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Remembering Prabodhankar Thackeray on his 137th Birth Anniversary

PRABODHANKAR THACKERAY BIRTH ANNIVERSARY: The father of late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Prabodhanker Thackeray, whose real name was Keshav Sitaram Panvelkar, was a prominent political activist, writer and social reformer. He actively campaigned for the creation of the state of Maharashtra and fought against many social evils prevalent in Indian society before the country’s independence from British rule. On the occasion of the 137th birth anniversary of Prabodhanker Thackeray, we take a look at some key facts about his illustrious life.

  1. Prabodhanker, meaning “the enlightened,” was Keshav Sitaram Panvelkar’s pen name. His family surname was originally Thakre, which he changed to the English surname Thackeray as he admired Kolkata-born British author William Makepeace Thackeray.
  2. He started a magazine named Prabodhan, where he promoted Hindu philosophies and nationalistic ideals to revive Hindutva in society.
  3. Prabodhan magazine gave Sitaram his pen name, Prabodhanker.
  4. Thackeray was a proud Marathi Hindu. He became a member of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti, which successfully advocated the creation of a Marathi state which eventually became Maharashtra.
  5. Thackeray was strongly opposed to Brahmanical supremacy. He worked hard to uplift people who belonged to ‘lower castes’ and advocated for a caste-less society.
  6. He was inspired by the writings of social activist Jyotiba Phule to fight against Brahmanical superiority.
  7. Thackeray protested against social evils like dowry and even arranged inter-caste marriages. He also prevented child marriages and untouchability, which were prevalent in Hindu society.
  8. Thackeray was a prolific writer. Apart from his magazine Prabodhan, he also wrote many books, including the biography of social reformers Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati and Shri Sant Gadge Baba. He also wrote the plays like ‘Khara Brahman,’ ‘Sangeet Vidhinishedh,’ ‘Taklele Por’ and ‘Sangeet Seetashuddhi.’
  9. He also acted in a Marathi film named ‘Shyamchi Aai,’ directed by P.K. Atre, which earned critical acclaim and received the Golden Lotus award at the National Film Awards, in the year 1954. He played a religious preacher in the film. He had already been part of a theatre group where he acquired acting and singing skills.
  10. Several schools across Maharashtra are named after him.

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