Tuesday, November 20, 2012
We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.
To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Born23 January 1927
Pune, Bombay Presidency
Died17 November 2012 (aged 86)
Political partyShiv Sena
Residence Mumbai Matoshree
Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray (IPA: [ʈʰakəɾe]; 23 January 1926 – 17 November 2012) was an Indian politician, founder and chief of the Shiv Sena, a right-wing Hindu nationalist, and Marathi ethnocentric party active mainly in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. His followers called him the Hindu Hriday Samraat ("Emperor of Hindu Hearts").
Thackeray began his professional career as a cartoonist with the English language daily The Free Press Journal in Mumbai, but left it in 1960 to form his own political weekly Marmik. His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, a leading figure in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement (United Maharashtra movement), which advocated the creation of a separate linguistic state of Maharashtra. Through Marmik, he campaigned against the growing influence of Gujaratis, Marwaris, and south Indians in Mumbai. In 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena party to advocate more strongly the place of Maharashtrians in Mumbai's political and professional landscape. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Thackeray built the party by forming temporary alliances with nearly all of Maharashtra's political parties. Thackeray was also the founder of the Marathi-language newspaper Saamana and the Hindi-language newspaper Dopahar ka saamana. He was the subject of numerous controversies. Upon his death, he was accorded a state funeral with over 2,000,000 mourners.
Early and personal life
Thackeray was born to Keshav Sitaram Thackeray (also known as 'Prabodhankar' Thackeray) in Pune, in a Marathi Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu family. Keshav Thackeray was a progressive social activist and writer who was against caste biases and played a key role in the Samyukta Maharashtra Chalwal (literally, United Maharashtra Movement) in the 1950s to form the Marathi-speaking state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital.
Thackeray was married to Meena Thackeray and had 3 sons Bindumadhav Thackeray, Jaidev Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray.  His wife Meena and son Bindumadhav passed away in 1996. 
Thackeray started his career as a cartoonist in the Free Press Journal in Bombay. His cartoons were also published in the Sunday edition of The Times of India. In 1960, he launched a cartoon weekly Marmik with his brother. He used it to campaign against the growing numbers and influence of non-Marathi people in Mumbai, targeting Gujaratis and South Indian labor workers. After Thackeray's differences with the Free Press Journal, he and four or five people, including George Fernandes, left the paper and started their own daily News Day. The paper survived for one or two months.
He formed the Shiv Sena on 19 June 1966 with the intent of fighting for the rights of the natives of the state of Maharashtra. The early objective of the Shiv Sena was to ensure job security for Maharashtrians competing against immigrants from southern India, Gujaratis and Marwaris. In 1989, the Sena's newspaper Saamna was launched.
Politically, the Sena was anti-communist and wrested control of trade unions in Mumbai from the Communist Party of India and demanded protection money (extortion) from Gujarati and marwari business leaders. It later allied itself with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the common issue of Hindu Nationalism which both parties believed in. The BJP-Shiv Sena combine won the 1995 Maharashtra State Assembly elections and came to power. During the tenure of the government from 1995 to 1999, Thackeray was nicknamed 'remote control' since he played a major role in government policies and decisions from behind the scenes. Thackeray lost his wife Meena to a heart attack in September 1996, and his eldest son Bindumadhav ("Binda") to a road accident on 20 April 1996.
On July 28, 1999 Thackeray was banned from voting and contesting in any election for six years from December 11, 1999 till December 10, 2005 on the recommendations of the Election Commission. After the six-year voting ban on Thackeray was lifted in 2005, he voted for the first time in the 2006 BMC elections.
Thackeray claimed that the Shiv Sena had helped the Marathi manoos (Maharashtrian laymen) in Mumbai and also fought for the rights of Hindu people. Thackeray was a staunch Hindu and believed that Hindus must be organised to struggle against those who oppose their identity and religion. especially in the public sector. Opposition leftist parties allege that the Shiv Sena has done little to solve the problem of unemployment facing a large proportion of Maharashtrian youth during its tenure, in contradiction to its ideological foundation of 'sons of the soil.'
In 2006, Thackeray's nephew Raj Thackeray separated from the Shiv Sena to form the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. This was after Thackeray's son, Uddhav, was given the task of leading the party when Thackeray announced his retirement from active politics. Raj continues to maintain that Thackeray was his ideologue. Following, Maharashtrian general election, 2010 in which Shiv Sena and MNS split their expected consitituency leading to an inability to form a government. Thackeray then spoke negatively of the rift with the MNS blaming Raj for the defeat.
