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PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

Last updated on: November 18, 2012 14:46 IST

PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

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Prasanna D Zore in Mumbai

These are moments that Shiv sainiks will never forget: their departed leaders body being taken out draped in saffron, Uddhav and son Aditya forming a ring around Bal Thackeray's dead body, so that state funeral could be accorded without a melee as much as it indicated how the family stood together in the time of utmost grief, a sea of humanity who could not believe that their beloved saheb is no more.

Rediff.com Prasanna D Zore captures these poignant moments as Shiv Sena's tiger began his final journey.

It took great efforts for thousands of Shiv Sainiks gathered outside Matoshree to use the word 'Amar' (long live) for their beloved leader Bal Thackeray. For they were simply shocked and their senses numbed to believe that the Shiv Sena supreme was no more. 

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Image: Thousands of Shiv sainiks raised their hands in praise of their departed leader.
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

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However, when the tiger was brought out from Matoshree for his final journey, chants of 'Hindu hriday samrat Balasaheb Thackeray amar rahe' (long live the emperor of Hindus's hearts); 'adarniya Balasaheb Thackeray amar rahe' (long live our most respected leader) rent the air. The voice, though strong and vociferous, was tinged with pathos. 

"The path ahead will be difficult for us (Shiv Sainiks) without saheb," said a young Shiv Sainik Bala Sutar, who had camped outside Matoshree since November 16 with 200 supporters from Amravati. "But I am sure Maharashtra's Shiv Sainiks under Uddhavji's leadership will hoist the bhagwa (Shiv Sena's party flag) atop Vidhan Sabha (Maharashtra Legislative Assembly) in 2014," he said confidently yet teary-eyed. 

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Image: Cops saluting Bal Thackeray's body during the state funeral.
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

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When Bal Thackeray's body, draped in a saffron blanket, covered with garlands and flowers was brought out at 9.04 am the gathered Shiv Sainiks couldn't hold themselves from weeping. It was an emotional outburst as hundreds of hands rose in unison to bid adieu to their supreme leader who gave them an identity in Maharashtra's politics when he founded the Shiv Sena on June 19, 1966. 

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Image: Father and son, hands on each others shoulders, forming a ring to prevent crowds from getting near Bal Thackeray's body when the state funeral was being accorded to him.
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

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Earlier Bal Thackeray's nephew Raj Thackeray, who split Shiv Sena to form Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in 2006, came out briefly and huddled with additional commissioner of police Vishwas Nangre Patil to discuss the funeral arrangements. 

Soon after Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi and sons Aditya and Tejas came out looking sombre yet composed. While Rashmi and Tejas climbed atop the truck that was to take Bal Thackeray to Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar and from there to Shivaji Park where he will be cremated in public, Aditya and Uddhav, hands on each others shoulders, formed a ring along with other Shiv Sainiks to keep the crowd away from Bal Thackeray's body. It was only after their efforts and pleas did the police manage to accord a state funeral. 

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Image: Raj Thackeray's wife Sharmila (second from left on the truck), Uddhav Thackeray's wife Rashmi (fifth from left) and her son Tejas (second from right in white kurta)
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

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Uddhav and Aditya, hands on each others shoulders, was a poignant moment for the gathered Shiv Sainiks present as it showed the family united in their grief. 

Later, Bal Thackeray's body, draped in the Indian tricolour, was lifted and taken to the main truck. The truck had eight chairs on either sides to seat the family members and senior Sena leaders. However, the chairs were removed after the people on the truck refused to sit and accompany the funeral procession standing. 

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Image: The truck that carried Bal Thackeray's body at Matoshree
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

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Rashmi and her son Tejas Thackeray along with Sharmila Thackeray (Raj's wife) were seen standing as the truck made its way through thousands of Shiv Sena workers chanting slogans in praise of their departed leaders. 

"Our god is no more," said Abhijit Kadam, a Sena supporter who was accompanying the funeral. "The inevitable has happened. Life will move on but it will never be the same again," he said. 

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Image: A cop reading the Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna'
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Sombre moments outside Matoshree

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Only the days ahead will prove if Abhijit is right in his assessment. 

As expected the funeral procession was delayed by almost two hours with the police, senior Shiv Sena leaders and the Thackeray family made sure the security apparatus was in place. 

As per senior inspectors on duty more than 48,000 policemen and women were deployed in the city with as many as 20,000 cops along the funeral procession route that started from Matoshree at 9.10 am instead of 7 am as decided earlier.

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Image: Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya acknowledges supporters' tributes
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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