Overview for Bal Keshav Thackeray: A Photobiography
Born in Pune on January 23, 1927, Bal Keshav Thackeray was brought up in a modest Marathi household in Mumbai in the 1930s and 1940s. Mumbai has remained central to Thackerayâ€™s personality and politics. The cityâ€™s myriad sounds and smells, its Art Deco buildings and art galleries, Irani restaurants and cricket matches, chawls and wadis, maidans and parks-all this and Mumbaiâ€™s masti constitute the sum and substance of Thackeray. He imbibed the virtues of self-reliance and thrift at the feet of his father, Keshav Sitarm Thackeray who was firebrand social crusader. A self-taugh artist, Bal Thackeray honed his drawing and sketching skills under masters such as Dinanath Dalal and S.M. Pandit. Walt Disney and Sir David Low have deeply influenced his craftsmanship. The 1950s saw Bal Thackerayâ€™s meteoric rise as a cartoonist. With his deft storkes he offered a scathing comment, laced with razor-sharp wit, on topical issues. Shiv Sena, Bal Thackerayâ€™s political outfit, which he launched in June 1966, is seen as an extension of the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a popular struggle in the 1950s for the creation of a separate linguistic stale for Marathis. Anchored in anti-Congressism, the Samiti whetted Marathisâ€™ appetite for a regional force. The sena fitted the bill. The Senaâ€™s trek to political stardom has been a zigzag journey. The party perfected the politics of alliance much before the NDA and the UPA juggernauts arrived on the scene. From â€˜Mumbai for Marathisâ€™ to Hindutva, Thackeray has come a long way. The Sena-BJP alliance wrested power from Congress in 1995. Today, the Sena has a formidable presence in the Maharashtra legislative assembly. Thackeray lives in Mumbai with his family. He is the editor of Saamna, the Sena mouthpiece.