Bal Thackeray was an Indian politician and founder of Shiv Sena party in Maharashtra. He was born on 23rd January 1926 in Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh. He belonged to a middle class Marathi family. His father was Keshav Sitaram Thackeray who was a social activist and a writer. He played a key role in the United Maharashtra Movement in 1950 to form Maharashtra as the Marathi speaking state.
Bal Thackeray started his career as a cartoonist and worked in the Free Press Journal. He together with his brother launched a cartoon weekly named Marmik. He started Shiv Sena on 19th June 1966. The intention of the party is to fight for the rights of natives of the state and to ensure their job security against immigrants from other parts of the country. He formed alliance with BJP on common grounds of Hindu Nationalism and in 1995 election, BJP-Shiv Sena combine won.
He was banned from voting or contesting in any election for six years from December 11, 1995 as per the recommendations of the Election Commission. He had to face lots of controversies as he opposed non-Hindus and immigrants to Maharashtra. He launched his ‘Maharashtra is for Maharashtrians’ campaign. His views were highly anti-Muslim. He openly stated that this country should be saved from the Muslims who had spread like cancer.
He was a critic of the former President of India Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. He criticized his indecisiveness in the matter of conviction of Mohammed Afzal who was convicted for attacking the Indian Parliament in 2001. He shows himself as a great admirer of Adolf Hitler and LTTE. He also protested against the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Boycotting shops and restaurants by his men on that day often culminated in violence.
He married Mina Thackeray and had three children, Bindumadhav Thackeray, Jaidev Thackeray, and Uddhav Thackeray. There was an intra-party rivalry between his son Uddhav Thackeray and his nephew Raj Thackeray and this led to the division of Shiv Sena. On 9th March 2006, Raj Thackeray announced the formation of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. On November 28, 2009, his daughter-in-law, Smita Thackeray quit Shiv Sena and joined Congress party.
He was suffering from respiratory problems during the last few months of his lifetime and passed away on 17th November 2012 at his residence at Bandhra in Mumbai at his age of 86.