This 'cub' knows the rules of jungle
He may not have the whip-cracking baritone or crowd pulling charisma of his grandfather, but he has one of the most powerful surnames in Maharashtra. 20 year-old Adtiya Thackeray, the fourth generation in Prabodhankar Thackeray's lineage, is being portrayed as the poster boy of Shiv Sena, reports N Ganesh.
Like Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Aditya also sports stubble and spectacles. Aditya would be heading the Yuva Sena, Sena's wing to nurture the future leaders of the party.
When nephew Raj Thackeray split from his mentor and uncle Bal Thackeray and launched the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Ironically, life seems to have come full circle for uncle Raj with his nephew Aditya having joined active politics heading the Yuva Sena.
Aditya, too has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Aditya does not have to worry about the party's poll prospects as it is being taken care by his father and Sena executive president Uddhav under the guidance of his grandfather Bal Thackeray.
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Image: Aditya Thackeray in Sena's Dusshera rally in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salve
Sena's move to 'bring back' youth diverting towards MNS
The Sena hopes that Aditya has been rushed in to politics, as the party believes that his 'new ideas and enthusiasm would make the youth who are gravitating towards Raj return to the Sena fold.'
There is, however, one aspect which makes him stand apart from other politicians in Maharashtra -- he does not like the city walls to be sullied by the political posters announcing birthdays and other events. He has made it clear that neither he nor any other office bearers of the Yuva Sena would be indulging in defacing the city.
A student of Bombay Scottish English School (The third and fourth generation of Thackeray's have been educated in elite English schools of Mumbai), Aditya is now a third year student of history at the prestigious St Xavier's college in Mumbai.
Image: Aditya gestures during the rally
Photographs: Sahil Salve
Aditya finds it easier to pen his thoughts in Hindi
Propensity in art runs in his blood, as his grandfather (whom he refers as 'grandad') was a noted cartoonist and father a critically acclaimed photographer. Uncle Raj is also a cartoonist.
Like his father, Aditya for his share has taken a liking for photography and also dabbles in writing poems. His works have already been published -- Black and White -- a compilation of English poems, and Umeed -- a Hindi pop album based on his lyrics has been released.
He finds it easier to pen his thoughts in Hindi due to his exposure to Hindi songs and entertainment around him. His poems are the outcome of what he observes, he claims.
The poet in Aditya draws him to the works of Martin Lings (Abu Bakr) and also ponders over the 'futility of war' as penned by renowned war poet Wilfred Owen.
His 'roars' weren't muted
Incidentally, Aditya would be the only Thackeray to admit that he is able to write in Urdu. He was drawn to learn Urdu after watching Bollywood film Jodha Akbar. He was in so much awe of the Ashutosh Gowarikar film that he watched the movie a record 50 times and started greeting and addressing his friends in chaste Urdu. He choice of movies does not include the one with conflict or suspense.
His foray into the public life began with his active participation in the NGO The Dream We Share launched by Shaina NC. Then came the 'Best of Five' scheme for tenth standard students of Maharashtra board, a goof-up by the state education department that was cleverly tapped by Aditya. He was the face of the Sena while posturing their stand on the 'Best of Five' before the media.
Image: Aditya with Amitabh Bachchan, Bal Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray at the launch function of his pop album
Will he tread a 'different' path?
Then came the 1990-Booker nominated novel 'Such a long Journey' by Rohinton Mistry, based on the backdrop of Mumbai, which was till some time ago a part of the syllabus of the Mumbai University.
Aditya and his cronies landed up at the gates of the Mumbai University to have it withdrawn from the syllabus. Vice Chancellor Rajan Velurkar, who it appeared like was waiting for this opportunity, promptly withdrew the book midway through the term.
Behind the image of the well-educated and well-groomed man, Aditya belongs to the political party which believes in thrusting its views on others and crushing out any forms of criticisms made against it. In fact the novel Such a Long Journey delves on all such issues.
Appearing to be caught in a scenario which he would not like to be in, Aditya later clarified he was not against the book but could not help but protest against 'certain objectionable parts maligning a section of people in Mumbai.'
Like his father Uddhav, Aditya too has joined politics to make a 'difference'. Whether he would end up like his father, who was forced to change his Mee Mumbaikar stand for a more aggressive Marathi issue, remains to be seen.
Image: Aditya seeks blessings of his 'grandad' during the Mumbai rally
Photographs: Sahil Salve