Sachin Tendulkar has dealt with some of the most hostile bowling on his way to greatness in cricket. The latest bodyline attack comes though not from the gentleman’s game but from the big bad world of politics. Bal Thackeray has taken umbrage to the master blaster’s declamation that Mumbai belongs to all Indians and lashed out at him in Saamna, the Shiv Sena’s quasi-official newspaper.
In an editorial, Mr Thackeray has asked the little master to “refrain from using his tongue to bat against the just and legitimate rights of the Marathi manoos” on grounds that they might not like it. So what is it that Mr Thackeray thinks the Marathi manoos might not like? The fact that Mumbai is a part of India? The fact that they are Indians?
The fact that this is a democracy where people have the right to stay in any part of the country? The fact that Sachin Tendulkar is proud to be an Indian? Unfortunately, unless we were to conduct an opinion poll — and those are rather unreliable — it would be hard to conclusively answer these questions.
What we do know from the recent assembly elections in Maharashtra is that the Marathi manoos does not particularly like the Sena, either variant of it. Then too Mr Thackeray had lashed out, ironically at the Marathi manoos, saying they had stabbed him in the back. He further went on to say that he had lost his faith in the Marathi manoos.
Strange that in a matter of months, the man who lost faith in the people is now speaking for the very same people. Coming back to the controversy, Tendulkar’s place in history is guaranteed regardless of what his critics, on or off the field, say about him. However, for the Shiv Sena to not end up being consigned by history books as a has-been, Mr Thackeray would be better off with Sach ka Saamna (confronting the truth) rather than Sachin ka Saamna.