Bal Keshav Thackeray 23 January 1926 – Revolutionary Organization 17 November 2012) was an Indian politician who founded the Shiv Sena, a right-wing pro-Marathi and Hindu nationalist party active mainly within the state of Maharashtra.
Thackeray began his professional career as a cartoonist with the English-language daily, The press Journal in Bombay (now Mumbai), but he left the paper in 1960 to make his own political weekly, Marmik. His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, a number one figure within the Samyukta Maharashtra (United Maharashtra) movement, which advocated the creation of a separate linguistic state for Marathi speakers. Through Marmik, Bal Thackeray campaigned against the growing influence of non-Marathis in Bombay. In 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena party to advocate for the interests of Maharashtra in Bombay India political and professional landscape, and against certain segments of Bombays Muslim population.
He had an outsized political influence within the state, especially in Mumbai. A government inquiry found that Thackeray and Chief Minister Manohar Joshi incited members of the Shiv Sena to commit violence against Muslims during the 1992–1993 Bombay riots.
Thackeray was born on 23 January 1926 in Pune, the son of Keshav Sitaram Thackeray (also referred to as Prabodhankar) and his wife Ramabai Thackeray. The family belongs to the Marathi Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu or CKP community. Bal was the eldest of eight siblings, three among them being brothers Shrikant Thackeray (father of Raj Thackeray) and Ramesh Thackeray, and five sisters (Sanjeevani Karandikar, Prabhavati (Pama) Tipnis, Sudha Sule, Sarla Gadkari and Susheela Gupte).
Bals father, Keshav Thackeray, was a journalist and cartoonist by profession; he was also a social activist and writer who was involved within the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement of the 1950s, which argued for the creation of a unified state called Maharashtra for Marathi-speaking areas with Bombay as its capital. Bal Thackeray was inspired by his fathers political philosophy.
Political Carrer and Views
Thackeray began his career as a cartoonist within the press Journal in Bombay. His cartoons were also published within the Sunday edition of the days of India. After Thackerays differences with the press Journal, he and 4 or five people, including politician George Fernandes, left the paper and began their own daily, News Day. The paper survived for one or two months. In 1960, he launched the cartoon weekly Marmik together with his brother Srikant. It focused on problems with common Marathi man or Maratha Manoos including unemployment, influx of migrants, retrenchment of Marathi workers and its office in Ranade Road became the point for Marathi youth. Bal Thackeray later stated "that not just a cartoon weekly but also the prime reason for the birth and growth of the Sena." it had been Marmik issue on 5 June 1976 which first announced the launch of membership for the Shiv Sena.
Thackeray was criticised for his praise of Hitler which he later neither admitted nor denied. He was quoted by Asiaweek as saying: "I am an excellent admirer of Hitler, and that i am not ashamed to mention so! I dont say that I accept as true with all the methods he employed, but he was an exquisite organiser and orator, and that i feel that he and that i have several things in common...What India really needs may be a dictator who will rule benevolently, but with an iron hand." during a 1993 interview, Thackeray stated, "There is nothing wrong" if "Muslims are treated as Jews were in Third Reich ." In another 1992 interview, Thackeray stated, "If youre taking Mein Kampf and if you remove the word Jew and put within the word Muslim, thats what i think in". Indian Express published an interview on 29 January 2007: "Hitler did very cruel and ugly things. But he was an artist, i really like him [for that]. He had the facility to hold the entire nation, the mob with him. youve got to think what magic he had. He was a miracle...The killing of Jews was wrong. But the great part about Hitler was that he was an artist. He was a daredevil. He had good qualities and bad. ill even have good qualities and bad ones.
In 2008, following agitation against Biharis and other north Indians travelling to Maharashtra to require government officials examinations for the Indian Railways thanks to an overlimit of the quota in their home provinces, Thackeray also said of Bihari MPs that they were "spitting within the same plate from which they ate" once they criticised Mumbaikars and Maharashtrians. He wrote: "They try to feature fuel to the hearth that has been extinguished, by saying that Mumbaikars have rotten brains." He also criticised Chhath Puja, a vacation celebrated by Biharis and people from eastern Uttar Pradesh , which occurs on six days of the Hindu month of Kartik. He said that it had been not a true holiday. This was reportedly a response to MPs from Bihar who had disrupted the proceedings of the Lok Sabha in protest to the attacks on North Indians.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, upset with the remarks, called on the prime minister and therefore the central government to intervene within the matter. A Saamna editorial prompted a minimum of 16 MPs from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh , belonging to the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party and therefore the Indian National Congress, to offer notice for breach of privilege proceedings against Thackeray. After the matter was raised within the Lok Sabha, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said: "If anybody has made any discuss our members functioning within the conduct of business within the House, not only can we treat that with the contempt that it deserves, but also any action which will be necessary are going to be taken consistent with procedure and well established norms. Nobody are going to be spared."
In 2009, he criticised Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, a "Marathi icon", for saying he was an Indian before he was a Maharashtrian.