Indian politicians from across the spectrum, as well as business and entertainment leaders, rushed to offer their condolences after the death of the Shiv Sena founder Bal K. Thackeray was announced on Saturday. Even politicians who firmly opposed Mr. Thackeray during his lifetime offered words of praise.
From the Twitter account of Manmohan Singh, prime minister:
“The Prime Minister has condoled the death of Shiv Sena leader Bala Saheb Thackeray. He also spoke to his son Udhav Thackeray.”
“The Prime Minister appealed for calm and sobriety during this period of loss and mourning.”
“PM: The passing away of Bala Saheb will be deeply felt by his family and followers.”
“PM: He was a consummate communicator whose stature in the politics of Maharashtra was unique.”
“PM: He founded the Shiv Sena and built the party into a formidable force in the State politics with his strong leadership.”
“PM: For him the interests of Maharashtra were particularly important and he always strived to inculcate a sense of pride in its people.”
From the Twitter account of Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat State:
“Full of life, Balasaheb Thackeray was an epitome of courage & valour. I am grieved to hear about his demise. May his soul rest in peace.”
Sushma Swaraj, opposition leader in the lower house of Parliament, also on Twitter:
“I am terribly pained to hear that the Lion is dead.”
Milind Deora, member of Parliament, on Twitter:
“Just visited Matoshree to meet the Thackeray family. At such times, its important to keep politics aside”
“Ideologies & politics aside, Balasaheb was unique & his influence on Maharashtra politics is undeniable. Often imitated but never duplicated.”
Mahesh Bhatt, filmmaker, on Twitter:
“Nil nisi bonum. Speak no ‘ill’ of the dead. Respect them in the hours of their death.
“Memories of my childhood days of growing up in Shivaji Park invade me. The story of Mumbai is incomplete without Balasaheb Thackeray.
“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them. The memory of Bal Thackeray will live in the memory of we Mubaikars forever.”
Amitabh Bachchan, actor, on Twitter:
“I sat by his bedside for hours these past few days, a prayer in my heart, watching him struggling to breathe, but fighting.
“Each day he continued his struggle with a grit that was baffling even for the doctors on hand.”
Ram Gopal Varma, filmmaker, wrote on Twitter:
“Crowds at [Balasahebs’] remind me of a line from Attenborough’s Gandhi: ‘Generations to come will scarce believe that a man such as this ever walked this earth.’
“Many of the dialogues from both Sarkar and Sarkar Raj are actually Balasaheb’s lines which I copied from what he said!
If Godfather was not there I wouldn’t have made Sarkar. If Bala Saheb wasn’t there I couldn’t have made Sarkar.” (The protagonist of Mr. Varma’s 2005 film “Sarkar” and its 2008 sequel, “Sarkar Raj” was inspired by Bal Thackeray.)
“Can’t ever forget the hug the real Sarkar gave me when he saw reel Sarkar. Bala Saab was a true epitome of power in every sense of the word,” Mr. Varma wrote.
Hrithik Roshan, actor, on Twitter:
“Today when I visited Matoshree, I had a silent prayer in my heart and the prayer continues. God bless Balasaheb’s soul. Strength to the family and well-wishers.”
Subramanian Swamy, president, Janata Party, on Twitter:
“Balasaheb was my good friend since 1977. He was blunt, well read, humorous, and had no inferiority complex. His transparency was endearing.”
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman, on Twitter:
“‘Son of Soil,’ ‘King of Commitments’ is No more…. My Heartfelt Condolences to Bala Saheb….”
Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra, to the Press Trust of India:
“Maharashtra has lost a veteran, experienced leader….He was a politician, cartoonist, editor, organizer as well as art-lover and orator.”
Nitin Gadkari, president, Bharatiya Janata Party, via the Press Trust of India:
“He considered King Shivaji his idol. He worked for the people all his life. We took inspiration from him while governing in Maharashtra.”