Bal Thackeray compared with Gandhi, Shivaji in party mouthpiece

November 15th, 2008 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Amitabh BachchanMumbai, Nov 15 (IANS) The Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has been compared with Chhatrapati Shivaji and Mahatma Gandhi in a special post-Diwali issue scheduled to be released Sunday by the Shiv Sena’s Saamna group of publications here.The be called Hindu Hridaysamrat, it will be the group’s first-ever Hindi periodical, barring the eveninger Dopahar Ka Saamna, said its executive editor Prem Shukla.

The issue will feature special articles penned by Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanraj Pillay, who have discussed their encounters with Thackeray over the years.

Shukla said that the issue would serve to highlight the warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s ‘Maratha Shakti’ vis-à-vis Thackeray’s ‘Marathi Shakti’.

It will also draw comparisons between Mahatma Gandhi’s “Jai Sita Ram” with the Sena chief’s slogan of “Jai Shri Ram”.

“It discusses how the two leaders of this century never hankered for or occupied any positions since they had carved out their own higher niches in history,” Shukla said.

The issue will be released at an event in the Andheri Sports Club Sunday evening when the Marathi superhit play “Jaanta Raja” will be staged in Hindi for the first time.

The play, which features real animals enacting Chhatrapati Shivaji’s battle scenes, has been an old favourite of theatre buffs in the state.

Babasaheb Purandare, eminent historian and authority on Chhatrapati Shivaji, will release the special 120-page issue on the occasion, according to Shukla.

When asked if the decision to bring out the special issue in Hindi and staging “Jaanta Raja” in Hindi was influenced by recent developments in the state, Shukla declined to comment.

Maharashtra has seen a spate of attacks on non-Maharashtrians - mostly from north India - in recent months, carried out by Bal Thackeray’s estranged nephew Raj Thackeray and Raj’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

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