Following the funeral of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Sunday, MiD DAY spoke to Chandrakant Vaidya, known fondly as ‘Chandumama’ in the Thackeray household. Vaidya (66) is the brother-in-law of late Bal Thackeray and the maternal uncle of Uddhav and Raj Thackeray. He is the brother of Uddhav’s mother Meenatai as well as Raj’s mother Kundatai and has known Thackeray since his childhood.
“I promised Saheb, while the last rites was going on at Shivaji Park yesterday, that I will try to fulfill his dream of Uddhav and Raj coming together for the sake of the Marathi manoos,” Vaidya said. Very close to Thackeray family, Vaidya frequently met both Raj and Uddhav.
“For Saheb, Uddhav and Raj were similar. After Raj left the Sena, he sometimes missed him,” he said. “Balasaheb always tried to bring Raj and Uddhav together ever since they parted ways. Unfortunately, his dream could not be fulfilled before his death. I made a commitment while offering my prayers at his funeral that I will put my best efforts to unite both the cousins. This will be my real tribute to Balasaheb, if I succeed,” said Vaidya with tears in his eyes.
“Thackeray had a versatile personality. He was a good human being and always supported me,” Vaidya added. “Though he started the campaign against south Indians after launching Shiv Sena, he was the only person in both our families to support my decision to marry a south Indian woman. It was only because of him that I could marry,” said Vaidya. He also said that Balasaheb had called a registrar to his house for the marriage.
“He told me that his fight was against the south Indian attitude and not against any person. He not only supported me morally, but also in monetary form after my marriage,” he said. Vaidya was about 20 years younger than Thackeray, and was only three years old when Thackeray got married in 1947. He recalled an incident in his youth depicting Thackeray’s caring nature.
“While my SSC examination was going on, we had to appear for two papers in a day. Saheb would come to the examination centre with my sister to bring me lunch during the recess.” He also remembered Thackeray’s disciplined way of life, citing the example of him keeping his worn clothes properly folded and set aside to be washed. “I saw his disciplined side whenever I travelled with him on various tours for party meetings,” Vaidya added.