State funeral for Bal Thackeray, calm city lines up
A sea of humanity, unprecedented in recent memory, descended on the streets leading from the Thackerays’ Bandra residence Matoshree to Shivaji Park to catch a last glimpse of the Sena chief. It took the cortege nearly eight hours to cover the 10-km stretch.
Loud roars of “Parat ya parat ya Balasaheb parat ya (Come back, come back, Balasaheb come back)”, “Kon ala re, kon ala Shiv Senecha wagh ala (Who has come, who has come, Shiv Sena’s tiger has come)” and “Balasaheb amar rahe (long live Balasaheb)” rent the air as Uddhav, Thackeray’s youngest son and the Sena’s executive president, lit the pyre.
In attendance were political leaders and celebrities from across the board, from allies to rivals, film stars to captains of the industry. The government had allowed the funeral to take place at Shivaji Park — Mumbai’s first public funeral since Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s in 1920 — and accorded him a state funeral. A contingent of Mumbai Police gave a gun salute and buglers sounded the last post, a rare honour for somebody who never held any official position.
Long-time political rival and personal friend Sharad Pawar was there as were the BJP’s Nitin Gadkari, L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi and Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Union ministers Praful Patel and Rajiv Shukla were also
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