Thackeray vs. Sania

By K.P. Prakasam

The Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has criticized the Indian ace tennis star Sania Mirza for deciding to marry the Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Mirza as if she has committed an unpardonable crime.

Expressing his displeasure over the announcement of Sania’s decision, he said, and I quote from the daily Hindu of April 3, 2010: “Had Sania’s heart been Indian, it would not have beaten for a Pakistani.” Thackeray went on to say, “Henceforth, she will not remain an Indian. If she wished to play for India, she should have chosen an Indian partner.”

Honorable gentleman, I beg to differ with your comment because it patently smacks of naked racialism. It also contains a veiled threat that she will not be allowed to play for India.  I know, Your Excellency, that you are a surgeon to saner souls as you are capable of transmuting them into perfect sinners. But I didn’t know since when did you become a heart surgeon who could detect that the heart pulsating inside Sania Mirza is not that of an Indian?

Your other assumption that Sania will, henceforth, not remain an Indian is preposterous, to say the least, though I am constrained to call it absurd. Since when did you become an arbiter Indian citizenship?

My humble submission is that you should have congratulated Ms. Sania for her saner decision, for not loving a Hindu boy and converting him into Islam in a sensational “love jihad” escapade. Love, as wise men say, is blind, and I am sure you are a wise man, and as such, should have condoned her and closed your eyes to refrain from seeing the unpleasant acts of these youngsters of Kaliyuga. Let them choose anyone closest to their hearts. After all, male-female love is the very edifice of human existence. As a pure Brahmin, you should have condoned the sins of these youngsters.

That brings us to another question. Are you a pure Brahmin of the Aryan stock? I doubt very much. You will pardon me for the audacity in questioning it, but I do think that you are not. You were a good student of history once upon a time, and as such, you should have realized that eons of intermixing of races and cultures have left in you only a fraction, say, one per cent, of the original Aryan genome, the genetic material that determines what you are.

But still, as is expected of between two octogenarians, you and I, (you are a couple of notches above me), honour each others’ claims, and concede that you are cent per cent Brahmin. That is because I realize your predicament to accept the truth that you are only one per cent Aryan because that does not coalesce with your Hindutva ideology. So, I concede that you are a Brahmin, hundred per cent.

At this stage let me assert that we have many things in common. We both are octogenarians and we both are Hindu fundamentalists, but with a difference. Our fundamentalisms stand poles apart. I am a Hindu fundamentalist, just as I am a Muslim fundamentalist, and a Christian fundamentalist and a Sikh fundamentalist, because I do honour the basic tenets of all of them. The basic function of all religions is to elivate man from the self-centred mundane world of everyday concerns, help him to adopt a cosmic perspective that embraces the entire humanity as well as the animate and inanimate nature, and compel him to realise that he is just a spec in the larger scheme of the Universe, a vision that humbles and ennobles him. In this connection, I venture to suggest that you do not know even the rudiments of Hinduism. (I am game for a debate on the topic).

While conceding that you are 100 per cent Brahmin, I admit that I am only 50 per cent Brahmin, the other 50 per cent being an OBC. But that might not have mattered much in a predominantly matriarchal Kerala joint family system in which women enjoyed perfect independence in selecting their husbands, whose main role it was to produce children.

Gentleman, if you have not become senile like me, you may well recall the case of the sage Vyasa, who is venerated as the author of Mahabharata, the monumental epic, and of many of the Upanisads. He was only 50 per cent pure, as his father, Parasara Maharshi, got infatuated at the sight of a young fisher woman Satyavati known as Maltsyagandhi (stinking of fish).The stink did not deter the sage from embracing the woman, and their union resulted in the birth of Vyasa, the Great. Though Lord Krishna launched a tirade against intermixing of races and clans in the famous Bhagavat Geeta (Song Celestial), that portion, scholars believe, was a later interpolation into the epic.

Or, take the case of the Pandava queen Kunthi, the wife of Pandu. The king failed to accomplish the basic function of a husband, that of giving conjugal bliss and progeny, whatever the reason may be. The young queen, brimming with youth and passion, was forced to resort to a subterfuge: she invoked the Gods, like Sun, Yama, Indra etc. one by one and produced six children. The first one was a trial, and being too young to conceive, she got scared, put the baby in a box and floated in the river. The charioteer of the Kauaravas got the baby, brought him up to become the invincible Karna of the Mahabharata war, the greatest holocaust of the Epic Age. The other five were known as Pandavas, though Pandu had no hand in their birth; he was only a foster-father. These are some of mythological truths which may not suit your present Hindutva agenda. The type of thinking that you propagate as Hindu ideology is a vulgurisation of Hinduism. You might have nibbled at the periphery of Hindu philosophy and have started considering yourself as having unfathomed it. “Thackeray Thought” is nothing but the misanthropic Nazi philosophy of Adolf Hitler.

As mature citizens, we must abstain from bringing in our endemic hate-Pakistan agenda to vitiate the atmosphere. To conclude, let Sania marry the man she likes, be he Indian or Pakistani. And, like good, mature Hindu fundamentalists, without raking any more ruckus, let us bless the couple the best of conjugal life.