Issues and actions
On February 14, 2006, Thackeray condemned and apologised for the violent attacks by Shiv Sainiks upon a private Valentine's Day celebration in Mumbai. "It is said that women were beaten up in the Nallasopara incident. If that really happened, then it is a symbol of cowardice. I have always instructed Shiv Sainiks that in any situation women should not be humiliated and harassed." Thackeray and the Shiv Sena remained opposed to Valentine's Day celebrations, although they indicated support for an "Indian alternative." However, in some cases, the SS has been more tolerant during Valentine's Day celebrations.
Thackeray was criticised for his praise of Adolf Hitler. He was quoted by Asiaweek as saying: "I am a great admirer of Hitler, and I am not ashamed to say so! I do not say that I agree with all the methods he employed, but he was a wonderful organiser and orator, and I feel that he and I have several things in common...What India really needs is a dictator who will rule benevolently, but with an iron hand." However, Indian Express published an interview 29 January, 2007: "Hitler did very cruel and ugly things. But he was an artist, I love him [for that]. He had the power to carry the whole nation, the mob with him. You have to think what magic he had. He was a miracle...The killing of Jews was wrong. But the good part about Hitler was that he was an artist. He was a daredevil. He had good qualities and bad. I may also have good qualities and bad ones." He later told the Star Talk talk show on Star Plus that he did not admire Hitler.
Thackeray was admitted to Lilavati Hospital's intensive care unit in Mumbai on 25 July 2012 after he complained of breathlessness. As per reports on 14 November, he stopped eating and was on continuous oxygen. Shiva Sainiks in the areas where the party draws support forced shops to close. These included Vakola, Shivaji Nagar, Chembur, Navi Mumbai, Andheri, Parel, Dadar and Matunga, amongst others. In other parts of Mumbai, some shops voluntary closed, citing the risk of untoward incidents should Thackeray's health deteriorate and possibly be fatal. Party spokesman Sanjay Raut said his health as improving, as his son, Uddhav, called on the party's members to pray for him. Bollywood also stopped filming, while the Pakistan Cricket Board wished him well.
Thackeray death was announced at 17:00 by his family doctor Jaleel Parkar on 17 November at "Matoshree", his Mumbai residence, following cardio-respiratory arrest at 15:33 local time, according to his physician. A vigil was held outside his house that night. Mumbai came to virtual halt immediately after his death, with shops and commercial establishments closed, while auto rickshaws and taxis also stayed off streets; even pharmacies and other essential good stores wee closed. Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation announced that it would run additional services, along with BEST. The whole of Maharashtra was put on alert, while Mumbai had an additional 20,000 Mumbai police officers, 15 units of the State Reserve Police Force and three contingents of the Rapid Action Force were deployed. An unnamed police officer said: "Nobody has been asked to shut their shops or malls. Everybody closed their shops voluntarily. Autorickshaws and taxis also voluntarily stopped plying on the roads."
The two papers he founded headlined their papers the next day with full black print, it was also Saamna's cover page were print in black. The headline read: "Ishwari Avtarache Swargarohan" (A divine avatar goes to heaven) and "Balasaheb navache vadal shaant zhale." (A storm cloud called Balasaheb is peaceful). The Hindi language Dopahar Ka Saamna, which usually does not publish on Sundays, printed a special edition tribute to Thackeray which was also in black with a silhouetted right side visage of Thackeray and headlined the edition: "Hinduon Ke Mahadev Ka Mahaprayan" and penned the lyrics : "Jo uthe Ram/jo uthe Krishna/Bharat ki mitti roti hai/ Kya hua hamare Saheb ko/Yeh murti na zinda hoti hai." The inside pages of the edition had thick black bands with the text and images in a grey background, or other colours dependent on the content.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for "calm and sobriety" amongst the populace in the city, while praising Thackeray's "strong leadership;" his Twitter account posted a message that read: "He was a consummate communicator whose stature in the politics of Maharashtra was unique." Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote: "Full of life, Balasaheb Thackeray was an epitome of courage & valour. I am grieved to hear about his demise. May his soul rest in peace." BJP leader and MP L. K. Advani said: "It is rare that I have seen a leader who has left a deep and abiding imprint on the country's events as Balasaheb Thackeray. He was uncompromising in his patriotism. He possessed remarkable qualities of leadership and an abundance of attributes of head and heart." Politician Arvind Kejriwal wrote: "Balasaheb no more. May his soul Rest in Peace. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family." The Federation of Associations of Maharashtra called for a bandh, terming it 'Shradhanjali Day, on 19 November as a mark of respect for Thackeray. "The state of Maharashtra and the trading community has lost a true friend and a well-wisher. Balasaheb was a great son of the soil and a true nationalist who minced no words to express his views." FAM's affiliated include Agriculture Produce Market Committee and other commodity markets that trade in grains, sugar, dry fruits, metal, iron and steel and chemicals.
