Sunday evening saw the finale of the Lakme Fashion Week being shifted from the original Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum to the Palladium Hotel in Lower Parel. A last minute threat from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to disrupt proceedings, saw the organisers go into a last minute tizzy. Consequently, the event was shifted out of the museum.

It is deplorable that a political outfit could hold event organisers to ransom and force such a change. This is after the venue had been cleared by authorities and there was no protest earlier. It smacks of political opportunism, using the high profile event to get eyeballs and create controversy to ensure that it makes news.

It is disappointing that the organisers did not stand up to the threats, ensure enough police bandobast so that the show could go on at Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum. It would have been better if they had taken a defiant stand and showed MNS that protest threats would not cow them down. Having said that, it is understandable if organisers and the venue had second thoughts because it was the very last minute and they thought it would be better if things went off without a flutter since it was the Finale.

The political party’s excuses about this not being Indian culture, that ephemeral inexplicable thing that usually crops up when one wants to stop something or the other, does not hold water.

What is Indian culture? That itself defies definition. It is surprising that the CM himself has not spoken out against these threats and cancellation of venue, since the CM’s wife had attended the fashion week.

It is reprehensible that the excuse given was that use of public spaces is not appropriate for commercial gain. Several of Mumbai’s public spaces have been used for commercial gain, so that explanation too is as hollow as it sounds.

This goondaism needs to be nipped in the bud, with a heavy hand.