Shiv Sena chief Bal Keshav Thackeray, the militant flagbearer of
Hindu nationalism and regional chauvinism who did not hesitate to
resort to mob tactics to have his will enforced, died here
Saturday at 3.30 p.m. He was 86.
His doctor, Jaleel Parker, made the announcement at 4.55 p.m.
outside Matoshri, his residence, that was as much the city's
landmark as a place of pilgrimage for millions of supporters
throughout the state.
Thousands of them had been standing in vigil outside his home in
upscale Bandra East area of Mumbai for the last 72 hours as the
news got out about Thackeray's failing health.
He is survived by his sons, political heir and Shiv Sena executive
president Uddhav Thackeray and filmmaker Jaidev. A widower,
Thackeray's wife Meena and his eldest son Bindhumadhav passed away
His nephew, Raj Thackeray, once considered his political heir,
broke away to form his own regional party, the Maharashtra
Navnirman Sena (MNS), which often competed with Shiv Sena in
espousing extreme rightwing views that championed local Marathi
pride and exclusivism at the expense of other communities that
resided in India's richest and most industrialised state.
The former cartoonist, who in the later years sported a stylish
beard and wore twin bead necklaces in the manner of Hindu gurus,
Thackeray ran his political party Shiv Sena (the army of Lord
Shiva, one of the Hindu Trinity), like a local militia. He leaves
behind a legacy of anti-minority poison that has been scourge of
Mumbai, the country's financial and entertainment capital.
Active till the end, Thackeray, who never hesitated to practice
his particular brand of street politics, had just days ago on Nov
5 asked party activists "not to permit" the forthcoming cricket
matches between India and Pakistan.
In a front-page appeal in the party mouthpiece Saamna, he had
lashed out at Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his statement
"to forget the past" and play cricket with Pakistan.
Thackeray was ailing for about two years and was under regular
medical treatment at home. In the last week, his health
According to party leaders, a virtual ICU had been recreated at
Matoshri with all emergency equipment and medical and para-medical
staff on duty round-the-clock.
His son Uddhav Thackeray was fielding scores of visitors,
politicians and showbiz celebrities as this city remained on the
edge for the last few days with heavy police deployment outside
his residence and in trouble spots around the city.
Glamour world personalities like Amitabh Bachchan with his son
Abhishek, Rishi Kapoor and brother Randhir, Salim Khan and son
Salman Khan, Manoj Kumar, Madhur Bhandarkar and Bappi Lahiri
visited Matoshri to enquire after Thackeray's health during the