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 .








Adieu Mario Miranda !

Mario Miranda

Mario Miranda

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 13 , 2011           01.10A.M.

This Sunday on December 11 , 2011 , I woke up in the morning and again came face to face with a sad reality . Through twitter I came to know about the sad demise of Mario Miranda .

Since my adolescent years I love cartoons . When I went to Allahabad for higher studies , I came to know about ” Shankar’s Weekly ” , the most renowned magazine of cartoons . There was a library in the compound of Government Inter College , Allahabad . It was just in front of my hostel . I used to spent my evenings there as I had no interest in sports or any other activities . There I used to devour the latest issue of ” Shankar’s Weekly ” . I remember the day when ” Shankar’s Weekly ” was published for the last time . That was one of the saddest day of my life .

Later on when I started subscribing The Times of India , I came to know about legendary R. K. Laxman . I became a huge fan of R. K. Laxman and every morning I used to discuss about his cartoons with my friends . Going through the cartoons of R. K. Laxman first was a ritual , which I followed every morning . Even most important news had to wait .

During my Allahabad University days , I started subscribing ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” and thus came to know about Mario Miranda . Legendary Khushwant Singh was the editor of ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” and his sketch , which has now become immortal , was created by Mario Miranda . Khushwant Singh sitting in a bulb along with some photos of ladies and a bottle of liquor and of course with pen and paper is still fresh in my memory and every man and woman of my generation remembers that sketch . Existence of Khushwant Singh is synonymous with this sketch of Mario Miranda.

I am a huge fan of R. K. Laxman and his creation , the Common Man .In fact the Common Man Of Laxman is part of my being . But ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” was my passion and Khushwant Singh and Mario Miranda represented that . So they became part of my intellectual being .

The Common Man as drawn by Laxman

Common Man of R. K. Laxman

In my humble opinion , R. K. Laxaman is Lata Mangeshkar among cartoonists and Mario is Asha Bhosle . To say that Mario was merely a cartoonist is denigrating his genius . He was a cartoonist , an illustrator , an artiste and a painter with his lines . His mural at Cafe Mondegar at Colaba , Mumbai is the telling testimony of his versatility .

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE cafe mondegar, metro house, ...

Mario's Mural at Cafe Mondegar

Padma Shri and then Padma Bhushan Mario Miranda was born in Daman . He later moved to Goa and died there in his ancestral village Loutolim at the age of 85 . He worked for Times of India ‘s various publications and specially for ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” under Khushwant Singh .

His characters Miss Limboopani , Bundaldas and Napolean are immortal and no fun-loving person of my generation will forget them ever . These characters , along with R. K. Laxman’s Common Man , have become an intrinsic part of my life .

Mario Miranda was an unofficial ambassador of Goa . His works about Karnataka , Paris and Germany are world-famous . ” Goa With Love ” , ” Germany in Wintertime ” , and ” Impressions of Paris ” are there to enthrall his fans and keep his memory alive even though his mortal body has left us .

Farewell Sire ! You will be sorely missed . With your demise a very important part of my life is lost forever .











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