A very dear friend of mine was to fly down to Bangalore today and spend a week at home with me. His flight was scheduled to touch down in Bangalore at about 11 in the morning. But at about 9, I got a call from him informing me that he won’t be flying in because there are no autos or taxis to take him to the airport, which in turn has cancelled all outgoing flights for the day. Why? Because prominent politico Bal Thackeray is seriously ill and may pass away soon.
The question is, of course, why must a city shut down (read be forced to shut down) for his passing – imminent passing? Sure, if there was an assassination plot, but here’s an 87 year old man whose lungs are failing him. Why is that reason enough to force-shut shops and pelt stones? Is that reason enough for the state’s Chief Minister to review the law-and-order situation? Is that enough cause to cancel every cop’s leave?
Yes, I do understand that some people are getting ready for grief of the highest order. People who have for decades worked with Thackeray and may not be able to bear the sorrow of his passing. But if they must turn this sorrow into a violent protest against something, let it be their own cars and scooters instead of state-run buses and trains. No? Apparently not. After all, didn’t Bangalore itself erupt in all ugliness after Dr. Rajkumardied? I suppose in the country we live in, it does take a city to light a pyre.
Now then, I’ll go and eat that dinner for two alone.
- Politicians, industrialists visit ailing Bal Thackeray at Matoshree – Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
- Mumbai disrupted as Bal Thackeray fights for his life – Reuters India (in.reuters.com)
- Bal Thackeray critical (thehindu.com)
- Bal Thackeray better, says Shiv Sena; policemen patrol Mumbai streets (ndtv.com)
- India Ink: With Bal Thackeray on Life Support, Mumbai Braces for Violence (india.blogs.nytimes.com)