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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Uddhav Thackeray’s farewell speech smacks of ‘secular’ supremacism

Uddhav Thackeray’s farewell speech was full of secular rhetoric, victim card, and feudal supremacist attitude. He thanked NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) supremo Sharad Pawar and Congress (INC) president Sonia Gandhi for their ‘support’ and expressed regret that the ‘rebel’ Shiv Sena (SS) MLAs had ‘betrayed’ him. His farewell speech actually came across as a sympathy-seeking session.

“Congress leader Ashok Chavan told me that if the rebels want, Congress would get out of the government and extend outside support. Those who were expected to ditch me, stood by me while my own left me” Thackeray said. He should be the last person to talk about betrayal. It was he who lead the Shiv Sena to ally with NCP-INC betraying the people’s mandate meant for the BJP-SS alliance.

One of the things that stuck out like a sore thumb in his speech was his ‘commitment’ to Hindutva. Despite being in power for the past two and half years, it was only in his last cabinet meeting as CM that Thackeray officially renamed Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar and Osmanabad to Dharashiv. Interestingly, both NCP and Congress backed Thackeray even though INC had opposed the move all along.

Such a committed Hindu CM had banned the Pandharpur Wari using the pandemic as an excuse. The Warkaris of Pandharpur was not permitted to carry out their annual wari during Ashad Ekadashi – the state even reneged on its promise to some palkhis to provide them transportation. Then came the MVA government order to ‘contain’ Ganesh Utsav celebrations. Subsequently, in November 2020 the Thackeray government banned Chhath Puja.

Contrast the ‘orders’ for Hindus with the ‘request’ made to Muslims: the MVA Government has ‘appealed’ to the Muslim community to celebrate Eid-al-Adha (Bakri Eid) symbolically ‘if possible’. The operational word here is “if possible”; the government which shamelessly punishes Hindus bends over backward for the so-called minority vote bank. The Uddhav government had even committed to reservations for Muslims but was dilly-dallying on Maratha reservations.

It was under Hindutva Thackeray’s watch that two Sadhus and their Hindu driver were lynched to death in Palghar. It was during Thackeray’s tenure that posters of Bhagwan Ram put up during the Ram Mandir fund collection drive were torn down. In his farewell speech, Thackeray thanked Muslims for maintaining peace and law & order in the state. Only recently, Umesh Kolhe was murdered by four Muslims, and prior to that 26-year-old Sriram was reportedly assaulted by three Muslims for putting up a status supporting former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. There have been numerous instances of hooliganism by ruling MVA party members.

The supremacist attitude that plagues the so-called secular progressive politicians was evident in Thackeray’s speech. He talked about making rickshawallahs and panwallahs ministers as if he was doing some big favor to them. It must be mentioned that the ministers he is talking about belong to SC (scheduled castes) and OBC (other backward castes).

There are frightening parallels between Dravidians and Thackeray’s attitude toward both Brahmins and non-Brahmins. Thackerays hail from the CKP community that led the non-Brahmin movement in Maharashtra.

It is time to remind Thackeray about the dignity of labor. There is no difference between his rickshawallah/panwallah jibe and the TN Education minister Ponmudy’s panipuri seller jibe. The ‘progressives’ always keep talking about Brahmins suppressing and oppressing others whereas casteism is deeply entrenched in their minds. Thackeray terms Shinde a non-person probably only because he ‘rebelled’.

Thackeray had become the blue-eyed boy of the secular-liberal cabal and this came through clearly in his supremacist speech.

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