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Politics & War

Politics & War

Bal Keshav Thackeray

Bal Keshav Thackeray

  • Thackeray was born in Pune on 23 January 1926 to Ramabai and Keshav Sitaram Thackeray (also known as ‘Prabodhankar’).
  • He was the eldest of nine siblings.Keshav was a progressive social activist and writer who was involved in the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement of the 1950s that argued for the creation of a unified state called Maharashtra for Marathispeaking areas with Mumbai as its capital. Keshav’s political philosophy inspired Thackeray.
  • Thackeray began his career as a cartoonist in the Free Press Journal in Mumbai. His cartoons were also published in the Sunday edition of The Times of India.
  • In 1960, he launched the cartoon weekly Marmik with his brother Srikant. He used it to campaign against the growing numbers and influence of non-Marathi people in Mumbai, targeting south Indians.
  • Dopahar ka Saamana, a Hindi newspaper, and Saamana, a Marathi newspaper, were also founded by Thackeray.
  • The success of Marmik prompted him to form the Shiv Sena on 19 June 1966. Thackeray said it was not a political party but an army of Shivaji, inclined to fight for the Marathi manoos (person).
  • The early objective of the Shiv Sena was to ensure their job security competing against South Indians and Gujaratis.In its 1966 party manifesto, Thackeray primarily blamed south Indians.
  • In Marmik, Thackeray published a list of corporate officials from a local directory, many being south Indians, citing it as proof that Maharashtrians were being discriminated against.
  • The power of the party increased in the early 1970s when senior leaders such as Babasaheb Purandare, historian of Marathi literature; Madhav Mehere , Chief Attorney for Trade Union of Maharashtra; and Madhav Deshpande, Trade Union Chartered Accountant, joined the party.
    • During the 1970s, it did not succeed in the local elections and it was active mainly in Bombay, compared to the rest of the state. The party set up local branch offices and settled disputes, complaints against the government.
  • It later started violent tactics with attacks against rival parties, migrants and the media; the party agitated by destroying public and private property.
  • Thackeray publicly supported Indira Gandhi during the 1975 Emergency to avoid getting arrested; Thackeray supported the Congress party numerous times.
  • Politically, the Shiv Sena was anti-communist, and wrested control of trade unions in Mumbai from the Communist Party of India .
  • In 1989, the Sena’s newspaper Saamna was launched by Thackeray.Because of Thackeray being against the Mandal Commission report, his close aide Chhagan Bhujbal left the party in 1991.
  • Following the 1992 Bombay riots, Thackeray took stances viewed as anti-Muslim and based on Hindutva.The SS later allied itself with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJPShiv Sena alliance won the 1995 Maharashtra State Assembly elections and were in power from 1995 to 1999.
  • In 2006, Thackeray’s nephew Raj Thackeray broke away from Shiv Sena to form the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) during Thackeray’s retirement and appointment of his son, Uddhav rather than Raj as the leader of Shiv Sena.
  • On 14 February 2006, Thackeray condemned and apologised for the violent attacks by its Shiv Sainiks on a private celebration in Mumbai.
  • On 28 July 1999 Thackeray was banned from voting and contesting in any election for six years from 11 December 1999 till 10 December 2005 on the recommendations of the Election Commission.
  • After the six-year voting ban on Thackeray was lifted in 2005, he voted for the first time in the 2007 BMC elections.
  • Thackeray said that the Shiv Sena had helped the Marathi people in Mumbai, especially in the public sector. Thackeray believed that Hindus must be organised to struggle against those who oppose their identity and religion.
  • Thackeray was married to Meena Thackeray ( Sarla Vaidya) on 13 June 1948 and had three sons, Bindumadhav, Jaidev and Uddhav.
  • Meena Tai 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 Thackeray 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.
  • Thackeray died on 17 November 2012 as a consequence of a cardiac arrest.Mumbai came to a virtual halt immediately as the news broke out about his death, with shops and commercial establishments shutting down.
  • The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for calm in the city and praised Thackeray’s “strong leadership”, while there were also statements of praise and condolences from other senior politicians such as the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leader and MP, L. K. Advani.
  • He was accorded a state funeral at Shivaji Park, and resulted from demands made by Shiv Sena.It was the first public funeral in the city since that of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1920. DOHA