SHORT DISCRIPTION :
Bal Keshav Thackeray also known as Balasaheb Thackeray 23 January 1926 – 17 November 2012) was an Indian politician who founded the Shiv Sena, a right-wing Marathi ethnocentric party active mainly in the western state of Maharashtra.
Thackeray began his professional career as a cartoonist with the English language daily The Free Press Journal in Mumbai, but left it in 1960 to form his own political weekly Marmik. His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, a leading figure in the Samyukta Maharashtra (United Maharashtra) movement, which advocated the creation of a separate linguistic state. Through Marmik, he campaigned against the growing influence of non-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. Holding views attacking Muslims and once praising Adolf Hitler, he was known for his writings and was seen as a good orator.
He had a large political influence in the state, especially in Mumbai; his party frequently used violent means against its detractors Thackeray and Chief Minister Manohar Joshi were blamed for inciting the shivsainiks to commit violence against Muslims during the 1992–1993 Bombay riots in the Srikrishna Commission Report, an inquiry by the government.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Thackeray built the party by forming temporary alliances with nearly all of state’s political parties. Thackeray was also the founder of the Marathi-language newspaper Saamana. After the riots of 1992-93, he and his party took a Hindutva stance. In 1999, Thackeray was banned from voting and contesting in any election for six years on the recommendations of the Election Commission for indulging in seeking votes in the name of religion. Besides getting arrested multiple times and briefly going to prison, Thackeray never faced any major legal repercussions for his actions. Upon his death, he was accorded a state funeral with a large number of mourners present. Thackeray did not hold any official position and never was formally elected as the leader of his party.
Thackeray was married to Meena Thackeray (née Sarla Vaidya) on 13 June 1948 and had three sons, Bindumadhav, Jaidev and Uddhav. Meena died in 1995 and Bindumadhav died the following year in a car accident. Uddhav succeeded his father as the leader of Shiv Sena.Uddhav’s son, Aditya wants to continue the family dynasty by getting active in the youth wing of the party
Raj is his brother Srikant’s son. Despite Raj’s breakaway from the main party, Raj continues to maintain that Thackeray was his ideologue and relations between them improved during Thackeray’s final years.
Sanjeevani Karandikar is Bal Thackeray’s sister.
Thackeray drew cartoons for Marmik and contributed to Saamna till 2012. He cited the British cartoonist David Low as his inspiration. He was fond of beer and cigars.
In the early 1950s he joined the Free Press Journal in Mumbai as a cartoonist and worked there for many years before launching his own weekly publication called Marmik in 1960, just a few months after the state of Maharashtra was formed. Linguistic pride was the flavour of the times and Thackeray was drawn into politics because of the influence of a circle of friends that felt the need for the local Marathi population to fight for their rights in the political arena.
Thackeray launched the Shiv Sena on June 19, 1966, and held his first rally at Shivaji Park on October 30, 1966. The fledgling party tasted its first political success in the 1968 municipal elections when it won 42 of 120 seats. In the next few years the party established itself in Mumbai as an anti-leftist force, staunchly opposed to the Communist parties and their trade unions.
In 1971 the Shiv Sena got its first mayor elected in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, and in 1972, the party .. sent its first ever member to the Maharashtra assembly. Thackeray surprised everybody in 1975 by openly declaring his support for the then prime minister Indira Gandhi’s decision to impose Emergency. The outcome was disastrous. The Shiv Sena received a major drubbing in the 1978 assembly and municipal elections as a result of his support to the Emergency. Thackeray announced his resignation as Shiv Sena chief at a rally in Shivaji Park but retracted after an uproar.
- Thackeray and the Shiv Sena bounced back in 1985 after a seven-year-long wait, when the then chief minister Vasantdada Patil made a public statement about plans to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra. The resultant backlash resulted in the Sena sweeping the municipal corporation elections for the first time in 1985. It ruled the corporation till 1992, regained power in the BMC in 1997 and has been in control of the body — the richest local body in India and a major source of the Sena’s power — ever .
Balasaheb Thackeray died at 3.30 pm on 17 November, 2012, of a cardiac arrest.
- Large crowds of Mumbai’s residents and Shiv Sena supporters accompanied Bal Thackeray’s dead body from his residence, “Matoshri“, to Shiv Sena Bhavan. From Sena Bhavan Balasahab Thackeray’s body was taken to the statue of his wife Mina Thackeray at Shivaji Park. Shiv Sena “Shakha Pramukhs” (Branch Leaders) accompanied the special truck.
- Bal Thackeray’s youngest son Uddhav performed the last rites as per Hindu custom. Usually, as per Hindu tradition, the eldest surviving son lights the funeral pyre. As per tradition, Balasaheb’s estranged elder son, Jaidev Thackeray, should have performed his last rites.
- Jaidev Thackeray was standing alongside younger brother Uddhav when he lit Bal Thackeray’s funeral pyre. Bal Thackeray’s eldest son, “Bindumadhav”, had died in a road accident on 20 April 1996. Bindumadhav Thackeray’s Tata Sumo met with an accident at “Waksai Phata” on the old Bombay – Pune NH4 highway. One of the achievements for which Balasahab will be remembered is the new Mumbai – Poona Expressway.
- Cousins Udhav and Raj Thackeray and their families came together for Bal Thackeray’s funeral. Raj Thackeray’s wife (Shalini), son (Amit), daughter (Urvashi), accompanied Uddhav, his wife (Rashmi), sons (Aditya, Tejas), on the truck that took Balasaheb’s body to Shivaji Park. Raj Thackeray walked with the crowd behind his uncle’s body.
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