Choosy Beggar Books

Bal Thackeray, 1926-2012

Posted in International Comics by mvblair on November 20, 2012

Bal Thackeray cartooning for Marmik.

Hindi cartoonist and fundamentalist leader Bal Thackeray died this week on November 17, 2012.

Thackeray began his public life as a cartoonist for the “Free Press Journal” and “The Times of India.” Thackeray left the “Free Press Journal” because their editors wanted him to follow a leftist viewpoint. Thackeray was quickly becoming something of a rightist. In 1960, he started his own fundamentalist cartoon weekly, Marmik, which incited readers to stand up against non-Marathis, an ethnic group in western India, at the expense of other ethnic groups in Mumbai, where he was based.

By 1966, he dedicated himself full-time to the fiery politics of his Shiv Sena ultra-nationalist party. His followers began calling him “Balsaheb” because of his supposed wisdom. In 1989, he would start “Samna,” a newspaper for his party, though his days as a journalist were long gone. His politics were nationalistic and far too right-wing to do the country any good. He said that Muslims were “spreading like a cancer and should be operated on like a cancer.” He praised Adolf Hitler. His incendiary remarks are often quoted during bouts of ethnic violence in India during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Thackeray died of cardio-resperatory failure.

Bal Thackeray’s relationship with cartoonist RK Laxman

Examples of “Marmik” cartoons

More examples of “Marmik” cartoons

The Legacy of Bal Thackeray, BBC News

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