Bal Thackeray birth anniversary: Highs and lows in Shiv Sena’s journey is no less than a Bollywood movie

Bal Thackeray, fondly called as Balasaheb, had a large political influence in Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai. He was the man who could bring the maximum city and the state of Maharashtra to a standstill by his single command. He was also described as the ‘remote-control’ of the Shiv Sena – BJP government (1995) in Maharashtra. He was known for his writing and oratory skills. Not to forget his vicious humour and fondness for mimicry. Bal Thackeray started his career as a cartoonist with The Free Press Journal in Mumbai, where he worked with the likes of R.K. Laxman. In 1960, he launched his own political weekly ‘Marmik’. Through the weekly, he campaigned against the growing influence of non-Marathis in Mumbai. In 1966, he formed his own party ‘Shiv Sena’ to stand for the rights of Marathi Manoos in Mumbai. As per the official stand of Shiv Sena, the party is committed to 80 percent of social service and 20 percent politics. It is said that Bal Thackeray hated politics and often referred to it as ‘ringworm infection’, but over the years Shiv Sena has become a political party. In 2016, Shiv Sena celebrated 50 years of its founding.

On the 93rd birth anniversary of Bal Thackeray, self-styled Hindu Hriday Samrat meaning emperor of Hindu hearts, here’s a timeline of his brainchild ‘Shiv Sena’.

June 19, 1966: Bal Thackeray formed Shiv Sena as a political organisation. It was Bal Thackeray’s father Keshav, fondly called as Prabodhankar Thackeray, who gave the name ‘Shiv Sena’. The ‘Shiv’ in the name stands for Shivaji Maharaj and ‘Sena’ stands for ‘Army’. The party was formed with the sole aim to build up a movement for Marathi people and ensure that the job opportunities in Mumbai go to the Marathi job aspirants.

October 30, 1966: Thackeray gave a fiery speech at his first Dussehra rally in Shivaji Park in Dadar.

1967:

  • Shiv Sena made electoral debut in Thane and won 17 of the total 40 seats in the civic polls.
  • In the same year, communal tension arose in Thane district’s Kalyan city over Durgadi Fort, a shrine over which Hindus and Muslims had claimed. The place near the shrine was used by the Muslim residents to offer namaz. Thackeray announced that on September 8, the party would perform a religious ceremony within the shrine and hoist a saffron flag. However, the police announced a ban on the ceremony but the party workers went ahead and gathered at the spot.

1968: Shiv Sena made debut in Mumbai civic elections and won 42 seats of the total 121 seats.

1969: When the then deputy Prime Minister Morarji Desai visited Mumbai, Sena workers stop his car to talk about the Maharashtra – Karnataka border dispute. Despite police security, party workers assembled and jumped in front of the car. The car, however, speeds away injuring party workers. The workers reacted by smashing the car windshield and by pelting stones on buses, shops, and restaurants. 59 people lost their lives in the police firing. Sena supremo Bal Thackeray was arrested but that didn’t stop the people. Thackeray had to appeal people from the jail to calm.

1970:

  • On the outskirts of Mumbai, in Bhiwandi (a Muslim dominated area) tensions were already high between Hindus and Muslims when Shiv Sena decided to take Shivaji Jayanti procession in the area. This led to rioting between the communities and took the lives of over 250 people.
  • On June 6, CPI leader Krishna Desai was stabbed to death and it sent shock waves to the entire state of Maharashtra. Seven Shiv Sena workers were arrested in the case. Following Desai’s murder, Sena candidate Wamanrao Mahadik became MLA from Parel constituency.

1972: The Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti was formed to generate jobs.

1975: Bal Thackeray publicly supported the Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to ensure that he would not be jailed.

1985: Shiv Sena comes to power at the Mumbai municipal corporation by winning 75 seats in Mumbai civic polls.

1989: Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ is launched.

1990: Entered Lok Sabha by winning four seats from Maharashtra in the General Elections.

1992: Shiv Sena lost Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s elections to the Congress.

1995:

  • With Shiv Sena and BJP alliance, Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
  • In the same year, Shiv Sena created a controversy over Mani Ratnam’s movie ‘Bombay’ that was based on the communal riots in Mumbai.
  • Bal Thackeray’s wife Meenatai passed away.

1996:

  • Shiv Sena organised first and only live concert of pop icon Michael Jackson in India to raise funds for the Shiv Udyog Sena.
  • In the same year, Bal Thackeray’s son Bindumadhav lost his life in a car accident.

1997: Shiv Sena came back to the power at Mumbai Municipal Corporation.

1999: Congress-NCP won the assembly elections.

2003:

  • Bal Thackeray’s son Uddhav Thackeray became the Executive President of Shiv Sena.
  • In December, Shiv Sena party workers damaged the cricket pitch of the Agra Sports Stadium.

2004: Congress-NCP came to power at the assembly elections.

2005:

  • Bal Thackeray’s nephew Raj Thackeray left Shiv Sena and formed his own party ‘Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’ (MNS).
  • In April, Shiv Sena’s student wing, Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena was formed.

2009:

  • Congress-NCP came to power at the assembly elections.
  • In November, news channels were attacked by the party workers because of the news reports that criticised Bal Thackeray over his remarks on Sachin Tendulkar.

2010:

  • Shiv Sena entered Guinness Book of World Records for collecting 24,000 bottles of blood at blood donation camp.
  • Aditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray, was appointed as the President of Yuva Sena.

2012:

  • Shiv Sena won 75 seats at the civic body elections.
  • On November 17, Bal Thackeray breathed his last. He was 86. His son Uddhav became the party president.

2014: Shiv Sena won 63 seats at the assembly elections and became a part of the ruling alliance.

2015: In October, imposed a ban on a concert by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali. Shiv Sena activists attacked the office of BCCI to stop a meeting between PCB and BCCI officials.

2018: Shiv Sena cut ties with the ruling BJP led NDA and announced that it will contest all its future elections including 2019 General Elections alone.  

2019: A bilingual biographical film titled ‘Thackeray’ on the life of Bal Thackeray starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Amrita Rao is scheduled to release on January 25.

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