A Tearful Tribute to Bala Saheb Thackeray


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 22 , 2012           11.20 P.M.

I was trying to write this obituary since Saturday . But I couldn’t . There were many things , many thoughts running in my mind simultaneously . And in such circumstances flood-gates of memory gets opened and submerges our psyche .

On Saturday November 17 , 2012 , I was sitting in the office of my Acting Institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , when I heard about the demise of Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray . I closed my Acting Class immediately and returned home . Then I started watching TV . Every channel was full of the sad news . While watching the channels , I was thrown into the year 1967 , the year I passed high school examinations , left my native place Deoria and went to Allahabad for higher studies .

In Allahabad I heard about Shiv Sena , the 1-year-old new emerging force in Maharashtra .

Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year was 1967 and Shiv Sena was just 1-year-old organization . I took admission in the Government Inter College , Allahabad and like all the youngsters of my age , I was trying to gather more knowledge , was trying to know more things about the world . I , along with my friends , used to read news papers and discuss events and personalities . Because of Shiv Sena’s pro – Marathi policies and staunch parochial attitude , the organization Shiv Sena and its leader Bal Thackeray [ as Bala Saheb was known then ] , was centre of debate and topic of many heated discussions .

I finished my studies , returned to my native place again and started my life afresh . Destiny sometimes plan things differently and plays unique games . So in 1989 I landed up in Bombay . The city , yet to be rechristened Mumbai , became my permanent abode . In 1989 Shiv Sena got registered as a political party . So my life in Mumbai and life of Shiv Sena as a political party began simultaneously in 1989 .

As I started living in Mumbai , I took note of Shiv Sena , started reading about it and started appreciating Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray and his ideology . I was not mature in 1967 , so I was critical of Bala Saheb’s policies and as a north – Indian felt bad when he uttered something against the north Indians . But as my life began in Mumbai , I started feeling that if someone feels that Marathi language , Marathi culture should be paramount in Maharashtra , there is no harm . If a leader says that Marathi should get preference in Maharashtra and it should be the state language , it is absolutely fine . Marathi language should get preference as the state language . If some organization advocates , propounds and is vocal about jobs for the son – of – the – soil , I feel that it is not unjustified at all and is definitely not anti – national .

So re – evaluation of Bala Saheb as a person and as a leader of Shiv Sena began in my mind . I must admit that slowly all the misgivings of previous years evaporated from my mind . 1990 onwards I could appreciate him in a much better way . I came to know about his early days as a cartoonist in ” The Free Press Journal ” . I saw some of the cartoons , which were published in ” Marmik ” , a magazine which he started after leaving ” The Free Press Journal “. He was second to none as a cartoonist , not even to the legendary R. K. Laxman . His cartoon character Kaka Ji , though not as famous as the Common Man of R. K. Laxman , was a poignant work of art . He even designed the famous logo of Raj Kapoor‘s R. K. Films .

As an orator , he had few equals . His connect with the masses was absolute . When I heard him for the first time , I was mesmerized , though my knowledge of Marathi was limited in those days .

It is unfortunate that I could not meet him in person . I am writing a book on acting and it was my secret wish that Bala Saheb should launch the book . Alas , along with so many wishes , my this wish will also remain unfulfilled .

While sitting at home and watching his funeral procession on Sunday , I remembered some other funeral processions of eminent Indians . I have seen Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral procession in photos . He attracted mammoth crowd even after his death . I do remember Jawahar Lal Nehru’s and Indira Gandhi’s last journey . Again the crowd was unprecedented . Last year I visited Anna Durai’s memorial in Puducherri and was stunned to see photos of his last journey . Apart from these above mentioned last journeys of  great Indian leaders , I have never seen such huge crowd for anybody’s last journey . Jawahar Lal Nehru , Indira Gandhi and Anna Durai held high positions in government . Mahatma Gandhi is the sole example of not holding any post and still commanding such respect after his death . Bala Saheb stands second only to Mahatma Gandhi .

I am sad that I could not meet him earlier and now after his demise it is not possible anymore .

English: Photo of Uddhav Thackeray, taken at B...

