Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Bal Thackeray Charisma with Nisha JamVwal

The Humane Side Of Bal Thackeray 

What are the key differentiators that make one human being so loved and celebrated and another unsung. 

This is the thought that occurred to me when I witnessed the last journey for the much loved, flamboyant Balasaheb, known for his provocative speeches and for crossing all political and social boundaries with much aplomb.

It seems like yesterday that we shared a glass of white wine with his preferred snack , ‘suran’. Under the enigmatic personality was a man with an engaging sense of humour and a strong point of view. So he allowed you to engage in a discussion, but very strongly put forward his. I’d call that special ingredient that engaged millions ‘charm’,  some possess it and some just cannot acquire it, hard as they might work, because I believe it belongs to those that have the gene ingrained within.

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Politics may figure to some extent, but did a recently departed ex Chief Minister for Maharashtra create such an impact on his recent demise? The connect that Thackeray made with people that brought twenty lakh persons to bid adieu to this man who reached across and touched their hear hearts goes beyond mere politics. ‘Awesome’ the much bandied word, was never so much in place. For me, one of his most attractive qualities of the Tiger, as he was fondly referred to, was to make another feel not like "I like him" but "he likes me".  The rare leader who made that intimate connect that has made tens of thousands weep with a sense of personal loss this week. You met only a  few times, but he remembered you warmly, eyes twinkling behind shades that he would be wearing even on an evening indoors. His only condition of hearing my social cause or whatever agenda brought me to him, being sharing that suran and glass of wine.

They say power and success are magnetic aspects and certainly they must have been a part of his charisma. What gave the man who never limited himself to a post or a title but the self-styled king maker that beginning from a normal journalistic cartoonist to the one who made Mumbai move  and shake  ‘by remote’. People list his wit, his flamboyance, his bold even irreverent extreme opinions, his contrariness, all well tabulated, as what made  him a colourful persona , but to me it was his power of love for the common man and the fight that he took up for 
those whose voices that could never be heard. It is the one powerful force that can move mountains, love, the one force touted by Simon Peres in my recent interaction with that great leader of Israel which I shall write about next  in this space. The common ingredient shared by all greats that move oceans of humanity to respond to them across the variety of barriers that mark our country.

Balasaheb's said "I believe what comes from here (pointing to his heart) is more important not what comes from here (pointing to head). Ultimately, what made him the Cult figure he was may be discussed and analysed but the ineffable quality, the winner, was the connect with the heart of his public , not the head. The ability to laugh and cry with people. To share and be one of them, not from a pedestal but from within their fold. To be able to be opinionated, sometimes obstinate, but always endearing. Certainly, intellectual rational analysis falls short in his case but love I’d say is the key.

I realize that seldom before has Mumbai cried with such  an emotional surge, for  one referred as " Maharashtra's tallest Son". I stand in this procession with goosebumps. Persons who know tell me the last such an emotional impact was at Jawaharlal Nehru’s demise. Such a sea of humanity was witnessed only at the passing away of Mahatma Gandhi.

Written for & Published By Deccan Chronicle Group
Asian Age Newspaper
By Nisha JamVwal
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Saurabh said...

He truely was a tiger...I might not agree with few of his thoughts but hats off to him and his straight forwardness....he never minced his words or back tracked...always accepted wot he said and never said I WAS MISQUOTED lik all the politicians...u r extremely lucky to have met him.

Rajesh Saggi said...

Well chronicled , a person who is part of Mumbai's historyu

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