Raj McCarthy

We walk in fear of one another. It has happened before.

Written by Madhu Trehan | Published:October 29, 2016 12:20 am
RAJ thackeray, samajwadi party, pakistani actors, pakistan embassy, pakistan, latest news, indian express, india news MNS chief Raj Thackeray. (Express photo By Deepak joshi)

Would it be inappropriate to ask, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” This question was directed by Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph P. McCarthy in 1954, during the Army-McCarthy Hearings in Washington. I ask the same question to Raj Thackeray, president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). What we saw in Karan Johar’s video statement was a snivelling, begging creature, professing his patriotism and promising never to be naughty again by hiring Pakistani actors. No human being should be reduced to such indignity. Should we blame Johar? I cannot. I blame the bullies who reduced him to this mess.

Raj Thackeray, in yet another exploitative move, announced MNS would not allow Johar’s film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil to be screened because Pakistani actor Fawad Khan was acting in it.

Is it fair to compare McCarthyism to MNSism? McCarthyism is defined as: “The practice of making unfair accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.” What are the similarities between Joseph McCarthy and Raj Thackeray?

One, both created an atmosphere of suspicion of being a traitor to their country around any person they choose. Two, both targeted actors, producers and writers, in the film industry. Three, anyone who held dissenting views was labelled a communist and a traitor by McCarthy. Anyone who dissents from Thackeray’s views is labelled a traitor to his country.

Four, two years after Richard Rovere wrote his book Senator Joe McCarthy (1959), he said that, “like Hitler, McCarthy was a screamer, a political thug, a master of the mob.” Ring a bell?

McCarthy went after Hollywood to weed out those he considered communists and unpatriotic. Initially, the people of America supported him and believed communists were trying to take over their country. Paranoia ruled the country. Many famous names were hounded. Hundreds of lives were destroyed. The legendary journalist Ed Morrow investigated Joseph McCarthy and attacked him in what would become an iconic programme — See It Now.

That was the beginning of the end for McCarthy. Morrow said, “We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”

How does MNS take policy decisions on Pakistan when it is a political party and not the government? The government has not issued any statement banning the hiring of Pakistani actors.

It is not surprising that actors Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan have pointedly stayed away from any statements. Imran Khan told reporters, “I have many views but my concern is if I voice those views, I am going to have people come and try to burn my house. I don’t want people to threaten me or beat me up, I want to avoid these things. I will keep my opinion to myself.” We walk in fear of one another.

Question to consider: Is it unpatriotic to hire Pakistani actors? Is it unpatriotic to do business in Pakistan? Numerous Indian companies have dealings in Pakistan and consider it a good market for their products. Raymond has a store in Lahore where they do brisk business. Is the “complete man” then unpatriotic? How do you gauge the level and temperature of patriotism in a person? By insisting they shout Bharat Mata Ki Jai? Should we have a Patriotic Patrol Force that checks levels of patriotism with a breath analyser? Who sets up the agenda of deciding whether you are patriotic enough? It can’t be Raj Thackeray. It can’t be Anupam Kher. It can’t be lawyers turned goons. It can’t be internet trolls. We, as a nation, cannot be reduced to unreason at the mercy of bullies and thugs.

A “deal” was brokered in a meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, MNS and the film producers. Company T was most impressed with itself. Thackeray claimed victory and said he would allow the film to be screened if the producers gave Rs 5 crore to the Army Welfare Fund. But the army brass was not impressed and has unofficially refused such a donation. They sniffed that they only accept donations that are voluntary and not coerced or through extortion. Now will Company T call the army unpatriotic? The Indian army, determinedly secular, is clearly in no mood for politicisation of their actions or to be used as a pawn in a political game.

In this consumer-oriented culture, patriotism has become just another product to be used for personal profit and political gains. Did we forget patriotism is a feeling? It cannot be put in a box and marketed. Subverting it for personal gain is unpatriotic. It is shocking how many people succumb to this marketed, fake concept of patriotism. When we define patriotism, compassion for your country must lie in the kernel of your feelings. Does Company T have compassion for his country?

 

