Sunday, January 23, 2005
Justifying Thackeray

Readers of this blog know that I have long considered Bal Thackeray and his ilk to be a nuisance, at best, and a danger, to the Indian democratic setup. Meet the opposite - from the "rationalist" side. Karunanidhi has employed a most insulting tone in taunting the SP Premkumar, investigating the Kanchi Mutt case. He could have stopped by criticizing the SP for placing the documents at the feet of the deity to get "blessings."

But by going further, and talking about the "duty" of the Deity to stand witness, he has crossed a line. This is a man who shamelessly claims to be a rationalist, but would not come out without his yellow shawl. It cannot be a coincidence that he has worn yellow for more than ten years, now, can it be? Would not the allegation that he believes it to be auspicious be a better explanation? And, this is a man who partakes in the fast-breaking ceremony with Muslim leaders every single Ramadan.

Extremism and fanaticism are not a diseases that afflict organized religion alone. It could affect non-organized religions (again, look at Bal Thackeray, or some of the Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka), or atheism too. It is to be shunned and condemned, irrespective of what ideology it rides on, by the people who are truly liberal in their outlook.

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