The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


There were naturally curious and routine questions on the large crowd that followed the Maharashtrian leader Bal Thackeray on his last journey when he was cremated at the Shivaji Park on November 18. Now the place where he was cremated in the iconic park is a matter of intense debate propelled by the divisive politics and its militant elements, a forte of Shiv Sena and MNS.

Yes, militant politics, that is what Bal Thackeray, the controversy’s favourite child, had done throughout his life, and his name continues to do so even after his death.

If we put aside the ‘quality politics’ debate, Bal Thackeray was the tallest political figure in Maharashtra since his full-scale advent in the Maharashtra political arena.

He created and nurtured a follower base that basically was glued to him by traits of a ‘mob mentality’. Now many can raise questions on using this phrase but it aptly defines the style of politics Bal Thackeray practiced (and so of many others).

A mob is defined by certain basic traits. It doesn’t have a character. It always looks for a charismatic leader and the character of the leader becomes the character of the mob. A slight instigation from the leader is enough for them to commit even violent acts (contrary to the democratic values). And the charisma of the leader continues till long till he retires, dies or falls from grace because the bond between the leader and the follower was not made on a thoughtful note but on a impulsive note of ‘threatened survival’ devoid of the rational elements of thinking.

In societies like India where poverty and unemployment are rampant, instigating such mobs is not a difficult task provided you hit the right note; provided you are ready to promote radical elements in a society that, in reality, needs harmony of ‘unity in diversity’; provided you are ready to exploit the militant brand of politics that shatters this ‘unity in diversity’ concept.

Bal Thackeray exactly did this. He addressed the concerns of the local Marathi population by demonizing the migrants in Maharashtra, first the South Indians and now the North Indians. He used the concepts of sectarian politics under the garb of Maratha politics, floated this ideology mixed with witty but divisive words and threw open the gates for the masses to grab the words. In short, he created the situational elements for a ‘mob’ class of followers.

Bal Thackeray timed it well with the then geopolitical circumstances of India and of Maharashtra and he got his mob, in full accordance with the mob mentality that he sought to promote. The history of Shiv Sena and MNS is full of incidents of vandalism and that tells us how successful Bal Thackeray had been in exploiting the mob mentality of his followers.

It was this mob mentality that paid its tribute to Bal Thackeray when almost two million of them descended on the Mumbai roads on November 18. Mob, because no conscious and truly nationalist person (of a democracy) would endorse the style and quality of politics that Bal Thackeray practiced and that Raj Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray are practicing.

To continue.. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -