Biography of ‘Balasaheb Thackeray’
The Godfather !
Bal Keshav Thackeray born 23 January 1927, popularly known as
Balasaheb Thackeray, is the founder and chief of the ShivSena .
Balasaheb began his career in the early 1950s as a cartoonist for the
Free Press Journal in Mumbai (Bombay). His cartoons also appeared in
the Japanese daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun and in the Sunday edition
of The New York Times. In the 1960s he became increasingly involved
He developed a strong regional following through his work for a weekly
Marathi-language journal called Marmik, which he published with his
brother and which polemicized against the influence of “outsiders” in
Maharashtra. On 19th June 1966 he founded the Shiv Sena.
Although Thackeray never held an official post or ran for elective
office, for years he was generally regarded as the most powerful
man in Maharashtra. He was often referred to as the “godfather of
Maharashtra” or, as his legion of devout followers called him, Hindu
Hridaysamrat (“Emperor of the Hindu Heart”). His party advocated
the end of India’s constitutional status as a secular state and the
adoption of Hinduism as the country’s official religion. Such was
Thackeray’s power that when the Shiv Sena gained political control
of Maharashtra in the 1990s, he had Bombay renamed Mumbai for
the goddess Mumbadevi—the name by which the city is known in
the Marathi language—and when Thackeray was satirized by
novelist Salman Rushdie in The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995), the book
was immediately banned in Maharashtra.
Over the years, Thackeray had been accused of inciting violent
conflicts between Hindus and Muslims. The most notorious incident
came in 1992–93, when nearly 1,000 people were killed during
several weeks of anti-Muslim rioting in Mumbai. Despite having
been known to speak admiringly of Adolf Hitler, Thackeray insisted
that he was “not against each and every” Muslim. “But those
Muslims who reside in this country but do not go by the laws of the
land,” he once declared in an interview, “I consider such people
Amid allegations that it employed illegal and sometimes violent
tactics, Thackeray’s party grew into a major political force in
Maharashtra. In alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the
Shiv Sena won 138 out of 288 seats in the state’s assembly in
1995—enough to form a coalition government.
The Natural Alliance
In power Thackeray continued to be a lightning rod for controversy.
His supporters had destroyed the 16th-century Babri Masjid
(“Mosque of Bābur”) in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, in 1992, and in
2000 he was arrested on charges of having incited the deadly
1992–93 riots in Mumbai. Though Thackeray never denied the
charges, they were dismissed after a magistrate ruled that the
statute of limitations on the case had run out.
An unexpected electoral setback for the BJP–Shiv Sena alliance in
2004, when it lost control of the Maharashtra state government,
led to speculation about who might eventually succeed the aging
Shiv Sena leader. His nephew Raj Thackeray—who was responsible
for compiling Bal Keshav Thackeray: A Photobiography (2005),
which commemorates his uncle’s career—had been mentioned as a
possibility. However, Bal’s son Uddhav appeared to be the likely
successor, having already assumed the post of executive president
of the Shiv Sena in 2004. Raj Thackeray subsequently left the party
and in 2006 formed the rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
(“Maharashtra Reconstruction Army”) party.
Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena assured that their ailing leader Bal
Thackeray was fighting like a "warrior" and his health was
"improving". In a statement, the party mouthpiece Saamna had said:
"Millions of Shiv Sainiks have been praying for his recovery. It is
because of their devotion and prayers that the Sena chief's health
has improved. Doctors have said his heart and pulse beats have
improved."A team of doctors from Lilavati Hospital, comprising
Jaleel Parker, Prakash Jiyandani, Samad Ansari, assisted by Shiv
Sena legislator Deepak Sawant, reportedly strived hard to save
Thackeray.An ICU was created at Matoshri, the Thackeray residence
in Bandra east, with all emergency equipment and medical and
para-medical staff on duty round-the-clock.
Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray had convened a
meeting of party corporators in the Brihan Mumbai Municipal
Corporation (BMC) later Saturday to apprise them of the Sena
chief's health.The Mumbai Police have deployed tight security
around Matoshri and Bandra east areas to prevent any untoward
incident. The supreme Died at the age of 86 on 17 November
2012. More than seven lakh people crowded at his funeral.
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