Maharashtra mourns Bal Thackeray’s demise

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bal Thackeray
(23 January 1926 – 17 November 2012) 
Mumbai: Maharashtra's most iconic figure and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray passed away on Saturday afternoon following a cardiac arrest.

The 86-year-old right-wing Hindu leader breathed his last at ‘Matoshree’, his Mumbai residence.

India’s commercial capital - Mumbai, came to a standstill soon after the news of Thackeray’s death spread across the city. Shops were shutdown voluntarily, citing the risk of untoward incidents. Film screenings were called off for the day.

Earlier in July, Thackeray was admitted to Lilavati hospital's intensive care unit after he complained of breathlessness.

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 actively 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.

He has left behind a 'questioned' legacy.
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