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Hindu – hriday Samrat (The king of the Hindu heart) Shri Balasaheb Thackrey died yesterday on 17 – Nov – 2012 at 15:33 at his residence Matoshree in Bandra.

The streets wear a deserted look. The windows which had glittering rows of lights for Diwali just two days back are now black. There is a pin drop silence everywhere.  A city is in mourning. While many will cry out saying it has been forced into mourning, I beg to disagree. You can close shops, but you cannot make homes take down their Diwali decorations early. You cannot make people turn up in huge numbers from all over the state to say a final good bye to their leader.

Anybody who wants to know what does a politician who is popular with the masses look like should have been at Dadar today. Approximately 5 – 7 lacs people from all over Maharashtra had gathered to pay their respects to Mr. Thackrey whom they lovingly called Saheb (Sir), a number far more greater than the police’s estimations.

The city witnessed many firsts in these past two days. For the first time did we get to see a city shut down completely. On Uddhav Thackreys appeal (his son), the essential services resumed their work soon. However not a single rickshaw or taxi was seen on the road. The city which was celebrating Diwali with fire crackers & lanterns & fairy lights just two days back went into complete mourning with a one of its sort mutual consent. Women crying their hearts out is completely normal. But for the first time men, grown ups & youths alike, could not hold back their tears when Mr. Thackreys doctor announced his death. They cried as if they had lost a member of their own family, they had lost their patriarch! For the first time since attaining Independence in 1947 did a public funeral take place. The funeral took place in Shivaji Park, the same place where Mr. Thackrey had laid the foundation of his political party, Shiv Sena. Its rare to see such a huge crowd behave with so much of discipline but its no surprise as those were the instructions from Matoshree & not a single Shiv sainik will ever violate those instructions. Bal Thackrey was also the first & till date only person who was cremated with National Honour in spite of not having been a part of any government ever. He was also the only leader who wasn’t ever interested in any political gains. The one of a kind leader who was never involved in any scams! He was the only leader in the whole of India (maybe even the World) who did not go for vote bank politics. What he said, he meant it. His words always matched his actions. Another rarity in a politician. This funeral procession was one of a kind. It was history in progress. Never before & never again will we get to experience such a scene where the common man comes out of his house in order to bid farewell to his leader. Never again will we have such a leader!

Satish Rajwade, a Marathi film director wrote the following

Satish Rajwade:

First things first…i do not belong to any political outfit nor do i want to but today my heart my mind my conscience tells me that we are at a huge loss. Respected Balasaheb Thackeray passed away today. The entire state went on a shut down mode on auto basis…fear is something that makes one do things out of no choice but today all went shutter down by choice…that is respect. Mumbai wears a deserted look and rightly so the king of the jungle is no more the king who made his own rules his own horizons and his own boundaries…the king who gave respectful living to people who thought they were done to death a king who roared and ruled on the minds and hearts of people. I admired him for the stand he took and the way he stood by it…being a marathi manoos i may sound bias but no its not being biased its respect great respect for a man who is not made often…a super cartoonist a profound orator a charismatic persona an influential personality and a fighter to the end. Nations mourn when a leader goes down… truly a great Hindu leader has gone behind the wings today and i salute the man…the great leader Balasaheb RIP!

Rest in Peace Balasaheb Thackrey. May God bless your soul & help your family cope with this loss!

Image Credit: NDTV