Shivaji was the most famous Indian king who has taken on the Mughals. There were many warrior kings who were renowned for their valour. But, it was his culture, that set Shivaji apart from others. It was perhaps the parenthood of his mother Jijabai. My only recollection from childhood stories of Shivaji was his famous words when one of his general presented him an abducted Muslim lady. In Marathi ballads it is said “Asseech amuchi aai asatee,sundar roopavati; amhi hee sundar zhalo asato – vadaley Chatrapati” This is translated as “If my mother had been as beautiful, I too would have been as beautiful – exclaimed Chatrapati”. Apart from the poetic romance of the ballad, it shows the culture and civilisation of Chatrapati.
Even in the worst of his nightmares Shivaji might not have expected another general from a group that had taken his name, to beat an unarmed elder, who was merely doing his duty.
First, by being an MP, Ravindra Gaikwad was eligible for a business class ticket. When he had to fly in one that has only economy class seats, despite having a valid business class ticket, Gaikwad got angry. Yes, it is wrong on the part of Air India to issue a business class ticket and fail to arrange a plane that has business class. Anyone who had paid for a business class seat would naturally get annoyed. When the ticket is a free one issued as a privilege, one gets more annoyed, just like Ravindra Gaikwad. Gaikwad could have opted for another flight, but he had to fly urgently to Delhi (Next day he watched a Hindi film ‘Badrinath ki Dulhaniya’. An urgent deed indeed!) and so he flew to Delhi in economy class.
It is definitely the Delhi weather, where the conversation starts with “Mera Baap kaun maloom hai kya”? As Ravindra Gaikwad considers himself a no-nonsense guy, he refused to come out into the hot Delhi weather from the cool and comforting cubicle that the plane was. When the Air India staff pleaded him, even the chilled air condition could not contain the fury that was enraging inside Gaikwad. And, he hit the duty manager Sukumar, a sixty year old gentleman. The provocation was Sukumar allegedly said ‘What if he is an MP? I will talk to Modi”.
Ignoring the requests from other Air India staff that include women, Ravindra Gaikwad hit Sukumar with his sandals, all the while using expletives about mother and sister of the victim.
When the air-hostess tried to restrain him saying he is an MP and shall behave in an ideal way, he simply repeated expletives continuing his act. When he was told the victim may fall down and it becomes a police case against him, he gave the reason. That he already have many cases against him and was not averse to have one more.
He had the audacity to claim his beating the staff with sandals and estimating the hit count at 25. He said he is from Shiv Sena and not from BJP to be afraid of. He even named his source of inspiration. “Balasaheb taught us to beat if one doesn’t listen” he bragged. He even filed a case against Air India for deficiency in services.
Of course, he was in no mood to accept his mistake and apologise. As it is a well thought out plan, there was no question of mistake and apology. How his party responded. Though Uddhav Thackeray said that MP should have kept his cool, the man behind the fall of Shiv Sena, Sanjay Raut was at his best again. He ruled out any action against the unruly MP. Well, it talks of the party and its priorities very well. He would be evaluating who was responsible for the incident in which Ravindra Gaikwad was forced to raise hand! Great!!
Meanwhile, wife of Gaikwad was astonished! She apparently never saw this furious side of her unruly MP husband, who has many other cases against him. She in fact explained the reason why her husband hit the staff. “Air India staff insulted our Prime Minister Modi and he could not tolerate that” was the explanation. Well, even Janardhan Pujary of Congress could not come up with such a beautiful explanation (Last heard Pujary got horoscope of Priyanka Gandhi’s daughter checked and prophesied that she would be the greatest leader India has ever seen).
Maybe Uddhav Thackeray was trying to come out of the mud that he had inherited in the form of a party. But, he was too powerless, the strategy of the party is still decided through the editorials in Samna, the party’s mouthpiece. And it was not Uddhav who writes the editorials, but Sanjay Raut. It is Sanjay Raut who speaks to media often giving juicy bites. By the time any news reaches Uddhav Thackeray, he would be in a position only to assert whatever Raut had already told to media.
Maybe Sanjay Raut is BJP’s man in Shiv Sena, who is sincerely trying to decimate the party that he is in; almost like Rahul Gandhi.
It is time for Uddhav Thackeray to answer this question. Does he wish to run the party, like a party or not?
He could very well afford to dismiss Ravindra Gaikwad. As already public opinion has amassed against the unruly MP, it would only enhance the image of Uddhav Thackeray in the eyes of people. Leaving Gaikwad to the law only encourages many outlaws in the party.
Finally, Ravindra Gaikwad had to travel by train for his return journey. And, to escape from the preying journalists, he had to leave the train midway and travel by road. Considering his basic job as a ‘teacher (of all tthe jobs in this world), he would have already learnt his lesson. But, should one not test the impact of the lesson. Only unconditional public apology and seeking forgiveness from Sukumar in a public forum can prove whether this teacher passes or fails in the examination.
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