Balasaheb Thakre

2012-11-24 00:00:00

Bal Keshav 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 India's Maharashtra. His followers called him the Hindu Hriday Samraat("Emperor of Hindu Hearts") 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 movement (United Maharashtra movement), which advocated the creation of a separate linguistic state of Maharashtra. Through Marmik, he campaigned against the growing influence of Gujaratis, Marwaris, and south Indians in Mumbai. In 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena party to advocate more strongly the place of Maharashtrians in Mumbai's political and professional landscape. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Thackeray built the party by forming temporary alliances with nearly all of Maharashtra's political parties.Thackeray was also the founder of the Marathi-language newspaper Saamana and the Hindi-language newspaper Dopahar ka saamana.He was the subject of numerous controversies.Upon his death, he was accorded a state funeral with over 2,000,000 mourners.[Thackeray was born to Keshav Sitaram Thackeray (also known as 'Prabodhankar' Thackeray) in Pune,in a Marathi Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu family.Keshav Thackeray was a progressive social activist and writer who was against caste biases and played a key role in the Samyukta Maharashtra Chalwal (literally, United Maharashtra Movement) in the 1950s to form the Marathi-speaking state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital.Thackeray was married to Meena Thackeray and had 3 sons Bindumadhav Thackeray, Jaidev Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray.His wife Meena and son Bindumadhav died in 1996. Thackeray started his career as a cartoonist in the Free Press Journal in Bombay.His cartoons were also published in the Sunday edition of The Times of India. In 1960, he launched a cartoon weekly Marmik with his brother.He used it to campaign against the growing numbers and influence of non-Marathi people in Mumbai, targeting Gujaratis and South Indian labor workers.After Thackeray's differences with the Free Press Journal, he and four or five people, including George Fernandes, left the paper and started their own daily News Day. The paper survived for one or two months.He formed the Shiv Sena on 19 June 1966 with the intent of fighting for the rights of the natives of the state of Maharashtra. The early objective of the Shiv Sena was to ensure job security for Maharashtrians competing against immigrants from southern India, Gujaratis and Marwaris.In 1989,the Sena's newspaper Saamna was launched. Politically,the Shiv Sena was anti-communist and wrested control of trade unions in Mumbai from the Communist Party of India.It later allied itself with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won the 1995 Maharashtra State Assembly elections and came to power. During the tenure of the government from 1995 to 1999, Thackeray was nicknamed 'remote control' since he played a major role in government policies and decisions from behind the scenes. Thackeray lost his wife Meena to a heart attack in September 1996, and his eldest son Bindumadhav ("Binda") to a road accident on 20 April 1996. On July 28, 1999 Thackeray was banned from voting and contesting in any election for six years from December 11, 1999 till December 10, 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 2006 BMC elections. Thackeray claimed that the Shiv Sena had helped the Marathi manoos (Marathi language speaking person) in Mumbai and also fought for the rights of Hindu people. Thackeray was a staunch Hindu and believed that Hindus must be organised to struggle against those who oppose their identity and religion. especially in the public sector.Opposition leftist parties allege that the Shiv Sena has done little to solve the problem of unemployment facing a large proportion of Maharashtrian youth during its tenure, in contradiction to its ideological foundation of 'sons of the soil.'On February 14, 2006, Thackeray condemned and apologised for the violent attacks by Shiv Sainiks upon a private Valentine's Day celebration in Mumbai. "It is said that women were beaten up in the Nallasopara incident. If that really happened, then it is a symbol of cowardice. I have always instructed Shiv Sainiks that in any situation women should not be humiliated and harassed." Thackeray and the Shiv Sena remained opposed to Valentine's Day celebrations, although they indicated support for an "Indian alternative." However, in some cases, the SS has been more tolerant during Valentine's Day celebrations. Thackeray was criticised for his praise of Adolf Hitler. He was quoted by Asiaweek as saying: "I am a great admirer of Hitler, and I am not ashamed to say so! I do not say that I agree with all the methods he employed, but he was a wonderful organiser and orator, and I feel that he and I have several things in common...What India really needs is a dictator who will rule benevolently, but with an iron hand." However, Indian Express published an interview 29 January, 2007: "Hitler did very cruel and ugly things. But he was an artist, I love him [for that]. He had the power to carry the whole nation, the mob with him. You have to think what magic he had. He was a miracle...The killing of Jews was wrong. But the good part about Hitler was that he was an artist. He was a daredevil. He had good qualities and bad. I may also have good qualities and bad ones." He later told the Star Talk talk show on Star Plus that he did not admire Hitler.

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