Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interview with Raj Thackeray

One of the most disturbing interviews this week. I don't know what Raj Thackeray means to say when he begins almost on a prescient note of threat and retribution - people should watch what they say about Mumbai. This unsettles the mind. It's impossible to reconcile the two extremes. One is a contradiction in terms. How are you expected to respond to the comment made by you if we, the viewer, or the interviewer, must feel threatened by the force of your dire warnings - if we are to watch what we say about Mumbai? It is pointless to argue then, the interview itself is pointless. If questions aren't forthcoming, then the discussion is unilateral. We are not here to hear you speak, Mr. T, we want to ask you questions, so that you may retract the riots that you have instigated. It is next to impossible to watch our words. The next few questions anticipate some sort of response - something to go on, something to indicate to the viewer what might be his party-motivations. But they disappoint drastically. He says that every state must have the right to preserve its own language. That doesn't respond to the question. The question is, why can't you engage those you disagree with in debate, why is the first and instinctive response always mob violence unleashed in the streets? It is hard to listen and absorb it, every contradiction grates the mind. He sways back and forth in the black arm-chair. The movement distracts and makes listening unnecessary. The body speaks clearly already, far more articulately than his words. The interviewer asks another question, Why do presume to deny the fact that you instigate violence on the streets, there are so many examples, like when you attacked the IBN Lokmat office. T grins contentedly and laps up the opportunity, So that's what you're after, why don't you come straight to the point? The interviewer retracts like a child upbraided, foolishly told off to not pursue matters of self-interest. But is it self-interest? Why must the interviewer feel ashamed for having brought up the attack on his institution? How can T presume to dismiss the question, insinuating that we are wrong to even bring it up. That it is justified for him to dismiss questions that are personally-relevant. The grin on his mouth widens into an ever-seeping petulance. A quarrel between two children. T marvels at the expose - Look, he says, look at him trying to demand answers for what he's suffered. The questions now dwindle to an end. There is nothing more that one can say when you're stonewalled. Accusations remain dangling in the air. Nothing more to be had. No more answers. No rationale. No motives. Only one long petulant glare of defiance and disregard.

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