Bal Keshav Thackeray founder and Chief of Shiv Sena, a right-wing Marathi ethnocentric party was one of the towering figure of Indian politics. He was called as 'Balasaheb' by his supporters. Also known as Hindu Hruday Samraat he fought for the interests of Maharashtrians in Mumbai's political and professional landscape. He remained dedicated to the cause of Maharastrian throughout his life. Entire Maharashtra wept on his demise which created a void hard to fill.
When recently asked as whom he suggests to play the role of the Shiv Sena founder in an upcoming biopic, Aditya Thackeray said "I don't look at him as a leader but my grandfather. I don't think we need to think about it (casting). Right now, there is no figure in mind. About who from Bollywood should play my grandfather, I don't think I need to look at it."
The Yuva Sena chief appears to be a reflection of his iconic grandfather Bal Thackeray, the founding father of Shiv Sena – a political party in Mumbai. On his equation with his grandfather Aditya talks in length about the lovely relation shop he shared with Sena chief. Not too old he remembered how his grandfather was instrumental in encouraging his writing skills as himself has a taste of art. He admitted that without his company he misses Dussera rally — the party’s biggest annual event. Talking about political inheritance of his grandfather Aditya says “My grandfather’s style is unique and that works really well. I speak to him on various issues every day. Once when I was going to meet Mamatadidi (Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee) he told me, ‘You must tell Mamata that whatever the politics, I hope that you will guide me in future.’ Not many leaders will ask people to take guidance from the rival camp. He also tells me to emulate their good points,” he adds. Though not emotional the void created by the demise of Balasaheb was visible on the face of Aditya who still misses the lap of his grandfather.
Born in Pune on 23 January 1926 to to Ramabai and Prabodhankar Thackeray, Bal Keshav Thackeray was eldest of nine siblings. He was highly influences by the works of his father Keshav Sitaram Thackeray (also known as 'Prabodhankar' Thackeray) who was a progressive social activist and writer involved in the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement of the 1950s that argued for the creation of a unified state called Maharashtra for Marathi-speaking areas with Mumbai as its capital. Though he left the movement owing to his stance against the communists, the same became base for the foundation of Shiv Sena- a political outfit found by his son Bal Thackeray. Married to Meena Thackeray, Bal Thackeray had three sons, Bindumadhav Thackeray, Jaidev Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray. Meena and Bindumadhav died in 1996. Bal Thackeray died on 17 November 2012 as a consequence of a cardiac arrest.
Rise of Bal Thackeray
Remembered as 'Balasaheb' or Hindu Hruday Samraat ("Emperor of Hindu Hearts") Bal Thackeray was a prolific cartoonists who began his career from an English daily The Free Press Journal in Mumbai. However he soon started his own jornal a political weekly Marmik which espoused for the cause of Marathis in Mumbai. In 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena party to advocate for the interests of Maharashtrians in Mumbai's political and professional landscape. With the formation of Shiv Sena Maharastra saw a new form of Marathi ethnocentric politics. The fiery torchbearer of Hindutva politics he was chief architect of the sons-of-the-soil ideology in Mumbai. The party he founded grew in stature year after year and got support from prominent leaders including Historian Babasaheb Purandare. Eminent personalities like Madhav Mehere and Madhav Deshpande also joined with Shiv Sena. Unlike other political outfit of the day Shiv Sena under Balasaheb aimed to ensure job security for Maharashtrians competing against immigrants from southern India, Gujaratis and Marwaris. Sena's newspaper Saamna launched in 1989 further makes the aim and ambition of the party and is known for sarcastic attacks on opponents. From wrestling control of trade unions in Mumbai from the Communist Party of India to allying itself with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena did all. From 1995 to 1999 BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was in power with Bal Thackeray guiding force from outside.
Life and times of Bal Thackeray never remained free from controversies. As a maverick politician Bal Keshav Thackeray roused emotions on Marathi pride that catapulted Shiv Sena to power in 1995. The uncrowned king seems to enjoy control from Legislative assembly to Municipal Corporation. The mega event on the eve of Dussera was spectular and nothing less than a show of power. His fiery speech often aroused emotion resulting in law and order problem for the local authorities. For indulging in divisive politics and corrupt practices by seeking votes in the name of religion made he was debarred from electrol process involving from voting and contesting for six years from 11 December 1999 till 10 December 2005 on the recommendations of the Election Commission. He voted for the first time in the 2007 BMC elections. Thackeray political ambitions revolved around Marathi manoos and 'sons of the soil’ politics which helped him to enjoy considerable clout over Mumbai and Maharashtra. The party he founded faced split in 1996 when Raj Thackeray ambitious cousin of Bal Thackeray announced his resignation from Shiv Sena to start a new political party - "Maharashtra Navnirman Sena".
