Open Letter by Aaditya Thackeray to Rajdeep Sardesai

Dear Rajdeep,

I thank you for the season of open letters and getting some fitting replies to it too. Maybe it isn’t the season for open letters, but to keep perceptions and eyes open to what is really happening than to see some issues, people and parties through the translucent shades of such open letters.

We don’t just share the same college, we do share the same country, state and the city as well, however, sadly much our views and ways to tag them differ. I offer my profound apologies to you for spoiling the bright and cheery October morning, but it wasn’t the same for 4 Indian Soldiers killed on the 6th of October 2015. It was quite an obvious hat that wasn’t the cause for your depression.

Maybe the families of those soldiers killed brutally by terrorists felt the pain and sadness, but I am sure they will stand up and give another daughter, another son to serve the Indian army to defend our borders, even as these ceasefire violations, shelling in the valley, attacks across the country become a small by-line from the breaking news on channels.

I must confess, that as you are angry with the Sena for being angry at Pakistan (of course we weren’t sacked from channels there and have no land or wealth to fight over, then stopping bloodshed in India and taking back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to India), I am not angry with you. Anger/ frustration occurs when hopes are destroyed. Maybe that explains why I am not angry with you.

Of course non-violent incidents like ink shed on some, by a certain few parties would anger you to tag it as violence, but otherwise it would be democratic and historic. Ink spilt may be more violent for you than its intent to protest against all the innocent blood spilt on the streets of Mumbai, Jammu and Kashmir, every city that has faced Pakistan sponsored terrorism.

Let’s not even compare the ink shed on a person who has openly lauded a Naxal sympathiser and endorses a foreign minister having links with anti-India separatists from the valley, to the bloodshed in our country by terrorists.

Many years ago… well, let’s not go to many years ago. Let’s speak from 1999. Our Prime Minister Vajpayee ji went to Pakistan to negotiate peace. We got Kargil. Post-Kargil, we still wanted peace and thus the Agra Summit in 2001. Well, we had a situation that was on the brink of “Aar Paar Ki Ladhai”. Let’s not forget all that the Shiv Sena supported the peace talks with a caution of betrayal, of course, and does so even today.

Lets not forget every terrorist attack, the train blasts, the 26/11 attacks (which I escaped unhurt narrowly, from our very own college mentioned as I was rehearsing on a play we were working on), and many more in the Valley that we wake up to, every day and every month, not just bright cheery October Mornings. Of course, those mornings are cheery for us far away, but that of mourning for those innocent who face terror attacks.

Let’s not forget the recent failed Ufa agreement and more so the two terrorists, caught alive in Jammu and Kashmir, confessing that they are from Pakistan.

So, I guess some things would never change, but sadly I see acts of terror and betrayal from Pakistan not changing, whilst you focus on being allowed to enjoy concerts, cricket and such events. And till the time such betrayals, by acts of terrorism in our country don’t change to acts of fulfilling promises that have been made to various Prime Ministers of India for the last few decades, is there really a need to engage with Pakistan in any other way than to make them ensure that all the terrorist camps harboured by their system are dismantled?

Could we have these concerts for peace and unity at the LOC or in areas where there is heavy mortar shelling? Or why not first open the eyes of the country that harbours terrorist camps? Why was a movie like Phantom that speaks of eliminating terror banned in Pakistan?

No, we aren’t against Ghulam Ali ji in person. Love his songs, but “Age Barhe na Qissa” (in terms of peace talks), can we really enjoy sitting here in the comfort and safety provided to us by our soldiers taking the bullets for us right from Siachen Glacier to the Thar Desert to Naval borders? Will someone ask, border pe “Hungama hai kyon barpa?”

Come on Rajdeep, not most of us have that much courage to be so arrogant to our forces. Maybe not us, yes we may be foolish enough to do so. We could bask in the light of being so open- minded that we sit two gentlemen who have had dubious links- one with separatists, and one with Naxals.

