Bala Saheb Thackeray , the 86 year old veteran of Marathee Manoos is no more . Praying for the departed soul.
Started as a cartoonist, Balasab got into the political scene by galvanising Marathi sentiments particularly on the job less youth by proclaiming that Jobs are taken away by immigrant South Indians and sought for regional quota among factory workers. During the Mumbai riots and the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation he became a strong proponent of the Hindutva campaign with his fiery speeches. Sri Krishna Commission indicted him in communal conspiracy and the state government saved him. His party joined hand with BJP giving him a national colour where he spoke more on Hindu pride and nationalism.
At the same time when there was choice between Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil he chooses the congress candidate because of her being Marathi. When his more capable nephew Raj challenged his authority, he chooses his Son and grandson as his political heir and then criticised Congress for family legacy. He asked Muslims to be first Indians then Muslims but when it came to Maharashtrians , he was first a Maharashtrian then an Indian. When his cadres started chasing Bihari workers the patriarch was silent on the Pan India Hindutva.
It is left for the readers to judge him either as xenophobic and Hippocratic or whether as a Nationalist or regionalist , but he leaves behind a legacy of political conviction , clarity of thought and the ability to behold the Regional Asmita (pride)of his State .