Shiv Sena's notions of what is culturally acceptable in India show a distinct bias towards kitsch: Michael Jackson, for example. In November 1996, Thackeray announced that the first performance of the pop star in India would proceed with his blessings. This may or may not have had to do with the fact that the singer had promised to donate the profits from his concert -- which eventually ran to more than a million dollars -- to a Shiv Sena-run youth employment project. The planned concert offended a number of people in the city, including Thackeray's own brother, who saw something alien in the values singer represented. "Who is Michael Jackson and how on earth is he linked to Hindu culture, which the Shiv Sena and its boss Thackeray talk about so proudly?"
The Shiv Sena Supremo responded, "Jackson is a great artist, and we must accept him as an artist. His movements are terrific. Not many people can that way. You will end up breaking your bones." Then the Saheb got to the heart of the matter. "And, well what is culture? He represents certain values in America, which India should not have any qualms in accepting. We would like to accept that part of America that is represented by Jackson." The pop star acknowledged Thackeray's praise by stopping off at the leader's residence on his way from the airport to his hotel and pissing in his toilet. Thackeray led photographers with pride to the sanctified bowl.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Michael Jackson and Balasaheb Thackeray
From Suketu Mehta's Maximum City:Bombay Lost and Found: