fortnightly journal was aimed at regeneration of social, political and moral values in Hindu society; it also became a front to advance anti brahminical movement. A renowned writer RK Lele says: “Keshav Thackeray writing skills and style are unique. His writing is just not sarcasm but comprises of lethal words which can agitate and sway the readers”
LIFE AND TIMES OF RABHODHANKAR
Prabhodhankar was born as Keshav Sitaram Thackray on September 17, 1885 in the town of Panvel. Thackerays originally hail from Pali village in Raigad district and belonged to the middle ranking Hindu caste of the Chandrasen Kaystha Prabhu clan or CKP
Activism, social service and progressive thoughts ran in Prabhodhankar’s veins. His grandfather Dada Bhikhoba Dhodapkar was deeply religious and pious human being. He was devout follower of ‘vithobha’- the deity of pandharpur- and had dedicated himself to the service of mankind. Those were the days when plague and other epidemics were of frequent occurrences. But there were men who saw an opportunity to make money in theses tragic times. Several villages indulged in witchcraft and used to appoint women claiming to possess mystical power to get rid of the disease. Bhikoba vehemently opposed such superstitions. Prabhodhankar inherited scientific temperament from his grandfather.
His maternal grandfather Baba Patki was a well known legal practitioner and a religious person. His influence helped Keshav to balance rationalism with faith.
His grandmother called ‘Baya’- father’s mother- too had a profound impact in shaping his personality. Prabhodhankar recalls an incident of his childhood. He was returning from his school when member belonging from a lower caste hindu passed by his way. This led to massive hue and cry among the orthodox upper caste Brahmins. According to them Keshav had turned untouchable as the shadow of the lower caste hindu had fallen on him. Reacting to this extreme reaction, his granny pulled a Brahmin boy near keshav and retorted that “if shadow of a lower caste turns my grandson untouchable, by same stretch of logic the shadow of this Brahmin boy should now turn Keshav into a Brahmin”.
As class 5 student, Keshav used to regularly visit home of a regional officer of lower caste Hindu. There he was offered tea by the host. Keshav’s meeting ruffled feathers of many villagers who complained to his grandmother. But ‘Baya’ was quick to say that “it’s better to share tea with a lower caste rather than have alcohol with upper caste in the village”. Prabhodhankar’s grandmother spent her last days at Dadar in Mumbai. When she died hundreds of people cutting across caste, community and religious lines gathered in her funeral procession.
Prabhodhankar’s father Sitram pant fondly called Bala inherited much of the same qualities, Thackeray family was known for. He too was an activist willing to help people in their time of crisis. When the village was struck by plague, Sitaram used to be at the forefront of relief operations. This actually cost him his life as he succumbed to a disease during one of the epidemic in his village. Keshav