Bal Keshav Thackeray (also known as Balasaheb Thackeray; Marathi pronunciation: [??a?k??e?]; 23 January 1926 – 17 November 2012) was an Indian politician who founded the Shiv Sena, a right-wing pro-Marathi and Hindu nationalist party active mainly in the state of Maharashtra.
Thackeray began his professional career as a cartoonist with the English-language daily The Free Press Journal in Bombay (now Mumbai), but he left the paper in 1960 to form his own political weekly, Marmik.
His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, a leading figure in the Samyukta Maharashtra (United Maharashtra) movement, which advocated the creation of a separate linguistic state for Marathi speakers.
Through Marmik, Bal Thackeray campaigned against the growing influence of non-Marathis in Bombay.
In 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena party to advocate for the interests of Maharashtrians in Bombay's political and professional landscape, and against certain segments of Bombay's Muslim population.He had a large political influence in the state, especially in Mumbai; the Shiv Sena frequently used violent means against its detractors.
A government inquiry found that Thackeray and Chief Minister Manohar Joshi incited members of the Shiv Sena to commit violence against Muslims during the 1992–1993 Bombay riots.In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Thackeray built the Shiv Sena by forming temporary alliances with nearly all of state's political parties.
Thackeray was also the founder of the Marathi-language newspaper Saamana.
After the riots of 1992-93, he and his party took a Hindutva stance.
In 1999, Thackeray was banned from voting and contesting in any election for six years on the recommendations of the Election Commission for indulging in seeking votes in the name of religion.
Thackeray was arrested multiple times and spent a brief stint in prison, but he never faced any major legal repercussions.
Upon his death, he was accorded a state funeral, at which many mourners were present.
Thackeray did not hold any official positions, and he was never formally elected as the leader of his party.