The writer is editor in chief, newslaundry.com

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  1. O
    Onkar Singh
    Oct 29, 2016 at 4:37 am
    Brilliant Madam,will you call the Army anti-national when it refuses to accept the extorted money from Bollywood? Let the true patriot's,true nationalists answer this question!! The business community has no qualms in doing business with stan.But patriots must target stani artists.They have no difficulty when Modi breaks protocol in trying to be extra friendly with stan.Politicians of the Modi b are exempt.This is our double standard.Diplomacy has to replaced with exuberance.Thats acceptable.What suits me is acceptable what does not suit me is unacceptable(it becomes anti-national).No sense of balance.
    Reply
    1. D
      DK
      Oct 29, 2016 at 8:11 am
      Why stan is so dear to people such as this writer? From the same arguments other guys also have equal rights to oppose something the way you are advocating about something. Get over Paklove. When they mutilate body of our soldier don't you feel pain.
      Reply
      1. J
        JKW
        Oct 29, 2016 at 7:59 am
        Dude, McCarthy's middle name is Raymond, why is it Joseph P. McCarthy?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;This does not bode well for anyone reading the article. Wikipedia could have told you this. Good research.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Also, isn't McCarthyism defined by his anti-communist rhetoric rather than his allegations? Where did you get that definition of McCarthyism?lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;See it Now, was by a gentleman called Edward Murrow.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;A good point, not badly made, but this has very easy mistakes in it without any basic research.
        Reply
        1. J
          Junu
          Oct 29, 2016 at 9:12 am
          Your opinion is exactly the way you look , my dear " little miss muffet" finished your pie darling, otherwise your bran doesn't seem working
          Reply
          1. P
            Pmp
            Oct 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm
            India has become a surrealistic state with a section of it's citizens leaving in utopia, author is one of them.and wants India to invite with folded hands marauders to come and create mayhem.Bollywood movies are commercial ventures and should be governed with business rules,not compensated by state for their follies.lt;br/gt;2)Comparing present Bollywood controversy to McCarthy's actions is irrelevant.US did not have a neighbouring country whose raison dI etre is to destroy India.lt;br/gt;Please elaborate your ideals in your social circuits to get applauded.
            Reply
            1. K
              K SHESHU
              Oct 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm
              This will be the state if patriotism false in the hands of g..o.on s
              Reply
              1. A
                A. KHAN
                Oct 29, 2016 at 3:45 am
                STANI PEOPLE SHOULD BE BANNED IN INDIA AS THEY ARE TARNISHING OUR RELIGION AND OUR COMMUNITY'S NAME. W WORLD IS AVOIDING STANIS....NO CRICKET COUNTRY VISITS STAN THIS IA PROOF ENOUGH THAT STAN IS NOT SAFE.
                Reply
                1. A
                  A. KHAN
                  Oct 29, 2016 at 4:06 am
                  Vimalbhai, you are right.
                  Reply
                  1. T
                    TSBindra
                    Oct 29, 2016 at 11:11 am
                    The writer is wasting her words. These goons are deaf, they don't listen. The govt is mute!
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      chattoo
                      Oct 29, 2016 at 5:30 am
                      McCarthyism...yes...for a while people do believe Goebbelsian lies.. a country like India you still find some people praising the 'Ábushasan Parv' of the Emergency..The same is happening now...But the problem is by the time people realise the truth , iy is too late..The game is over, medals decided..history rewritten... What has happened in Iran ...people realized the power of system a touch too late..As I have written elsewhere, authoritarian regime tiptoes into the system on the twin plank of 'patriotism' of 'us' and 'corruption ' of 'them ' ( which is always bed as a moral or commercial sell out of the nation ! )...lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt; ISIS using the language of moral purity and supremacy of them and age of 700 AD being the golden age is very similar to the language presently being used by some 'nationalists '..Early vedas culture being the best ...most advance ..we must go back to the era of Ram , in some 5000 BC ....
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        Dipak
                        Oct 30, 2016 at 3:29 am
                        Goonda Bhatija and Chacha.
                        Reply
                        1. C
                          Chawla G
                          Oct 29, 2016 at 5:35 am
                          Modi has broken the protocol to build informal channel. He is not known to fit in a pre-fixed mould. But yes these McCarthys have reduced patriotism to petty symbolic nationalism.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            Karan Thakur
                            Oct 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm
                            Threat of MNS must have been tackled sternly.
                            Reply
                            1. H
                              haq
                              Oct 29, 2016 at 1:10 pm
                              very convincing and logical article. Nobody may be granted the privilege of deciding the patriotism of anybody. Every person is patriotic unless proven other wise which is not the task of a common person. It is to be decided by the courts or relevant authorities. Unfortunately, opposing stan or India has become the criterion of patriotism in the subcontinent. But i hope the atmosphere will change one day.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                stranger
                                Oct 29, 2016 at 5:01 am
                                all people can have right to do business for profit in stan, but as artist directly influence peoples mind and in countries like india due to false media propaa actors are frequently held as role model , stani actors shouldn't be allowed, as they are very likely to be terror sympathizers. all of them failed to unequivocally condemn terrorism, at best could cook a vague diplomatic message dictated by army
                                Reply
                                1. I
                                  Indian
                                  Oct 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm
                                  It is not Pak love... it is about fighting the right stanis (who support jihadi groups), and not harming the wrong stanis (peaceful civilians). Learn from our Indian army... they carried out TARGETED SURGICAL strikes against TERRORISTS... they didn't just choose to kill any stani civilians. (And I too am pained by mutilation and deaths of our jawans... I hope the terror groups / stani soldiers involved get hit hard by our Army)
                                  Reply
                                  1. I
                                    Indian
                                    Oct 29, 2016 at 3:27 pm
                                    So Fawad Khan is a marauder, and Raj T is defender of India? Wow.
                                    Reply
                                    1. I
                                      Indian
                                      Oct 29, 2016 at 3:39 pm
                                      So by your logic, Bharat Sarkar gave work visas to jihadi sympathizers? so why aren't you demanding that Sushma Swaraj and her ministry's bureaucrats be sacked?
                                      Reply
                                      1. I
                                        Indian
                                        Oct 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm
                                        You call his argument stupid, but yourself offer a stupid example. Bharat ki barbaadi was being chanted by Kashmiri boys at JNU, who never professed to be Indian patriots in the first place. As for anybody else (Karan Johar, other JNU students, etc.), the earlier commenter is absolutely right... only a court of law can make the pronouncement, after examining all evidence. We are supposed to be a country with Rule of Law, not goondas or mobs.
                                        Reply
                                        1. I
                                          indian
                                          Nov 1, 2016 at 3:12 am
                                          I challenge Raj Thackeray to prove his patriotism - neither he nor his sone have served in the armed forces. None of his goonda followers have served in the armed forces. A man who doesnt have more than a single MLA, is trying to making himself counted through violence and the elected CM falls in line ??? Wah re MNS, wah re BJP.
                                          Reply
                                          1. R
                                            rak g
                                            Oct 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm
                                            RSS never hoisted national flag until 2002, does that mean unpatriotic all the 54 odd years after independence? great mohammad ali refused to be part of army for what he called unjust war in vietnam !! does that mean he was anti national to americans?? such similarities and cheering for so called "patriotic fervour" can be noted equated to only one event in past that is rise of hitler. go ahead send me to pak....or call me anti national...lol ...#bhakt
                                            Reply
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