Features, Living

Remembering Bal Thackeray

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By Summun Jafri The founder of Indian political organization Shiv Sena has passed away at 86 years old. Bal Thackeray began his career as a political cartoonist for publications such as The Times of India. In 1966 he formed Shiv Sena, where one of his main agendas was to fight for the rights of the Maharastrians, those who are natives to the state of Maharastra, and it’s capital city Mumbai. Thackeray was seen as a right-winged Nationalist, and over the years, he established a large following with the Shiv Sena, forming alliances with other political and professional parties, and even the Bollywood film industry, which is based out of Mumbai. He was also the founder of the Maharathi newspaper Saamana. The Shiv Sena has been the no stranger to controversy since it’s establishment. The organization is best known for its support of Maharashtrian rights, while campaigning against the growth of Gujrathi, South Indians, Marwaris, and other non-natives to the state. Bal Thackeray has also been quoted taking anti-Muslim stances against those living in India. Thackeray was given a state funeral on Nov 18th, which over 200, 000 people attended in Mumbai. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged Thackeray’s “strong leadership and extraordinary organizational skills” when commenting on the loss, and called for “calm and sobriety during this period of loss and mourning.” Most of the city Mumbai was shut down in honour of Thackeray’s death and funeral, as stores, businesses, and events such concerts and movie productions were all closed.  He will be remembered for his charismatic personality, his advocacy towards the people of Maharastra, and his ability to rock the nation’s political landscape with his views on politics and culture.  His son, Udhav Thackeray, currently runs the Shiv Sena party.

Funeral held in Mumbai for Bal Thackeray

 

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