Raj Thackeray, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) supremo has been the talk of the town with his bombastic statements against the use of loudspeakers by mosques. He recalled the image of Balasaheb Thackeray with his speech on Gudi Padwa when he waged a war against the use of loudspeakers by Masjids. It all started with Raj Thackeray warning the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, led by his estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray, to remove loudspeakers from mosques owing to the noise. If the government failed to do the needful, Raj Thackeray said his party will install speakers and play Hanuman Chalisa outside all the mosques.
Raj Thackeray has now chickened out. On the occasion of Eid, Raj Thackeray has asked his party workers to not play Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques. In a tweet, Thackeray wrote, “Tomorrow is Eid. I have spoken about that in yesterday’s meeting of Sambhajinagar. This festival of the Muslim community should be celebrated with joy. Don’t do Aarti anywhere on your festival day like Akshay Tritiya as decided earlier. The subject of loudspeakers is not religious but social and I will tell you what to do next about it through my tweet tomorrow. That’s all for now!”
Appeal to Maharashtra Sainik's… pic.twitter.com/sTzbTI14Qu
— Raj Thackeray (@RajThackeray) May 2, 2022
Important to note here is the fact that this year, Eid and Akshaya Tritya are coinciding. Nevertheless, Raj Thackeray has told his party workers to not perform ‘Maha Aartis’, so as to not hurt Muslims’ sentiments. Is this not an irony of the highest order?
Thackeray had even resorted to singing praises of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath for bringing down the loudspeakers from religious places. In Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has been gaining applause for bringing down 11,000 loudspeakers from religious places. Along with this, his government has managed to bring the volume of around 35,000 loudspeakers below the permissible level.
So, Raj Thackeray said, “Unfortunately, in Maharashtra, we don’t have Yogis; what we have are bhogis.”
Raj Thackeray put on display his fake bravado prematurely. Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil said on Monday that Thackeray’s speech was aimed at “creating a divide in society”, and hinted at action against him. Walse Patil said he would talk to top officials and would soon take a call on the “inflammatory” speech. He said: “We will also get a report from Aurangabad.”
Now, Raj Thackeray is beginning to backtrack. The MNS chief is retreating, because he spoke too loudly on a sensitive issue, and now, consequences await him. Raj Thackeray thought he could score political brownie points by hopping on the bandwagon against Islamist overreach, only to find himself in trouble.
Raj Thackeray had emerged out of the blue and started attacking the use of loudspeakers by mosques at a rather radical level. He called for outright removal of loudspeakers, and not controlling their decibel levels – which has been done in Uttar Pradesh. During one of his speeches, he also threatened authorities to get a nearby mosque to turn off its loudspeaker as he was speaking, or else his party workers would take matters in their own hands.
Raj Thackery, had he stood by his convictions, would not make an exception for Eid. Yet, he did. That shows the man is softening his stand after being subtly warned by the government of Maharashtra.