Individual reactions included, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani issued a statement that read: "I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Balasaheb Thackeray, the founder-president of the Shiv Sena. The nation and the state of Maharashtra have lost a great leader, whose robust patriotism matched his soaring popularity. His clear thinking, inspiring oratory and commitment to cause endeared him to the masses." CNN-IBN anchor Rajdeep Sardesai wrote: "Tiger, Godfather, Mumbai icon, hero for many, villain for others. # Balasaheb Thackeray RIP" and "Line of the day: Bombay made Bal Thackeray, Balasaheb made 'Mumbai'! Gnight." Celebrity reactions included, Amitabh Bachchan wrote: "Each day he continued his struggle with a grit that was baffling even for the doctors on hand...And just a couple of hours back, as I stand next to his still, peaceful, saffron draped body, it is difficult to imagine...that he has left us!" Fellow Maharashtrian singer Lata Mangeshkar said: "I feel that the state has been orphaned. When I last met him he placed his hand on my head and blessed me. He was very close to my family." Other reactions from the industry came on Twitter from Kabir Bedi, Arjun Rampal, Ram Gopal Varma, Hema Malini, Mahesh Bhatt, Karan Johar, Madhur Bhandarkar, Neha Dhupia, Aftab Shivdasani, Vivek Oberoi, Smriti Irani (who wrote in Marathi), Dia Mirza, Riteish Deshmukh (son of former INC Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh), Ranvir Shorey, Kunal Kohli, Ritesh Sidhwani, Ajay Devgn, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher and Shobhaa De. There were also visitations to his house in the days prior to his death by opposition and allied politicians, as well as celebrities like Salman Khan.
He was accorded a state funeral. Funeral procession was held on 18 November 2012, at Shivaji Park, Dadar, at the same location where Thackeray had held many political rallies. On the day of his death, Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said: "I appeal to people to remain calm and maintain law and order. Citizens should step out of the houses only if it is urgent;" He added that further arrangements were organised at Shivaji Park due to the expectant crowds and arrival of VIPs. People came from across Maharashtra for his funeral including the party's strongholds of Thane, Raigad, Pune, Aurangabad and Konkan regions. Police said that 200,000 people walked alongside the hearse and were later joined by others on the way to the cremation site. The media also indicated that non-Hindus, such as Muslim women and Christians, were mourning and joined the procession. His body was wrapped in the tricolour flag after the body was taken from its glass case on a truck that was decked with flowers. The truck also carried his daughter-in-law Rashmi and grandson Aditya, while his son, Uddhav, was seen in tears on television broadcasts, and his estranged nephew, Raj, was also present but walked behind the hearse after getting off the truck to join the procession. The cortege's route stopped at Sena Bhavan (his party's headquarters in Dadar, before proceeding to Shivaji Park for the cremations. His nephew, Raj, was also seen in tears. There were over 2,000,000 mourners attended his funeral, with his cremation taking place just after 18:00 the next day. His son, Uddhav, lit the pyre. The funeral included state honours, such as a guard of honour and a 21-gun salute.
VIPs at his cremation included: BJP MPs Maneka Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Madhya Pradesh Chief Menister; INC Maharashtra Chief Minister; and Nationalist Congress Party MPs and cabinet members Praful Patel and Sharad Pawar, as well as his daughter, Supriya Shule. Others included Amitabh Bacchan, Anil Ambani, Sanjay Dutt, fellow Maharashtrians Nana Patekar and Mahesh Manjrekar. His funeral ceremony was broadcasted live across all national television channels, including the vernacular media.
One Thing I Never Did Learn From Media Photographers Was Humility ...I Found It In The Eyes of the People I Shot
I Shot The Story of a Unique Man And It Has Got Nothing To Do With His Politics His Religiosity Or His Opinions
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Teresa
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. ~Mother Teresa, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
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