Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray considers himself quite the brand ambassador for Mumbai. And we have much to learn from his unique diplomatic skills. The very foundation of the ageing tiger’s credo rests on the ‘no dialogue, only diatribe’ principle.
So we aren’t surprised that he has told the Aussie cricket team to steer clear of Mumbai until attacks on Indians in their country stop.
But don’t judge him on this. He is an indiscriminate discriminator in most matters. For one, he will not allow cultural pollution in the city. So come Valentine’s Day, the discerning Sainiks will pay tribute to our traditions of tolerance by whacking the daylights out of courting couples. But don’t get the impression that Bal is against all things imported.
It was not so long ago that the late King of Pop Michael Jackson dropped in to discuss a few world issues with Bal. In the course of the meeting Jackson popped into the toilet, which facility Bal, with disarming childishness, later displayed to the media. From his latest on the wizards of Oz, it’s clear that Bal realises he has to play a greater role on the world stage now that his nephew has taken over in dealing with dangerous threats like Bihari migrants in Mumbai. Perhaps he could also take up the erosion of our culture from anglicising homegrown names like spelling Thakre as Thackeray.