Politicians and celebrities from different walks of life mourned the death of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray on Saturday and shared their memories of the firebrand politician on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Thackeray died at his Mumbai residence on Saturday after battling ailments for weeks, ending an era in Maharashtra and national politics in course of which many opposed to his functioning struggling to come to terms with his brand of firebrand nationalism. He was 86.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Full of life, Balasaheb Thackeray was an epitome of courage & valour. I am grieved to hear about his demise. May his soul rest in peace."
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said: "I am terribly pained to hear that the Lion is dead."
"Bala Saheb was as tall and as firm as the Himalayas," she said.
Congress MP Milind Deora tweeted: "Ideologies & politics aside, Balasaheb was unique & his influence on Maharashtra politics is undeniable. Often imitated but never duplicated."
BJP Spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi remarked: "Son of Soil", "King of Commitments" is No more.... My Heartfelt Condolences to Bala Saheb."
Social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal said: "Balasaheb no more. May his soul Rest in Peace. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family."
Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: "I sat by his bedside for hours these past few days, a prayer in my heart, watching him struggling to breathe, but fighting ...Each day he continued his struggle with a grit that was baffling even for the doctors on hand ..And just a couple of hours back, as I stand next to his still, peaceful, saffron draped body, it is difficult to imagine ...that he has left us !"
Remembering the leader, Singer Lata Mangeshkar posted: "Aaj 3:30 baje, hindu hriday samrat, param adarniya Shri Balasaheb Thackeray hum logon ko chhodke anant mein vileen ho gaye. Yeh satya hai ki aaj Maharashtra anaath ho gaya. Unhone itne saalon se jo mahaan kaarya, aur Maharashtra ki sewa ki hai, aur Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ka naam Maharashtra mein zinda rakha, aisa kisi ne nahi kiya. Balasaheb ki pavitra aatma ko hum Mangeshkar koti-koti pranaam karte hain aur unki aatma ko Ishwar shanti de, yehi prarthana karte hain." (Today at 3:30 pm, king of Hindu hearts, respected Shri Balasaheb Thackeray, left us. It is true that Maharashtra became orphaned. He has served Maharashtra for many years.No one kept the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj alive like him. We, Mangeshkars are paying homage to him. Let his soul rests in peace.)
Veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt tweeted: "Our dead are never dead to us,until we have forgotten them.The memory of Bal Thackeray will live in the memory of we Mubaikars forever."
Actor Anupam Kher said: "Just woke up in NY to d sad news about BalaSaheb. He´ll always remain larger than life. He was helpful, Courageous & a true Nationalist. RIP. BalaSaheb was one of the very few leaders in today´s times for whom Country came first. He did´t play games to be popular. Spoke straight."
Actress Dia Mirza tweeted: "RIP Bala Saheb. Let there be peace."
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar said: "Balasaaheb was outspoken & sharp observer. He will deeply be missed."
Actress Minissha Lamba tweeted: "RIP Balasahib."
Actres Neha Dhupia said: "RIP BALASAHEB ... Prayers and strength for the family."
Actor Akshay Kumar tweeted: "His demise has left a deep void in Indian politics,always admired him for his courage,The real Tiger. May strength be with his family. RIP BalaSaheb Thackeray."
Filmmaker Karan Johar posted: "Thoughts and prayers with the Thackeray family....RIP balasaab."
Actor Riteish Deshmukh tweeted: "Balasaheb was a Hero- people- Loved him, Copied him, Followed him."
Actor Arjun Rampal said: "RIp Balasaheb, condolences to his family. Peace be with you and all your loved ones."
As Thackeray´s end came at around 3-30 pm and the news was announced in the evening by his doctors, lakhs of his followers, many of whom called him the King of Hindu Hearts, broke down and grieved for the man who founded Shiv Sena in 1966 to enforce the rights of Marathi people in Mumbai and who left an indelible impact on national political architecture with plain speaking and espousal of national pride.
The Sena patriarch died at his residence Matoshree in Bandra. He died after a respiratory arrest, the doctor said, urging reporters to not ask uncomfortable questions to the grieving family and respect privacy.
Thackeray is survived by his sons Jaidev and Uddhav, who is the executive president of the Shiv Sena.
His political legacy is also carried forward by his nephew Raj Thackeray a few years back broke ranks with Shiv Sena and formed a separate party- Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).