1. Raj Thackeray and his brand of politics.
2. The gag order on Raj Thackeray.
We should punish Thackeray, I believe, for his actions—he should be prosecuted for his part in the violence committed by MNS activists last month. However, if we seek to silence him, then we are no better than him.
However odious Thackeray’s opinions are, he should be allowed to air them. He thinks North Indians should be kicked out from Mumbai. I think Raj Thackeray should be made to listen to 48 hours of nonstop Himesh Reshammiya. Both of us have a right to our opinions—but if either of us tries to force it upon others, we are overstepping our bounds, and should be punished.
Yes, I know, one might argue that the gag order makes sense because Thackeray’s words incite others to violence. Well, let’s stop condescending to those moved to violence, and hold them responsible for their actions rather than pass the buck somewhere else. If someone riots, put him in prison and let the law take its course. Do that often enough, and well enough, and the words of demagogues like Raj Thackeray won’t matter, as his followers will refrain from breaking the law out of self-preservation.
Thus, I agree with the Bollywood and theatre people who have signed a petition opposing the gag order on Thackeray. I just hope they’re not doing so because they agree with him.
(Link via Dilip D’Souza.
Also read: Mobs are Above the Law.)