Bal Thackeray, 1926-2012
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.
The Legacy of Bal Thackeray, BBC News