Sir — With the demise of Bal Thackeray, the Right-wing forces have lost an eloquent and fearless leader (“Legend of fear, myth of hypnotism”, Nov 18). The Shiv Sena supremo had an enviable hold over his supporters. The people of Maharashtra adulated him for championing their cause. Even his political adversaries cannot underplay the role he played for almost five decades in the socio-political life of the country.
People from different walks of life approached Thackeray whenever they were in trouble. He will be remembered as the leader who spoke out for his people without mincing words. His speeches were often jingoistic but he never repented what he said. In today’s political world of doublespeak, Thackerey stands out as a leader who spoke his mind.
Bichu Muttathara, Pune
Sir — Bal Thackeray was the most charismatic leader of Maharashtra. From a mere cartoonist he became a powerful political figure. People turned up in large numbers to hear his speech at the annual Dussehra rally, which is an important event in Maharashtra. Although Thackeray’s beliefs were communal in nature, he had fought for the betterment of the state. He was a good orator and a shrewd politician.
N.R. Ramachandran, Chennai
Sir — Bal Thackeray was a fearless political leader who voiced what he believed in, no matter how unpalatable his ideas may have been to his contemporaries. As a man of principles, he preached what he practised. He was probably the only Indian politician who dared to confront the Mumbai underworld.
His political career proves that millions of people still venerate his brand of value-based politics no matter how impractical it may be to those who consider politics to be a lucrative profession. He rued the fact that most national political parties ignore matters of national interest and security. However, he committed a grave mistake by distancing the Shiv Sena from the Bharatiya Janata Party. He thus lost the opportunity of becoming a great national leader. But his death is a loss for the nation. It has created a huge political vacuum in Maharashtra.
Shivaji K. Moitra, Kharagpur
Sir — With the death of Bal Thackeray, the country has lost the only political figure in the country who could command respect across political lines. Political allies from Maharashtra in the Union government, mainly the Nationalist Congress Party, should persuade the authorities to pay a befitting tribute to this political stalwart.
Thackeray never allowed differences of ideology to hurt friendships. His popularity reached far and wide, so much so that the Pakistani cricketer, Javed Miandad, prayed for his speedy recovery.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal, Dariba, Delhi
Sir — Bal Thackeray built his career trying to restore asmita — the pride of the Marathi Manoos. Unlike other politicians, he never played the caste card to win elections. When the Shiv Sena first came to power in alliance with the BJP, he made a Brahmin, Manohar Joshi, the chief minister of the state. These traits in his character are worth emulating. But he would not always be remembered in a favourable light. The reason for this is simple. He would often resort to violence to ensure that his writ was followed in the state.
Ambar Mallick, Calcutta
Sir — The news item, “Future jurists lose Suva wisdom” (Nov 17), says inter alia that the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, located in Calcutta, is a Central institution. The university was established in 1999 by an act of the West Bengal legislature and is an autonomous state university.
The state law minister is right in saying that it is not necessary for a policy-making body of a law institute to have people only from the legal profession since in the past there had been people from other disciplines in such committees. However, the suitability of the person in question may be a matter of conjecture.
Susanta Ghosh, Calcutta