Demise of the Marathi Tiger

 TWA, Mumbai, 17th Nov 2012

Demise of the Marathi Tiger…. By: Delisa Misquitta

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Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray died on Saturday in Mumbai after prolonged illness. The 86-year-old Thackeray, who founded the Shiv Sena in 1966 to fight for the rights of Maharashtrians, was suffering from lungs and pancreatic ailments and had been put on life-support system for the last few days.

Thackeray was admitted to Lilavati hospital’s intensive care unit in Mumbai on 25 July 2012 after he complained of breathlessness. As per reports on 14 November, he stopped eating and was on continuous oxygen. Shiva Sainiks in the areas where the party draws support forced shops to close. These included: Vakola, Shivaji Nagar, Chembur, Navi Mumbai, Andheri, Parel, Dadar and Matunga, amongst others. In other parts of Mumbai, some shops voluntary closed, citing the risk of untoward incidents should Thackeray’s health deteriorate and possibly be fatal.

Announcing his death outside Thackeray residence ‘Matoshree’, the doctor said that Balasaheb breathed his last at 3.30 pm on Saturday.The funeral procession of the Shiv Sena founder would begin at 10 am on Sunday and Thackeray is likely to be cremated at 4 pm at Shivaji Park crematorium.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “The party has appealed for calm in the city, which Balasaheb loved so dearly. We hope the Shiv Sainiks adhere to the party appeal.”

Meanwhile, security has been stepped up in the metropolis in the wake of Thackeray’s death. The police also made the mediapersons move to a distance from Matoshree.

Around 20,000 police personnel have been deployed across the country’s financial capital.

“Maharashtra has lost a veteran, experienced leader….He was a politician, cartoonist, editor, organiser as well as art-lover and orator,” Chief Minister PrithvirajChavan said.

Union Home Minister SushilkumarShinde said that Thackeray, as cartoonist, arrived on the scene like a storm after the collapse of communists in Mumbai, and took forward the legacy of his reformist father, `Prabodhankar’ Thackeray.

Reacting to the news, senior BJP leader SushmaSwaraj posted a tweet saying: “I am terribly pained to hear that the Lion is dead.” She further announced the cancellation of the dinner of BJP leaders with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, scheduled for Saturday night.

BJP spokesperson PrakashJavadekar termed Thackeray’s demise as the loss of a very great fighting leader. “We have lost a very great fighting leader and a great person…he was the tallest leader of our alliance in Maharashtra,” he said.

The Congress also recalled the important role played by Balasaheb in the politics of Maharashtra, expressing grief over the demise of the politician.

The Prime Minister issued a statement saying, “For him the interests of Maharashtra were particularly important and he always strived to inculcate a sense of pride in its people. He founded the Shiv Sena and built the party into a formidable force in the State politics with his strong leadership.”

Later, BJP president NitinGadkari said Bal Thackeray was the head of the Shiv Sena-BJP family, and held the same place as former prime minister AtalBihari Vajpayee. Addressing mediapersons, Gadkari said, “He was like family to me. His demise is a setback for all of us, he kept fighting for people all his life.”

“His demise is a big personal loss to me. Under his guidance, we used to win elections…his demise is a big loss to both the Shiv Sena and the BJP,” said Gadkari.

BJP strongman NarendraModi said he was grieved to hear about the demise of Thackeray, calling the Shiv Sena chief full of life. The Gujarat Chief Minister said: “Full of life, Balasaheb Thackeray was an epitome of courage &valour. I am grieved to hear about his demise. May his soul rest in peace.”

“Since the past few days, the entire nation was praying for him. He fought like a warrior, but in the end all of us had to lose him,” said Modi, adding, “On a personal level, he was very affectionate towards me. I lost a guiding force.”

Rajinikanth also expressed his grief saying Bal Thackeray “was a great leader and a father figure to many, including me…this is a great loss to all.” He further said, “My heartfelt condolences to all his family members and followers all over the world. My prayers for his soul to rest in peace at the feet of the lord.”

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said he was saddened by the news. Addressing medispersons, he said, “We had close relations. In politics, he always used to fight me, criticise me. When I was the Chief Minister, whenever I gave good suggestions, he used to support me.”

“I have been seeing him since the past 40 years. He rose like a storm, gave service to Maharashtra all his life…I pay tribute to him,” said Shinde.

About Balasaheb Thackeray:

Balasaheb Keshav  Thackeray  born on 23 January 1926– 17 November 2012) was an Indian politician, founder and chief of the Shiv Sena, a right-wing Hindu nationalist, and Marathiethnocentric party active mainly in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. His followers called him the Hindu HridaySamraat (“Emperor of Hindu Hearts”).

Thackeray began his professional career as a cartoonist with the English language daily the 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 KeshavSitaram 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 southern 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 Dopaharkasaamana.He attracted numerous controversies.

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