Who would care anyway? It is the job of the soldiers to fight for us, they signed up for it. We did not ask them to. We signed up to be normal citizens and not bother what happens at our borders. Let’s mingle, let’s chill, while they kill our people and soldiers. Right?

The point really being, we all accept that art, culture, cricket and literature are symbols of freedom and more so are carried by people who are innocent and away from politics of the two countries.

Why do we stand against it?

The question can be answered by more questions-

  1. Who do these terrorists target and kill? Aren’t the ones killed in all these attacks innocent lives too? The ones killed may belong to India or any other nationality, but aren’t they innocent?
  2. If we support freedom, why does our Independence Day celebration for so many decades have a red alert and the Prime Minister speaking behind bullet proof glass (till it was recently denied by our current PM)?
  3. Yes, art and culture is the epitome of innocence and mustn’t come in the line of fire of politics. But then surely our soldiers posted at the border aren’t provoking the ceasefire violations, and I count them as innocent as the Indians killed in the terrorist attacks- not one sporadic incident but occurring time and again, and well planned.

Today we live in times of fractured peace, not even fragile peace. A peace that is so loud in its cries that every Indian can hear a helpless family of each soldier worry of what is happening, and yet be proud of him/her, while we find our comfort in the vigil of these very soldiers.

No, our protests don’t give them any strength at the border and neither does any event held in the garb of being for peace. What will give them real strength is real peace, dismantling of terror camps, Pakistan following its promises to act on terrorists and completely removing its hidden support to it, and till that day we must stand together, in one principle- Act on Peace, and only then interact and mingle freely with us.

When we have tried to talk peace for 5 decades, along with mingling freely, in vain, I wonder how you would see the boycott of South Africa during the Anti-Apartheid Movement. I hope you wouldn’t suggest that it was wrong too. It’s a far distant example, but the character of racism and terrorism is similar in being of the inhuman kind. When nations don’t act, sanctions are placed.

We are probably the only example of being a group of minds where we want them to come, play, earn, enjoy and yet not act to condemn terrorism. I would have been proud to be a part of this group of such ideals had the notion work. It clearly hasn’t for more than 5 decades. Maybe another peaceful way of boycotting it, till they act for peace and not fool us on it?

My open letter is pretty long and self- explanatory. I wouldn’t want to indulge in a war of words, and I apologize if I overstepped any of my boundaries of age. The bottom line being, we need to have real peace to interact with any nation.

Postscript: I really wish you looked at my tweets from @authackeray more seriously and maybe were more interested in looking at our work too. The Shiv Sena, even more vociferously from 2007, has constantly raised the farmer’s issue. Of course, none of the interview questions we faced from you, grill us as a political party working on it. About the drought hit regions most recently too, right from the first major drought of recent times, 2012, we have personally visited most drought hit locations to help, not just speak or write blogs.

In 2012, in Thane Rural (most constituencies where we don’t contest elections till recently when the alliance had a setback), we supplied water to almost 1,75,000 people in different hamlets. People had phones, not water. We’ve worked in 400 villages of Marathwada in 2013. Last year, the work carried on and this year, being a part of the Government, the work has expanded.

From the funds raised of Uddhav ji’s exhibition of photographs, we have made a list of sensitive farmers and donated more than Rs. 3 crores as help to farmer families. More than 1000 families received grains, edible oil and essentials. The farmers facing the worst situation are being counseled against suicide. The work goes on.

Sadly, there too we were asked questions about the so-called political rifts than our work. Is it really our fault that breaking news or open letters without any investigations (not for all channels but one or two) have become more important than the ground realities?

Rajdeep, finally we do not work for front- page news, because it will never be so that good news is news for some. As I mentioned before, anger occurs when hopes are destroyed. All political parties do work, sadly enough, it is never news, none of us ever complain.

Maybe catch up over some nice tea to discuss such issues and stats once I’m back from a tour of helping distressed farmers?

Warm regards,



News Aur Chai

NewsAurChai Media is a media house which has young contributors ensuring a fresh and renewed perspective to news and recent happenings. We hope to offer sensible articles, which goes with our tag line of 'sense above sensation'.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button