Person of the Week: Ravindra Gaikwad


Person of the Week: Ravindra Gaikwad

Illustration: Akshita Monga

In an incident that could only be termed “Bata ad-gone-wild”, a Shiv Sena MP hurled abuses at and hit a 60-year-old Air India employee with a chappal until the old man was left with his shirt torn and spectacles broken. Seeing further scope for making a fool of himself, the Parliamentarian – who has once force-fed a Muslim man on his Ramzan fast – went on to sit in the plane for 40 extra minutes, holding up the next flight, justifying his behaviour, and daring the staff to file cases against him.

All this because he was denied his birth right as an elected member of office, to sit in the comfy business-class section of the plane. Only, the plane didn’t even have a business-class section thus establishing that this man was not capable enough to read his airplane ticket let alone fix the state of Maharashtra’s most pressing issues.

So, without further ado, we name Member of Parliament and assaulter of old men, Ravindra Gaikwad, our Person of the Week. Buy a sturdy leather chappal and threaten to throw a senior citizen off a plane, because at this party, getting a good beating is mandatory.

For the uninitiated, the Shiv Sena is a party most famous for using tiger blood to bully their way out of doing anything of substance. It is said that a few members were shortlisted for lead roles in the Fight Club movie, but were dropped after they couldn’t grasp the concept of “rules”.

The Sena has pushed the boundaries of “taking offence”. One of its corporators wants to ban bras on mannequins because it’s giving men semi-boners. A few want to boycott Shah Rukh Khan because he included Pakistani cricketers in the Indian Premier League. And of course, who could forget the famous ink attack on politician Sudheendra Kulkarni?

If you are elected to a government position, and feel the need to act like a criminal when you board a plane, try planning for the future.

The problem is that these guys, Ravindra Gaikwad included, have no real understanding of how to actually get what they want out of their bullying. Even at their worst, a Sena goon is only a Circuit from Munnabhai; he’s never going to be a Pablo Escobar. The outrage reserved for Sena member outbursts is cute; you’ll tell your friends about it over a drink. The Sena will never really scare us. What they really need to work toward is classier intimidation tactics. A couple of helpful pointers:

If you are elected to a government position, and feel the need to act like a criminal when you board a plane, try planning for the future. In this case, Mr Gaikwad should have gone on to create his own aircraft empire with the help of child labour from Indonesia. Then he could have reserved business-class seats according to region of birth, making a point to especially exclude any person who is or ever has been an employee of Air India. That would have given him his redemption, international headlines, as well as a decent plot for a biography. Now, however, he will be remembered as the man who had to travel to Mumbai by train after all airlines put him on the no-fly list.

Also, it’s very hard to intimidate a person and come out on top if you have no idea what the hell you’re fighting for. In this instance, Mr Gaikwad didn’t bother checking if the plane had a business-class section at all. A real intimidator would’ve found another plane that does and maybe bump off a few of the other travellers, mafia-style, so he’d have enough space to spread his legs.

So now instead of acquiring a fierce Don-like reputation, Gaikwad has come off looking like Don’s idiot driver who threw a tantrum because a chicken took its time crossing the road. That’s not the stuff legends are made of. If they were, we’d all be in awe of US commander-(and tantrum-thrower)-in-chief, Donald Trump. If Gaikwad were a sensible man he’d probably think about this on his train journey back home. But then again, Sainiks live by the motto: One week they love me, the next week they hate me. Both weeks, I get paid.