BalaSaheb Thakre: End of an era - Contents of life

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BalaSaheb Thakre: End of an era

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BalaSaheb Thakre died yesterday afternoon. His death made us realize that he was not just another politician, but a phenomenon that had a much bigger effect than one can expect.
Personally, I hadn't experienced much of his effect. I grew up outside Maharashtra and in days when either newspaper or Doordarshan were the source of information. The local newspaper had no reason to print news about him and Doordarshan news were never interesting enough to sit and listen unless it mentioned Cricket. By the time, I became a part of the Maharashtra and started understanding the regional politics, I guess, Balasaheb had started handing over his power to the subordinates and his Son.
All I know about Balasaheb was he was a very good Cartoonist, an artist at his heart and a very great Orator. I never heard him but I see a glimpse of what he must have been when I see Raj Thakre talks who accepts Balasaheb Thakre as his mentor.
He started his political career in a time when there was no one to listen to what middle class and lower middle class Marathi people are complaining about. He gave a voice to these people and talked about their problems. And when people realized that there is somebody who is speaking exactly those words which they have in their minds and hearts, they unknowingly started following him. That is how, Balasaheb Thakre started creating base of his political party. He plucked the right chords at he right time and that made all the Marathi people his Fan.
Two things which are openly told about him were, he never did and never supported any Caste based politics and he never restricted himself to his party. At times he even supported the decisions of an opposing party leader. Recently, he openly supported the candidature of Pranav Mukherjee for the President position although his allies of NDA had their own candidate.
It was surprising to listen to the comments of some of the politicians who sound quite genuine while sharing their experiences with Balasaheb Thakre.
Outside politics also, Balasaheb had a big impression over people. Then they may be singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Businessmen like Bajaj, Actors like Amitabh or Sanjay Dutt or players like Sachin or Harbhajan.
I experienced his effect over people in last two days, when there were people openly crying and trying to wipe their tears on listening the news of his demise. It gives you goosebumps when you read that within 24 hours, almost 2 millions or 20 lakh people gather to participate in his funeral without invitation.
I had known about only one another Indian politician who made such a mark on Indian people and that was Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I believe after Indira Gandhi, its only Balasaheb Thakre who has reached such a stature. May be there is some leader in South India like Karunanidhi who is respected and followed to this extent, but otherwise, I do not see anybody anywhere close to this level to move people after they stop living with them. May his soul rest in peace.

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