Over the more than three decades that I have known of Thackeray, I have only wondered how much life will be better without thugs like him!
Thackeray personified most of the vile of politics and politicians at that time. He was against the non-Marathi population migrating to Maharashtra, especially to Bombay. He favored bullying, brought commerce to a stop whenever he felt the need to do so, made Muslims feel unwanted and unsafe, and ... well, there is a lot one can add to this list. A pompous, arrogant, SOB Thackeray was:
[His] “Maharashtra First” agenda often translated into extreme pro-Hindu, anti-migrant policies that saw Shiv Sena over the years mount numerous campaigns against Muslims and those flocking to Mumbai from other parts of India in search of jobs and a better life.
Shiv Sena’s repeated threats to shut down Bollywood productions if they didn’t hire more locals were often seen by his many critics as little more than a shakedown.
Analysts said his attacks on "outsiders" and minorities had a certain resonance among urban middle-class Mumbai voters even as he imprinted a negative legacy on one of the world’s great cities. “He was a bundle of extreme, even brazen contradictions,” said Dileep Padgaonkar, a consulting editor with the Times of India newspaper. “He destroyed the cosmopolitan ethos of Mumbai.”
Yes, for those of us who shudder at the horrors that the Nazi SS carried out, we will cringe even more at how much Thackeray was a fan of the mustached monster that Adolf Hitler was. In noting his demise, this news report underscores Thackeray's fascination for the Nazi leader, and his preference for anti-democratic actions:
The murder of Krishna Desai, a Communist Party leader in Parel, sent a chill of terror through the city and the party succeeded in setting up Sena unions everywhere, often supported by employers who were only too glad to have someone on their side.
“In December 1967, the CPI headquarters of Mumbai at Dalvi Building in Parel, which is situated in the very midst of the textile area, was savagely attacked by SS hoodlums and almost destroyed. Organised attempts were made to break up Communist public meetings and several leaders and activists of both the CPI and the CPI(M) were physically assaulted. The climax was reached on June 6, 1970, when armed goondas of the SS murdered the sitting MLA of the CPI, Krishna Desai. Krishna Desai was a popular and militant mass leader in the textile belt and had been elected municipal corporator four times before he was elected to the state assembly in 1967. This was the first major political assassination in Mumbai since Independence, and it sent shock waves through the city and State. The leadership of the entire opposition along with thousands of incensed workers, marched in Krishna Desai’s funeral procession. Opposition leaders directly accused the Shiv Sena and the Congress State government in general, and Bal Thackeray and Vasantrao Naik in particular, of being hand in glove in the perpetration of this heinous crime.”
But, Thackeray gained power and prestige, like mafia dons and third-rate politicians often do. It is no surprise that the leaders of the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, have nothing but the highest praise for the deceased destroyer of good:
It is rare that I have seen in these 65 years of independent India a political leader who has left such a deep and abiding imprint on the country’s events as Balasaheb Thackeray. Uncompromising in his patriotism, he possessed remarkable qualities of leadership and abundance of attributes of head and heart,” [Advani] said.whose wish is to become India's prime minister. If that happens, I hope the US government doesn't grant Modi visa to enter this country, and treats him like how we treat Ahmadinejad.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said “Balasaheb Thackeray was an epitome of courage and valour. He was full of life. He fought like a warrior. I’ve lost someone who always guided me.”
Oh well ... Thackeray, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "is an honorable man;. So are they all, all honorable men."