'I feel I have not changed'
Photographer Gopal Shetty sent us these exclusive vintage photographs of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, which we reproduce along with quotes from the leader who passed into the ages on Saturday. Last of a two-part feature.
TIMES NOW: Has your politics changed? Have your views changed?
Bal Thackeray: Can you show me the change? Where have I changed? This is the problem. You have asked a question if I have changed? You have to guide me where I have changed. You have to guide me, when I feel I have not changed then what.
TIMES NOW: The reason I am asking this is not because you have said anything that indicates the change but because people say that the politics have changed?
Bal Thackeray: Anything I say, there is always a controversy created by media and newspapers, what can I do? That doesn't mean I should stop saying. No. I will go on say, continue to say.
Image: Thackeray celebrating Shiv Sena's win at Mumbai's mayoral election
'What is this minority and majority business?'
On the minority issue
TIMES NOW: Generally there is a belief that Indian politics from 1990 the Ram Janmabhoomi period to 2011 it has been 21-22 years and it is a belief that the young generation that is the voting class that has come in the recent decade don't care much about religious polarization and these kinds of minority and majority issue?
Bal Thackeray: My only straight question is what is this minority and majority business, why? Can we not live in this country, as citizens of this country? What is this minority and majority. Are minority not getting any concessions, are they not? I believe in one thing that there are only two things in the world, the rich and the poor. There are only two castes in the world, the rich are rich and the poor is poor, make the poor rich but don't make the rich poor. But maintain it, besides these 2 castes I don't believe in any other casteism.
Image: Thackeray celebrating Shiv Sena's win at Mumbai's mayoral election
'I don't think I can make Uddhav and Raj patch-up'
On Uddhav and Raj
Bal Thackeray: Why don't you ask this question to both of them. Rather difficult because for this separation, neither me not Uddhav is responsible, it's Raj who left himself, I have narrated everything in my interview, just see and you get the answers. Dimag mein wohi hai leadership toh woh kahan se nikaalenge. Kaise nikaal sakte hain, aaj kal is desh mein leader jyaada ho gaye hain, followers kam ho rahe hain....aise hain.
TIMES NOW: No. You said leave it on them, so if they were to agree together you won't have a problem?
Bal Thackeray: If they agree, if they patch up why should I object to that, it's a good thing, but will they, that's a question.
TIMES NOW: The only person who can make them patch up is you.
Bal Thackeray: No, not possible, it is for them to respect my everything but that stage has gone, from Raj's point of view, Raj has gone, us dimak mein ek leadership gayi hain, woh sab maine bataya tumhare casette mein ab you will get the answers to that.
Image: Thackeray with then Maharashtra CM Manohar Joshi
'I have not forced Uddhav on the people'
On dynastic politics
TIMES NOW: You don't agree in dynastic politics? Whenever I have spoken to you in the past you didn't believe in dynastic politics. You have criticised the Congress in fact. If I can quote you, you had said that the whole political fabric have been spoilt by Congress and dynasty.
Bal Thackeray: The funny thing I cant understand Goswamiji, if you meet a doctor and ask what is your son doing, he is a doctor, ok fine, nice, then if you meet a artist, what is your son doing, oh he is an artist doing wonderful portraits and all, that is not dynasty... you are proud of them but what we do in politics is dynasty, it is to be criticised. Though I don't accept that viewpoint, in politics you should not be, it is not a question of pride....
TIMES NOW: But aren't the Thackerays also a political dynasty? What is the difference?
Bal Thackeray: I continue it, unless you have some calibre or whatever you have but to force people, there are two things as far as this dynasty is concerned, to force people so that the gharana shines is one thing and the calibre of that man from your dynasty and people themselves accept him that is not dynasty. It is for the people to accept or not but to force people as the Gandhi gharana has done, they have forced the Gandhi gharana policies on people, that is dynasty which I have not.
I will continue my thought and views the same thing which I oppose and I am going to oppose the same thing. what I have done, my views about dynasty is this, to force people on them, your gharana man is dynasty, but if people accept your gharana man whoever he may be they want him, it is not dynasty, they have accepted him. I have not forced him on them, that is not dynasty, that I will never do.
Image: Thackeray leading a demonstration of Shiv Sena workers in Bhiwandi
'The political pitch is ours, we play on that'
On the Sachin Tendulkar controversy
TIMES NOW: Who is the son of the soil Balashaheb? Define it for me. In November 2010 you took on Sachin Tendulkar, why did you take on Sachin Tendulkar?
Bal Thackeray: Why, why, why? I admire Sachin. He is a tough man today, it can be said a world record that nobody can break it thereafter I don't know....but to say something about Mumbai, that Mumbai belongs to the country, no. We fought for Mumbai.... 105 people laid their lives.... there is Hutatma Chowk, so I said don't talk about Mumbai.... I said if you say we cricketers belong to the country, yes I will accept that, play for the country but they play for money.
