Gently touched by the 'Tiger'

Published: 19 November, 2012 06:47 IST | Niranjan Medhekar |

Affection for Bal Thackeray reflects in the hearts and minds of all those he interacted with, especially those he touched at the threshold of their career

The late Bal Thackeray as a person has had a tremendous impact on the masses and has left many an individual in the city numb with shock and grief. He has captured hearts with his humoristic cartoons, staunch belief in discipline and mostly his simple life and simpler needs. 

Eternally touched: RY Deshpande shares memories of Bal Thackeray, who he says gave him unforgettable words of advice on their very first meeting. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

R Y Deshpande (68) a city businessman was barely in his twenties when he witnessed the rise of the Shiv Sena and was deeply influenced
with Thackeray’s ideology. Deshpande had the opportunity to see Thackeray as a cartoonist and as editor of Shiv Sena’s legendary weekly cartoon magazine Marmik first hand.

Though Deshpande was not a hardcore shivsainik, he contributed to party work by making hand painted boards as he was famous for such a skill.  Sharing his memories of ‘Balasaheb’ with MiD DAY, Deshpande said, “I am really very fortunate to have experienced the emerging of a party like the Shiv Sena, whose motto — work in the interest of the common Mumbaikar — was clear from the very first day.

Even today, I remember Balasaheb’s very first words to me. He had said ‘whichever field you may choose, always work for Marathi and care for Maharashtra’.”
Deshpande recollected that he had graduated in engineering and was in Mumbai between 1967 and 1972 in the search of a job. His nephew was closely associated with Balasaheb and the Shiv Sena supremo helped the aspiring jobseeker and his family in their time of need.

“My nephew Dileep Ghatpande is a cartoonist and was in regular touch with Balasaheb. When Balasaheb learned that Dileep’s tiny house in a chawl was going to be demolished and replaced by a tower, he came forward to help. Though the builder gave assurance that everyone residing in the chawl would be getting a flat in the proposed new building, my family was is no position to bear the additional cost of the flat at that time. During that critical time, Balasaheb booked the flat and made sure that my family did not lose its claim on the flat,” Deshpande said.

Following his ideology
RY Deshpande is director of a city-based electrical company. He said, “Though I am not a Shivsainik, I totally agree with the ideology of Balasaheb that everyone residing in Maharashtra should be able to speak Marathi. That’s why even today whenever I recruit new employees in my company, I strictly asked that they introduce themselves in Marathi.”  

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