Ranjona Banerji: On how Raj Thackeray finds Hindi news channels ‘irresponsible’

03 Sep,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


And once more, into the limelight, Shri Raj Thackeray of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena: having basked in a bit of public attention after his rally last month, why not milk it?


After all, a police commissioner was shunted out soon after he made just that demand and some members of the media actually said that his speech at the rally was not that bad. Plus, he even pretended to sympathise with the media, since they suffered at the hands of protesters at the Raza Academy rally, which Thackeray’s rally was protesting against.


Of course, this love for the media was not going to last long. And now, here it comes: the famous Thackeray rage directed at the media. In this instance, it’s just the Hindi media. (The English media is exempt from rage this time but not from contempt: it apparently operates from a different planet.)


Thackeray has objected to the fact that many criminals in Mumbai are from Bihar (huh? Vijay Palande, anyone?). And then these criminals infiltrate (either to or from, I didn’t quite understand this) Nepal and Bangladesh. And the Bihar police must control its own criminals and stop them coming to Mumbai (which has criminals of its own).


Then he got angry with Hindi news channels for reporting what he said. He said their reporting was irresponsible (irresponsibility is something that Raj Thackeray understands very well). Having himself started a Mumbai-versus-Bihar debate, Thackeray is angry with the Hindi media for taking it further.


He is also angry with the Bihar police for objecting to the Mumbai police, which did not follow some procedures when it arrested people from Bihar. This is the same Mumbai police that Thackeray had slammed at his own rally but how dare Bihar criticise anything or anyone from Mumbai?


Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is hopping mad and has called Thackeray insane.


Thackeray meanwhile is not just protecting Mumbai from the evil Hindi media and Biharis, but also from singer Asha Bhosale and Pakistani singers. The borders of Maharashtra are to be kept safe from all such elements. Bhosale has refused to listen to Raj Thackeray even though she loves him very much. The Hindi media never listens to any criticism or they would have stopped news broadcasts about ghosts and alien landings long ago (although perhaps when they talk about alien landings, they mean the English media). Nitish Kumar is furious. And Thackeray is overjoyed that he’s back in the news again.


Incidentally, in Tamil Nadu, chief minister J Jayalalitha is saving India from young Sri Lankan football players.


Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Contributing Editor, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are her own.


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