Photo of Uddhav Thackeray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my behalf and on the behalf of my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I offer condolences to Shri Uddhav Thackeray and the whole Thackeray family .

Nation lost a great leader and I lost an opportunity .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.kreatingcharakters.net

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

Adieu Sharada Dwivedi : A Historian Becomes History


Sharada Dwivedi

Sharada Dwivedi

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 11, 2012           02.45 A.M.

It is sad and depressing that of late , I have to write so many obituaries . Last quarter of 2011 was full of sudden and sad demise of the so many eminent people of all walks of life . Now the first quarter of 2012 is also no less harsh .

Sharada Dwivedi , eminent historian , researcher and chronicler of Mumbai , died on February 06 , 2012 in Mumbai . She was only 69 at the time of her death .

Map of Mumbai

It is unfortunate that I could not meet her personally but I am familiar with her work . Born , brought up and educated in Bombay [ now Mumbai ] , she was in love with the city . She was familiar with every minute details of the old and neo – gothic style buildings of Mumbai . Every little piece of even hidden history was also known to her . She belonged to the city and her Bombay belonged to her .

She researched the history of all the famous monuments and buildings of Mumbai and was always caring for the conservation work and during conservation work , was very strict and particular regarding the minutest details .

English: Skyline of Mumbai from across Back Bay.

Skyline of Mumbai from Back Bay

English: The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, India.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

Deutsch: Gateway of India in Mumbai in Maharas...

Gateway of India

English: Gateway of India in Mumbai, India. Fr...

Gateway of India

English: The David Sassoon Library in Mumbai, ...

David Sassoon Library

Česky: Nádraží čhatrapatiho Šivádžího v Bombaj...

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Formerly Victoria Terminus

Victoria Terminus Railway Station, Mumbai, India

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Formerly Victoria Terminus

English: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumba...

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Formerly Victoria Terminus

Fort Market

Royal Asiatic Society

Museum - Formerly Prince of Wales Museum

Watson Hotel

High Court

Rudyard Kipling Bungalow

Elphinston College

Flora Fountain

A Road in South Mumbai

Eros Cinema

Capitol Cinema

Bandra Local Railway Station

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

She  was always eager to help and advise , when it came to the old buildings . She was part of Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee and was member of Urban design Research Institute . She was responsible for the inclusion of Opera House in the 2012 World Monument Watch . It was due to her efforts that Fort – Churchgate Precinct was included in the tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Monument .

Chawls of Mumbai

The above mentioned chawl and this below mentioned famous Ambani building , Antilia are also a part of her beloved Bombay . She was interested in the city of Mumbai and wanted to preserve every aspect of the city . No one knows her reaction or what she actually felt about the chawls of Mumbai and what she thought about some of the present day structures like Antilia . Though her views about the centuries old Elephanta Caves are well – known and well chronicled .

Antila - Ambani House

Elephanta Caves

Apart from taking part in conservation work , she wrote and co – wrote many books on Mumbai and the historically important British era buildings . Her famous books are :

1 – Bombay , The City Within [ 1995 ]

2 – Banganga , Sacred Tank [ 1996 ]

3 – Fort Walks [ 1999 ]

4 – Anchoring A City Line , The History of The Western Suburban Railway And Its headquarters in Bombay [ 2000 ]

5 – The Jehangir Art Gallery [ 2002 ]

6 – The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind [ 2002 ]

6 – Taj Mahal Palace Hotel [ 2011 ]

Her other famous books are :

1 – Lives of the Indian Princes [ 1984 ]

2 – Reach for the Stars [ 1993 ] – the corporate history Blue Star Ltd

3 –  The Broken Flut [ 1994 ] – a Children’s Novel

4 – The Maharaja [ 1999 ]

5 – A Celebration of Style [ 2000 ] Abu Jani & Sandeep Khosa

It is sad that a chronicler and historian of this eminence left us and that too , so soon . A historian par – excellence , herself , became history .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

www.twitter.com/VidurChaturvedi

www.jaibhojpuri.com/profile/VidurChaturvedi

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