January 23rd is the birth anniversary of Bal Keshav Thackeray aka Balasaheb Thackeray, one of the most influential and powerful leaders that India has ever seen. Starting his career as a cartoonist in the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, Thackeray went on to become one of the most powerful personalities of Maharashtra when he founded Shiv Sena, a Hindu right-wing Marathi ethnocentric party.
On the occasion of the 92nd birth anniversary of the politician, here are some lesser-known facts about Bal Thackeray that you may find interesting:
• His father named him Bal Thakre, but he changed his name to Thackeray as he was a big fan of British author William Makepeace Thackeray.
• Bal Thackeray also worked with the famous artist RK Laxman. He began his career as a cartoonist for the Free Press Journal and his cartoons were also published in the Time of India Sunday Edition.
• The famous pop star Michael Jackson had also visited Thackeray and the politician gave him a silver Tabla and Taanpura as a gift.
Bal Thackeray with Michael Jackson
• He advocated a united Maharashtra and Maharashtrians. He even used his cartoons to campaign against the growing number of Non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai through his anti-migrant satirical weekly.
• He was banned from voting and contesting elections for 6 years by the Election Commission from 1999 to 2005.
• He had a good equation with Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna.
Bal Thackeray with Amitabh Bachchan
• The Sarkar series was purely based on Bal Thackeray’s life and now another film which is going to be a biopic on Bal Thackeray is expected to release by 2019 featuring actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead role.
• He dominated Maharashtra politics for almost 4 decades and could pull huge crowds in rallies till his death.