Illness and Death
The roaring tiger who ruled the city decades, passed away after nearly four months of illness at Matoshree on 17 November 2012 leaving his supporters behind. His death brought Mumbai to a virtual halt with with shops and commercial establishments downing their shutters. His funeral at Shivaji Park was attended by large number of political leaders, dignitaries, Bollywood personalities. After his demise his son and successor Uddhav Thackeray handles the party with grandon Aditya Thackeray in in charge of youth brigade.
Dr Manmohan Singh: "The Prime Minister appealed for calm and sobriety during this period of loss and mourning."
"The passing away of Bala Saheb will be deeply felt by his family and followers."
Amitabh Bachchan: Each day he continued his struggle with a grit that was baffling even for the doctors on hand...
I sat by his bedside for hours these past few days, a prayer in my heart, watching him struggling to breathe, but fighting ...
Lata Mangeshkar: Aaj 3:30 baje, hindu hriday samrat, param adarniya Shri Balasaheb Thackeray hum logon ko chhodke anant mein
Dilip Kumar: We are deeply grieving the passing of Balasaheb Thackeray who I always thought was not a Tiger but a Lion.
Sridevi: Balasaheb was a phenomenon who gave hope to millions in his lifetime. Generations will be inspired.
Anupam Kher: BalaSaheb was one of the very few leaders in today's times for whom Country came first. He did't play games to be popular. Spoke straight.
Sushma Swaraj tweeted: I am terribly pained to hear that the Lion is dead.
Arvind Kejriwal: Balasaheb no more. May his soul Rest in Peace. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.
Milind Deora: Ideologies & politics aside, Balasaheb was unique & his influence on Maharashtra politics is undeniable. Often imitated but never duplicated
Akshay Kumar: His demise has left a deep void in Indian politics,always admired him for his courage,The real Tiger.
Hema Malini: The battle is over and eternal life begins. I'm so sorry (for) the loss Shri Balasaheb's family is enduring. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Ajay Devgn: A man of convictions and a man of vision. A great leader. Rest in peace Balasaheb!
Karan Johar:? Thoughts and prayers with the Thackeray family....RIP balasaab.
Mahesh Bhatt: Our dead are never dead to us,until we have forgotten them.The memory of Bal Thackeray will live in the memory of we Mumbaikars forever.
Riteish Deshmukh: RIP - saheb -
Arjun Rampal: RIp Balasaheb, condolences to his family. Peace be with you and all your loved ones.
Vivek Oberoi: RIP Balasaheb---The Roaring Tiger of Maharashtra! Our prayers are with the Thackeray family and the millions of followers!
Aftab Shivdasani: Another legend passes away..let's pray for the soul of Shri Balasaheb Thackeray.. May the Divine grant him peace.. Om Sai Ram
Dia Mirza: RIP Bala Saheb. Let there be peace
Madhur Bhandarkar: RIP Balasaaheb. He lived with great conviction in his believes, which led him to be a great leader. Wish strength to his family!
Ram Gopal Varma: can't evr forget the hug the real Sarkar gave me when he saw reel Sarkar...Bala saab was a true epitome of power in every sense of the word
Kabir Bedi: My condolences to the entire family of #Balasaheb Thackeray. Was always a major influence in the politics of Maharashtra. RIP Bal Thackeray.
Bhagyashree: Just heard the news... End to an era...Balasaheb Thackeray no more. RIP
Minissha Lamba: Its really sad to see one legend aft the other leave us in quick succession.. the world we know is changing too fast...
Though Balasaheb is no more but his principles to the core are followed by the members of Shiv Sena, a party that he founded with his sweat and blood making it a force to reckon in Maharashtra and Indian politics.
Children : Jaidev Thackeray
Relatives: Raj Thackeray (Nephew)
Smita Thackeray (Daughter in Law)
Aditya Thackeray (Grandson)
(FAN OF Shri BAL KESHAV THACKERAY)
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