chief said. This is because the
the Centre has not been implementing laws, rules and regulations since Independence.
''Spiralling prices prove that we have totally failed on the economic front,'' said Thackeray, blaming the politicians who have always been self-centred.
The country needs a stable government which can concentrate
fully on development, he said adding in a lighter vein, ''We
do not want a stable.''
About his own contributions towards the freedom movement,
Thackeray referred to the cartoons in the Free Press Journal. The process of awakening the people is still on, and he has succeeded to a great extent. It will continue till the end, he added.
The Sena chief claimed he had always rebelled against
injustice and that his family, especially his father Prabodhankar
Thackeray, a noted social reformer, had influenced
Thackeray said he had inherited fighting qualities from his
father who created a flutter among the Brahmin community with his
writings in his fortnightly Prabodhan. He came to be known as ''Prabodhankar'' due to this.
Recalling his father's role in the anti-dowry movement, Thackeray said Prabodhankar and his men used to participate in marriage processions. Clad entirely in black, leaving only slits for the eyes and nose, the 500-strong processionists followed a donkey with a wedding head-band carrying the message, ''A person taking dowry is going for a marriage.''
Even the British had supported his father when some Brahmins moved the court against his anti-dowry demonstrations. When the matter came before the court, a British judge asked, ''Why is the police harassing Prabodhankar when he is fighting for a good cause?''