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   I was talking to one of our leading activists... (October 31, 1996)

I was talking to one of our leading activists. He told me: "At the moment, I am a little confused. Am I protesting against Michael Jackson or Miss World?"

"Why don't you check up with your leaders," I said.

"I tried, but it is not clear," he said. "Am I protesting against the protesters who do not want Michael Jackson to perform here or am I protesting against Amitabh Bachchan, who wants to hold the Miss World contest, swimming-suits and all, or nothing?"

"You should find that out before you protest," I said.

"I really should, not there is no time," the activist said. "If you could help me out. Am I for Mr. Bal Thackeray and against Mrs. Parmeshwar Godrej, or am I for Mrs. Godrej and against Mr. Thackeray. The senior Thackeray, of course."

"Of couse," I said. "But I really can't help you, unless I know what your principles are. What do you stand for?"

"I stand for India," said the activist.

"That's neither here nor there," I said. "You could stand for India and be for Miss World, since our very own Aiyeshwarya Rai is Miss World and was felicitated by the President and the Prime Minister for bringing glory to India. Or you could stand for India and be fore Michael Jackson, since he has the blessings of the entire Thackeray parivar, except for one Thackeray, but he does not count."

"You are making things more complicated," the activist said. "Just tell me should I shout slogans against Amitabh Bachchan or against Balasaheb Thackeray's brother. And when do I start attacking Godrej shops."

"Whatever you do, don't become violent," I said. "Attacking Godrej shops is out."

"You have to attach Godrej shops, otherwise they will go ahead with the Michael Jackson show," the activist said.

"First of all, get your facts straight," I said. "Godrej has got nothing to do with Michael Jackson."

"All right then, Godrej has got nothing to do with Michael Jackson."

"All right then, Godrej have got something to do with Raj Thackeray, it is the same right," the activist said. "So do I tell Raj Thackeray to go ahead with the Miss World show and tell Parmseshwar Godrej to abandon the Michael Jackson show, or vice versa."

"There is no vice versa about this," I said. "I suggest you ask the man who has asked you to protest, who you are protesting against."

"I don't remember who asked me to protest, all I remember is that he told me to protest against one thing and support the other. I want you to tell me which is which."

"Did he tell you to protest in Mumbai or Bangalore?" I asked.

"I don't know, it could even be Delhi. Protest has no geographical limits," the activist said.

"What does you conscience tell you, is it against Michael Jackson or Miss World?" I asked.

"What has my conscience got to do with this!" the activist said.

 
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