Vir Sanghvi on Balls Thokre and Mini Me

Awesome rebuttal by Vir Sanghvi of Hindustan Times on the Thackeray clan’s tirade against non locals in Bombay and wanting to rename all the establishments from Bombay to Mumbai.

Why then is Bal Thackeray doing this? In 1980, when he first pushed to change the name of the city, he was able to joke about it. At the time I was editor of Bombay magazine and publicly opposed to the proposal. “Don’t worry,” he told me, “you won’t have to change the name of your magazine to Mumbai.” Over a decade later, when the Centre finally dropped its opposition to the change and Bombay became Mumbai, he was still quite happy to allow the Bombay Stock Exchange and the rest to continue using ‘Bombay’. His own grandson went to Bombay Scottish School.

On the other hand, the Lankans don’t get hysterical about the use of the term Ceylon tea. The Iranians do not demand that every Persian cat be renamed an Iranian kitten. The historical contexts are all unchanged: it’s still Persian art or a Persian rug.

But the Thackerays don’t understand history — or consistency for that matter. As my colleague Sujata Anandan wrote perceptively in the HT’s Bombay edition on Wednesday, this new-found zeal sits uneasily with Bal Thackeray’s own record: if he’s so keen on Marathi usage, then he should use his real name. It’s Thakre not Thackeray, in the manner of William Makepeace Thackeray, the author of Vanity Fair. Not only does Thackeray use the anglicised spelling, he even pronounces it like the English author, who, as far as I know, was not a Marathi manoos.

Worse still, I don’t think that either Bal or Mini-me really care about the issue anyway. They just need a cause that sounds emotive and chauvinistic enough to motivate the goondas in their cadres. Thackeray is now old enough to recognise that this kind of platform is not sufficient to hold a party together in the long run. But faced with the threat from Raj, he’s had to go back to the primitive chauvinism of the Sena’s early years.

It would be a tragedy if the people or the politicians of the city of Bombay allowed this rivalry between uncle and nephew to change the traditions and heritage of this great metropolis. The only way to handle the Thackeray campaign is to hold firm and to tell the old boy to sort out his family disputes in the privacy of his own home.

We are certainly not changing any more names only because he can’t handle his nephew.

Read the full article here.

First read this article on Indiauncut


No comments

  • Sachin

    Very good article………. 🙂
    lets start a companion to change Thackeray to Thakre 😉

    Hey, i have blogrolled u 🙂

  • Amit

    I just read the full article. A very fine piece of journalism. Bal Thakre just needs a loooong break and should leave the Indians alone.

  • Quirky Indian

    Liju, that was a well-written article. But then Vir Sanghvi is a very insightful columnist.

    Mumbai’s overburdened and its infrastructure is in shambles. What I do not agree with is the way Uncle and Mini-me are going about it. Sadly, I think xenophobia – in all its variants – is becoming more and more prevalent, not just in India, but globally as well.

    Am not sure if anything will change in Mumbai because the bhaiyyas are soft targets – low-income, no political voice or support, either in Mumbai or even in their home states. Mini-me knows he’s kicking defenceless kittens, so he’s going at it!

  • syedmdasadullah,

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  • Harshal

    Here is to Vir Sanghvi’s rebuttal:

    José Pedro Machado’s Dicionário Onomástico Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa (“Portuguese Dictionary of Onomastics and Etymology”) mentions what is probably the first Portuguese reference to the place, dated from 1516, as Benamajambu or Tena-Maiambu,[10] pointing out that “MAIAMBU”‘ seems to refer to Mumba-Devi, the Hindu goddess after which the place is named in Marathi (Mumbai).