TIMES NOW: But the bat and the t-shirt had value, he didn't sell them, He was giving them away.
Bal Thackeray: Itna guarantee mat dena, kabhi baat aati hai toh he will give you a bat. If you need money for some talk he will give you bat, toh usko nilaam karo paisa aayega toh usko jama karo. World cup jeeta usne uska shirt diya mereko...usko becho....neelam karo.
TIMES NOW: Do you think he was playing on a political pitch?
Bal Thackeray: What is the tendency... why don't you give in kind, why don't you, cash is different. Gaurav Patel has given a wonderful answer... in his editor's mail, the editor of Film India, a man asked him a question what Nehru has left for the country... he said cash for his daughter and ash for the country, just one c to ash becomes cash.
This is Sachin Tendulkar; you read my statement without going through my statement. I said he should not get involved, your pitch is different, your pitch is not a political pitch, the political pitch is ours, we play on that.
TIMES NOW: But he did not say that he didn't say that Mumbai is not the capital of Maharashtra
Bal Thackeray: When he said about Mumbai, Mumbai belongs to the country no... we fought for Mumbai, that I will not tolerate, whoever he may be, I will not tolerate that nonsense. I say it is the capital of Maharashtra, they may say it is a financial capital of India, of Hindustan but it is a capital of Maharashtra that you cannot afford to forget it.
I am saying it myself. I oppose only Mumbai belongs to the country, no. That is not right, kal uska janam bi nahi hua tha tab we were fighting for Mumbai.
Image: Thackeray breaks a coconut before addressing supporters
'Whose job is it to protect Indian citizens?'
November 9, 2012: Thackeray lashed out at Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his statement "to forget the past" and play cricket with Pakistan.
'If protecting foreign actors and players is your responsibility, whose job is it to protect lives and properties of Indian citizens under threat from Pakistani terrorists,' the Sena patriarch said in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamna.
Image: Thackeray addressing supporters at Kala Ghoda
'Give me control of the army. I will show you miracles'
In an interview published in party mouthpiece Dopaharka Saamna, Thackeray warned that he would not 'spare' Muslim fundamentalists who fomented trouble in the country.
"Give me control of the army. I will show you miracles and set everything right within a month. Just hand over the army to me," Thackeray claimed.
"When I come into my element, I will not allow a single fanatic Muslim to live in Maharashtra, and wherever we have party branches, right up to Jammu & Kashmir," Thackeray said.
Image: Bal Thackeray addressing Shiv Sainiks
'Yes, I am the remote control'
To India Today, in December 15, 1995, on how he is the remote control
But you keep pulling him (then Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi) up publicly.
As far as the government's policies are concerned, even if he's the chief minister, he has to consult me. That he also knows. My problem is that my people are poor, their immediate need is not an airport. Housing, food and water are the priorities.
So you hold the remote control in your hand?
Yes, I am the remote control. Remote controls are the latest development in science. When the Congress was in power, nobody criticised the way Sharad Pawar would be summoned by the high command in Delhi. So why attack my remote control.
Remote control must be there because it is a Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party government, and we will control it from both sides. The chief minister has certain rights, like changing officials and bureaucrats, but when it comes to policies, if something goes wrong, I'll be held responsible.
Even appointments like that of the commissioner of the Bombay police are decided by you.
I can make suggestions. I've also studied the city, so to save Mumbai I have the right to say who is the right man to be police commissioner.
Image: Thackeray at a public meeting
'We should give the army a free hand in J&K'
How would you deal with the Kashmir issue?
We should give the army a free hand. Now it's like giving them sten guns without bullets. Pakistani extremists have encroached upon our land, and it is our right to retaliate and protect our sovereign state. Shoot them, kill them. No dialogue.
People must feel the pinch that there is a government. Or we are helpless, raped by everybody. We have a prime minister, we have a home minister, so why should we move like orphans without parents?
Image: Thackeray coming out of the Bombay Municipal Corporation
'We need foriegn investment, but not for things like soap'
You called swadeshi 'rubbish'.
Swadeshi must also have quality, not just quantity. You can't make rubber chappals with cardboard inside. First think of the product, then quality and then quantity. If you stretch the swadeshi idea too far, then you'll have to live in darkness, because the electric bulb was invented by Edison. A foreign product should not kill my product. To that extent swadeshi makes sense. Otherwise it is a multinational world today and one needs collaborations.
Manohar Joshi says foreign investment is welcome in all sectors, including consumer products.
