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Priests look for Thackeray family's Bihar connection

September 10, 2012 15:25 IST

Traditional Hindu priests of the Vishnupad Temple in Bihar's Gaya town -- known as Gaywal Pandas -- are busy trying to find out if Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, his son Uddhav Thackeray and his nephew and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray were originally from Bihar.

After three days of hard labour, Gaywal Pandas, who claimed that he was practicing a 1000-year family tradition to act as custodians of genealogies for Hindus across the country, have failed to trace the root of Thackeray to Magadh region of Bihar. But Gaywal Pandas are trying research to trace the roots of all the families which have ever offered pindadaan in the temple.

"We are still trying to trace Thackerays' root to Bihar, if any. It is difficult at present to say whether they are originally from Bihar or Maharashtra because we are yet to find a record," said Rajan Sijaur, a Gaywal Panda.

Another Gaywal Panda, Bachchu Lal Chaudhary, said that it will take some more time to trace roots of Thackeray in his records.

"It is possible to trace Thackerays' roots but more time is required to study available records with me and others here," said Chaudhary, who has been dealing with Marathi Hindus from Maharashtra and elsewhere.

Gaywal Pandas have requested every one in their community to come out with any record that helps them trace the origins of the Thackeray family.

"It is a historical fact that Gaywal Pandas have been maintaining records of Hindu families that have offered pindadaan," they said.

After Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh revealed last week, while quoting from a book authored by Raj Thackeray's grandfather Prabodhankar Thackeray, that the Thackeray family had its origins in Magadh, Bihar, and later moved to different cities in search of livelihood, like many modern migrants, it has generated an interest among Gaywal Pandas in Gaya to trace their root.

Gaywal Pandas said that for ages, thousands of Hindus from across India and abroad throng Gaya during Pitrapaksh -- 15 moonless days of the Hindu month of Ashwini -- when pindadaan is offered on the banks of the river Falgu. Hindus believe that a person's soul wanders after his/her death until pindadaan is performed.

In Gaya, it is done by the descendants of the dead at the famous Vishnupad Temple, conducted by Gaywal Pandas.

Legend has it that Lord Rama performed this rite for his father Dasharath.

M I Khan