I would like to see what are these consumer products. If it's going to be for soap and things like that then it can't be allowed. I will not welcome any investor who is going to kill our industry here. I don't want history to be repeated. The East India Company came here for commerce, and then they ruled the country for 150 years.
Image: Thackeray wishing BJP's L K Advani in Mumbai during his rath yatra to Ayodhya
'Pakistani cricketers are not true players'
On Pakistan playing in India
Why do you keep insisting that Pakistan should not play in India?
Because they are not true players. They declare that when they win against India, Hindustan, it's a victory of Islam and when they start a match, they declare it's jihad against Hindustan. So I take them to be not sportsmen but my enemies, and an enemy cannot be allowed to step into my motherland.
Image: Thackeray with L K Advani in Mumbai during his rath yatra to Ayodhya
'If anything happens to me this whole country will go up in flames'
On threats to his life
A weekly has reported that your name is at the top of Dawood's hit list.
My Shiv Sainiks have thrown a challenge to Dawood that if you want, come here rather than sit in Dubai and hire some supari killers from there. I am well protected by my Shiv Sainiks, they are my real bulletproof jacket. They will not allow anybody to create any mischief.
The person who issued the threat maintained that even lsraeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was killed in spite of heavy security.
If that is so, then it can apply to Dawood also. What guarantee can you give? When you point a finger at somebody, three fingers point back at you. And if anything happens to me this whole country will go up in flames.
You can put it in writing and I will sign it. There will be anarchy. It is not that easy to finish me. And if they do it, Dawood or anybody, we have a human bomb which will blast the country. And the civil war will start immediately. I have told my boys to be ready.
They will go berserk if anything happens to me. If they touch me it will flare up throughout the country. It will be disastrous for everybody, including Dawood.
Image: Thackeray with the towering Julio Rebeiro, former police commissioner of Mumbai at the inauguration of Nirmal Nagar police station in Mumbai in 1985
'If the gods do not come to your help when you need them, then what's the use'
On his wife's death
Is it true that you have turned an agnostic?
My wife was so pious, so devoted, so religious. But it came to nothing. After she went to a Ganesh Chaturthi function in Bombay, we forgot the emergency bottle of her medicine and went to Karjat.
Here was a test for gods and goddesses. It was the duty of God to remind her of the emergency bottle. If not, then you and your faith are led astray. When she needed it, the medicine was not there and we lost her.
If the gods do not come to your help when you need them, then what's the use. I have removed all pictures of Ganesh from my house. But her picture will be there.
Image: Thackeray with Julio Rebeiro at the inauguration of Nirmal Nagar police station in 1985. To Rebeiro's left is actor-politician Sunil Dutt
'Rahul wants to become the prime minister'
On Rahul Gandhi
Thackeray charged Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi with harbouring ambitions of becoming the next prime minister.
"But I have never nominated Uddhav (his son) or Aditya (his grandson)," he said.
"Rahul wants to become the prime minister. Does he think the post of the PM is a seat in Bhendi Bazaar (a Mumbai market)," he said.
Image: Thackeray with Sharad Pawar and former prime minister Chandrashekar
'Why can't we hang Kasab and Afzal Guru
On Kasab and Afsal Guru
"Why can't they be hanged? Or have we run out of ropes due to farmers' suicides?"
Image: Thackeray with BJP-Shiv Sena Lok Sabha candidates
'We accept that part of America that is represented by Michael Jackson'
On Michael Jackson
"Michael Jackson is a great artist, and we must accept him as an artist. His movements are terrific. Not many people can dance that way. You will end up breaking your bones... and, well, what is culture? He represents certain values in America, which India should not have any qualms in accepting. We would like to accept that part of America that is represented by Jackson."
Image: Thackeray with BJP's late Pramod Mahajan, architect of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance
'We need suicide bomb squads to protect India and Hindus'
On Hindu suicide squads
"Islamic terrorism is growing and Hindu terrorism is the only way to counter it. We need suicide bomb squads to protect India and Hindus."
Image: Party leaders addressing a meeting at the Shiv Sena Bhawan
'Women should not be humiliated and harassed'
"I have always instructed Shiv Sainiks that in any situation women should not be humiliated and harassed. Have they forgotten our history where Shivaji Maharaj sent back the daughter-in-law of the subhedar of Kalyan with honour."
Image: Welcoming Babasaheb Bhosale, former chief minister of Maharashtra and a Congress member, into the Shiv Sena fold
'You don't need a special day for love'
On Valentine's Day
"Anyway, you youngsters do this thing throughout the year... you don't need a special day for it. If you want to select the day, then select it in the name of 'Laila-Majnu', 'Heer-Ranjha' and 'Bajirao Peshwe-Mastani'."
Image: Bal Thackeray